Marriage is a vital part of a Muslim’s life. In fact marriage is so important in the religion of Islam that it is declared to be one half of one’s faith. As a Muslim one should live in accordance with the Islamic Jurisprudence in the way shown by the greatest of creations and the person who was the greatest impact on mankind in the existence of the universe.
The Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him said:
‘A person who possesses the means to marry (i.e. he is able to work etc. to support a wife and children) and does not marry then he is not from amongst us (i.e. the believers).’
In another narration the Prophet Muhammad (S.A) said:
‘Do not delay in three things; 1) The offering of the obligatory prayer. 2) The offering of the funeral prayer when the deceased’s body is present . 3) The marriage of a woman when her couple is found’
One can see from this statement that to become a complete and true believer one must act upon the advice given by The Prophet Muhammad Description: Description: Description: Peace and blessings be upon him. This means marrying when the partner is found and not delaying it for too long.
The Creator of the Universe – Allah – has stated in the Quran,
‘And wed the single among you’.(C24 : V32)
Rights of the Husband in Islam
Islam grants the husband certain well-defined rights upon his wife.
According to a narration, a woman came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me what right has the husband upon the wife?” He said: “A lot.” She said: “Explain me some of them.” He replied “She may not fast without his permission, nor may she go out of her house without his consent. She has to use the best of perfumes, to wear the best of her clothes, to adorn herself as best as she can, to offer herself to him day and night, and still his rights are more than that.”
For a better explanation, the husband’s rights upon his wife can be classified as follows:
1. Protecting his home, wealth and children
The husband should make the necessary arrangements for the household and the family, otherwise the wife is not responsible for housekeeping, cooking, cleaning etc.
It is not compulsory for her to suckle her children, attend them or nurse them. Yes, Islam renders these affectionate acts for the woman and considers them good deeds and a way of approaching Allah, unless such responsibilities are stated by the husband in the conditions of the marriage agreement.
A Tradition concerning man’s right upon his wife, says: “No Muslim got a better benefit from Islam than a Muslim wife who pleases her husband, obeys his orders and protects his honor and his property during his absence.”
Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and his wife, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.) Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) narrates:
“Ali and Fatimah came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) for arbitration concerning housework. The Prophet (s.a.w.) decided that all household work should be done by Fatimah, and all the works outside the house were to be done by Ali (a.s.). Fatimah later said: none but Allah knows how much pleased I was with this judgment of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) which spared me a man’s job.
2. Obedience and Authority
The family is an important social unit whose orderly construction depends on sound discipline and efficient organizing. As there should be some one entrusted to shoulder responsibility over his beloved family and undertake the task of guidance and leadership within its prescribed limits, Islam has therefore, authorized the husband to be obeyed and given him the upper hand over his wife and children, until they come of age. This authority, however is under the condition that he may not issue orders contradicting the commands of religion and its principles. If he orders his family to commit a sinful act, his right will lapse and he should not be obeyed.
A Tradition says: “No creature is to obeyed in disobeying the Creator.”
The following quotation from the Qur’an confirms the rights of a husband:
“Men are the maintainers of women, because Allah has made same of them excel others, and because they spend out of their property (for the support of women.)” Holy Qur’an (4:34)
A Tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) says: “She may not go out of her house without his consent and should obey his orders.”
3. Good Behavior
In order to provide an atmosphere of love and stability for her husband and her children, she is to do away with all causes of unrest, disgust and whatever may disturb the peace of the family.
Islam urges the mother to be the source of love, beauty, peace and security in the house and advises her to endeavor to create a tightly knit family life full of harmony and affection.
4. Pleasing the husband
The wife should pay proper attention to her makeup and appearance, to attract the husband and respond to his sexual inclinations, since this is quite effective in pulling the man to his wife and strengthening the relations of love between them. She should provide him with ways of enjoying her beauty and satisfy his desires and prevent him the temptation of throwing himself into the traps of forbidden desires.
Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) relates that a woman who came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) was asked by him whether she was a ‘put-off woman?’ She asked the meaning of that, and the Prophet replied: “She is the woman who, when her husband calls her for some need, keeps putting it off until he falls asleep. Such a woman will, then, continuously be cursed by the angels until her husband wakes up.”
The Qur’an briefly states the right of enjoying one’s wife, by saying:
“Your women are tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth when you like and do good beforehand for yourselves, and fear Allah, and know that you will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad)” Holy Qur’an (2:223)
According to the above verse, the Qur’an confirms man’s right to enjoy his wife in diverse ways, as she, too, has the right to enjoy this relationship.
The moral and legislative note of the above verse regarding this lawfulness is evident by the ideal advice of the Qur’an:
“…and do good beforehand for yourselves, and fear Allah, and know that you will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers.”
These pieces of advice concerning man, woman and the sexual relations prove the fact how intelligently Islam has devised ways for both husband and wife to enjoy themselves according to their respective rights, so that there can be neither oppression, nor exploitation of the woman as a result of man’s extravagance or misuse.
Islam, which encourages the woman to pay attention to her beauty, appearance and adornment for her husband and to show affection to him, at the same time prohibits her from doing the same for others except for her husband, because it would create psychological separation between the couple and drive the woman to deviation, shamelessness and faithlessness, besides creating tension, mistrust and hatred in her husband’s heart, and finally destroying the noble edifice called family.
Hence a Tradition says: “If a woman angers her husband unjustly and sleeps, Allah would not accept her prayers until the husband is content with her, and if a woman uses perfume for other than her husband, Allah would not accept her prayer until she washes it away as she washes pollution from herself.”
A Tradition says: “No creature is to obeyed in disobeying the Creator.”
Rights of the Wife in Islam
The rights of women in general and wives are specifically stated clearly in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), which makes it crystal clear that women’s rights in Islam are well documented and protected.
Islam has a strong foundation which is based on the belief in the Creator, Who observes and judges all our acts.
Narrated by A’ishah and Anas, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of
men.” (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and-Darimi)
The relation between man and woman was designed in a way that protects the rights of both, and life between them starts with a marriage contract which is a contract willingly approved by both the parties. It entails the rights and obligation of each one of them toward the other.
Let’s throw some light on a few basic rights of a wife:
1. Financial rights
This should be given and mentioned in the marriage contract, and it is for the woman and not for her father or guardian. Allah has emphasized this right by saying, “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful).” (Qur’an, 4:4)
The husband is responsible for the welfare of the family. He should spend on his wife and his children. He should give them a suitable, respectable and comfortable life. He should never depend on whatever his wife owns or earns. Even if his wife is wealthy he has no right to take any money from her without her permission.
Allah said, “Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means, and do not harm them so as to straighten them (that they be obliged to leave your house).And if they are pregnant, then spend on them till they lay down their burden. Then if they suck to the children for you, give them their due payment , and let each of you accept the advice of the other in a just away. But, if you make difficulties for one another, then some other woman may give suck for him (the father of the child).” (Qur’an 65:6) This verse is for a woman who has been divorced, so any one can well imagine the right of a wife who is still living with her husband.
2. Right of education
It is the responsibility of the husband to support his wife to acquire the necessary Islamic knowledge that will help her to do her religious duties in the correct way.
Allah said, “O you who have believed! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.”(Qur’an, 66:6)
Respect them and seek kind companionship with them and look at the positive side of their character. Allah said, “And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.” (Qur’an, 4:19)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated; The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Be kind to women.”(Bukhari) And he also said, “The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family. “(Tirmidhi)”
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The most perfect believers in faith are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives”. (Tirmidhi)
In another Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “That he should feed her whenever he eats and clothe her whenever he clothes himself, he should not hit her on the face, should not call her ugly, and should not boycott her except within the house.”(Ibn Majah)
3. He should fulfill her needs
A common misunderstanding among some men is that it is his right to call his wife to bed whenever he wants (and it is his right), but he may desert her for whatever time he wants to though it is not lawful. As Allah said,“Those who take an oath not to have sexual relations with their wives must wait for four months, then if they return (change their idea in this period), verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 2:226)
Salman visited Abu Al- Darda and found Umm Darda (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes. He asked her why she was in such a state. She replied, “Your brother Abu Al-Darda is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world.” Salman told Abu Al-Darda, “Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you.”
And, when Abu Al-Darda told the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the incident, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Salman has spoken the truth.”
A woman has the right to seek separation from her husband if he doesn’t give her the rights that Allah has ordained for her. This is known as Khul’a, which means that the woman can divorce herself by returning her husband’s dowry or whatever arrangement and agreement they mutually agreed upon.
A classic example is to look at the household of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and see in him the ideal husband.