Etiquette of Entering and Departing from the House

Section I

1. Well-spaced house:

A reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that one of the things which shows a man as fortunate is his house open and palatial.

According to a reliable tradition Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) bought a house and asked one of his friends to move into that house as the friend's house was small and not enough for him. The friend told the Imam (a.s.) that he could not move into the new house, which the Imam (a.s.) had bought for him, as the house he lived in, was built by his father. The Imam (a.s.) answered that it was not necessary for his friend to stick to the mistake which his father had committed.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) there are three things which are a source of satisfaction and comfort for a Momin. Firstly the house should be open (i.e. airy); it should also be hiddeen or sheltered to the extent that its faults and secrets are not open to the public eye; secondly a pious wife who is his assistant in the affairs of this world and the next, as well; thirdly that sister or daughter who leaves his house, only after getting married (i.e. Nikah) or at her death.

In another tradition he (a.s.) has started the following things which are signs of the good luck of a person:

a) his son should resemble him

b) he should have a beautiful but pious wife

c) his house should be spacious.

In a tradition he (a.s.) has also stated that following things are connected with the house being unlucky.

a) the open ground being less

b) the neighbours being bad, and

c) the house itself having many faults.

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) has stated that two things are the curse of life - changing house often, and buying bread from outside.

2. Reproof on making a house of great height and on having too many extra provisions in it:

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), God infuses the desire of making a many-storied house, in that person who earns by illegal ways, that his money may be wasted in mud and water.

In another tradition, he (a.s.) has stated that a building which will be more grand than necessary will be a source of burden for its owner on the Day of Judgement. It will be pushed on its owner.

According to Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.), God has named a few of the places of the earth as ‘Marhoomat’ and He desires that at these places His name should be taken and people should remember Him and pray to Him that He may accept these prayers. In the same manner He has reserved certain places of land as ‘muntakamat’ (places of revenge) on which He makes those people live, who earn by illegal and prohibited ways, and waste their money.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a person who constructs a building for the sake of gaining fame and name, will find that on the Day of Judgement his building is dug into the seventh layer of earth and tied around his neck, after which he will be thrown into hell. Nothing of hell will form an obstruction to prevent him from entering into hell. But if he seeks remission, he will be saved. When people asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to explain "for fame and name", the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied that it applies to those persons who build a house more than required, or so high that it becomes a source of trouble to their neighbours and build it in front to show-off against others as a source of pride.

It is stated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that God has kept an angel for all the buildings. When the roof of any building exceeds eight hands, then the angel says, "O fasiq (O wicked) how far will you". In another tradition it is stated that instead of the word ‘fasiq’ it is ‘the greatest fasiq of all’.

According to another tradition, a person complained to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that the jins hurt his children. The Imam (a.s.) asked him as to how high was the roof of his house. He replied that it was ten hands high. The Imam (a.s.) asked him to measure eight hands and write Ayatul Kursi between the eighth and tenth hands on all the four sides. The Jins come to those houses which are above eight hands in height.

In another tradition it is stated that if the height of the house is more than eight hands, then Ayatul Kursi should be written on the walls where the measurement exceeds eight hands.

In a tradition from Abu Khuzalman, it is stated that he saw Ayatul Kursi written over the door of Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) and also facing Qibla where the prayer mat (Janamaz) of the Imam (a.s.) was spread.

3. Prohibition of drawing, sketching and building an idol of the living which can cast its shadow:

It is famous among scholars that building of an idol which can cast its shadow is strictly prohibited. Making pictures on walls and cloth is supposed to be makrooh and is held prohibited by some. One should be careful that no gilt-edging is done in the house and no pictures should be made, even that of a tree and especially of a full and perfect human form. If such a type of picture exists, it should be destroyed i.e. rubbed off or one of the parts of the body should be struck off, like the eye or the hand.

In a reliable tradition quoted from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that the angel Jibrael has said that the band of angels do not enter that house which has a dog or an idol or that (uncleaned) utensil in which people urinate.

In another reliable tradition it is stated that a person who makes idols will, on the Day of Judgement, be asked to give life to those idols. And when he will be unable to bestow life to the idols, then punishment will descend on him.

A tradition states that some people asked Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) his opinion about pictures carved on floors or printed on household linen used for spreading on the floor. The Imam (a.s.) said it did not matter as long as the faces of the forms were mutilated.

A tradition from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) states that one should not pray in that house which has pictures hung in front of one. In case of no

alternative, one should either cut the photo or turn it on the wrong side and then only one should pray.

In another tradition people asked him (a.s.) about making pictures of trees, sun, moon etc. He (a.s.) said it did not matter if we drew pictures of lifeless objects.

4. Etiquette of the floor of the house and of bed-making:

According to Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.), there are three sources of beautification:

a) a four-footed animal with elegant gait

b) a well-behaved slave

c) a beautiful floor

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) has stated that a man needs a bed for himself, his wife and his guest; and more than that is the property of shaitan.

In a reliable tradition it is stated that Imam Reza (a.s.) used to seat himself on Boria (dried grass mat) during summers and on a blanket in winters. He used to wear rough clothes at home and when he used to go outside he used to wear better clothes and make himself presentable for the sake of people.

It is stated in a reliable tradition that when Hazrat Ali (a.s.) married Hazrat Fatima Zehra (a.s.), he possessed only a cloak to cover himself, a bedding of goat skin and pillow of the same skin filled with the date-tree peelings.

In another tradition it is stated that Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) used to pray at those places where the floor was covered with painted pictures of birds. He used to spread a cloth over these pictures while praying. The Imam (a.s.) had received many linen sheets from Syria as gifts on which were printed pictures of birds but he had rubbed, changed the heads of the birds into the form of trees.

In another tradition it is stated that there is no harm if a floor of sheet whcih is tread and walked on by human feet has pictures on it.

5. Etiquette of praying at home:

According to a reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), Hazrat Ali (a.s.) had reserved a small room for himself in his house. In that place there were only Quran-e-Sharif and a sword, but nothing else; and here he used to pray.

According to another tradition Hazrat Ali (a.s.) wrote to Mussama that he would like him to reserve a place of prayer in his house where he should go in coarse and old clothes and ask God to free him from the fire of hell and enter him into heaven; not to pray anyting against Shara (the laws of Islam) and against anyone.

In another reliable tradition it is stated that one should beautify and brighten one's home by reciting Quran instead of turning it into a grave in the manner the Jews and Christians pray in churches and synagogues but never in their homes. That home improves its condition where Quran Sharif is recited much and the people of that house feel more comfort, and the inhabitants of the sky receive light from this house as the people on earth receive light from the stars.

6. Prohibition of keeping a dog in the house:

A reliable tradition from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) states that there is no advantage of keeping any dog except the one used in hunting and one which safeguards the herd.

According to two traditions from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one can keep the hunting dog in the house but he should have his separate place, quite far away from oneself. At least there should be a door between the dog and you which can be closed.

In another tradition it is stated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has allowed the keeping of dogs in the homes of those who live far away from the population.

A reliable tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that one should not go often for hunting and whenever one hears the voice of a dog or an ass one should pray to God to keep one away from the mischief of shaitan for both these animals can see things which cannot be seen by the human beings.

It is stated in many reliable traditions that if an animal is caught by a trained dog and you reach at the time when the animal is still alive, then you should cut its throat (zibha) and even if the animal is dead it is allowed (halal) provided you had said ‘Bismillah’ when the dog was let loose on the smell. But if the animal is caught by an untrained dog, it is only permissible when you reach before it is dead and you cut it's throat; but if the animal is dead by the time you reach, then it is not permissible. If you have struck an arrow from the bow or just an arrow in the body of an animal, then it is only permissible if you reach before it is dead and cut it; but it is not permissible if it has died before you have reached. And if the animal is dead but you have said ‘Bismillah’ before letting off the arrow then it is permissible; otherwise it is non-permissible. The same order applies to hunting with sword, spear or iron instruments of hunting. If one has hunted with stone, gun or pitlet-bow which has no iron in it and can just wound the animal, hten if you reach before the animal is dead, you can cut its throat and make it permissible; but if the animal is dead on account of the wound before you can reach, then it is non-permissible.

Section II

1. Etiquette about the house:

According to a reliable tradition from Hazrat Ali (a.s.), a man should never stay for a moment in the house which has no curtains.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the Almighty God does not take the responsibility of looking after three types of persons.

a) A person who gets in a shattered house and starts living in it.

b) A person who offers prayer on a public highway

c) A person who leaves his animal free without keeping anyone to look after it

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one should sweep the ground in one's house and should not imitate Jews who do not sweep their homes.

A reliable tradition from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) states that one should not keep the day's rubbish for the whole night, one should throw it off in the day only, as the devil finds a place in the rubbish.

It is stated from Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) that sweeping and cleaning the house keeps poverty away from it.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the devil resides in those places in one's house where the spider makes its web.

A reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that one should keep the openings of all the utensils of water and food closed, for the devil does not open closed utensils and one should blow off the candle before going to bed so that a rat may not set the house on fire.

In a tradition it is stated that on account of heat, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to start sleeping out from Thursdays and when the cold winds of winter began blowing, he started sleeping inside from a Friday.

According to Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.), the shaitan will overcome those people who urinate or excrete on a grave or in a tank of standing water, urinate standing, go to sleep without washing their hands and mouth after having food and go to sleep in an empty house. These are the situations where a shaitan can easily get hold of a man and will not leave him until he goes out of his mind. It happened one that once when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was on his way to a holy war, he crossed a valley which was inhabited by jins. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ordered that his companions should go through the valley two together with one's hand in the other's hand; no one should go through the valley alone. A person disobeyed the orders and as soon as he entered the valley alone, he was seized by a fit of lupteria. Other companions informed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who pressed the thumb of the unconscious man and recited:

‘O evil spirit, run away with the name of God, I am his Prophet.’

and the man suddenly stood up alright, cured of the fit.

In another tradition the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked a person as to where he was residing during his stay. The person replied that in a certain house. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked him not to stay alone or to live in another house as the devil dare not attack any man except when he is alone in a house.

A reliable tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that one should not keep that cloth in the house in which one brings the daily meat as

it is the returning place of the shaitan; and one should not collect the rubbish before the door as it is the retreat of shaitan; and when one enters one's own room, one should say ‘Bismillah’ as the shaitan runs away and when entering one's room one should say the ‘Salam’ as it increases the fortune of the house and angels get attached to it.

It is stated from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) that one should not keep cobwebs in the house as they cause poverty and anxiety in the house.

A tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that keeping one's utensils clean and washed and one's house well-swept and neat increases one's daily earning.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), that handkerchief or towel should not be kept in the house which is filled with fat and food by constantly cleaning hands after meals with it, for it is the residing place of the devil.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one should not keep canister open as the shaitan spits in it and takes out as much as he likes from the contents of the canister.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), one should look after one's wife, children, friends and pet animals until the sun sets, for that is the time when the shaitan can overcome them.

A reliable tradition states that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has prohibited peeping in a neighbour's house.

In another tradition the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that God does not like the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to have six habits which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in turn does not like his vicegernts and Shias to possess. These habits are:

a) playing with one's beard or clothes during namaz;

b) abusing in the state of fasting;

c) making someone realize that you have given charity to him as an obligation;

d) visting mosques when unclean;

e) laughing in a graveyard; and

f) peeping in the houses of other people.

2. Etiquette of entering and going out of the house:

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) after sleeping for the first part of night one should not go out as there are certain creatures of God which are spread over the earth at this time carrying out their orders.

A reliable tradition from Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) states that when a person leaves the house he should say:

‘I begin with the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful, I have brought faith on Allah and rely on Allah whatever His Will may be. Except Allah no one posseses any strength or might.’

Reciting this prayer makes the angles slap the face of devil and keep the devil away from you.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) when a person says ‘Bismillah’ when coming out of the house then the angel retorts that he should live well. And when the man says after it ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ then the angle's reply is that all his task will be accomplished; and when the man says ‘Tawakalto

Alallah’ then the angles retort that he will be safe from anxieties and troubles.

Imam Reza (a.s.) states that when his father used to leave his house, he used to recite the following 'doa':

‘Bismillah-Hir-Rehmanir-Rahim. I have come out by the strength and might of Allah not by my strength and might. Oh Allah, only by your strength and might I have started in search of daily bread, which You give me with comfort.’

A reliable tradition from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) states that when a person enters his house he should offer salutations and if his family is not present then he should say:

‘May there be peace on us from our God.’

When he is inside the house he should recite Sure Qul Huwallaho Ahad as it keeps away poverty and anxiety. when one has to go out for some special work then one should go on a Thursday morning and recite verses from Aale Imran Ayatul Kursi, Inna Anzalna and Sure Alhamd.