chapter 18


Responsibilities of the Head of the

O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose
fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and)
severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from
God, but do (precisely) what they are commanded. [Holy Quran: Tahrim
66: 6]

Protect Yourself and Your Family From the Fire of Hell

A verse in chapter Tahrim places an extremely heavy responsibility on the head of household. If all the people, especially those responsible for their wife and children, paid close attention to this verse, then a large portion of family problems would be solved. There would be no more tension or insecurity in the house and all things would get settled easily.
O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from God, but do (precisely) what they are commanded. [Holy Quran: Tahrim 66: 6]
It is the responsibility of the head of the household to guide his family members towards unity, faith in the Hereafter, fear of God's punishment, piety, Islamic behavior; and to provide the means for their development, education and training. Hence he shall protect them from the torture of the Hereafter. Take note that the Quran says that men are the fuel for the Fire of Hell in the above verse. It is clearly understood from the Holy Quran that the roots of the torture in the Hereafter are sins; and the nature of crimes and their punishment is the same. As opposed to crimes in this world which have a different form of punishment, like demanding fines for driving rule violations; in the Herafter crimes are human acts, but their fine is not financial. The nature of property and action is different; however, in the order of the Creator, the nature of crimes and punishment is the same. This means that the penalty for a criminal in the

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Hereafter is the crime itself which shall blaze out of the criminal like fire.When man commits any crime, be it a criminal action, a financial crime, a moral or spiritual crime, he has accepted the fire, which will appear and burn him in the Hereafter. Many people commit lots of sins for much of their lives and leave no part of their body pure from committing sins. In fact they have stored up much fire within themselves. This fire shall physically appear in the Hereafter when the curtains are drawn aside and the unseen becomes visible, and it shall enslave its owner forever. Please note the following two verses from the Glorious Quran.
Those who conceal God's revelations in the Book, and purchase for them a miserable profit, - they swallow into themselves naught but Fire; God will not address them on the Day of Resurrection, nor purify them: grievous will be their penalty. [Holy Quran: Baqara: 2:174] Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a Fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing Fire! [Holy Quran: Nisaa: 4:10]
In both verses, eating what is unlawfully earned is known as eating the fire. Although it looks like a delicious bite today; it will show its inherent nature as fire in the Hereafter. There are the words of the Glorious Existence which has willed and created the beings, the Jinns, the angels, the heavens, and men and women. He is the one who sees sins as being fire while we see a bad act as being a pleasant one. He sees the Fire of Hell blazing brightly while we do not even feel the heat. In the Hereafter, fire shall blaze from the eyes for looking at forbidden scenes; the ears for listening to forbidden sounds; the tongues for swearing, gossiping or vain talk; the stomach for eating what is unlawfully earned; from the lust for fornication, masturbating or gay acts; the hands for oppressing, cheating, deceit, forging signatures, corrupt writing; and feet for going to forbidden parties. The owner of these body parts shall suffer tortures from which he cannot escape.
O' heads of the households, protect your family and yourself from such a fire which is a result of committing sins. Adhere to divine piety in all aspects of life. Do not let this life's few days of temporary pleasure, or wealth which may be lost, cause you to suffer from eternal torture in Hell, whose fuel is man himself. Stone is one of the materials which can burn. You all know coal is a hard substance with high heat production capability, and a long burning time. For millions of years, rocks and lava have been burning at a high pressure such that at times they appear as a volcano. The flowing lava will burn and destroy everything in its path. This fire does not end, and as noted by the Holy Quran, it will cover all the earth, and put aflame all the seas.
When the oceans boil over with a swell; [Holy Quran: Takwir: 81:6]
This is a fact which scientists have now discovered. One day in the future, the earth will turn into a ball of fire.
One day the Earth will be changed to a different Earth, [Holy Quran: Abraham 14:48]

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Thus considering the internal conditions of the Earth being a sea of molten rocks and lava, and the future of the Earth as a ball of fire, we can better understand the traditions which state that Hell and all its stages exist here on Earth. On that day, men and rocks will be the fuel for the fire. The combustible materials in the Earth are the rocks and the lava which may become eternal if God wills, as man which can become eternal if He wills. Then the family and its head should pay close attention to the following divine words.
O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire .... [Holy Quran: Tahrim 66: 6]
It is not easy to deal with the fire managers being angry angels. The residents of Hell are weak and there is no escape for them. Base people have a base place in Hell. The Hell that is on this Earth, whose fuel is rocks and men, whose managers are angry and harsh, whose torture is all-encompassing, burdensome, burning and ever-lasting. The residents of Hell neither die nor do they have a desirable life.
In which they will then neither die nor live. [Holy Quran: A'la 87:13]

A Scented Heaven

When the head of the household encourages his family members to do their obligatory religious duties, and abstain from doing physical, financial or moral wrong acts, then he has saved himself and his family from the Fire of Hell. Their road towards heaven will be paved. The Heaven which is near the lote-tree, its width being similar to that of the Earth and all the heavens.
Near the lote-tree beyond which none may pass:Near it is the Garden of Abode. [Holy Quran: Najm: 53:14-15]
It is clear that the above verse points out to a vast universe, so vast that the divine Heaven which is the same width as the Earth and all the heavens is a part of it. The Holy Quran instructs all people to become adorned with faith, good deeds and a good temper; and rush towards Heaven:
Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the Earth, prepared for the righteous, [Holy Quran: Al-i-Imran: 3:133]
Dear readers, beware that sins are savings which you take with you to Hell, while faith, worship and serving the people are savings which you take with you to Heaven. Protect yourselves and the family members from saving for Hell, and encourage them to put things aside for Heaven. Your responsibility as the head of the household is a heavy one. Take the Prophet (Pbuh) as a model for your behavior with your wife, children and servants. Then you may be secure from the torture of the Hereafter, and may reach the eternal blessing of God, being the lote-tree leaves. The Prophet (Pbuh) was the best husband and father. He did not go to any extremes in kindness, love and affection, actions and behavior and was moderate in all respects. He was friendly and kind with them, and also admonished them regarding their religious duties, God's worship and the fear of the punishment of the Hereafter. He treated women as women, and acted like a

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child when he was dealing with children. He was a light of guidance and an example of politeness, nobility, morality, belief in the unity of God, and God's worship.

Four Important Duties

Several important duties of the head of the household have been mentioned in what follows. These help protect the family members from the fire.
1- Invite them to obey God. The head of the household should invite all members of his family to obey God's orders which are issued to improve our life in this world and the Hereafter. He should invite them in such a manner that it is not difficult for them to follow. It should be said kindly, so that the wife and the children become interested in obeying God, and consider this to be of the highest priority. I have tested this at home and it was useful. You should try it too. I am sure you will benefit from it. When your children start to obey God, you should encourage them, give them a prize, and hug them. Thus they will get used to obeying God. Woman too should readily accept their husband's call to obey God, so that the children learn to obey God.
2- Teach them about their religious duties. The head of the household should teach his family their religious duties, part of which is described in books on Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic ethics and in the practical treatise of Muslim scholars. If he cannot do this himself, he should take them to the mosque and religious ceremonies, or invite religious scholars to his house, so that his family members receive some training about their religious duties. It may be difficult for some people to read, yet understand the practical treaties of Muslim scholars. In this case, the children should be sent to classes so they learn about their religious duties near the time of maturity.
3- Instruct them to avoid doing what is considered to be bad. It is incumbent upon the head of the household to admonish the members of his family against wrongful acts and sins, and to eliminate any grounds for commiting sins at home.
4- Encourage them to do good deeds. It is incumbent upon the head of the household to encourage the members of his family to do good deeds such as charity; humbleness,;respecting the elderly; helping to strengthen people's friendship; saying what is right; seeking what is right; and whatever is considered to be a good deed.
The late Islamic scholar Allameh Majlesi has said that following these four guidelines is a sure way to protect one and his family from the Fire of Hell. Working for God's pleasure as such is extremely rewarding. When the Prophet (Pbuh) decided to dispatch the Commander of the Faithful to invite the people of Yemen to God's way, he told him: I swear by God that should God guide even just one person through your efforts, it is better for you than whatever the sun sets and rises on. [Bihar al-Anwar, v.21, p.361]

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What a good deal, and how profitable a business it is to gain such a reward for guiding the wife and the children by being a good teacher! This reward is in addition to that gained by going to work to earn your living by lawful means. Such heads of household will receive a double reward; one for providing the material necessities of their family members and one for providing the spiritual necessities.