Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

{ يا أيها الذين آمَنوا قُوا أَنفُسَكم وأهْليكم ناراً }

{O believers, save yourselves and your family from the Hellfire whose fuel is men and

* Whenever Allah (swt) begins anything with the phrase ‘o believers!’, it means He is alerting our attention to something important for us to do or to avoid. Ibn Mas`ud (ra) says:

وقال ابن مسعود: إذا قال اللَّه يا أيها الذين آمنوا فارعها سمعك فإنه خير تؤمر به أو شر تنهى عنه
“Ibn Mas`ud said: whenever Allah says ‘o believers’ then raise your hearing because it is a good you are being commanded to or a bad you are being told to avoid…”.1

The meaning of {save yourselves and your family from the fire} means turn them away from it, prevent them from it. Sayyiduna `Ali (ra) in his commentary of this verse as well as Qatada and Mujahid state:

“Save yourselves from the Fire through your actions and save your family from the Fire through giving them all correct advice and guidance (bi-wasiyyatikum) […] and there are three meanings to the phrase ‘and save your family from the Fire through giving them all correct advice and guidance’ and they are: [1] To command them to obey Allah and to avoid disobeying him. This is what Qatada said. [2] To teach them all the obligatory aspects of their religion as well as to train them with the correct manners and conduct in their lives. This is what `Ali said. [3] To on the one hand teach them the khayr (‘the good’) and to ensure they are made to live with it and to clarify what is wrong and bad so as to ensure they avoid it…” 2

الثالث: قوا أنفسكم بأفعالكم، وقوا أهليكم بوصيتكم، قاله علي وقتادة ومجاهد.
وفي الوصية التي تقيهم النار ثلاثة
أحدها: يأمرهم بطاعة اللَّه وينهاهم عن معصيته، قاله قتادة.
الثاني: يعلمهم فروضهم ويؤدبهم في دنياهم، قاله علي.
الثالث: يعلمهم الخير ويأمرهم به، ويبين لهم الشر، وينهاهم عنه.


* In this noble verse of the Qur’an, Allah is commanding the Muslim believers to take serious consideration in safeguarding themselves and their family from the Hellfire.

* To safeguard and protect the family means to ensure they live by the commandments of Allah and to avoid his prohibitions.

* All fathers and providers of the household have a duty to their family that involves teaching them the obligatory aspects of their religion which is the fiqh (Islamic rulings) on all daily actions. > We must not fall short in this or neglect this. How can it be that we are aware of our duty to learn Islamic rulings and prevent our wives from learning it as well? How can our children learn the teachings of Islam unless their parents instil it in them?

* The need to train, nurture and teach Islamic values, norms and principles to our family is all the more serious given the context of the widespread assault on Islam, Shari`ah and Muslim family values as being antithetical to anything British, Western and liberal.

1 Imam al-Mawardi, al-Nukat wa’l-‘Uyun, .
2 Imam al-Mawardi, al-Nukat wa’l-‘Uyun, .