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Rights of the Husband and Wife

1) Etiquettes of intimate relations

Praise be to Allaah.

Sexual relations are among the important matters of life which Islam came to explain and to prescribe proper conduct and rulings which elevate it from the level of mere bestial pleasure and physical desire. Islam connects it to a righteous intention, supplications (adhkaar) and proper conduct which lift it up to the level of worship for which the Muslim will be rewarded. The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explains this. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) says in his book Zaad al-Ma’aad:

“Concerning sexual relations, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought the most perfect guidance, whereby health may be preserved and people may find pleasure and enjoyment, and it may fulfil the purpose for which it was created, because sex was created for three basic purposes:

The preservation and propagation of the human race, until they reach the number of souls that Allaah has decreed should be created in this world.

Expulsion of the water (semen) which may cause harm to the body if it is retained.

Fulfilling physical desires and enjoying physical pleasure. This alone is the feature that will be present in Paradise, because there will be no producing of offspring there, and no retention which needs to be relieved by ejaculation.

The best doctors suggest that sex is one of the means of maintaining good health.

(al-Tibb al-Nabawi, p. 249).

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Among its benefits is that it helps to lower the gaze, brings self-control, enables one to keep away from haraam things, and achieves all of these things for the woman too. It brings benefit to a man with regard to this world and the Hereafter, and benefits the woman too. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to enjoy regular intimate relations with his wives, and he said, “In your world, women and perfume have been made dear to me.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 3/128; al-Nasaa’i, 7/61; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim).

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it helps him to lower his gaze and protect his chastity. And whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a protection for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/92; Muslim, 1400).

(al-Tibb al-Nabawi, 251).

Among the important matters which should be paid attention to when engaging in intimate relations:

Having the sincere intention of doing this thing only for the sake of Allaah. One should intend to do this to protect oneself and one's wife from doing haraam things, to increase the numbers of the Muslim ummah so as to raise its status, for there is honour and pride in large numbers. It should be known that one will be rewarded for this action, even if he finds immediate pleasure and enjoyment in it. It was reported from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In the sexual intercourse of any one of you there is reward” (meaning, when he has intercourse with his wife). They said, O Mesenger of Allaah, when any one of us fulfils his desire, will he have a reward for that? He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you not see that if he were to do it in a haraam manner, he would be punished for that? So if he does it in a halaal manner, he will be rewarded.” (Narrated by Muslim, 720).

This is the great bounty of Allaah towards this Ummah; praise be to Allaah Who has made us among them.

Intercourse should be preceded by kind words, playfulness and kisses. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to play with his wives and kiss them.

When a man has intercourse with his wife, he should say: “Bismillaah, Allaahumma jannibnaa al-shaytaan wa jannib al-shaytaan maa razqtanaa (In the name of Allaah, O Allaah Keep us away from the Shaytaan and keep the Shaytaan away from what You bestow on us (our children)).” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: If Allaah decrees that they should have a child, the Shaytaan will never harm him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/187)

It is permissible for the husband to have intercourse with his wife in her vagina in whatever manner he wishes, from behind or from the front, on the condition that it is in her vagina, which is the place from which a child is born. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will” [al-Baqarah 2:223]. Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Jews used to say that if a man had intercourse with his wife in her vagina from behind, the child would have a squint. Then this aayah was revealed: Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will” [al-Baqarah 2:223]. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “From the front or from the back, so long as it is in the vagina.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 8/154; Muslim, 4/156).

It is not permissible for the husband under any circumstances whatsoever to have intercourse with his wife in her back passage. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will” [al-Baqarah 2:223]. It is known that the place of tilth is the vagina, which is the place from which one hopes for a child. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is cursed who has intercourse with women in their back passages.” (Narrated by Ibn ‘Udayy, 1/211; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 105). This is because it [anal intercourse] goes against the fitrah [natural inclinations of man] and is an action which is revolting to those of a sound human nature; it also causes the woman to miss out on her share of pleasure; and the back passage is a place of filth and dirt – and there are other reasons which confirm the fact that this deed is haraam. For more information see Question #1103.

If a man has intercourse with his wife and wants to come back to her a second time, he should do wudoo’, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you has intercourse with his wife then wants to repeat it, let him do wudoo’ between the two (actions), for it is more energizing for the second time.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1/171). This is mustahabb (recommended), not waajib (obligatory); if he is able to do ghusl between the two actions, this is better, because of the hadeeth of Abu Raafi’ who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went around his wives one day and did ghusl in this one’s house and in this one’s house. He (Abu Raafi’) said: I said to him, O Messenger of Allaah, why do you not do one ghusl? He said, “This is cleaner and better and purer.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood and al-Nasaa’i, 1/79)

One or both of the spouses have to do ghusl in the following situations:

when the “two circumcised parts” meet, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the circumcised part meets the circumcised part (according to another report: when the circumcised part touches the circumcised part), ghusl becomes waajib (obligatory).” (Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim, no. 526). This ghusl is obligatory whether ejaculation takes place or not. The touching of the circumcised parts means that the glans or tip of the penis penetrates the vagina; it does not mean mere touching.

Emission of semen, even if the two circumcised parts do not touch, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Water is for water [i.e., the water of ghusl is necessary when the “water” of semen is ejaculated].” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 1/269).

Al-Baghawi said in Sharh al-Sunnah (2/9): “Ghusl for janaabah [impurity following sexual discharge] is waajib in either of two cases: when the tip of the penis enters the vagina, or when gushing water is emitted by either the man or the woman.” For more information on the details of ghusl as prescribed in sharee’ah, see Question #415. It is permissible for the husband and wife to do ghusl together in one place, even if he sees her and she sees him, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I used to do ghusl together from one vessel between me and him; we would take turns dipping our hands in the vessel and he would take more than me until I would say, ‘Leave some for me, leave some for me.’” She said, and they were both junub (in a state of janaabah). Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

It is permissible for a person who has to make ghusl to sleep and delay the ghusl until before the time of prayer, but it is definitely mustahabb for him to do wudoo’ before sleeping, because of the hadeeth of ‘Umar, who said that he asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), Can any one of us sleep when he is junub? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yes, but let him do wudoo’ if he wishes.” (Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, 232).

It is forbidden to have intercourse with a woman when she is menstruating (having her period), because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an adhaa (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they have purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have prufieied themselves, then go in unto them as Allaah has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina). Truly, Allaah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers, etc.).” [al-Baqarah 2:222]. The person who has intercourse with his wife whilst she is menstruating has to give a dinar or half a dinar in charity, as it was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) obliged a man to do when he came and asked him about that. This was reported by the authors of al-Sunan and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 122. But it is permissible for the husband to enjoy his menstruating wife without having intercourse, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would tell one of us, when she was menstruating, to wear a waist-wrapper, then her husband would lie with her.” (Agreed upon).

It is permissible for the husband to withdraw (‘azl) if he does not want to have a child; by the same token it is permissible for him to use condoms – if his wife gives her permission, because she has the right to pleasure and to children. The evidence for this is the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “We used to do ‘azl at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard about that, and he did not forbid us.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/250; Muslim, 4/160).

But it is better not to do any of that, for several reasons, including the fact that it deprives the woman of pleasure or reduces the pleasure for her; and that it cancels out one of the purposes of marriage, which is to increase the number of offspring, as mentioned above.

It is forbidden for both spouses to spread the secrets of what happens between them in their private marital life; indeed, this is one of the most evil things. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Among the most evil of people before Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who comes to his wife and has intercourse with her, then he spreads her secrets.” (Narrated by Muslim, 4/157).

It was reported from Asmaa’ bint Yazeed that she was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and men and women were sitting with him, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Would any man say what he did with his wife? Would any woman tell others what she did with her husband?” The people kept quiet and did not answer. I [Asmaa’] said: “Yes, by Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, they (women) do that, and they (men) do that.” He said, “Do not do that. It is like a male devil meeting a female devil in the road and having intercourse with her whilst the people are watching.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, no. 1/339; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 143).

This is what we were able to mention about the etiquette of sexual relations. Praise be to Allaah Who has guided us to this great religion with its sublime manners. Praise be to Allaah Who has shown us the best of this world and the next. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad. 

And Allah knows best.



2) The wife's dowry

Praise be to Allaah.

In Islam the mahr (dowry) is one of the rights of the wife, which is hers to take in total and is lawful for her, in contrast to the widespread practice in some countries, where the wife is given no dowry. Evidence that the wife must be given her dowry is found in many places, for example the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “And give to the women (whom you marry) their mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “This refers to the mahr (dowry).”

Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said, summarizing the comments of the mufassireen on this aayah: “The man must definitely pay the dowry to the woman, and he should not resent it.”

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a cantar (of gold, i.e., a great amount) as mahr, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin? And how could you take it (back) when you have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a firm and strong covenant?” [al-Nisaa’ 4:20-21]

Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “This means: if any one of you wants to divorce his wife and replace her with another, you should not take anything from what you have already given the first wife, even if it was a huge amount of wealth. The mahr is given in exchange for the right to enjoy marital relations. For this reason Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And how could you take it (back) when you have gone in unto each other…?” The “firm and strong covenant” is the marriage contract.

Anas ibn Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and there were traces of yellow (perfume) on him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him about it, and he told him that he had just married a woman of the Ansaar. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him, “How much did you give her?” He said: “Gold equal to the weight of one date stone.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Give a waleemah (wedding feast) even if only with one sheep.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4756).

The mahr is the right of the wife, and it is not permitted for her father or anyone else to take it except with her approval. Abu Saalih said: “When a man married off his daughter, he would take her mahr away from her, but Allaah forbade them to do that, and gave women the right to the mahr they received.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).

Similarly, if the wife foregoes any part of the mahr, the husband is permitted to take it, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allaah has made it lawful).” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

And Allaah knows best.



3) Islamic rights of the wife

Praise be to Allaah.  

Islam has enjoined upon the husband duties towards his wife, and vice versa, and among these duties are some which are shared by both husband and wife.

 We will mention – by the help of Allaah – some of the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah which have to do with the duties of the spouses towards one another, quoting also from the commentaries and views of the scholars.

 Firstly:

 The rights of the wife which are hers alone:

 The wife has financial rights over her husband, which are the mahr (dowry), spending and accommodation.

 And she has non-financial rights, such as fair division between co-wives, being treated in a decent and reasonable manner, and not being treated in a harmful way by her husband.

 1.     Financial rights

 (a)   The mahr (dowry). This is the money to which the wife is entitled from her husband when the marriage contract is completed or when the marriage is consummated. It is a right which the man is obliged to pay to the woman. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

The prescription of the mahr demonstrates the seriousness and importance of the marriage-contract, and is a token of respect and honour to the woman.

The mahr is not a condition or essential part of the marriage-contract, according to the majority of fuqahaa’; rather it is one of the consequences of the contract. If the marriage-contract is done without any mention of the mahr, it is still valid, according to the consensus of the majority, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto them their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage)” [al-Baqarah 2:236]

The fact that divorce is permitted before consummation of the marriage or before stipulating the mahr indicates that it is permissible not to stipulate the mahr in the marriage-contract.

If the mahr is stipulated, it becomes obligatory upon the husband; if it is not stipulated, then he must give the mahr that is given to women of similar status to his wife. 

(b) Spending. The scholars of Islam are agreed that it is obligatory for husbands to spend on their wives, on the condition that the wife make herself available to her husband. If she refuses him or rebels, then she is not entitled to that spending.

The reason why it is obligatory to spend on her is that the woman is available only to her husband, because of the marriage contract, and she is not allowed to leave the marital home except with his permission. So he has to spend on her and provide for her, and this is in return for her making herself available to him for his pleasure.

What is meant by spending is providing what the wife needs of food and accommodation. She has the right to these things even if she is rich, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis” [al-Baqarah 2:233]

“Let the rich man spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allaah has given him” [al-Talaaq 65:7]

 From the Sunnah:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Hind bint ‘Utbah – the wife of Abu Sufyaan – who had complained that he did not spend on her: “Take what is sufficient for you and your children, on a reasonable basis.” 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “Hind bint ‘Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, Abu Sufyaan is a stingy man who does not spend enough on me and my children, except for what I take from his wealth without his knowledge. Is there any sin on me for doing that?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Take from his wealth on a reasonable basis, only what is sufficient for you and your children.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5049; Muslim, 1714)

 It was narrated from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his Farewell Sermon:

“Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

 (c)  Accommodation. This is also one of the wife’s rights, which means that her husband should prepare for her accommodation according to his means and ability. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means” [al-Talaaq 65:6]

 2.     Non-financial rights

 (i)                Fair treatment of co-wives. One of the rights that a wife has over her husband is that she and her co-wives should be treated equally, if the husband has other wives, with regard to nights spent with them, spending and clothing.

(ii)              Kind treatment. The husband must have a good attitude towards his wife and be kind to her, and offer her everything that may soften her heart towards him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and live with them honourably” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19]

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

 From the Sunnah:

 It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Be kind to women.’”(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3153; Muslim, 1468).

 There follow examples of the kind treatment of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) towards his wives – for he is the best example:

 1. It was narrated from Zaynab bint Abi Salamah that Umm Salamah said: “I got my menses when I was lying with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) under a single woollen sheet. I slipped away and put on the clothes I usually wore for menstruation. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)  said to me, ‘Have you got your menses?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then he called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet.”

She said: And she told me that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss her when he was fasting, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I used to do ghusl to cleanse ourselves from janaabah from one vessel.(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 316; Muslim, 296)

 2.  It was narrated that ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: “ ‘Aa’ishah said: ‘By Allaah, I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) standing at the door of my apartment when the Abyssinians were playing with their spears in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He covered me with his cloak so that I could watch their games, then he stood there for my sake until I was the one who had had enough. So you should appreciate the fact that young girls like to have fun.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 443; Muslim, 892)

 3.  It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah the Mother of the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray sitting down; he would recite Qur’aan when he was sitting down, then when there were thirty or forty aayahs left, he would stand up and recite them standing up. Then he did rukoo’, then sujood; then he would do likewise in the second rak’ah. When he had finished his prayer, he would look, and if I was awake he would talk with me, and if I was asleep he would lie down.

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1068)  

(c)  Not harming one’s wife. 

This is one of the basic principles of Islam. Because harming others is haraam in the case of strangers, it is even more so in the case of harming one’s wife.

 It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled, “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah,, 2340)

This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Imaam Ahmad, al-Haakim, Ibn al-Salaah and others. See Khalaasat al-Badr al-Muneer, 2/438.

 Among the things to which the Lawgiver drew attention in this matter is the prohibition of hitting or beating in a severe manner.

 It was narrated from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his Farewell Sermon:

“Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

 

And Allah knows best.



4) Islamic rights of the husband

The husband’s rights over his wife.

 The rights of the husband over his wife are among the greatest rights; indeed his rights over her are greater than her rights over him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them [al-Baqarah 2:228]

 al-Jassaas said: Allaah tells us in this aayah that each of the spouses has rights over the other, and that the husband has one particular right over his wife which she does not have over him.

 Ibn al-‘Arabi said: this text states that he has some preference over her with regard to rights and duties of marriage.

 These rights include:

 (a)     The obligation of obedience. Allaah has made the man a qawwaam (protector and maintainer) of the woman by commanding, directing and taking care of her, just as guardians take care of their charges, by virtue of the physical and mental faculties that Allaah has given only to men and the financial obligations that He has enjoined upon them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” [al-Nisaa’ 4:34]

 ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn ‘Abbaas: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women” means, they are in charge of them, i.e., she should obey him in matters of obedience that Allaah has enjoined upon her, and obey him by treating his family well and taking care of his wealth. This was the view of Muqaatil, al-Saddi and al-Dahhaak.(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/492)

 (b)    Making herself available to her husband. One of the rights that the husband has over his wife is that he should be able to enjoy her (physically). If he marries a woman and she is able to have intercourse, she is obliged to submit herself to him according to the contract, if he asks her. That is after he gives her the immediate mahr, and gives her some time – two or three days, if she asks for that – to sort herself out, because that is something that she needs, and because that is not too long and is customary. 

If a wife refuses to respond to her husband’s request for intercourse, she has done something haraam and has committed a major sin, unless she has a valid shar’i excuse such as menses, obligatory fasting, sickness, etc.

 It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘When a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses, and he went to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3065; Muslim, 1436)

 (c)     Not admitting anyone whom the husband dislikes. One of the rights that the husband has over his wife is that she should not permit anyone whom he dislikes to enter his house.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permitted for a woman to fast when her husband is present without his permission, or to admit anyone into his house without his permission. And whatever she spends (in charity) of his wealth without his consent, ….” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4899; Muslim, 1026)

It was narrated from Sulaymaan ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Ahwas: my father told me that he was present at the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hujjat al-Wadaa’) with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] praised and glorified Allaah, then he preached a sermon and said: “Treat women kindly, for they are prisoners and you have no other power over them than that, if they are guilty of open lewdness, then refuse to share their beds, and hit them, but not severely. But if they return to obedience, (then) do not seek means (of annoyance) against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they should not let anyone whom you dislike sit on your bed and they should not let anyone whom you dislike enter your house. Their rights over you are that you should feed and clothe them well.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1163 – he said this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1851) 

It was narrated that Jaabir said: [the Prophet] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

 (d)    Not going out of the house except with the husband’s permission. One of the rights of the husband over his wife is that she should not go out of the house except with his permission. 

The Shaafa’is and Hanbalis said: she does not have the right to visit (even) her sick father except with the permission of her husband, and he has the right to prevent her from doing that… because obedience to the husband is obligatory, and it is not permitted to neglect an obligatory action for something that is not obligatory. 

(e)     Discipline. The husband has the right to discipline his wife if she disobeys him in something good, not if she disobeys him in something sinful, because Allaah has enjoined disciplining women by forsaking them in bed and by hitting them, when they do not obey. 

The Hanafis mentioned four situations in which a husband is permitted to discipline his wife by hitting her. These are: not adorning herself when he wants her to; not responding when he calls her to bed and she is taahirah (pure, i.e., not menstruating); not praying; and going out of the house without his permission. 

The evidence that it is permissible to discipline one's wife includes the aayahs (interpretation of the meaning):

“As to those women on whose part you see ill?conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)” [al-Nisaa’ 4:34]

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones” [al-Tahreem 66:6]

 Ibn Katheer said:

Qutaadah said: you should command them to obey Allaah, and forbid them to disobey Allaah; you should be in charge of them in accordance with the command of Allaah, and instruct them to follow the commands of Allaah, and help them to do so. If you see any act of disobedience towards Allaah, then stop them from doing it and rebuke them for that. 

This was also the view of al-Dahhaak and Muqaatil: that the duty of the Muslim is to teach his family, including his relatives and his slaves, that which Allaah has enjoined upon them and that which He has forbidden them. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/392) 

(f)      The wife serving her husband. There is a great deal of evidence (daleel) for this, some of which has been mentioned above.

 Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

 She is obliged to serve her husband according to what is reasonable among people of similar standing. That varies according to circumstances: the way in which a Bedouin woman serves (her husband) will not be like the way of a town-dweller, and the way of a strong woman will not be like the way of a weak woman. (al-Fataawa al-Kubraa, 4/561) 

(g)     Submitting herself to him. Once the conditions of the marriage-contract have been fulfilled and it is valid, then the woman is obliged to submit herself to her husband and allow him to enjoy her (physically), because once the contract is completed, he is allowed in return to enjoy her, and the wife is entitled to the compensation which is the mahr. 

(h)     The wife should treat her husband in a good manner, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

 Al-Qurtubi said:

It was also narrated from him – i.e., Ibn ‘Abbaas – that this means: they have the right to good companionship and kind and reasonable treatment from their husbands just as they are obliged to obey the commands of their husbands.

 And it was said that they have the right that their husbands should not harm them, and their husbands have a similar right over them. This was the view of al-Tabari. 

Ibn Zayd said: You should fear Allaah concerning them just as they should fear Allaah concerning you. 

The meanings are similar, and the aayah includes all of that in the rights and duties of marriage.(Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 3/123-124) 

And Allaah knows best. 



5) Rights of children

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

Allaah has given children rights over their parents just as the parents have rights over their children. 

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Allaah has called them abraar (righteous) because they honoured (barru) their fathers and children. Just as your father has rights over you, so too your child has rights over you. 

Al-Adab al-Mufrad, 94. 

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, according to a hadeeth narrated by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar, “… and your child has rights over you.” Muslim, 1159. 

The child’s rights over their children include some that come even before the child is born, for example: 

1 – Choosing a righteous wife to be a righteous mother. 

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A woman may be married for four reasons: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religious commitment. Marry the one who is religiously committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4802; Muslim, 1466).

 Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Dahlawi said: Choose from among women those who are religiously committed and righteous, and who are of good descent, for if a woman is of illegitimate descent, this bad characteristic may be passed to her children. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 “The adulterer — fornicator marries not but an adulteress — fornicatress or a Mushrikah; and the adulteress –fornicatress, none marries her except an adulterer — fornicater or a Mushrik”

[al-Noor 24:3] 

Rather Islam recommends compatibility for the purpose of harmony and to avoid a person being shamed if he marries into a family that is not compatible. 

Sharh Sunan Ibn Maajah, 1/141 

Rights after the child is born: 

1 – It is Sunnah to do tahneek for the child when he is born: 

It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The son of Abu Talhah was sick. Abu Talhah went out and the child died, and when Abu Talhah returned he said, “What happened to my son?” Umm Sulaym (his wife) said, ‘He is quieter than he was.” Then she brought him his dinner and he ate, then he had marital relations with her, and when he finished she said, “They buried the child.” The following morning, Abu Talhah went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him what had happened. He said, “Did you have marital relations last night?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “O Allaah, bless them.” She later gave birth to a boy. Abu Talhah said to me, “Keep him until I bring him to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” He brought him to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I sent some dates with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took him and said, “Is there anything with him?” They said, “Yes, some dates.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took some and chewed it, then he took some from his mouth and put it in the child’s mouth (tahneek), and named him ‘Abd-Allaah. 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5153; Muslim, 2144 

Al-Nawawi said: 

The scholars are agreed that it is mustahabb to do tahneek with dates for the child when he is born; if that is not possible then to use some similar kind of sweet. The dates should be chewed until they become soft enough to be swallowed, then the child’s mouth should be opened and a little of the dates put in his mouth. 

Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 14/122-123 

2 – The child should be given a good name, such as ‘Abd-Allaah or ‘Abd al-Rahmaan. 

It was narrated from Naafi’ that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most beloved of your names to Allaah are ‘Abd-Allaah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan.”  

(Narrated by Muslim, 2132) 

It is mustahabb to give the child a Prophet’s name: 

It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A child was born to me last night and I called him by the name of my father Ibraaheem.” 

Narrated by Muslim, 2315 

It is mustahabb to name the child on the seventh day, but there is nothing wrong with naming him on the day of his birth, because of the hadeeth quoted above. 

It was narrated from Samurah ibn Jundub that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every child is in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah which should be slaughtered for him on the seventh day, his head should be shaved and he should be named. 

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2838; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4541 

Ibn al-Qayyim said: 

The purpose of naming is to define the thing named, because if there is something whose name is unknown it is difficult to refer to it. So it is permissible to name him (the child) on the day he is born, and it is permissible to delay the naming until the third day, or until the day of the ‘aqeeqah, or before or after that. The matter is broad in scope.” 

Tuhfat al-Mawlood, p. 111 

3 – It is Sunnah to shave the child’s head on the seventh day and to give the weight of the hair in silver in charity. 

It was narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) slaughtered a sheep as the ‘aqeeqah for al-Hasan, and he said, “O Faatimah, shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver in charity.” So she weighed it and its weight was a dirham or part of a dirham. 

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1519; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1226. 

4 – It is mustahabb for the father to do the ‘aqeeqah, as stated in the hadeeth quoted above, “Every child is in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah.” 

Two sheep should be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded them (to sacrifice) two similar sheep for a boy and one for a girl.  

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1513; Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1221; Abu Dawood, 2834; al-Nasaa’i, 4212; Ibn Maajah, 3163 

5 – Circumcision 

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The fitrah is five things, or five things are part of the fitrah: circumcision, shaving the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, clipping the nails and trimming the moustache.”

 Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5550; Muslim, 257 

The child’s rights with regard to education and upbringing: 

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The ruler who is in charge of people is a shepherd and is responsible for them. The man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for them. The woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and child and is responsible for them. The slave is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2416; Muslim, 1829. 

So parents must take care of teaching their children the duties of Islam and other virtues that are recommended in sharee’ah, and worldly matters that they need in order to live a decent life in this world. 

The man should start by teaching them the most important things, then the next most important. So he starts by teaching them correct ‘aqeedah, free from shirk and bid’ah. Then he teaches them the acts of worship, especially prayer. Then he teaches them and trains them in good manners and characteristics, and everything that is good. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And (remember) when Luqmaan said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allaah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allaah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed”

[Luqmaan 31:13] 

It was narrated from ‘Abd al-Malik ibn al-Rabee’ ibn Sabrah from his father that his grandfather said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Teach the child to pray when he is seven years old, and smack him if he does not pray when he is ten.” 

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 407; Abu Dawood, 494. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4025 

It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent word on the morning of Ashoora’ to the areas where the Ansaar lived (on the outskirts of Madeenah), saying: Whoever did not fast this morning, let him not eat for the rest of the day, and whoever started fasting this morning, let him complete his fast. She said: We used to observe this fast after that, and we used to make our children fast and make them toys of wool; if one of them cried for food we would give him that toy until it was time to break the fast. 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1859; Muslim, 1136 

It was narrated that al-Saa’ib ibn Yazeed said: I was taken for Hajj with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when I was seven years old. 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1759 

Training in good manners and characteristics: 

Every father and mother should train their children in praiseworthy characteristics and good manners, whether towards Allaah, His Prophet the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), towards their Qur’aan and ummah, and with everyone whom they know and who has rights over them. They should not behave badly with those whom they mix with, their neighbours or their friends. 

Al-Nawawi said: 

The father must discipline his child and teach him what he needs to know of religious duties. This teaching is obligatory upon the father and all those in charge of children before the child reaches the age of adolescence. This was stated by al-Shaafa’i and his companions. Al-Shaafa’i and his companions said: This teaching is also obligatory upon the mother, if there is no father, because it is part of the child’s upbringing and they have a share of that and the wages for this teaching may be taken from the child’s own wealth. If the child has no wealth then the one who is obliged to spend on him may spend on his education, because it is one of the things that he needs. And Allaah knows best. 

Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim, 8/44 

The father should bring them up with good manners in all things, eating, drinking, dressing, sleeping, going out of the house, entering the house, riding in vehicles, etc, and in all their affairs. He should instill in them the attributes of a good man, such as love of sacrifice, putting others first, helping others, chivalry and generosity. He should keep them away from evil characteristics such as cowardice, stinginess, lack of chivalry, lack of ambition, etc. 

Al-Manaawi said: 

“Just as your parents have rights over you, so too your child has rights over you, rather many rights, such as teaching them the individual obligations, teaching them Islamic manners, giving them gifts equally, whether that is a gift, a waqf, or other gift. If preference is shown with no reason, that is regarded as invalid by some of the scholars and as makrooh by others. 

Fayd al-Qadeer, 2/574 

He must also protect his sons and daughters from everything that may bring them close to the Fire. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“O you who believe! 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 Allaah, but do that which they are commanded”

[al-Tahreem 66:6] 

al-Qurtubi said: 

al-Hasan commented on this verse by saying, Command them and forbid them. One of the scholars said: (The phrase) Ward off (or protect) yourselves includes children, because the child is part of him, as it says in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “…nor on yourselves, if you eat from your houses…” [al-Noor 24:61], where the various relatives are not mentioned individually. So he should teach him what is halaal and what is haraam, and make him avoid sin, and teach him other rulings. 

Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 18/194-195. 

Spending: 

This is one of the father’s obligations towards his children; it is not permissible for him to fall short in that or to neglect this matter, rather he is obliged to do this duty in the fullest sense. 

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is sufficient sin for a man if he neglects those on whom he is obliged to spend.” 

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1692; classed as sahan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4481. 

Another of the greatest rights is to give the child a good upbringing and take good care of him or her – especially in the case of girls. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged this righteous deed. 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah the wife of the Prophet (S) said: A woman came to me with two daughters and asked me for food, and I could not find anything except one date which I gave to her. She shared it between her two daughters, then she got up and went out. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came in and I told him what had happened. He said: “Whoever is in charge of any of these girls and treats them well, they will be a shield for him against the Fire.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5649; Muslim, 2629 

Another important matter which is one of the rights of children to which attention must be paid, is treating children fairly. This right was referred to by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the saheeh hadeeth: “Fear Allaah and treat your children fairly.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2447; Muslim, 1623). It is not permissible to show preference to females over males, just as it is not permissible to show preference to males over females. If the father makes this mistake and shows preference to some of his children over others, and does not treat them fairly, this will lead to many evils, such as: 

The harm that befalls the father himself, for the children whom he denies or deprives will grow up to hate him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) referred to this in the hadeeth narrated by Muslim (1623) when he said to the father of al-Nu’maan, “Would you like them to honour you equally?” He said, “Yes.” In other words, if you want them all to honour you equally, then be fair in giving gifts to them. 

Another evil consequence is the children hating one another, and stoking the flames of hatred and enmity between them. 

And Allaah knows best.



6) The Ideal Muslim Man/Husband

The Muslim and His Wife  

By  Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi

 

Islamic View of Marriage and Woman

Marriage in Islam offers tranquility to the soul and peace to the mind, so that man and woman may live together in an atmosphere of love, mercy, harmony, co-operation, mutual advice and tolerance, and lay the foundation for raising a Muslim family in a nurturing, sound environment.

The Holy Qur’an has described, in the most moving and eloquent terms, this eternal, natural relationship between man and woman, which is filled with tranquility, security, love, understanding and compassion:

[And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.] (Qur’an 30:21)

Marriage is a union of souls, in the deepest sense. Allah (S.W.T.) joins these two souls together so that they may enjoy tranquility and stability in a marital home filled with sincere love and compassionate mercy.

In Islam, the righteous woman is viewed as one of the joys of this life, and a great blessing to a man, for he comes home to her and relaxes after facing the struggles of life, and finds with her incomparable peace, comfort and pleasure. The Prophet (S.A.W.) spoke only the truth said:

“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this word is a righteous woman.” (Muslim)

Islam regards marriage very highly, and views femininity as something to be valued and cherished.

The ideal Muslim’s wife

On the basis of this view of marriage and of women, the Muslim is not attracted by the empty-headed attitude displayed by some girls nowadays. Rather, he is attracted by a sound Muslim personality, and he takes his time in choosing a partner for life, looking for a partner who has the right Islamic characteristics which make for a stable and happy married life. Therefore he is not interested in the superficial physical beauty, grace and elegance that are the sole concern of empty-headed youngsters. While he may not ignore physical looks, he must look for strong religious beliefs and practice, intelligence, and good behavior, following the advice of the Prophet (S.A.W):

“A woman may be married for four things: for her wealth, for her noble descent, for her beauty or for her religion. Choose the one who is religious, lest your hands be rubbed with dust!” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Although the Prophet (S.A.W.) advised the young Muslim to look for a religious wife, this does not mean that he should ignore his preferences regarding physical beauty. The Prophet (S.A.W.) encouraged seeing a woman before finalizing the marriage, so that a Muslim will not find himself trapped in a marriage with a woman he finds unattractive.

Al-Mughirah ibn Sha‘bah said:

“I got engaged to a woman at the time of the Prophet (S.A.W). He asked me, ‘Have you seen her?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Go and have a look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility be established between you.’” [1]

A man who had got engaged to a woman of the Ansar came to the Prophet (S.A.W), who asked him: “Have you seen her?” He said, “No.” so the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered him to go and see her.2

The Prophet (S.A.W.) emphasized, in more than one hadith, the fact that beauty is one of the basic characteristics that a man should look for in a woman, besides the other, moral, characteristics that are desirable. Indeed, the two are inseparable. For example, he told Ibn ‘Abbas (R.A.A):

“Shall I tell you the most precious thing a man can have? It is a righteous wife: when he looks at her he is pleased, when he tells her to do something she obeys, and when he is away she is faithful and loyal to him.”3

Abu Hurayrah (R.A.A.) said:

“The Prophet (S.A.W.) was asked: ‘Which woman is the best?’ He said, ‘The one who pleases him when he looks at her, who obeys him when he tells her to do something, and who does not do something he dislikes with regard to herself or to his wealth.”4

This is the guidance given by the Prophet (S.A.W.) regarding the personality of the woman who can bring happiness, tranquillity and stability to a man, and who can make a cheerful, pleasant and secure home in which to raise a brood of successful, courageous, intelligent children. The Prophet (S.A.W.) insisted that marriage should be firmly built on a solid foundation, striking a balance between physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs, so that it will not be rocked by personality clashes or differences in attitude. Therefore the true Muslim who is guided by the shari‘ah of Allah (S.W.T.) in all his affairs, does not fall for the wiles of the “jezebels” who are the beautiful women of bad character; rather he (S.A.W.) tells people: “Beware of the ‘jezebels’.”5

  He follows the guidance of Islam in his married life

After marriage, the true Muslim adheres to the Islamic injunction to treat his wife well. The Islamic recommendations concerning women, and the way in which Islam encourages men to respect them, are nothing short of amazing.

Islam recommends men to treat women well, and gives them a status that they have never enjoyed in any other religion. So we see the Prophet (S.A.W.) admonishing all men:

“Treat women kindly, for woman was created from a rib. The part of it that is most bent is the top. If you try to straighten it you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain bent. So treat women kindly.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

According to a report given by Bukhari and Muslim, he (S.A.W.) said:

“Woman is like a rib: if you try to straighten it you will break it, and if you enjoy her (or your relationship with her), you will do so in spite of her crookedness.”

According to a report given by Muslim, he (S.A.W.) said:

“Woman was created from a rib. She will never be straightforward and consistent for you in any way. If you enjoy her (or your relationship with her), you will do so in spite of her crookedness. If you try to straighten her, you will break her, and her breaking is her divorce.”

This description given by the Prophet (S.A.W.) eloquently describes the reality and nature of woman. She will not remain consistent in the way her husband may wish, but the Muslim husband must understand that this is her nature, the way she has been created. He should not try to straighten her in the way he is convinced is correct, but he should respect her unique feminine nature and accept her the way Allah (S.W.T.) made her, complete with the “crookedness” that means that she will not be as he wishes in some aspects. If he insists on straightening her and molding her to his wishes, it will be like trying to straighten a bent rib: it will break in his hands, and the breaking of a woman is divorce (i.e., the matter will end in divorce).

When the Muslim husband truly follows this guidance of the Prophet (S.A.W), which is based on a deep understanding of the psychology and nature of women, he will tolerate his wife’s mistakes and turn a blind eye to her faults, recognizing that these are part of her nature. Thus the marital home will be safe and calm, free from shouting or arguments.

We may note that in the hadith quoted above, the Prophet (S.A.W.) started with the words “Treat women kindly,” then after analyzing the nature of woman, he ended with the same words: “Treat women kindly.” How great was the concern of the Prophet (S.A.W.) for women, and how deep was his understanding of their psychology! Does the sincere Muslim husband have any choice but to follow this guidance and put it into practice at every moment?

The Prophet’s concern for women reached such an extent that he did not forget to remind Muslims to treat them kindly, in his farewell sermon (khutbat al-wada‘). This is the khutbah in which the Prophet (S.A.W.) reiterated the essential points of Islam, when he realized that this was the last time he would stand and address the Muslims during Hajj. He did not omit to advise Muslims to treat women kindly, beginning his words concerning women with a warning that is indicative of his care and concern:

“. . . Interact with women kindly, for they are prisoners and you have no other power over them than that, if they are guilty of open lewdness, then refuse to share their beds, and beat them, but not severely, but if they return to obedience, (then) seek not against them means of annoyance. You have rights over your women and they have rights over you. Your right over them is that they should not entertain at your hearth anyone (or commit adultery with), and not to allow into your home anyone whom you dislike, and their right over you is that you should feed and clothe them well.” 6

This is good advice, in which every sincere Muslim husband recognizes the wisdom of the Prophet (S.A.W.) in defining the rights and duties of husband and wife in a framework of mercy and compassion towards women which leaves no room for even thinking of oppressing or harming one’s wife.

The Prophet (S.A.W.) gave many recommendations concerning women, to the extent that he described the man who treats his wife well as being one of the best and among the elite of his Ummah:

“The believer who has the most perfect faith is the one whose behaviour is best, and the best of you are the ones who are best to their women.” 7

Some women came to the family of the Prophet (S.A.W.) complaining about their husbands. So the Prophet (S.A.W.) announced to the men:

“Many women have visited the family of Muhammad, complaining about their husbands. Verily those are not the best among you.” 8

True Islam is pre-eminent in its fairness and respect towards women, and in its recommendation to husbands to treat their wives well even if they dislike them. This is something which women have never enjoyed throughout their history, except in this religion. Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Qur’an:

". . . live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." (Qur’an 4:19)

This Ayah touches the heart of the true Muslim, so that his anger is soothed and his dislike towards his wife is lessened. In this way Islam protects the sacred marriage bond from being exposed to the danger of turbulent emotions and the folly of changing moods. When a man came to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (R.A.A.) and told him that he wanted to divorce his wife because he disliked her, ‘Umar (R.A.A.) said, “Woe to you! Are families only built on love? Where is your consideration and care?”

The marriage bond in Islam is of greater importance than emotional whims and rises above the pressures of crazy animal urges. The true Muslim possesses enough chivalry, nobility, courtesy, patience, generosity and strength of character to make him rise above any dislike of his wife in his dealings with her. Far be it from him to think only in terms of mindless animal instincts or making a profit!

The true Muslim cannot do other than obey his Rabb; so he treats his wife well even if he dislikes her, because he understands the words of his wise Rabb about the things that are hidden from him, and they are many. A man may dislike something and try to distance himself from it, when in fact it is full of goodness and blessing. The true Muslim knows how to love and how to hate. Love is not blind for him, neither does he go to extremes of dislike and hatred, but in either case his attitude is moderate and balanced.

The Prophet (S.A.W.) explained that even if a husband dislikes his believing Muslim wife, she will still have some favorable characteristics which will please him, so he should not ignore the good side of her character and focus only on the negative aspects:

“No believing man should hate a believing woman. If he dislikes one of her characteristics, there will be others that do please him.” (Muslim)

  The true Muslim is an ideal husband

The true Muslim abides by the clear, unambiguous texts of the Qur’an which command him to treat women fairly and decently. He cannot be other than an ideal husband, so his wife enjoys his gentle company and close companionship, no matter how long they stay together. When he comes home, he greets his wife and children with a smiling face and extends to them the blessed greeting that Allah (S.W.T.) has enjoined and made the distinctive greeting of Islam:9

". . . But if you enter houses, salute each other a greeting or blessing and purity as from Allah . . ."  (Qur’an 24:61)

The Prophet (S.A.W.) encouraged Anas (R.A.A.) to use this greeting: “O my son, when you go home greet your family with salam: it will be a blessing for you and your family.”10

It is truly a great blessing for a man to meet his family with a pleasant greeting, for it contributes to a happy, friendly and pleasant atmosphere. He should lend a hand if he sees that his wife needs his help, and he should say some words of comfort if he feels that she is complaining of tiredness, weariness or boredom. He should make her feel that she is living with a strong, generous, tolerant husband who will protect her and care for her, who cares about her and will meet all her legitimate needs as long as he is able.

He should also satisfy her femininity by making himself attractive to her within Islamic limits and should give her a share of his time and interest. He should not let his study, work, hobbies, responsibilities or friends take up all of his time and keep him from her. Islam guarantees woman’s right to enjoy her husband to the extent that it even tells the husband not to spend all his time in worship, which is the best and most honorable of deeds, lest the balance and equilibrium upon which this religion is based be disturbed. We see this in the report of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aî (R.A.A), who says that when the Prophet (S.A.W.) learned of his overzealousness in worship, he said to him:

“Have I not heard that you fast all day and stay up all night in prayer?” ‘Abdullah said, “That is true, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (S.A.W.) told him: “Do not do that. Fast and break your fast, sleep and get up. For your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, your wife has a right over you, and your visitors have a right over you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Khawlah, the daughter of Hakim, who was the wife of ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un (R.A.A), came to the wives of the Prophet (S.A.W.) wearing a tattered dress and looking unkempt. They asked her, “What is wrong with you?” She told them about her husband: “At night he stays up in prayer, and during the day he fasts.” They told the Prophet (S.A.W.) what she had said, so when he saw ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un, he admonished him and said, “Do you not have an example in me?” ‘Uthman said, “Of course, may Allah (S.W.T.) cause me to be sacrificed for you!” Later, she (Khawlah) came back wearing fine clothes and with a pleasant scent. According to another report, the Prophet (S.A.W.) told him: “O ‘Uthman, monasticism has not been prescribed for us. Do you not have an example in me? For by Allah (S.W.T), I am the one out of all of you who fears Allah (S.W.T.) the most and keeps most strictly within His bounds.”11

The Prophet (S.A.W.) used to instill this guidance in his Companions and showed them how to achieve fairness and balance between their spiritual lives and their private lives with their spouses, until this fairness and balance became second nature to them. Then they would encourage one another to adhere to it, and would appeal to the Prophet (S.A.W.) if one of their number sought to go beyond the limits and was becoming extreme in his asceticism, self-denial and worship.

Imam Bukhari narrated that Abu Juhayfah (R.A.A.) said:

“The Prophet (S.A.W.) established brotherhood between Salman and Abul-Darda’. Salman visited Abul-Darda’ and saw Umm al-Darda’ looking unkempt. He asked her, ‘What is the matter with you?’ She said, ‘Your brother Abul-Darda’ has no need of this world.’ Abul-Darda’ came and made some food for him, and told him: ‘Eat; I am fasting.’ Salman said, ‘I will not eat until you eat,’ so he ate. That night, Abul-Darda’ wanted to spend the night in prayer, but Salman told him to sleep, so he went to sleep. Then he wanted to get up, but Salman again told him to sleep. In the last part of the night, Salman told him, ‘Now get up.’ So they prayed, and Salman told him: ‘Your Rabb has a right over you, your soul has a right over you, and your wife has a right over you, so fulfil your duty to each one who has a right over you.’ Abul-Darda’ came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and told him about what had happened, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: ‘Salman is right.’”

The conscientious Muslim does not neglect to relieve the tedium of routine life with his wife, so he spices their daily life with a little gentle humor and playfulness from time to time. In doing so, he follows the example of the Prophet (S.A.W.) whose whole life is the highest example for us. Although he was constantly busy with the overwhelming task of laying the foundations of Islam, building the Muslim Ummah, directing the army in jihad, and numerous other concerns, he did not let that keep him from being an ideal husband to his wives, treating them in the best possible way, with a smiling face and a touch of gentle humor.

An example is the report given by ‘A’ishah (R.A.A.) who said:

“I came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) with some harirah (a dish made with flour and milk) that I had cooked for him, and told Sawdah (R.A.A.) as the Prophet (S.A.W.) was sitting between me and her - ‘Eat.’ She refused, so I said, ‘Either you eat, or I will fill your face!’ She still refused, so I put my hand in the harirah and daubed her face with it. The Prophet (S.A.W.) laughed, put some harirah in her hand, and told her: ‘Do the same to her!’” In another report: “He lowered his knee (moved out of the way) so that she could get her own back on me, then she took some from the plate and wiped my face with it, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) smiled.” 12

Is this not an example of tolerance and an easy-going nature which makes a wife happy through a humorous and light-hearted attitude?

 ‘A’ishah also reported that once, when she went on a journey with the Prophet (S.A.W), she challenged him to a race, and won. Later, when she had gained weight, she raced him again, but this time he won, and told her, “This is for that.”13

The generous-hearted Prophet (S.A.W.) was so keen to make his beloved young wife feel happy that he would call her to enjoy some innocent kinds of entertainment that would gladden her heart. ‘A’ishah reports that on one occasion:

“The Prophet (S.A.W.) was sitting, and he heard some noise from people and children outside. There was a group of people gathered around some Abyssinians who were dancing. He said, ‘O ‘A’ishah, come and see!’ I put my cheek on his shoulder and looked through the gap. Then he said, ‘O ‘A’ishah, have you had enough, have you had enough?’ I said, ‘No,’ just to see how much I meant to him, and I saw him shifting his weight from one foot to the other” (i.e. he was tired, but he was willing to stay as long as she wanted to watch the spectacle.)14

In another report, ‘A’ishah said:

“By Allah (S.W.T), I saw the Prophet (S.A.W.) standing at the door of my room, when some Abyssinians were playing with spears in the mosque. The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) screened me with his cloak so that I could watch the spear-play over his shoulder. He stayed there for my sake, until I had seen enough. So pay attention to young girls’ need for entertainment.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

When he sees the example of the Prophet’s kind behavior, generosity and good humor towards his wives, the true Muslim cannot but treat his wife kindly and gently, with an easy-going attitude, so long as this is within the limits of permissible and innocent entertainment.

The true Muslim does not overreact and become angry for trivial reasons, as many ignorant husbands do, creating uproar if their wives offer them food that is not to their liking, or their meal is a little late, or any of the other reasons which often cause an inordinate amount of anger, arguments and trouble between the spouses. The Muslim who is truly following the example of the Prophet (S.A.W.) always remembers aspects of his character that remind him to be generous, kind and tolerant. So he remembers that one of the characteristics of the Prophet (S.A.W.) is that “he never criticized food. If he liked it, he ate it, and if he did not like it, he simply left it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

And he remembers that the Prophet (S.A.W.) asked his family for some simple food he could eat with bread. They told him, “We have nothing apart from vinegar.” He asked them to bring it and said, “How good a simple food is vinegar, how good a simple food is vinegar.” (Muslim)

Let them listen to this hadith, those foolish husbands whose eyes flash with anger at their wives’ mistakes, when their food is a little late or not to their liking. Their poor wives may have genuine, pressing reasons for making these mistakes, but these husbands become angry without caring to know those reasons, on the basis of an incorrect understanding of the phrase “men are qawwamun over women”!

The true Muslim husband does not stop at showing kindness and generosity towards his wife, but he extends his respect and kindness towards her decent (female) friends. This is in accordance with the practice of the Prophet (S.A.W). ‘A’ishah narrated:

“An old woman came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and he smiled at her, showed her respect, and asked her, ‘How are you? How have you been doing?’ She answered, ‘I am fine, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah.’” When she had left, ‘A’ishah said, “Why did you welcome this old woman so warmly, in a way that you do not welcome anyone else?” The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied, “She used to come and visit us when Khadijah was alive. Do you not know that honouring the ties of friendship is part of faith?” 15

A wife may become angry for any reason, and keep away from her husband, making him feel her anger. In this case, the Muslim husband responds with tolerance and kindness, based on his deep insight into the psychology and nature of woman, as the Prophet (S.A.W.) used to treat his wives whenever they were angry with him and kept away from him all day until night fell.

            ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (R.A.A.) said: “We Quraysh used to have control over our women. When we came to Madinah we found a people whose women had control over them, and our women began to learn from their women. I used to live in al-‘Awali, among Banu Umayyah ibn Zayd. One day my wife was angry with me, and was arguing with me. I did not like this, but she told me, ‘Do you not like me arguing with you? By Allah (S.W.T), the wives of the Prophet (S.A.W.) argue with him. They get angry and keep away from him all day, until night falls!’ So I went to see ?afîah and asked her, ‘Do you argue with the Prophet (S.A.W)?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I asked her, ‘Do you get angry and keep away from him all day until night falls?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘The one who does that is doomed to loss! Do you not fear the anger of Allah (S.W.T.) on the account of the anger of His Prophet? Soon you will be condemned! Do not argue with the Messenger of Allah, and do not ask him for anything. Ask me for whatever you need.’” (Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisa’i) ‘Umar came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and told him about what had happened in his house, and the conversation he had with Safîah, and the Prophet (S.A.W.) smiled.

The Muslim should develop this tolerant attitude, so that he will be following the example of the Prophet (S.A.W.) in his behavior and deeds. Then he will be living proof that Islam is the religion of a superior lifestyle; and that the misery, disintegration, confusion and anxiety that individuals, families and societies are suffering from are caused by man’s ignorance and misconceptions of the noble values promulgated by Islam. These are precious principles which, if adopted by the husband, would put an end to arguments and divisions in family life, and would bring peace, stability, happiness and security to the home.  

One of the most successful husbands

Hence the smart Muslim husband is one of the most successful husbands ever, and the most beloved to a faithful, pure, righteous wife, because of his adherence to the guidance of Islam. He has a deep and compassionate understanding of her nature and psychology, and he directs her towards the straight path of Islam, which is in complete harmony with the true nature of mankind. He recognizes her inclinations, desires and moods, and tries to reconcile between them and the ideal life and behaviour he wants for her, while never forgetting for an instant that she has been created from a bent rib, and straightening a bent rib is impossible.

  He understands his wife and respects her feelings

The true Muslim always understands his wife and respects her feelings. He does not criticize her family or any of her relations in front of her, out of respect for her feelings. In return, she respects his feelings and does not do or say anything that may adversely affect any member of his family.

He does not disclose any secret that she has entrusted to him, or spread any story that she has told him in confidence, for carelessness in such matters all too often explodes into conflict between the spouses and extinguishes the love between them. The sincere Muslim husband is protected from all of that, so long as he continues to follow the guidance of Islam.  

He helps her to make up for her failings and weaknesses

The sincere Muslim husband tries to make up for what his wife lacks, if he feels that she is lacking in knowledge or manners. He does this in the gentlest, kindest and most positive manner. If he encounters defiance or wilful deviance on her part, he brings her back to the straight and narrow in a gentle, humane and intelligent manner, avoiding harsh criticism or rebuking her in front of people, no matter what the reason. The most hurtful thing for a woman is that someone should hear her being reprimanded or witness her being scolded. The true Muslim is the most sensitive and respectful towards the feelings of others.  

He knows how to strike a balance between pleasing his wife and treating his mother with due kindness and respect

The sincere Muslim husband draws upon his intelligence, compassion and strength of character in his dealings with both his wife and his mother, in such a way that he does not offend either of them. So he cannot be disobedient towards his mother or oppressive towards his wife. Rather, he recognizes his mother’s rights and treats her in the best possible way, while also recognizing his wife’s rights. He does not detract from his wife’s rights in the course of fulfilling his duty towards his mother and taking care of her. The truly sincere Muslim is able to do this, as long as he is truly conscious of Allah (S.W.T.) (i.e., has taqwA.) and follows the guidance and teachings of Islam, which treat both mother and wife with fairness and give each her due status.

  He fully understands his role as a protector and maintainer (qawwam) of his wife

With such good attitudes and gentle treatment, the Muslim husband wins the heart of his wife, so she does not disobey him in anything. Therefore the Muslim man has been given the position of qawwam over women, because of the characteristics which Islam instills in him, the qualifications it has given him and the conditions and limits it has imposed on him:

"Men are the protectors and maintainers [qawwamun] of women, because of Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means...]" (Qur’an 4:34)

This position of qawwam brings with it some inconveniences, for it gives men responsibilities. The man is completely responsible for his wife:

“Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for those under his care. A ruler is a shepherd; a man is the shepherd of his family; a woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children. For each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for those under his care.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This responsibility applies to every individual in an Islamic society, in which everyone is responsible in one way or another, because according to Islam, life is a serious matter, not something to be taken lightly.

Just as Islam has enjoined good treatment of woman and raised her status, so it has also commanded her to understand her role in life, and to stay within the limits of the Shari‘ah, so that she may better fulfil her role in life as a partner to man in bringing up the next generation and making life more pleasant and enjoyable.

Similarly, just as Islam has required man to treat his wife kindly and take care of her properly, so it has commanded the wife to obey him within the limits of permissibility, fairness and justice. This obedience is most strongly emphasized, as is illustrated by the words of the Prophet (S.A.W.):

“If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband.” 16

Indeed, he said that the husband’s satisfaction with her would be a cause of her entering Paradise:

“Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

He assured the defiant, rebellious woman that the angels would heap curses upon her until she goes back to her husband:

“If a woman stays away from her husband’s bed, the angels will curse her until morning.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The concern of Islam to affirm man’s position of qawwam over women and reinforce her obligation to obey and please him, goes as far as forbidding her to fast at times other than Rama¼an or to receive any guests without his permission:

“The woman is not permitted to fast when her husband is present, without his permission, or to invite anyone into his house without his permission.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam gave the husband this right to be qawwam over his wife so that he will be a real man, knowing how to steer the ship of family life towards the shore of safety and guidance. Islam warns all men against the trial and temptation (fitnah) of women, which may make them heedless and weak, and lessen their religious commitment, so that they turn a blind eye to the waywardness and un-Islamic behavior of their wives. In such a case a husband has no say: his wife is controlling everything in the home, so that he dare not disobey her, or answer her back, or refuse any of her whims. The Prophet (S.A.W.) was right when he said that this is the most damaging of trials and temptations that a man can be faced with:

 

“There will be no fitnah after my death that is worse for men than the fitnah of women.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Muslim husband is a man who is not weak in dealing with the trial of having a wayward wife, no matter how difficult that fitnah is. He gently makes it clear to her that no matter how much he loves her, he loves Allah (S.W.T.) and the Prophet more, and his desire to please Allah (S.W.T.) is stronger than his feelings for her:

"Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious." (Qur’an 9:24)

In this way, the female waywardness which we see in many so-called Muslim homes will be done away with. The man who sees his wife, daughters and sisters going out in the street with make-up, uncovered heads and bare arms, clothed but seeming naked, and does nothing to stop this disobedience of Islam, has surely lost his manhood, abandoned Islam and earned the wrath of Allah (S.W.T.). There is no way out of his predicament but sincere repentance which will wake him up, restore his manhood and set him back on the straight path.

Islam has set out standards for women, and has defined the kind of clothing she should wear when she goes out in the street or appears in from of men who are not-mahram. This type of clothing is known as hijab. The Muslim woman who has been nurtured in pure Islam and has grown up in its protective atmosphere accepts this hijab willingly and with a deep sense of conviction, knowing that it is from Allah (S.W.T.), and that it is not a tyranny designed by men to satisfy their egotistical desires to control women, or a custom invented during the decadent Umawi (Umayyad) period, as is claimed by those worthless fools who have no sound proof from the Qur’an whatsoever.

In a report narrated by Bukhari, ‘A’ishah said: “May Allah have mercy on the early muhajir women. When Allah (S.W.T.) revealed: ". . .they should draw their veils over their bosoms. . ." (Qur’an 24:31) they tore their aprons and covered their heads and faces with them.” In another report, also given by Bukhari, she said: “They cut their waist-sheets at the edges and covered their heads and faces with the cut pieces.”

Safiyyah bint Shaybah said:

“While we were with ‘A’ishah we mentioned the women of Quraysh and how good they were. ‘A’ishah said: ‘The women of Quraysh are good but by Allah (S.W.T.) I have never seen any better than the women of the Anîar or any more convinced of the Book of Allah (S.W.T.) or with a deeper faith in the Revelation. When Surat al-Nur was revealed "… they should draw their veils over their bosoms..." the men turned to their wives, daughters, sisters and other female relatives and recited these words to them. Not one of them failed to take her decorated wrapper and wrap it around her head and face, in acceptance of and belief in what Allah (S.W.T.) had revealed. The next morning they were behind the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) wrapped up in their veils, looking as if they had black crows on their heads.’”17

Many Allah (S.W.T.) have mercy on the women of the Anîar: how strong was their faith, how sincere was their Islam and how beautiful was their response to the Truth when it was revealed! Every woman who truly believes in Allah (S.W.T.) and His Messenger cannot do other than to adhere to the distinctive Islamic dress, regardless of whatever nakedness and tabarruj (wanton display) surrounds her. I remember a veiled Muslim student at the University of Damascus whose attitude was no less commendable than that of the women of the Ansar; when a visiting journalist asked her about her hijab and why she was putting up with it in the heat of summer, she quoted: "…Say: ‘The Fire of Hell is fiercer in heat…’ " (Qur’an 9:81)

It is pure, sincere Muslim girls like this who will establish Muslim families, raise the next generation in a sound way and fill society with strong, productive men. Nowadays there are many such girls, al-hamdulillah!

The sincere Muslim is responsible for his womenfolk’s adherence to the Islamic teachings regarding her going out, and the hijab which is the badge of the Muslim woman. The day when a husband lets his wife or his environment take over and dispenses with this Islamic ruling without being able to stand up to them, is the day he says good-bye to both his religion and his manhood.

The husband’s responsibility for his wife does not stop with her outward appearance, but also includes her worship and conduct. He is responsible for her if she omits some act of worship, or if she neglects or deliberately ignores her duties towards Allah (S.W.T.). He is responsible for her good behavior and completion of her duties. Any shortcomings on her part will detract from her husband’s manhood, diminish his Islam and damage the role of qawwam with which Allah (S.W.T.) has honored him.

Islam considers women to be a trust which has been given to men for safe-keeping. As the wife is usually influenced by her husband, he may take her with him to Paradise or lead her to Hell. Therefore Allah (S.W.T.) ordered the believing men to protect both themselves and their families from the Fire and gave a terrifying picture of the awful fate that awaits them if they neglect their responsibilities towards their wives and families and fail to compel them to adhere to the truth:

"O you 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 Allah, but do [precisely] what they are commanded." (Qur’an 66:6)

The role of qawwam over women which Islam gives to men cannot truly be fulfilled unless the husband is a successful leader of his family. The Muslim husband does not assert his manhood through roughness, cruelty, violence and harsh words. This is the manhood of ignorance (jahiliyyah); Islamic manhood is something else altogether. The Islamic ideal of manhood is: a strong and likeable personality; a noble attitude; tolerance and forgiveness of minor mistakes; strong adherence to the laws of Allah (S.W.T.) and determination to apply them to every member of his family; brilliant leadership in guiding his family to the truth; generosity without being extravagant; a thorough understanding of his responsibilities in this world and the next; and a clear idea of the ideal Muslim home. These are the characteristics of the true Muslim as Islam wants him to be.

  ______________

   

1 Reported by al-Nisa’i, with a îa sahih  isnad.

2 Reported by al-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah, with a îa sahih  isnad.

3 Reported by al-Hakim, who said it is îa sahih according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim.

  4 Reported by Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad, with a îa sahih isnad.

  5Iyyakum wa khadra’ al-diman” (literally, “Beware of the greens of dung”) is a well-known saying in Arabic. It is a proverb, not a Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W). [Author]

 6 Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a Hasan îa Sahih hadith.

  7 Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a hasan îa sahih hadith.

  8 Reported by Abu Dawud, al-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah. Ibn Hijr said in al-Isabah: “Its isnad is Sahih.”

  8 The words with which Muslims should greet one another are “al-salam ‘alaykum” (peace be upon you), not “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Good morning.”

10 Reported by al-Tirmidhi who said: it is a hasan gharib hadith.

  11 Al-Haythami, 4/316; al-Muntakhab 4/393; Kanz al-‘Ummal, 7/302. Al-Haythami said: It was narrated by Abu Ya‘la, and its narrators are those who narrated in Sahih (Bukhari), except for Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Alqamah, whose hadith is hasan

12A sahih hadith, narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.

13  Reported by al-Nisa’i via Yazid ibn Ruman from ‘A’ishah. See also different reports from her in Fath al-Bari, Bab al-‘idayn (chapter on the two Eids).

14 Reported by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak; he said it is îa sahih according to the condition of Bukhari and Muslim

15 Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a Hasan îa sahih hadith.

 16 See Fath al-Bari, commentary on Sahih Bukhari

17  See al-Hilyah, 1/106; Tabaqat Ibn Sa‘d, 3/394; al-Kanz, 8/305.

 

 

 

 



7) The Ideal Muslimah/Wife

The Ideal Muslim Woman and Her Husband

By  Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali Al-Hashimi

 

Marriage in Islam

In Islam, marriage is a blessed contract between a man and a woman, in which each becomes “permitted” to the other, and they begin the long journey of life in a spirit of love, co-operation, harmony and tolerance, where each feels at ease with the other, and finds tranquility, contentment and comfort in the company of the other. The Qur’an has described this relationship between men and women, which brings love, harmony, trust and compassion, in the most moving and eloquent terms:

( And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts] . . .) (Qur’an 30:21) 

This is the strongest of bonds, in which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) unites the two Muslim partners, who come together on the basis of love, understanding, co-operation and mutual advice, and establish a Muslim family in which children will live and grow up, and they will develop the good character and behavior taught by Islam. The Muslim family is the strongest component of a Muslim society when its members are productive and constructive, helping and encouraging one another to be good and righteous, and competing with one another in good works.

The righteous woman is the pillar, cornerstone and foundation of the Muslim family. She is seen as the greatest joy in a man’s life, as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous women.”1 

A righteous woman is the greatest blessing that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) can give to a man, for with her he can find comfort and rest after the exhausting struggle of earning a living. With his wife, he can find incomparable tranquility and pleasure.

How can a woman be the best comfort in this world? How can she be a successful woman, true to her own femininity, and honored and loved? This is what will be explained in the following pages:

She chooses a good husband

One of the ways in which Islam has honored woman is by giving her the right to choose her husband. Her parents have no right to force her to marry someone she dislikes. The Muslim woman knows this right, but she does not reject the advice and guidance of her parents when a potential suitor comes along, because they have her best interests at heart, and they have more experience of life and people. At the same time, she does not forego this right because of her father’s wishes that may make him force his daughter into a marriage with someone she dislikes.

There are many texts that support the woman in this sensitive issue, for example the report quoted by Imam Bukhari from al-Khansa’ bint Khidam:

“My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He said to me: ‘Accept what your father has arranged.’ I said, ‘I do not wish to accept what my father has arranged.’ He said, ‘Then this marriage is invalid, go and marry whomever you wish.’ I said, ‘I have accepted what my father has arranged, but I wanted women to know that fathers have no right in their daughter’s matters (i.e. they have no right to force a marriage on them).’” 2 

At first, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told al-Khansa’ to obey her father, and this is as it should be, because the concern of fathers for their daughters’ well-being is well-known. But when he realized that her father wanted to force her into a marriage she did not want, he gave her the freedom to choose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into an unwanted marriage.

Islam does not want to impose an unbearable burden on women by forcing them to marry a man they dislike, because it wants marriages to be successful, based on compatibility between the partners; there should be common ground between them in terms of physical looks, attitudes, habits, inclinations and aspirations. If something goes wrong, and the woman feels that she cannot love her husband sincerely, and fears that she may commit the sin of disobeying and opposing this husband whom she does not love, then she may ask for a divorce. This is confirmed by the report in which the wife of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, Jamilah the sister of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy, came to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing against Thabit ibn Qays as regards his religion or his behavior, but I hate to commit any act of kufr when I am a Muslim. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Will you give his garden back to him?” - her mahr had been a garden. She said, “Yes.” So Allah’s Messenger  sent word to him: “Take back your garden, and give her one pronouncement of divorce.”3

According to a report given by Bukhari from Ibn ‘Abbas, she said, “I do not blame Thabit for anything with regard to his religion or his behavior, but I do not like him.” 

Islam has protected woman’s pride and humanity, and has respected her wishes with regard to the choice of a husband with whom she will spend the rest of her life. It is not acceptable for anyone, no matter who he is, to force a woman into a marriage with a man she does not like.

There is no clearer indication of this than the story of Barirah, an Ethiopian slave-girl who belonged to ‘Utbah ibn Abu Lahab, who forced her to marry another slave whose name was Mughith. She would never have accepted him as a husband if she had been in control of her own affairs. ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) took pity on her, so she bought her and set her free. Then this young woman felt that she was free and in control of her own affairs, and that she could take a decision about her marriage. She asked her husband for a divorce. Her husband used to follow her, weeping, whilst she rejected him. Bukhari quotes Ibn ‘Abbas describing this freed woman who insisted on the annulment of her marriage to someone she did not love; the big-hearted Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commented on this moving sight, and sought to intervene.  Ibn ‘Abbas said:

“Barirah’s husband was a slave, who was known as Mughith. I can almost see him, running after her and crying, with tears running down onto his beard. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to ‘Abbas, ‘O ‘Abbas, do you not find it strange, how much Mugith loves Barirah, and how much Barirah hates Mughith?’ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said (to Barirah), ‘Why do you not go back to him?’ She said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, are you commanding me to do so?’ He said, ‘I am merely trying to intervene on his behalf.’ She said, ‘I have no need of him.’” 4

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was deeply moved by this display of human emotion: deep and overwhelming love on the part of the husband, and equally powerful hatred on the part of the wife. He could not help but remind the wife, and ask her why she did not go back to him, as he was her husband and the father of her child. This believing woman asked him, whether he was ordering her to do so: was this a command, a binding obligation? The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), this great law-giver and educator, replied that he was merely trying to intercede and bring about reconciliation if possible; he was not trying to force anybody to do something they did not wish to.

Let those stubborn, hard-hearted fathers who oppress their own daughters listen to the teaching of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)!

The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion has wise and correct standards when it comes to choosing a husband. She does not concern herself just with good looks, high status, a luxurious lifestyle or any of the other things that usually attract women. She looks into his level of religious commitment and his attitude and behavior, because these are the pillars of a successful marriage, and the best features of a husband. Islamic teaching indicates the importance of these qualities in a potential husband, as Islam obliges a woman to accept the proposal of anyone who has these qualities, lest fitnah and corruption become widespread in society:

“If there comes to you one with whose religion and attitude you are satisfied, then give your daughter to him in marriage, for if you do not do so, fitnah and mischief will become widespread on earth.”5 

Just as the true Muslim young man will not be attracted to the pretty girls who have grown up in a bad environment, so the Muslim young woman who is guided by her religion will not be attracted to stupid “play-boy” types, no matter how handsome they may be. Rather she will be attracted to the serious, educated, believing man who is clean-living and pure of heart, whose behavior is good and whose understanding of religion is sound. No-one is a suitable partner for the good, believing woman except a good, believing man; and no-one is a suitable partner for the wayward, immoral woman but a wayward, immoral man, as Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has said:

( Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure, and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity . . . .) (Qur’an 24:26) 

This does not mean that the Muslim woman should completely ignore the matter of physical appearance, and put up with unattractiveness or ugliness. It is her right - as stated above - to marry a man for whom her heart may be filled with love, and who is pleasing to her both in his appearance and in his conduct. Appearance should not be neglected at the expense of inner nature, or vice versa. A woman should choose a man who is attractive to her in all aspects, one who will gain her admiration and respect. The true Muslim woman is never dazzled by outward appearances, and she never lets them distract her from seeing the essence of a potential spouse.

The Muslim woman knows that the man has the right of qiwamah over her, as the Qur’an says:

( Men are the protectors and maintainers [qawwamun] of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means. . .) (Qur’an 4:34) 

Hence she wants to marry a man of whose qiwamah over her she will feel proud, one whom she will be happy to marry and never regret it. She wants a man who will take her hand in his and set out to fulfill their life’s mission of establishing a Muslim family and raising a new generation of intelligent and caring children, in an atmosphere of love and harmony, which will not be impeded by conflicting attitudes or religious differences. Believing men and believing women are supposed to walk side-by-side on the journey of life, which is a serious matter for the believer, so that they may fulfill the great mission with which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has entrusted mankind, men and women alike, as the Qur’an says:

( For Muslim men and women - for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are constant and patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast [and deny themselves], for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise - for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.) (Qur’an 33:35) 

In order to achieve this great goal of strengthening the marriage bond, and establishing a stable family life, it is essential to choose the right partner in the first place.

Among the great Muslim women who are known for their strength of character, lofty aspirations and far-sightedness in their choice of a husband is Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, who was one of the first Ansar women to embrace Islam. She was married to Malik ibn Nadar, and bore him a son, Anas. When she embraced Islam, her husband Malik was angry with her, and left her, but she persisted in her Islam. Shortly afterwards, she heard the news of his death, and she was still in the flower of her youth. She bore it all with the hope of reward, for the sake of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and devoted herself to taking care of her ten-year-old son Anas. She took him to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), so that he could serve him (and learn from him).

One of the best young men of Madinah, one of the best-looking, richest and strongest, came to seek her hand in marriage. This was Abu Talhah - before he became Muslim. Many of the young women of Yathrib liked him because of his wealth, strength and youthful good looks, and he thought that Umm Sulaym would joyfully rush to accept his offer. But to his astonishment, she told him, “O Abu Talhah, do you not know that your god whom you worship is just a tree that grew in the ground and was carved into shape by the slave of Banu so-and-so.” He said, “Of course.” She said, “Do you not feel ashamed to prostrate yourself to a piece of wood that grew in the ground and was carved by the slave of Banu so-and-so?” Abu Talhah was stubborn, and hinted to her of an expensive dowry and luxurious lifestyle, but she persisted in her point of view, and told him frankly: “O Abu Talhah, a man like you could not be turned away, but you are a disbelieving man, and I am a Muslim woman. It is not permitted for me to marry you, but if you were to embrace Islam, that would be my dowry (mahr), and I would ask you for nothing more.”6

He returned the following day to try to tempt her with a larger dowry and more generous gift, but she stood firm, and her persistence and maturity only enhanced her beauty in his eyes. She said to him, “O Abu Talhah, do you not know that your god whom you worship was carved by the carpenter slave of so-and-so? If you were to set it alight, it would burn.” Her words came as a shock to Abu Talhah, and he asked himself, Does the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  burn? Then he uttered the words: “Ashhadu an la ilaha ill-Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul-Allah.”

Then Umm Sulaym said to her son Anas, with joy flooding her entire being, “O Anas, marry me to Abu Talhah.” So Anas brought witnesses and the marriage was solemnized.

Abu Talhah was so happy that he was determined to put all his wealth at Umm Sulaym’s disposal, but hers was the attitude of the selfless, proud, sincere believing woman. She told him, “O Abu Talhah, I married you for the sake of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and I will not take any other dowry.” She knew that when Abu Talhah embraced Islam, she did not only win herself a worthy husband, but she also earned a reward from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) that was better than owning red camels (the most highly-prized kind) in this world, as she had heard the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say:

“If Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) were to guide one person to Islam through you, it is better for you than owning red camels.”7 

Such great Muslim women are examples worthy of emulation, from whom Muslim women may learn purity of faith, strength of character, soundness of belief and wisdom in choosing a husband.

She is obedient to her husband and shows him respect

The true Muslim woman is always obedient to her husband, provided that no sin is involved. She is respectful towards him and is always eager to please him and make him happy. If he is poor, she does not complain about his being unable to spend much. She does not complain about her housework, because she remembers that many of the virtuous women in Islamic history set an example of patience, goodness and a positive attitude in serving their husbands and taking care of their homes despite the poverty and hardships they faced. One of the foremost of these exemplary wives is Fatimah al-Zahra’, the daughter of Muhammad(sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the wife of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib  (radhiallahu anhu).  She used to complain of the pain in her hands caused by grinding grain with the hand-mill. Her husband ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said to her one day, “Your father has brought some female slaves, so go and ask him for one of them to come and serve you.” She went to her father, but she felt too shy to ask him for what she wanted. ‘Ali went and asked him to provide a servant for his beloved daughter, but the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) could not respond to those who most dear to him whilst ignoring the needs of the poor among the Muslims, so he came to his daughter and her husband and said: “Shall I not teach you something that is better than that for which you asked me? When you go to bed at night, say ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Al-hamdu lillah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allahu akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.”

Then he bid them farewell and left, after telling them this divine help which would make them forget their tiredness and help them to overcome their exhaustion.

‘Ali (radhiallahu anhu) began to repeat the words that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had taught him. He said, “I never stopped doing that after he had taught me these words.” One of his companions asked him, “Not even on the night of Siffin?” He said, “Not even on the night of Siffin.”8 

Asma’ bint Abi Bakr al-Siddiq served her husband al-Zubayr, and took care of the house. Her husband had a horse, which she took care of, feeding it and exercising it. She also repaired the water-bucket, made bread, and carried dates on her head from far away. Bukhari and Muslim report this in her own words:

“Al-Zubayr married me, and he had no wealth, no slaves, nothing except his horse. I used to feed his horse, looking after it and exercising it. I crushed date-stones to feed his camel. I used to bring water and repair the bucket, and I used to make bread but I could not bake it, so some of my Ansari neighbors, who were kind women, used to bake it for me. I used to carry the dates from the garden that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had given to al-Zubayr on my head, and this garden was two-thirds of a farsakh away. One day I was coming back with the dates on my head. I met Allah’s Messenger , who had a group of his Companions with him. He called me, then told his camel to sit down so that I could ride behind him. I told (al-Zubayr), ‘I felt shy, because I know that you are a jealous man.’ He said, ‘It is worse for me to see you carrying the dates on your head than to see you riding behind him.’ Later, Abu Bakr sent me a servant, who relieved me of having to take care of the horse; it was as if I had been released from slavery.”9 

The true Muslim woman devotes herself to taking care of her house and husband. She knows her husband’s rights over her, and how great they are, as was confirmed by the Prophet’s words:

“No human being is permitted to prostrate to another, but if this were permitted I would have ordered wives to prostrate to their husbands, because of the greatness of the rights they have over them.”10

And:

“If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered women to prostrate to their husbands.”11

‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) asked Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): “Who has the greatest rights over a woman?” He said, “Her husband.” She asked, ‘And who has the greatest rights over a man?” He said, “His mother.”12

A woman came to ask the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about some matter, and when he had dealt with it, he asked her, “Do you have a husband?” She said, “Yes.” He asked her, “How are you with him?” She said, “I never fall short in my duties, except for that which is beyond me.” He said, “Pay attention to how you treat him, for he is your Paradise and your Hell.”13  

How can the Muslim woman complain about taking care of her house and husband when she hears these words of Prophetic guidance? She should fulfill her household duties and take care of her husband in a spirit of joy, because she is not carrying a tiresome burden, she is doing work in her home that she knows will bring reward from Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala). 

The Sahabah, may Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) be pleased with them, and those who followed them understood this Islamic teaching and transmitted it from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). When a bride was prepared for marriage, she would be told to serve her husband and take care of his rights. Thus the Muslim woman knew her duties towards her husband, and down through the ages caring for her husband and being a good wife were established womanly attributes. One example of this is what was said by the faqih al-Hanbali ibn al-Jawzi in his book Ahkam al-Nisa’ (p. 331): In the second century AH there was a righteous man called Shu’ayb ibn Harb, who used to fast and spend his nights in prayer. He wanted to marry a woman, and told her humbly, “I am a bad-tempered man.” She replied, tactfully and cleverly, “The one who makes you lose your temper is worse than you.” He realized that there stood before him a woman who was intelligent, wise and mature. He immediately said to her, “You will be my wife.”

This woman had a clear understanding of how to be a good wife, which confirmed to the man who had come to seek her hand that she was a woman who would understand the psychology and nature of her husband and would know what would please him and what would make him angry; she would be able to win his heart and earn his admiration and respect, and would close the door to every possible source of conflict that could disrupt their married life. The woman who does not understand these realities does not deserve to be a successful wife; through her ignorance and shortcomings she may provoke her husband to lose his temper, in which case, she would be worse than him, for being the direct cause of his anger.

The tactful Muslim woman is never like this. She helps her husband to be of good character, by displaying different types of intelligence, cleverness and alertness in the way she deals with him. This opens his heart to her and makes him fond of her, because being a good wife is a not only a quality that she may boast about among her friends, but it is also a religious obligation for which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) will call her to account: if she has done well, she will be rewarded, but if she has fallen short she will have to pay the penalty.

One of the most important ways in which the Muslim woman obeys her husband is by respecting his wishes with regard to the permissible pleasures of daily life, such as social visits, food, dress, speech, etc. The more she responds to his wishes in such matters, the happier and more enjoyable the couple’s life becomes, and the closer it is to the spirit and teachings of Islam.

The Muslim woman does not forget that her obedience to her husband is one of the things that may lead her to Paradise, as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of Ramadan), obeys her husband and guards her chastity, then it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise by whichever of its gates you wish.’” 14

Umm Salamah (radhiallahu anha) said:

“ Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.’” 15 

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) draw a clear and delightful picture of the well-behaved, easy-going, loving, righteous Muslim wife, one who will be happy in this world and the next:

“Shall I not tell you about your wives in Paradise?” We said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “They are fertile and loving. If she becomes angry or is mistreated, or her husband becomes angry, she says, ‘My hand is in your hand; I shall never sleep until you are pleased with me.’” 16 

The true Muslim woman knows that Islam, which has multiplied her reward for obeying her husband and made it a means of her admittance to Paradise, has also warned every woman who deviates from the path of marital obedience and neglects to take care of her husband, that she will be guilty of sin, and will incur the wrath and curses of the angels.

Bukhari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“If a man calls his wife to his bed and she does not come, and he goes to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until the morning.”17 

Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said Imam:

“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there is no man who calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses him, but the One Who is in heaven will be angry with her, until the husband is pleased with her once more.”18 

The angels’ curse will befall every woman who is rebellious and disobedient; this does not exclude those who are too slow and reluctant to respond to their husbands:

“Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) will curse those procrastinating women who, when their husbands call them to their beds, say ‘I will, I will . . .’ until he falls asleep.” 19 

Marriage in Islam is intended to protect the chastity of men and women alike, therefore it is the woman’s duty to respond to her husband’s requests for conjugal relations. She should not give silly excuses and try to avoid it. For this reason, several hadith urge a wife to respond to her husband’s needs as much as she is able, no matter how busy she may be or whatever obstacles there may be, so long as there is no urgent or unavoidable reason not to do so.  In one of these hadith, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“If a man calls his wife to his bed, let her respond, even if she is riding her camel [i.e., very busy].”20

And:

“If a man calls his wife, then let her come, even if she is busy at the oven.”21

The issue of protecting a man’s chastity and keeping him away from temptation is more important than anything else that a woman can do, because Islam wants men and women alike to live in an environment which is entirely pure and free from any motive of fitnah or haram pleasures. The flames of sexual desire and thoughts of pursuing them through haram means can only be extinguished by means of discharging that natural energy in natural and lawful ways. This is what the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) meant in the hadith narrated by Muslim from Jabir:

“If anyone of you is attracted to a woman, let him go to his wife and have intercourse with her, for that will calm him down.”22  

The warning given to the woman whose husband is angry with her reaches such an extent that it would shake the conscience of every righteous wife who has faith in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and the Last Day: she is told that her prayer and good deeds will not be accepted, until her husband is pleased with her again. This is stated in the hadith narrated by Jabir from ‘Abdullah:

“ Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘There are three people whose prayers will not be accepted, neither their good works: a disobedient slave until he returns to his masters and puts his hand in theirs; a woman whose husband is angry with her, until he is pleased with her again; and the drunkard, until he becomes sober.’” 23  

When these hadith refer to the husband being angry with his wife, they refer to cases in which the husband is right and the wife is wrong. When the opposite is the case, and the husband is wrong, then his anger has no negative implications for her; in fact, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) will reward the wife for her patience. But the wife is still required to obey her husband, so long as no sin is involved, because there should be no obedience to a created being if it entails disobedience to the Creator. Concerning this, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) to allow anyone into her husband’s house whom he dislikes; or to go out when he does not want her to; or to obey anyone else against him; or to forsake his bed; or to hit him. If he is wrong, then let her come to him until he is pleased with her, and if he accepts her then all is well, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) will accept her deeds and make her position stronger, and there will be no sin on her. If he does not accept her, then at least she will have done her best and excused herself in the sight of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala). “24 

Another aspect of wifely obedience is that she should not fast at times other than Ramadan except with his permission, that she should not allow anyone to enter his house without his permission, and that she should not spend any of his earnings without his permission. If she spends anything without him having told her to do so, then half of the reward for that spending will be given to him. The true Muslim woman takes heed of this teaching which was stated by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the hadith:

“It is not permitted for a woman to fast when her husband is present, except with his permission; or to allow anyone into his house except with his permission; or to spend any of his earnings unless he has told her to do so, otherwise half of the reward will be given to him.”25  

According to a report given by Muslim, he (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“A woman should not fast if her husband is present, except with his permission. She should not allow anyone to enter his house when he is present without his permission. Whatever she spends of his wealth without him having told her to do so, half of the reward for it will be given to him.”26  

The point here is the permission of the husband. If a wife gives some of his money in voluntary charity without his permission, then she will not receive any reward; on the contrary, it will be recorded as a sin on her part. If she wants to spend in his absence, and she knows that if he knew about it he would give his permission, then she is allowed to do so, otherwise it is not permitted.

Mutual understanding and harmony between husband and wife cannot be achieved unless there is understanding between them on such matters, so that neither of them will fall into such errors and troubles as may damage the marriage which Islam has built on a basis of love and mercy, and sought to maintain its purity, care and harmony.

If the husband is a miser, and spends too little on her and her children, then she is allowed to spend as much as she needs from his wealth on herself and her children, in moderation, without his knowledge. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated this to Hind bint ‘Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan, when she came to him and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man. What he gives me is not enough for me and my child, unless I take from him without his knowledge.” He told her, “Take what is enough for you and your child, in moderation.”27 Thus Islam has made women responsible for good conduct in their running of the household affairs.

The Muslim woman understands the responsibility that Islam has given her, to take care of her husband’s house and children by making her a “shepherd” over her husband’s house and children. She has been specifically reminded of this responsibility in recognition of her role, in the hadith in which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made every individual in the Islamic society responsible for those under his or her authority in such a way that no-one, man or woman, may evade responsibility:

“Each of you is a shepherd, and each is responsible for those under his care. A ruler is a shepherd; a man is the shepherd of his family; a woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children. For each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for those under his care.”28  

The true Muslim woman is always described as being loving towards her children and caring towards her husband. These are two of the most beautiful characteristics that a woman of any time or place may possess. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) praised these two characteristics, which were embodied by the women of Quraysh, who represented the best women among the Arabs in terms of loving their children, caring for their husbands, respecting their rights and looking after their wealth with care, honesty and wisdom:

“The best women who ride camels are the women of Quraysh. They are the most compassionate towards their children when they are small, and the most careful with regard to their husbands’ wealth.”29  

This is a valuable testimony on the part of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), attesting to the psychological and moral qualities of the women of Quraysh which enhanced their beauty and virtue. This testimony represents a call to every Muslim woman to emulate the women of Quraysh in loving her children and taking care of her husband. These two important characteristics contribute to the success of a marriage, make individuals and families happy, and help a society to advance.

It is a great honor for a woman to take care of her husband every morning and evening, and wherever he goes, treating him with gentleness and good manners which will fill his life with joy, tranquility and stability. Muslim women have the best example in ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), who used to accompany the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on Hajj, surrounding him with her care, putting perfume on him with her own hands before he entered ihram, and after he finished his ihram, before he performed tawaf al-ifadah.30 She chose for him the best perfume that she could find. This is stated in a number of sahih hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim, for example:

“I applied perfume to  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with myown hands before he entered the state of ihram and when he concluded it before circumambulating the House.”31

“I applied perfume to  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with these two hands of mine when he entered ihram and when he concluded it, before he performed tawaf,” - and she spread her hands.32

‘Urwah said:

“I asked ‘A’ishah, ‘With what did you perfume  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) at the time when he entered ihram?’ She said, ‘With the best of perfume.’” 33  

According to another report also given by Muslim, ‘A’ishah  (radhiallahu anha) said:

“I applied the best perfume I could find to  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) before he entered ihram and when he concluded it, before he performed tawaf al-ifadah.”34

When the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was in seclusion (i’tikaf), he would lean his head towards ‘A’ishah, and she would comb and wash his hair. Bukhari and Muslim both report this in sahih hadith narrated from ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), such as:

“When  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was in i’tikaf, he inclined his head towards me and I combed his hair, and he did not enter the house except to answer the call of nature.”35

“I used to wash the Prophet’s head when I was menstruating.”36 

‘Aishah urged women to take good care of their husbands and to recognize the rights that their husbands had over them. She saw these rights as being so great and so important that a woman was barely qualified to wipe the dust from her husband’s feet with her face, as she stated: “O womenfolk, if you knew the rights that your husbands have over you, every one of you would wipe the dust from her husband’s feet with her face.”37

This is a vivid expression of the importance of the husband’s rights over his wife. ‘A’ishah wanted to bring this to women’s attention, so as to remove from the hearts of arrogant and stubborn women all those harsh, obstinate feelings that all too often destroy a marriage and turn it into a living hell.

Honoring and respecting one’s husband is one of the characteristic attitudes of this ummah. It is one of the good manners known at the time of jahiliyyah that were endorsed by Islam and perpetuated by the Arabs after they embraced Islam. Our Arab heritage is filled with texts that eloquently describe the advice given by mothers to their daughters, to care for, honor  and respect their husbands; these texts may be regarded as invaluable social documents.

One of the most famous and most beautiful of these texts was recorded by ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr al-Qurashi, who was one of the outstanding scholars of the second century AH. He quotes the words of advice given by Umamah bint al-Harith, one of the most eloquent and learned women, who was possessed of wisdom and great maturity, to her daughter on the eve of her marriage. These beautiful words deserve to be inscribed in golden ink.

‘Abd al-Malik said: “When ‘Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of the most highly respected leaders of the Arab nobility during the jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn ‘Amr al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her mother Umamah came in to her, to advise her, and said:

‘O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you possess these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.

‘O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father’s wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were created for men just as men were created for them.

‘O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion with whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.

‘Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.

‘The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one’s husband pleases Allah.

‘The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.

‘The fifth and the sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.

‘The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his children and servants shows good management.

‘The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.

‘Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgment, whilst the latter will make him unhappy.

‘Show him as much honor and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.

‘Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) choose what is best for you and protect you.’” 38

She was taken to her husband, and the marriage was a great success; she gave birth to kings who ruled after him.

This advice clearly included everything that one could think of as regards the good manners that a young girl needs to know about in order to treat her husband properly and be a suitable companion for him. The words of this wise mother deserve to be taken as the standard for every young girl who is about to get married.

If she is rich, the true Muslim woman does not let her wealth and financial independence make her blind to the importance of respecting her husband’s rights over her. She still takes care of him and honors him, no matter how rich she is or may become. She knows that she is obliged to show gratitude to Allah for the blessings He has bestowed upon her, so she increases her charitable giving for the sake of Allah. The first person to whom she should give generously is her own husband, if he is poor; in this case she will receive two rewards, one for taking care of a family member, and another for giving charity, as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated in the hadith narrated by Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah, the wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiallahu anhu):

“The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told us: ‘O women, give in charity even if it is some of your jewelry.’ She said, ‘I went back to ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and told him. ‘You are a man of little wealth, and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has commanded us to give charity, so go and ask him whether it is permissible for me to give you charity. If it is, I will do so; if it is not, I will give charity to someone else.’ ‘Abdullah said, ‘No, you go and ask.’ So I went, and I found a woman of the Ansar at the Prophet’s door, who also had the question. We felt too shy to go in, out of respect, so Bilal came out and we asked him, ‘Go and tell Allah’s Messenger  that there are two women at the door asking you: Is it permissible for them to give sadaqah to their husbands and the orphans in their care? But do not tell him who we are.’ So Bilal went in and conveyed this message to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who asked, ‘Who are they?’ Bilal said, ‘One of the women of the Ansar, and Zaynab (radhiallahu anha)’ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked, ‘Which Zaynab is it?’ Bilal said, ‘The wife of ‘Abdullah.’ The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘They will have two rewards, the reward for upholdithe relationship, and the reward for giving charity.’” 39 According to a report given by Bukhari, he said, “Your husband and your child are more deserving of your charity.”40 

The true Muslim woman is always careful to give thanks for Allah’s blessings if her life is easy, and she never loses her patience if she encounters difficulty. She never forgets the warning that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) issued to women in general, when he saw that most of the inhabitants of Hell will be women, and so she seeks refuge with Allah from becoming one of them.

Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O women, give charity, for I have surely seen that you form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell.” They asked, ‘Why is this so, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Because you curse too much, and are ungrateful for good treatment (on the part of your husbands).”41

According to another report given by Bukhari, he said, “because they are ungrateful for good and kind treatment. Even if you treated one of them (these ungrateful women) well for an entire lifetime, then she saw one fault in you, she would say, ‘I have never seen anything good from you!’” 42

According to a report given by Ahmad, a man said, “O Messenger of Allah, are they not our mothers and sisters and wives?” He said, “Of course, but when they are treated generously they are ungrateful, and when they are tested, they do not have patience.”43  

When the true Muslim woman thinks about these sahih hadith which describe the fate of most women in the Hereafter, she is always on the alert lest she fall into the sins of ingratitude towards her husband, or frequent cursing, or denying her husband’s good treatment of her, or forgetting to give thanks for times of ease, or failing to be patient at times of difficulty. In any case, she hastens to give charity as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) urged all women to do, in the hope that it may save them from that awful fate which will befall most of those women who deviate from truth and let trivial matters distract them from remembering Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and the Last Day, and whose bad qualities will ultimately lead them into the Fire of Hell. The Muslim woman, on the other hand, sets the highest example of respect towards one’s husband and taking note of his good qualities. This is the attitude of loyalty that befits the true Muslim woman who respects her husband’s rights and does not ignore his virtues.

Muslim women’s history is full of stories which reflect this loyalty and recognition of the good qualities of the husband. One of these stories is that of Asma’ bint ‘Umays, who was one of the greatest women in Islam, and one of the first women to migrate to Madinah. She was married to Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, then to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, then to ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all. On one occasion, her two sons Muhammad ibn Ja’far and Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr were competing with one another, each of them saying. “I am better than you, and my father is better than your father.” ‘Ali said to her, “Judge between them, O Asma’.” She said, “I have never seen a young man among the Arabs who was better than Ja’far, and I have never seen a mature man who was better than Abu Bakr.” ‘Ali said, “You have not left anything for me. If you had said anything other than what you have said, I would have hated you!” Asma’ said: “These are the best three, and you are one of them even if you are the least of them.”44

What a clever and eloquent answer this wise woman gave! She gave each of her three husbands the respect he deserved, and pleased ‘Ali, even though he was the least of them, because she included all of them in that group of the best.

She treats his mother and family with kindness and respect

One of the ways in which a wife expresses her respect towards her husband is by honoring and respecting his mother.

The Muslim woman who truly understands the teachings of her religion knows that the person who has the greatest right over a man is his mother, as we have seen in the hadith of ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) quoted above. So she helps him to honor and respect his mother, by also honoring and respecting her. In this way she will do herself and her husband a favor, as she will helping him to do good deeds and fear Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) as commanded by the Qur’an. At the same time, she will endear herself to her husband, who will appreciate her honor and respect towards his family in general, and towards his mother in particular. Nothing could please a decent, righteous and respectful man more than seeing strong ties of love and respect between his wife and his family, and nothing could be more hateful to a decent man than to see those ties destroyed by the forces of evil, hatred and conspiracy. The Muslim family which is guided by faith in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and follows the pure teachings of Islam is unlikely to fall into the trap of such jahili behavior, which usually flourishes in an environment that is far removed from the true teachings of this religion.

A Muslim wife may find herself being tested by her mother-in-law and other in-laws, if they are not of good character. If such is the case, she is obliged to treat them in the best way possible, which requires a great deal of cleverness, courtesy, diplomacy and repelling evil with that which is better. Thus she will maintain a balance between her relationship with her in-laws and her relationship with her husband, and she will protect herself and her marriage from any adverse effects that may result from the lack of such a balance.

The Muslim woman should never think that she is the only one who is required to be a good and caring companion to her spouse, and that nothing similar is required of her husband or that there is nothing wrong with him mistreating her or failing to fulfill some of the responsibilities of marriage. Islam has regulated the marital relationship by giving each partner both rights and duties. The wife’s duties of honor ing and taking care of her husband are balanced by the rights that she has over him, which are that he should protect her honor  and dignity from all kinds of mockery, humiliation, trials or oppression. These rights of the wife comprise the husband’s duties towards her: he is obliged to honor  them and fulfill them as completely as possible.

One of the Muslim husband’s duties is to fulfill his role of qawwam (maintainer and protector) properly. This is a role that can only be properly fulfilled by a man who is a successful leader in his home and family, one who possesses likeable masculine qualities. Such a man has a noble and worthy attitude, is tolerant, overlooks minor errors, is in control of his married life, and is generous without being extravagant. He respects his wife’s feelings and makes her feel that she shares the responsibility of running the household affairs, bringing up the children, and working with him to build a sound Muslim family, as Islam wants it to be.

She endears herself to her husband and is keen to please him

The true Muslim woman is always keen to win her husband’s love and to please him. Nothing should spoil his happiness or enjoyment of life. So she speaks kind words to him, and refrains from saying anything hurtful or upsetting. She brings him good news, but she keeps bad news from him as much as she can, or postpones telling it until a more suitable time when it will not upset him so much. If she finds that she has no alternative but to tell him upsetting news, she looks for the most suitable way to convey it, so that the blow will not be so hard on him. This is the wise approach and good conduct of the clever woman, but it is very difficult to attain and only a very few virtuous women ever do so.

One of those who did reach this high level was the great Muslim woman Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, the wife of Abu Talhah al-Ansari. Her son passed away whilst Abu Talhah was  traveling, and her attitude was so unique that if Imam Muslim had not reported this story we would have taken it to be a mere myth. Let us hear her son Anas ibn Malik tell the story of his remarkable mother and her unattitude:

“A son of Abu Talhah by Umm Sulaym died. Umm Sulaym told her family, ‘Do not tell Abu Talhah about his son until I tell him about it.’ Abu Talhah came home, so she prepared dinner for him, and he ate and drank. Then she beautified herself in a way that she had never done before, and he had sexual intercourse with her. When she saw that he was satisfied, she said, ‘O Abu Talhah, do you think that if a people lent something to a household, then asked for it back, do they have the right not to return it?’ He said, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Then resign yourself to the death of your son.’ Abu Talhah became angry and said, ‘You let me indulge myself and then you tell me about my son!’ He went to  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and told him what had happened.  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘May Allah bless both of you for this night!’ Umm Sulaym became pregnant.  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went on a journey, and she accompanied him. Whenever  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came back from a journey, he never entered Madinah at night. When they (the  traveling-party) approached Madinah, her labour-pains started. Abu Talhah stayed with her, and  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went on ahead to Madinah. Abu Talhah said, ‘O Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) , You know how I love to go out with Your Messenger when he goes out, and to come back with him when he comes back, and I have been detained, as You see.’ Umm Sulaym said, ‘O Abu Talhah, I do not feel as much pain as I did before, so let us go on.’ When they reached (Madinah), her labour-pains started again, and she gave birth to a boy. My mother said to me, ‘O Anas, nobody should feed him until you take him to Allah’s Messenger  in the morning.’ So when morning came, I took the baby to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and when I met him he was carrying an iron tool. When he saw me, he said, ‘I hope that Umm Sulaym has given birth.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ So he put down the tool and I brought the child to him and placed him in his lap.  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) called for some of the dates of Madinah. He chewed it until it became soft, then he put it in the baby’s mouth and the baby began to smack his lips.  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘See how much the Ansar love dates!’ Then he wiped the baby’s face and named him ‘Abdullah.”45 

How great was Umm Sulaym’s faith, and how magnificent her patience and virtue! How bravely she hid her pain from her husband and endeared herself to him. She managed to conceal her grief at the loss of her beloved son and spent that time with her husband patiently hoping that by being a good wife to her husband she might earn the pleasure of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  This is true, deep and sincere faith.

Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) answered the Prophet’s prayer for Umm Sulaym and her husband, and she became pregnant from that night. When she was heavily pregnant, she saw her husband Abu Talhah preparing to set out on another military campaign with Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). She insisted on partaking of the honor  of jihad with him alongside Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), even though she was in the later stages of pregnancy. Her husband took pity on her because of the difficulties of the journey and the heat of the desert, but he still asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) for permission to let her come with him, and he gave his permission because he knew her strength of character and love of jihad.

Umm Sulaym was present when the Muslims were triumphant at Makkah, and when they were sorely tested at Hunayn. She stood firm, as solid as a rock, alongside her husband and the small group of believers around the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), even though she was pregnant, at that most difficult time when many others had fled, and she remained there until Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) brought victory to the believers.

The mujahid army returned to Madinah, and her labour began. When the pains became intense, she and her husband stayed behind for a while, but her husband prayed to his Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  in the still of night becasue he loved to go out and return with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Suddenly the pains ceased; she told her husband and they set out to follow the army that had gone on ahead. They caught up with them, and after they had entered Madinah, Umm Sulaym’s labour pains began anew. She gave birth to a boy, and his brother on his mother’s side, Anas, brought him to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who fed him a small amount of dates (tahnik) and named him ‘Abdullah. The prayer of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) for this baby was fulfilled, as among his descendents were ten great scholars.

No doubt Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) knew the sincerity of Umm Sulaym’s faith, and conveyed the good news of Paradise to her via His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“I entered Paradise, and heard footsteps. I said, ‘Who is this?’ and they told me, ‘It is al-Ghumaysa’, the daughter of Milhan, the mother of Anas ibn Malik.’” 46

Another example of the ways in which a wife may endear herself to her husband is the way in which ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) spoke to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he came back to his wives after he had kept away from them for a month. He had said, “I will not go in to them for a month,” because he was so angry with them. When twenty-nine days had passed, he came to ‘A’ishah first. ‘A’ishah said to him, ‘You swore to stay away from us for a month, and only twenty-nine days have passed; I have been counting them.” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “This month has twenty-nine days.” That particular month had only twenty-nine days.47  

‘A’ishah’s telling the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that she had counted twenty-nine days was a clear indication of her love towards her husband and of how she had waited, day by day, hour by hour, for him to come back to her. It shows how she loved and missed her husband. This approach made her even dearer to him, so when he came back to his wives, he started with her.

The sincere Muslim woman recognizes her husband’s likes and habits, and tries to accommodate them as much as she can, in the interests of mutual understanding and marital harmony, and to protect the marriage from the boredom of routine. This is what every wise and intelligent wife does. It was narrated that the qadi and faqih Shurayh married a woman from Banu Hanzalah. On their wedding night, each of them prayed two rak’ahs and asked Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) to bless them. Then the bride turned to Shurayh and said, “I am a stranger, and I do not not know much about you. Tell me what you like, and I will do it, and tell me what you do not like so I may avoid it.” Shurayh said, “She stayed with me for twenty years, and I never had to tell her off for anything, except on one occasion, and I was in the wrong then.”

This is the respectful and loving wife as Islam wants her to be, responsible for her home and loyal to her husband, and always careful to maintain a good relationship between them. If anything happens to upset their marriage, she hastens to calm the situation with her sincere love and wise understanding. She does not listen to the whispering of the Shaytan which calls her to do wrong, and she never hastens to ask her husband for a divorce. The marriage bond should be too strong to be undone by temporary arguments or occasional misunderstandings. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) warned those foolish women who ask their husbands for a divorce with no legitimate reason that they would be denied even the scent of Paradise:

“Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce with no good reason will be deprived of even smelling the scent of Paradise.”48  

She does not disclose his secrets

The chaste Muslim woman does not disclose her husband’s secrets, and does not talk to anyone about whatever secrets and other matters there may be between him and her. The serious Muslim woman is above that; she would never sink to the level of such cheap and shameless talk as goes on amongst the lowest type of people. Her time is too precious to be wasted in such vulgar behavior. She would never accept for herself to be counted as one of those people whom the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described as one of the worst types:

“Among the worst type of people in the sight of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) on the Day of Judgment is a man who enjoys his wife’s intimate company, and she enjoys his intimate company, then one of them goes and discloses the secret of the other.”49

Talking about that which is private between a husband and wife is one of the most abhorrent ways of disclosing secrets. No-one does such a thing but the worst type of people. There are some secrets the disclosure of which is not as bad as disclosing this secret, but in any case, telling secrets at all is disliked and is unacceptable. Keeping secrets in itself is a worthy and virtuous deed, whilst disclosing them is a serious error and shortcoming, from which nobody can be immune except the infallible Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The disclosure of a secret that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had entrusted to Hafsah, who told it to ‘A’ishah, led to the plotting and intrigue in his household that caused him to keep away from his wives for a whole month, because he was so upset with them.50 Concerning this, the following ayah was revealed:

( When the Prophet disclosed a matter of confidence to one of his consorts, and she then divulged it [to another], and Allah made it known to him, he confirmed part thereof and repudiated a part. Then when he told her thereof, she said, ‘Who told you this?’ He said, ‘He told me Who knows and is well-acquainted [with all things].) (Qur’an 66:3) 

The two women concerned are then confronted with their error, and called to repent, so that they might draw closer to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) after having distanced themselves by their deed, otherwise Allah would be his (the Prophet’s) Protector, and Jibril and the righteous believers would also support him:

( If you two turn in repentance to Him, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you back up each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, and Gabriel, and [every] righteous one among those who believe - and furthermore, the angels - will back [him] up.) (Qur’an 66:4) 

Then they are issued with a stern warning and the terrifying prospect that if they persist in their error, they may lose the honor  of being the wives of the Prophet:

( It may be, if he divorced you [all], that Allah will give him in exchange Consorts better than you - who submit [their wills], who believe, who are devout, who turn to Allah in repentance, who worship [in humility], who travel [for Faith] and fast - previously married or virgins.) (Qur’an 66:5) 

This incident presents a valuable lesson to the Muslim woman on the importance of keeping her husband’s secret, and the effect this confidentiality has on the stability of the individual and the home. One of the greatest blessings that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has bestowed on the Muslims in particular, and on mankind in general, is that he has made the public and private life of His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) like an open book, in which can be read the teachings of this ‘aqidah and its practical application in real life. Nothing is secret or hidden: matters and events that people usually keep secret are discussed openly in the Qur’an and Sunnah, even unavoidable human weaknesses. All of these issues are presented in order to teach people right from wrong.

The Sahabah, may Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) be pleased with them, understood that the Prophet’s life was entirely devoted to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His message, so why should they keep secret or conceal any aspect of his life? The stories that have been narrated about his life, his household and his wives represent a practical application of the words he preached, and for this reason, the Sahabah (may Allah reward them with all good) transmitted the most precise details of his life, and did not fail to record any aspect of his daily life, whether it was major or minor. This is part of the way in which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) caused the life of his Prophet to be recorded, including details of the precise way in which Islamic teachings were applied in his life. This is in addition to the Qur’anic references to the Prophet’s life, which form a record that will remain until heaven and earth pass away.

She stands by him and offers her advice

One of the laws that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has decreed for this life is that men and women should work together to cultivate and populate the earth and run the affairs of life therein. Man cannot do without woman, and vice versa. Hence the laws of Islam teach men and women to co-operate in all matters. Islam encourages a man to help his wife, as much as he is able; the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who is the example for all Muslims, used to help and serve his family until he went out to pray, as the Mother of the Believers ‘A’ishah said.51

Just as Islam expects a man to help his wife with housework and running household affairs, so the woman is also expected to help him in dealing with the outside world and to play her role in life by offering her opinions and advice, and supporting him in practical terms.

History tells us that Muslim women engaged in jihad side by side with men, marching to war with them, bringing water to the thirsty, tending the wounded, setting broken bones, stemming the flow of blood, encouraging the soldiers, and sometimes joining in the actual fighting, running back and forth between the swords and spears, standing firm when some of the brave men had fled. Their courageous conduct in battle was praised by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), as we have described previously (see pp. 69-91).

However, women’s contribution to public life did not stop on the battlefield; women also stood side-by-side with men at times of peace, offering their valuable opinions, soothing their hearts at times of stress and supporting them during times of hardship.

History has recorded many names of great Muslim men who used to seek and follow the advice of their wives, foremost among whom is the Prophet himself (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who sometimes followed the advice of Khadijah, Umm Salamah, ‘A’ishah and others among his wives. ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr used to follow the advice of his mother Asma’, al-Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik used to follow the advice of his wife Umm al-Banin bint ‘Abd al-’Aziz ibn Marwan, and Harun al-Rashid used to follow the advice of his wife Zubaydah, and there are many other such examples in the history of Islam.

The true, sincere Muslim woman understands the heavy burden that Islam has placed on her shoulders, by obliging her to be a good wife to her husband, to surround him with care and meet his every need, to give him enjoyment, and to renew his energy so that he may fulfill his mission in life. So she does not withhold her advice when she sees that he needs it, and she never hesitates to stand by his side, encouraging him, supporting him and offering advice and consolation.

The first Muslim woman, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid is the best example of a woman who influenced her husband. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to her on the day of the first Revelation, anxious, trembling and shaking all over. He told her, “Cover me, cover me!” She hastened to offer her help and support, advising him and thinking of a practical way of helping him. Bukhari and Muslim report the story told by ‘A’ishah of how the Revelation commenced, and the marvellous way in which Khadijah responded by supporting her husband:

“The Revelation started in the form of a dream that came true, he never saw a dream but it would clearly come to pass. Then he was made to like seclusion, so he would go and stay alone in the cave of Hira’, praying and worshipping for many nights at a time, before coming back to his family to collect supplies for another period of seclusion. Then the truth came suddenly, when he was in the cave of Hira’. The angel came to him and said ‘Read!’ He said, ‘I am not a reader.’ [The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:] ‘The angel embraced me and squeezed me until I nearly passed out, then released me, and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ The angels embraced me a second time, squeezed me until I nearly passed out, then released me and said, ‘Read!’ I said, ‘I am not a reader.’ The angel embraced me a third time and squeezed me until I nearly passed out, then released me and said:

( Read! In the name of your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  and Cherisher, who created - created man, out of a [mere] clot of congealed blood: Read! And your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  is Most Bountiful - He taught [the use of] the Pen - taught man that which he knew not.) (Qur’an 96:1-5)’” 

 Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came back to Khadijah, trembling all over, and said, “Cover me, cover me!”. They covered him up until he calmed down, then he said to Khadijah, “O Khadijah, what is wrong with me?” He told her what had happened, then said, “I fear for myself.” Khadijah said: “No, rather be of good cheer, for by Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) would never forsake you. By Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) you uphold the ties of kinship, speak the truth, spend money on the needy, give money to the penniless, honor  your guests and help those beset by difficulties. She took him to Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza, who was her cousin, the son of her father’s brother. He was a man who had become a Christian during the time of jahiliyyah; he could write the Arabic script and he had written as much of the Gospel in Arabic as Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) willed. He was an old man who had become blind. Khadijah said to him, “O Uncle, listen to your nephew.” Waraqah ibn Nawfal said, “O son of my brother, what has happened?”  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told him what had happened, and Waraqah said to him, “This is al-Namus (i.e., Jibril), who was sent down to Musa, upon whom be peace. I wish that I were a young man, and could be alive when your people cast you out.”  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked, “Will they really cast me out?” Waraqah said, “Yes. No man has ever come with what you have brought, but his people were hostile towards him. If I live to see that day I will give you all the support I can.”52 

This report is strong evidence of Khadijah’s wifely perfection, wisdom, strength of character, steadfastness, understanding and deep insight. She knew the Prophet’s outstanding character, good conduct and purity of heart, and this made her certain that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) would never forsake a man such as Muhammad(sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or permit any bad fate to befall him. She knew that behind this remarkable new event that had overwhelmed  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) lay something great that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) had prepared for His Messenger, so she spoke her kind and sweet words of encouragement, filling him with confidence, tranquility and firm conviction: “Be of good cheer, O cousin, and stand firm. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Khadijah, I hope that you will be the Prophet of this nation.”53 Then she took him to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who had knowledge of the Torah and Gospel, and told him what had happened to the Prophet.

The first Mother of the Believers, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), was a sincere adviser in the way of Islam to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). She had already earned the great status and lasting fame of being the first person to believe in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger, and she stood beside her husband the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), supporting him and helping him to bear the worst oppression and persecution that he faced at the beginning of his mission; she endured along with him every hardship and difficulty that he was confronted with.

Ibn Hisham says in his Sirah: “Khadijah had faith, and believed in what he brought from Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  In this way, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) helped His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Whenever he heard any hateful words of rejection or disbelief that upset him, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) would cause his spirits to be lifted when he came back to her. She encouraged him to be patient, believed in him, and made it easier for him to bear whatever the people said or did. May Allah have mercy on her.”54

She was a woman who always spoke the truth, and carried this burden sincerely. It is no surprise that she earned the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and deserved to be honor ed by Him, so He conveyed the greeting of salam to her through His Messengers Jibril and Muhammad(sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and gave her glad tidings of a house in Paradise, as is stated in the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah:

“Jibril came to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is coming to you with vessels containing food and drink. When she comes to you, convey to her the greeting of salam from her Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  and from me, and give her the glad tidings of a house of pearls in Paradise, in which there is no noise or hard work.”55 

The true Muslim woman puts her mind to good work, thinks hard and gives advice to her husband at times when he may be most in need of advice. By doing so, she does a great favor for her husband, and this is one of the ways in which she may treat him well.

Another of these great stories which feature correct advice given by a woman is the reaction of the Muslims to the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah, and Umm Salamah’s reaction, which demonstrated her deep insight and great wisdom.

Umm Salamah (radhiallahu anha) was one of those who were with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he went to Makkah to perform ‘Umrah in 6 AH. This is the journey which was interrupted by Quraysh, who prevented the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions from reaching the Ka’bah. The treaty of al-Hudaybiyah was drawn up between the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Quraysh. This was a peace-treaty which was intended to put an end to the fighting for ten years; it was also agreed that if anyone from Quraysh came to Muhammad without the permission of his guardian, he would be returned, but if any of the Muslims came to Quraysh, he would not be returned, and that the Muslims would go back that year without entering Makkah, etc.

By virtue of his deep understanding that was derived from the guidance of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) understood that this treaty, which appeared to be quite unfair to the Muslims, was in fact something good and represented a great victory for Islam and the Muslims.

The Sahabah, however, were dismayed when they learned the content of the treaty. They saw it as unfair and unjust, especially as they had the upper hand at that time. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab expressed the angry feelings of the Sahabah when he went to Abu Bakr and asked him: “Is he not Allah’s Messenger ?” Abu Bakr said, “Of course.” “Are we not Muslims?” “Yes.” “Are they not mushrikin?” “Yes.” “Why should we accept this deal which is so humiliating to our religion?” Abu Bakr warned him, “O ‘Umar, follow his orders. I bear witness that he is Allah’s Messenger .” Umar said, “And I bear witness that he is Allah’s Messenger .” Then ‘Umar went to Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and asked him questions similar to those he had asked Abu Bakr. But when he asked, “Why should we accept this deal which is so humiliating to our religion?” the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “I am the servant of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger; I will never disobey His command, and He will never forsake me.”56 

Then ‘Umar realized that his haste to oppose the treaty was a mistake. He used to say, “I kept giving charity, fasting, praying and freeing slaves because of what I had done and said on that day, until I hoped that ultimately it would be good for me (because it made me perform so many good deeds).”57

When the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had ratified the treaty, he commanded his Companions to get up, slaughter their sacrificial animals, and shave their heads, but none of them got up58. He told them three times to do this, but not one of them responded. He went to his wife Umm Salamah, and told her what he was facing from the people. At this point the wisdom and intelligence of Umm Salamah become quite clear: she told him, “O Messenger of Allah, go out and do not speak to any of them until you have sacrificed your animal and shaved your head.”

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took her advice, and did as she suggested. When the Sahabah saw that, they rushed to sacrifice their animals, pushing one another aside, and some of them began to shave one another’s heads, until they were almost fighting with one another because of their distress and grief, and their regret for having disobeyed the Prophet.59

After that, the Muslims came back to their senses, and they understood the Prophet’s great wisdom in agreeing to this treaty, which in fact was a manifest victory, because many more people entered Islam after it than had before. In Sahih Muslim it states that the ayah,

( Verily We have granted you a manifest Victory) (Qur’an 48:1) referred to the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent for ‘Umar and recited this ayah to him. ‘Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is really a victory?” He said, “Yes,” so then ‘Umar felt at peace.60  

She encourages her husband to spend for the sake of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala)

Another way in which the true Muslim woman supports her husband is by encouraging him to spend and give charity for the sake of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and not to waste money in extravagance and ostentatious purchases, as we see so many ignorant and misguided women doing.

The alert Muslim woman always wants goodness and success for her husband, so she urges him to do good deeds, and to do more of them, because she believes that by doing this, she will increase her honor  in this world and her reward in the next.

One of the beautiful stories narrated about a woman’s encouraging her husband to spend for the sake of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) is the story of Umm al-Dahdah. When her husband came to her and told her that he had given in charity the garden in which she and her children used to live, in hopes of receiving a bunch of dates61 in Paradise, she said, “You have got a good deal, you have got a good deal.” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commented, “How many bunches of dates Abu’l-Dahdah will have in Paradise!” and he repeated this several times.62

She helps him to obey Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala)

One of the qualities of the good Muslim wife is that she helps her husband to obey Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) in different ways, especially to stay up and pray at night (qiyam al-layl). By doing this, she does him an immense favor, because she reminds him to do something he might otherwise forget or neglect. Thus she causes him, and herself, to be covered by the mercy of Allah.

What a beautiful picture the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) drew of the married couple helping one another to obey Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and do good deeds, and entering into the mercy of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) together. This comes in the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu anhu), who said:

“ Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘May Allah have mercy on the man who gets up at night to pray and wakes up his wife to pray, and if she refuses, he sprinkles water in her face. And may Allah have mercy on the woman who gets up at night to pray, and wakes her husband up to pray, and if he refuses, she sprinkles water in his face.”63  

She fills his heart with joy

The clever and sensitive Muslim woman does not forget that one of the greatest deeds she can do in life, after worshipping Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is to be successful in endearing herself to her husband and filling his heart with joy, so that he will feel in the depths of his heart that he is happy to be married to her, and enjoys living with her and being in her company. So she uses her intelligence to find ways and means of opening his heart and filling it with joy and happiness, so that she may become the queen of his heart.

She understands that she is the greatest joy of a man in this world, as is stated in the hadith narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-’As (radhiallahu anhu), in which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman.”64 

She does not forget that she is the greatest joy in this life for a man, if she knows how to endear herself to him. If she does not know how to endear herself to him then in most cases she will be a source of unhappiness and misery to her husband, as was confirmed by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“Three things make the son of Adam happy, and three make him miserable. Among the things that make the son of Adam happy are a good wife, a good home and a good means of transport; the things that make him miserable are a bad wife, a bad home and a bad means of transport.”65  

Hence being a good wife, and endearing oneself to one’s husband, are a part of religion, because this offers protection to a man by helping him to remain chaste, and strengthens the foundations of the family, thus bringing happiness to her husband and children.

The Muslim woman by nature likes to endear herself to her husband; in doing so she finds a way of fulfilling her femininity and her inclinations to make herself attractive. But for the Muslim woman, the matter goes even further: in seeking to win her husband’s heart, she is also seeking to earn the pleasure of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) Who has made being a good wife a part of religion, about which she will be questioned in the Hereafter. So she does not spare any effort in her loving treatment of her husband: she presents a pleasing appearance, speaks pleasantly and kindly, and is a clever and likeable companion.

She makes herself beautiful for him

She makes herself beautiful for her husband by means of make-up, clothing, etc., so that she will appear more beautiful and attractive, and thus make her husband happy. This was the practice of the righteous women of the salaf, who used to devote their time to worshipping Allah and reading Qur’an. Foremost among them were ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) and others; they used to wear fine clothes and jewelry at home and when they were  traveling, in order to make themselves look beautiful for their husbands.

Bakrah bint ‘Uqbah came to ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) and asked her about henna. ‘A’ishah said, “It comes from a good tree and pure water.” She asked her about removing body hair, and she said, “If you have a husband, and you could remove your eyes and replace them with something better, then do it.”66

Let those careless women who neglect their appearance in front of their husbands listen to the advice of ‘A’ishah, and realize that their beauty should be primarily for their husbands, not for their friends and peers. Those women who are failing to make themselves beautiful for their husbands are sinners, because they are falling short in one of the greatest duties of marriage. Their negligence may be the cause of their husbands staying away from them and looking at other women.

The wife whose husband only ever sees her with unkempt hair, looking pale and wan and wearing shabby old clothes, is a foolish and disobedient wife. It will be of no help to her if she rushes to beautify herself only when receiving guests, or going to a women’s party, but remains looking shabby most of the time in front of her husband. I think that the Muslim woman who is truly guided by the teachings of Islam will be safe from such shortcomings, because she treats her husband properly, and a woman who treats her husband properly is most unlikely to fail in fulfilling her duty towards him.

It is one of the teachings of Islam that a woman should make herself look beautiful for her husband, so that her husband should only ever see of her that which he likes. So it is forbidden for a woman to dress in mourning for more than three days, except in the case of her husband’s death, when she is permitted to mourn for four months and ten days. We find proof of this in the hadith narrated by Bukhari from Zaynab the daughter of Umm Salamah, who said, “I came to Zaynab bint Jahsh, the wife of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when her brother died. She called for perfume and applied it to herself, then said, “I am not wearing perfume because I need to, but because I heard  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say from the minbar:

“It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and the Last Day to grieve for more than three days, except for her husband, (for whom she may grieve) four months and ten days.”67

 

She is cheerful and grateful when she meets him

One of the ways in which the Muslim woman makes herself attractive to her husband is by being happy, cheerful, friendly and gentle, thus flooding her husband’s life with joy. When he comes home exhausted from his work, she greets him with a smiling face and kind words. She puts her own concerns to one side for a while, and helps him to forget some of his worries. She appears as cheerful and serene as she can, and expresses her gratitude to him every time he does something good for her.

The true Muslim woman is fair-minded, and is never ungrateful to any person, because the teachings of her religion protect her from falling into the error of bad behavior and ingratitude for favors. How then could she be ungrateful to her husband, her beloved lifelong companion? She knows well the teaching of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“He does not thank Allah who does not thank people.”68 

She understands from this that every person who does good deeds and favors deserves thanks and recognition, so how could she hesitate or fail to show gratitude to her husband, especially when she hears the words of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) will not look at the woman who does not thank her husband at the time when she cannot do without him.”69  

She shares his joys and sorrows

Another of the ways in which a woman may endear herself to her husband is by sharing his joys and sorrows. So she joins him in some of his pastimes, and his daily work, such as reading, exercise, and attending useful talks and gatherings, and so on, so that her husband will feel that he is not alone in his enjoyment of the good things in life, but that he is sharing these pleasures with a loving, intelligent and loyal wife.

The fact that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) raced with ‘A’ishah more than once indicates the fact that Islam urges both spouses to share their partner’s joy and happiness in life, because this sharing will have a powerful effect in deepening their feelings for one another and strengthening the bonds between them.

Just as she shares his joys, so she also shares his worries and concerns, and comes to him with kind words of consolation, mature and sensible advice and sincere emotional support.

She does not look at other men

The true Muslim woman avoids looking at men other than her husband; she does not stare at men who are not related to her (i.e. who are not her mahrams), in obedience to the command of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala) :

( And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze . . .) (Qur’an 24:31). 

By refraining from looking at other men, she will be one of those chaste women who restrain their glances, which is a quality men like in women, because it is indicative of their purity, decency and fidelity. This is one of the most beautiful characteristics of the chaste, decent, pure Muslim woman, and this was referred to in the Qur’an when it speaks of the women of Paradise and their qualities that are loved by men:

( In them will be [Maidens] chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched.) (Qur’an 55:56)? 

She does not describe other women to him

Another of the characteristics of the intelligent Muslim woman is that she does not describe any of her (female) friends or acquaintances to him, because this is forbidden according to the words of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“No woman should talk about another woman, or describe her to her husband (so that it is) as if he sees her.”70 

Islam wants people’s hearts to be at peace, and to put a stop to provocative thoughts and overactive imaginations, so that people may live their lives in a decent and calm fashion, free from such thoughts and able to go about the tasks and duties for which they were created. No man should let his mind be occupied with cheap thoughts of the contrast between his wife and the woman she describes, or let himself become crazy with the embellishments his own imagination may add to the woman’s supposed beauty. He should not let such foolish talk stop him from going about his work and usual pastimes, or lead him to temptation and make him go astray.

She tries to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility for him

The Muslim woman does not only make herself beautiful for her husband and share his work and pastimes, but she also tries to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the home. So she tries to keep a clean and tidy home, in which he will see order and good taste, and clean, well-mannered, polite children, and where good meals are prepared regularly. The clever woman also does whatever else she can based on her knowledge and good taste. All of this is part of being a good Muslim wife as enjoined by Islam.

The true Muslim woman does not forget that according to Islam marriage is one of the signs of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  Islam has made the wife a source of tranquility, rest and consolation for her husband:

( And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts] . . .) (Qur’an 30:21)

Marriage is the deepest of bonds which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) ties between one soul and another, so that they may enjoy peace, tranquility, stability and permitted pleasures. The wife is a source of refuge, security and rest for her husband in a marital home that is filled with sincere love and compassionate mercy. The truly-guided Muslim woman is the best one to understand this lofty meaning and to translate it into a pleasant and cheerful reality.

She is tolerant and forgiving

The Muslim woman is tolerant and forgiving, overlooking any errors on the part of her husband. She does not bear a grudge against him for such errors or remind him about them every so often. There is no quality that will endear her to her husband like the quality of tolerance and forgiveness, and there is nothing that will turn her husband against her like resentment, counting faults and reminding him about his mistakes.

The Muslim woman who is following the guidance of Islam obeys the command of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala) :

( . . . Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? . . .) (Qur’an 24:22) 

Such a woman deserves to be the queen of her husband’s heart and to fill his soul with joy and happiness.

She is strong in character and wise

Among the most prominent characteristics of the Muslim woman are her strength of character, mature way of thinking, and serious conduct. These are qualities which the Muslim woman possesses both before and after marriage, because they are the result of her understanding of Islam and her awareness of her mission in life.

She exhibits this strength of character when she is choosing a husband. She does not give way to her father’s whims if he has deviated from the right way and is seeking to force her into a marriage that she does not want. Neither does she give in to the man who comes to seek her hand in marriage, no matter how rich or powerful he may be, if he does not have the qualities of a true Muslim husband.

After marriage, her character remains strong, even though she is distinguished by her easy-going nature, mild-tempered behavior and loving obedience to her husband. Her strength of character comes to the fore especially when she has to take a stand in matters concerning her religion and ‘aqidah, as we have seen in some of the narratives referred to previously, such as Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, who insisted on adhering to Islam along with her son Anas, although her husband Malik ibn al-Nadar remained a mushrik, opposed to his wife being Muslim (see p. 166-168); and Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan who remained steadfast in her Islam when her husband ‘Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh al-Asadi became an apostate and joined the religion of the Abyssinians (see p. 98-101); and Barirah who was determined to separate from her husband whom she did not love, even though the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) tried to intervene on his behalf (see p. 162-163); and the wife of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, who demanded a divorce from her husband whom she did not love either, and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) accepted her request (see p. 162).

The primary motive of these women in taking up such a strong stance was their concern to adhere to Islam, to keep their belief (‘aqidah) pure, and ultimately to please Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala). 

Each of them was seeking that which is halal in her married life, and feared committing any haram deed, either because she was married to a man who did not share her religious beliefs, or she was falling short in her duties towards a husband whom she did not love or could not live with. If it were not for their strength of character and feelings of pride in themselves and their faith, they would have followed the commands of theimisguided husbands and would have found themselves going astray, choking on the misery of living with a husband they could not truly accept. The courage of these women shows how the true Muslim women should be, no matter where or when she lives.

But the Muslim woman’s strength of character should not make her forget that she is required to obey her husband, treating him with honor  and respect. Her strength of character should make her strike a wise balance in the way she speaks and acts towards him, with no inconsistency or carelessness. Even in those moments of anger which are unavoidable in a marriage, she should control herself and restrain her tongue, lest she say anything that could hurt her husband’s feelings. This is the quality of a strong, balanced character.

‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) represents the highest example of this good quality, and every Muslim woman should follow her example. The way in which she swore an oath when she was happy with her husband, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), was different from the way she spoke when she was upset with him. This is an example of good manners and respect. It was something that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) noticed, as she narrated that he said:

“I know when you are happy with me and when you are upset with me.” She said, “How do you know that?” He said, “When you are happy with me, you say, ‘No, by the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  of Muhammad,’ and when you are upset with me, you say, ‘No, by the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)  of Ibrahim.’”  She said, “Yes, that is right. By Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) O Messenger of Allah, I only keep away from your name.”71 

What refined manners and sincere love!

‘A’ishah’s strength of character became even more prominent when she was tried with the slander (al-ifk) which Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) made a test for His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and for all the ummah, raising the status of some and lowering that of others, increasing the faith of those who were guided and increasing the loss of those who went astray.

Her strength of character and deep faith in Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) became apparent, and her trust in Him alone to prove her innocence was quite clear. I can find no more beautiful description of the deep and sincere faith of ‘A’ishah and her trust in the justice of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) than that given by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, who said:

“The test was so severe that the Revelation ceased for a month because of it, and nothing at all concerning this issue was revealed to  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) during that time, so that the wisdom behind what had happened might become completely apparent and the sincere believers might be increased in faith and adherence to justice and might think well of Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) His Messenger, the Messenger’s family and those believers who spoke the truth. The munafiqin, meanwhile, would be increased only in sins and hypocrisy, and their true nature would be exposed to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the believers. ‘A’ishah, the one who had spoken the truth, and her parents would be shown to be true servants of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) who had received His full blessing. Their needs for Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and desire to draw closer to Him would increase; they would feel humble before Him and would put their hope and trust in Him, instead of hoping for the support of other people. ‘A’ishah would despair of receiving help from any created being, and she passed this most difficult test when her father said, ‘Get up and thank him,’ after Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) had sent down a Revelation confirming her innocence. She said, ‘By Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) I will not get up and thank him; I will only give thanks to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) Who has revealed my innocence.’

“Another aspect of the wisdom behind the Revelation being suspended for a month was that people would focus solely on this issue and examine it closely; the believers would wait with eager anticipation to hear what Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) would reveal to His Messenger concerning this matter. The Revelation came like rain on parched land, when it was most needed by  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his family, by Abu Bakr and his family, by the Sahabah and by the believers, and it brought them great relief and joy. If Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) had revealed the truth of the matter from the first instant, then the wisdom behind this event would have been obscured and a great lesson would have been lost.

“Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) wanted to demonstrate the status of His Prophet and his family in His sight, and the honor  which He had bestowed upon them. He Himself was to defend His Messenger and rebuke his enemies, in such a way that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had nothing to do with it. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone would avenge His Prophet and his family.

“ Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was the target of this slander, and the one who was accused was his wife. It was not appropriate for him to declare her innocence, although he knew that she was indeed innocent, and never thought otherwise. When he asked people to avenge him of those who had spread the slander, he said: ‘Who could blame me if I were to punish those who slandered my family? By Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) I have never known anything but good from my family, and they have told me about a man from whom I have never known anything but good, and he never came in my house except with me.’ He had more proof than the believers did of ‘A’ishah’s innocence, but because of his high level of patience, perseverance and deep trust in Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) he acted in the appropriate manner until the Revelation came that made his heart rejoice and raised his status, showing to his ummah that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) was taking care of him.

“Whoever examines ‘A’ishah’s response, when her father told her to get up and thank Allah’s Messenger , and she said, ‘No, I will give thanks only to Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala) ,’ will realize the extent of her knowledge and the depth of her faith. She attributed this blessing to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone, and gave thanks only to Him. She had a sound grasp of Tawhid, and demonstrated great strength of character and confidence in her innocence. She was not curious or anxious about the outcome when she spoke thus, because she was sure that she had done nothing wrong. Because of her faith in the Prophet’s love for her, she said what she said. She became even dearer to him when she said, ‘I will not give thanks except to Allah   (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for He is the One Who has revealed my innocence.’ She displayed remarkable maturity and steadfastness when her dearly beloved husband, whom she could not bear to be apart from, kept away from her for a month; then when the matter was resolved and he wished to come back to her, she did not rush to him, despite her great love for him. This is the highest level of steadfastness and strength of character.”72

It is indeed the highest level of maturity and strength of character. The true Muslim woman is humble, kind, loving and obedient towards her husband, but she does not allow her character to weaken before him, even if he is the most beloved of all people towards her, and the most noble and honor able of all human beings, so long as she is in the right and is adhering to the way of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) set the highest example of the strength of character of the Muslim woman who is proud of her religion and understands what it is to be a true servant of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone.

The Muslim woman should interpret ‘A’ishah’s attitude as an attitude of superiority or arrogance, pushing her husband away. We have already explained the duties of the Muslim woman towards her husband i.e., obedience, loving kindness and seeking to please him, in accordance with Islamic teachings. What we learn from the attitude of ‘A’ishah (radhiallahu anha) is the esteem and honor  with which Islam regards woman, so long as she adheres to the laws and teachings of Islam. This is what gives her character strength, pride, honor  and wisdom.

Islam gives women rights and recognition which are envied by Western women when they hear about women’s rights in Islam (see p. 92), This has been freely admitted by women’s liberation activists in Arab countries, as we have seen (see p. 58). Many of them have retracted their claims that Muslim women need to be liberated; one such activist is Dr. El-Saadawi, who was interviewed for the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Watan (mid-August 1989).

Dr. El-Saadawi was asked, “Do you think that the European women are an example to be copied?” She replied, “No, not at all. European women have advanced in some fields, but are backward in others. The marriage laws in Europe oppress women, and this is what led to the development of women’s liberation movements in those countries and in America, where this movement is very strong and is even at times quite vicious.”

Then she remarked: “Our Islamic religion has given women more rights than any other religion has, and has guaranteed her honor  and pride, but what has happened is that men have sometimes used certain aspects of this religion to create a patriarchal class system in which males dominate females.”

Clearly this patriarchal oppression mentioned by Dr. El Saadawi, which has led to the oppression of women, has been caused by ignorance of the true teachings of Islam.

She is one of the most successful wives

This discussion of the intellectual, psychological and other qualities of the smart Muslim wife demonstrates that she is a successful wife, if not the most successful wife and the greatest blessing and good fortune that a man may enjoy.

By virtue of her understanding of Islamic teaching, and her fulfilling her duties towards her husband, she becomes the greatest joy of her husband’s life: when he comes home, she greets him with a warm and friendly smile, speaking kindly and sweetly, looking attractive and smart, with a clean and tidy house, pleasant conversation, and a table full of good food, pleasing him and making him happy.

She is obedient, kind and loving towards her husband, ever eager to please him. She does not disclose his secrets or upset his plans. She stands beside him at times of hardship, offering her support and wise advice. She shares his joys and sorrows. She endears herself to him by the way she looks and behaves, and fills his life with joy and happiness. She encourages him to obey Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) in different ways, and motivates him by joining him in different activities. She respects his mother and family. She refrains from looking at other men. She keeps away from foolish and worthless talk. She is keen to provide an atmosphere of peace, tranquility and stability for her husband and children. She is strong of character without being rude or aggressive, and is kind and gentle without being weak. She earns the respect of those who speak to her. She is tolerant and forgiving, overlooking errors and never bearing grudges.

Thus the Muslim wife deserves to be the most successful wife. She is the greatest blessing that Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) may bestow upon a man, and an incomparable source of joy in this life. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) indeed spoke the truth when he said:

“This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman.”73

 

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Footnotes:

1.      Sahih Muslim 10/56, Kitab al-rida’, bab istihbab nikah al-bikr.

2.      See Fath al-Bari, 9/194, Kitab al-nikah, bab ikrah al-bint ‘ala al-zawaj; Ibn Majah, 1/602, Kitab al-nikah, bab man zawwaja ibnatahu wa hiya karihah; al-Mabsut 5/2.

3.      Fath al-Bari, 9/395, Kitab al-talaq, bab al-khul’.

4.      Fath al-Bari, 9/408, Kitab al-talaq, bab shafa’at al-Nabi (r) fi zawj Barirah.

5.      A hasan hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, 2/274, Abwab al-nikah, 3; and by Ibn Majah, 1/633, Kitab al-nikah, bab al-akfa’.

6.      Reported by al-Nisa’i with a sahih isnad, 6/114, Kitab al-nikah, bab al-tazwij ‘ala’l-Islam.

7.      Fath al-Bari, 7/476, Kitab al-maghazi, bab ghazwat Khaybar.

8.      See Fath al-Bari, 7/71, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab manaqib ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib; Sahih Muslim, 17/45, Kitab al-dhikr wa’l-du’a’, bab al-tasbih awwal al-nahar wa ‘ind al-nawm.

9.      See Fath al-Bari, 9/319, Kitab al-nikah, bab al-ghirah.

10.  Reported by Ahmad and al-Bazzar; the men of its isnad are rijal al-sahih. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 9/4, Bab haqq al-zawj ‘ala’l-mar’ah.

11.  A hasan sahih hadith, narrated by Tirmidhi, 2/314, in Abwab a-rida’, 10.

12.  Reported by al-Bazzar with a hasan isnad. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 4/308, Bab haqq al-zawj ‘ala’l-mar’ah.

13.  Reported by Ahmad and al-Nisa’i with jayyid isnads, and by al-Hakim, who said that its isnad was sahih. See al-Mundhiri, Al-Targhib wa’l-Tarhib, 3/52, Kitab al-nikah.

14.  Reported by Ahmad and al-Tabarani; its narrators are thiqat. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 4/306, Bab haqq al-zawj ‘ala’l-mar’ah.

15.  Ibn Majah, 1/595, Kitab al-nikah, bab haqq al-zawj ‘ala’l-mar’ah; al-Hakim, 4/173, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah; he said its isnad is sahih.

16.  Reported by al-Tabarani. Its narrators are those whose reports are accepted as sahih. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 4/312.

17.  Fath al-Bari, 9/294, Kitab al-nikah, bab idha batat al-mar’ah muhajirah firash zawjiha; Sahih Muslim, 10/8, Kitab al-nikah, bab tahrim imtina’ al-mar’ah min firash zawjiha.

18.  Sahih Muslim, 10/7, Kitab al-nikah, bab tahrim imtina’ al-mar’ah min firash zawjiha.

19.  A sahih hadith narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat and al-Kabir. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 4/296, bab fi man yad’u zawjahu fa ta’talla.

20.  Reported by al-Bazzar, whose narrators are rijal al-sahih. See Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 4/312.

21.  A hasan sahih hadith narrated by Tirmidhi, 2/314, abwab al-rida’, 10, and by Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 9,473, kitab al-nikah.

22.  Sahih Muslim, 9/178, Kitab al-nikah, bab nadab man ra’a imra’atan fa waqa’at fi nafsihi ila an ya’ti imra’atahu.

23.  Reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 12/178, Kitab al-ashribah, 2, fasl fi’l-ashribah.

24.  Reported by al-Hakim, 2/190, Kitab al-nikah; he said its isnad is sahih.

25.  Fath al-Bari, 9/295, Kitab al-nikah, bab la ta’dhan al-mar’ah fi bayt zawjiha li ahad illa bi idhnihi.

26.  Sahih Muslim, 7/115, Kitab al-zakah, bab ajr al-khazin wa’l-mar’ah idha tasaddaqat min bayt zawjaha.

27.  Bukhari & Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 9/327, Kitab al-’iddah, bab nafaqah al-awlad wa’l-aqarib.

28.  Bukhari & Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 9/327, Kitab al-imarah wa’l-qada’: bab al-ra’i mas’ul ‘an ra’iyatihi.

29.  See Sahih Muslim, 16/81, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab min fada’il nisa’ Quraysh.

30.  Tawaf al-ifadah is one of the important rites of Hajj. It is done on the tenth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah after sacrificing an animal and shaving one’s head. [Translator]

31.  Sahih Muslim, 8/99, kitab al-Hajj, bab istihbab al-tib qabl al-ihram.

32.  Fath al-Bari, 3/585, Kitab al-Hajj, bab al-tib.

33.  Sahih Muslim, 8/100, kitab al-Hajj, bab istihbab al-tib qabl al-ihram.

34.  Sahih Muslim, 8/100, kitab al-Hajj, bab istihbab al-tib qabl al-ihram.

35.  Sahih Muslim, 3/208, Kitab al-hayd, bab jawaz ghusl al-ha’id ra’as zawjiha wa tarjiluhu.

36.  Fath al-Bari, 1/403, Kitab al-hayd, bab mubashirah al-ha’id; Sahih Muslim, 3/209, Kitab al-hayd, bab jawaz ghusl al-ha’id ra’as zawjiha.

37.  Reported as sahih by Ibn Hibban, and with a jayyid isnad by al-Bazzar; its narrators are well-known and are thiqat. See Ibn al-Jawzi, Ahkam al-nisa’, p. 311.

38.  Jamharah khutab al-’arab, 1/145.

39.  Fath al-Bari, 3/328, Kitab al-zakat, bab al-zakat ‘ala’l-zawj wa’l-aytam fi’l-hijr; Sahih Muslim, 7/86, Kitab al-zakat, bab al-zakat ‘ala’l-aqarib.

40.  Fath al-Bari, 3/325, Kitab al-zakat, bab al-zakat ‘ala’l-aqarib.

41.  Fath al-Bari, 3/325, Kitab al-zakat, bab al-zakat ‘ala’l-aqarib; Sahih Muslim, 2/65, Kitab al-iman, bab bayan naqsan al-iman bi naqs al-ta’at.

42.  Fath al-Bari, 1/83, Kitab al-iman, bab kufran al-’ashir.

43.  Reported by Ahmad, 3/428; its narrators are rijal al-sahih.

44.  Al-tabaqat al-kubra, 7/208-209.

45.  Sahih Muslim, 16/11, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab fada’il Umm Sulaym.

46.  See Sahih Muslim, 16/11, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab fada’il Umm Sulaym.

47.  From a lengthy hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim. See Fath al-Bari, 5/116, Kitab al-mazalim, bab al-ghurfah wa’l-’aliyyah al-mushrifah; Sahih Muslim, 7/195, Kitab al-siyam, bab bayan an al-shahr yakun tis’an wa ‘ishrin.

48.  A hasan sahih hadith, reported by Tirmidhi, 2/329, abwab al-talaq, 11; Ibn Hibban, 9/490, Kitab al-nikah, bab ma’ashirah al-zawjayn.

49.  Sahih Muslim, 10/8, Kitab al-nikah, bab tahrim ifsha’ sirr al-mar’ah; Al-targhib wa’l-tarhib, 3/86, Kitab al-nikah, bab al-tarhib min ifsha’ al-sirr bayna al-zawjayn.

50.  The story of the Prophet’s keeping way from his wives is narrated by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others. See Fath al-Bari, 5/116, kitab almazalim, bab al-ghurfah wa’l-aliyyah al-mushrifah, and 8/656, kitab al-tafsir, Surat al-Tahrim; Sahih Muslim, 7/195, Kitab al-siyam, bab bayan an al-shahr yakun tis’an wa ‘ishrin.

51.  See Fath al-Bari, 2/162, Kitab al-adhan, bab man kana fi hajah ahlihi.

52.  Fath al-Bari, 1/23, Kitab bad’ al-wahy, bab hadith ‘A’ishah awwal ma bada’a bihi al-wahy; Sahih Muslim, 2/197, Kitab al-iman, bab bad’ al-wahy.

53.  Al-sirah, 1/254.

54.  Ibid., 1/257.

55.  Bukhari & Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 14/155, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab manaqib Khadijah.

56.  Al-Sirah, 3/331; see also Fath al-Bari, 6/281, Kitab al-jizyah wa’l-mawadi’ah, bab hadith Sahl ibn Hanif; Sahih Muslim, 12/141, Kitab al-jihad wa’l-siyar, bab sulh al-Hudaybiyah.

57.  Al-Sirah 3/331.

58.  The Prophet (r) was telling his Companions to end the state of ihram which they had entered in order to perform ‘Umrah. They had been prevented from entering Makkah, and were to wait until the following year to perform ‘Umrah, but they did not want to abandon their hope of performing ‘Umrah on this occasion. They did not want to accept the deal that had been struck with the Quraysh, hence they were reluctant to end their ihram. [Translator]

59.  Zad al-Ma’ad, 3:295, al-Tabari, 2/124.

60.  Sahih Muslim, 12/141, Kitab al-jihad wa’l-siyar, bab sulh al-Hudaybiyah.

61.  See Sahih Muslim, 8/33, Kitab al-jana’iz, bab al-lahd wa nasab al-laban ‘ala’l-mayit.

62.  Reported by Ahmad and al-Tabarani; its narrators are rijal al-sahih. See also Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 9/324, Kitab al-manaqib, bab ma ja’a fi Abi’l-Dahdah.

63.  Reported by Abu Dawud, 2/45, in Kitab al-salah: bab qiyam al-layl, and by al-Hakim 1/309, Kitab salah al-tatawwu’; he said that it is sahih according to the consitions of Muslim.

64.  Sahih Muslim, 10/56, Kitab al-rida’, bab istihbab nikah al-bikr.

65.  Reported by Ahmad, 1/168; its narrators are rijal al-sahih.

66.  Ibn al-Jawzi, Ahkam al-Nisa’, 343.

67.  Fath al-Bari, 9/484, Kitab al-talaq, bab ihdad al-mutawafa ‘anha zawjuha.

68.  Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/310, Bab man la yashkur al-nas.

69.  Reported by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, 2/190, Kitab al-nikah; he said it is a hadith whose isnad is sahih.

70.  See Fath al-Bari, 9/338, Kitab al-nikah, bab tabashir al-mar’ah al-mar’ah fatana’atha li zawjiha.

71.  See Sahih Muslim, 15/203, Kitab fada’il al-Sahabah, bab fada’il Umm al-Mu’minin ‘A’ishah.

72.  Zad al-Ma’ad, 3/261-264. Sahih Muslim, 10/56, Kitab al-rida’, bab istihbab nikah al-bikr.