Housemaids: The gap between our conduct and Islamic principles

Publication Date: 
May 17, 2011
Arab News

Islam has advocated sublime human conduct.  
It came to polish the behavior of people, whether individuals or groups, and to ensure their human rights in the best possible manner and form of human conduct. It did not stop there. It also called for a better treatment of animals.

In short, Islam is the religion of integrity and conclusiveness. In Surah Maedah, Allah says: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”

Islam has set the perfect example of human conduct. It has provided the correct guidelines which man should observe in his words, whispers, silence, food, drink, clothes, cleanliness, work, production, trade, job, and treatment of parents.

Islam enjoins us to be compassionate to our children, good to our neighbors and kind to our maids. A man should be merciful to his wife.

The word “kindness” is both linked to treatment of others as well as worship. In religion it means to worship God as if you can see Him and if you cannot see Him, he can see you. Islam is a religion of both worship (“I have created jinns and men only to worship Me”) and treatment. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Religion is good treatment to others”.

Despite this, it is not uncommon to see some Muslims throw away all these noble values. They ignore the simplest of them which is being kind to maids whom Allah has put for their service.

Allah says: “And He has raised you in ranks — some above others — that He may test you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Allah has created ranks among people so that life is balanced and the needs of the people are complemented. People need each other for life to go on. You do not need a repetition of Ibn Khaldoum Muqadimah (prolegomenon) in this regard.

Saudi society has money. A member of another society (Muslim or not) comes here to work for money or because we need him to contribute to our development. I will only talk about the miserable category that serves in our homes among our mothers, wives and children under one roof. I feel severe pain and regret that some of us ignore all the noble Islamic values of being kind to maids.

Though the maids are the weakest person in the house and needs all kinds of good treatment, yet some employers badmouth them, hit them and subject them to all kinds of oppression and humiliation. Sometimes they do this to maids in streets, markets, parks, restaurants and public places.

They do this while boasting of being Muslims and part of the greatest civilization built by Islam. In fact Islam is totally innocent of these foul acts.

I hope that our scholars would intensify their advice to the citizens so as to be kind to their domestic servants and remind Muslims of the noble tenets of Islam. They can use the modern means of communications to give their advice so as to end the hostile attitude towards the weak and powerless housemaids.

We had a black history of maltreatment of maids during the Dark Ages. Islam has put an end to the injustice to maids and rose up their social level. We should do this if we want to be good Muslims. The mistake is not to err but not to correct the mistake.

— Dr. Abdul Raheem Al-Mirabi is a Saudi writer based in Jazan. He can be contacted at:

Source: Arab News