By: Mufti Muhammad Yusuf Danka.
Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an: ‘O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person, and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Hawa), and from them both He created many men and women, and be dutiful to Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and your family ties also, surely Allah is ever an All-Watcher over you.’ (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 1)
In the above Ayat, Allah relates how Insaan (humans) were created, and illustrates that the relationship between husband and wife should be based on Taqwa (fear of Allah). It should be noted that the relation that is created by the coming together of husband and wife directly involves the extended family of each individual. Therefore, a person should be wary, not only of the obligation to his/her spouse and family but also to his/her own extended family and also that of the spouse. When there is any form of dispute between a couple, this can be the cause of disunity between their families. Therefore the spouses should keep the interest of their extended families in mind at all times. Good morals should be attained using mercy and equality and not by wronging and oppressing the spouse or other family members.
True equality is only attained through the law given by Allah in the Shari’ah and the way of Rasulullah . Allah is the Creator and knows best the situations and needs of His creation, manifesting the method of implementing His law through the examples shown by His Nabi .
There are a few rights of the spouses which are Fard and Wajib (compulsory and necessary). There are also certain rights which are Mustahab (preferred) and can be a form of expressing one’s mutual love for his/her spouse. By paying attention to the Mustahab and those actions which express love for one’s spouse, a relationship is made strong and endearing. Together with this, due to the mutual understanding of the spouses, their love increases. The lives of the Pious predecessors should be studied and their advices and actions implemented, as this will be a cause of a blissful married life in this world and untold blessings and rewards in the hereafter, InshaAllah.
For this very reason, any manmade law cannot fulfil the requirements of mankind. When men are given more rights, women are wronged and when women are given more rights, men are wronged. Partners use manmade laws to fulfil their whims. For this reason, only when Allah’s laws are followed, as exemplified in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, will a couple experience growing love in this world and peace in the hereafter.
The disputes between spouses are usually due to faults on the part of both individuals. The arguments that are witnessed by children between their parents become a means of them becoming despondent in later life. It effects the emotional and mental development of a child. Whereas Islam has encouraged the parents to give their children the best form of upbringing, so as to make their children beacons of Islam and a benefit to society in later life.
It is important that when an argument has caused a measure of grievance amongst both parties, elders from both sides should involve themselves and dissolve the matter by highlighting positive aspects & views of both parties regarding the issue. The arbitration process should not be carried out whilst people are in tense emotional states. This can cause individuals to say and do things which will be a cause of regret and embarrassment when they have calmed down.
• Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an: ‘If you fear a breach between them twain (the man and his wife), appoint (two) arbitrators, one from his family and the other from hers; if they both wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation. Indeed Allah is Ever All-Knower, well- Acquainted with all things.’ (An-Nisa, v35)
Advice for the Husband:
• Sayyidina Jabir relates in Saheeh Muslim, ‘In Rasulullah’s last moments, he gave three pieces of advice, in giving them, his voice softened due to his situation (1) Salaat! Salaat! (Meaning the success of Muslims is only in Salaat) (2) Those who are under you, do not enforce on them more than they are able to 2 bear (3) Fear Allah in regards to your women, for they are a trust given to you and Allah made them Halaal for you through Nikah.’
The husband is obliged to have good, pleasant dealings with his wife/wives and make Sabr (patience) and have mercy on her/them in all conditions.
The cause of marital problems between husband and wife are primarily caused due to the fact that the rights of one or the other are not fulfilled according to the requirements of the Shari’ah. On occasion the husband knowingly over burdens his wife, above and beyond what is reasonable. The woman is made to leave the house to work in offices and stores and then at the same time she is expected to fulfil her responsibilities at home completely also, something inevitably will be comprised. There are also occasions upon which the husband will issue his wife with 3 talaqs in one sitting due to frustration and anger…when realising his fault he then seeks a fatwa to undo the damage caused, which is not justifiable in the Shari’ah. For this reason Hakeem Ul Ummat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi مرقده رّ نو .stated: ‘Whatever may be the condition of a wife, it must be understood that she has left her entire family and relatives to be with her husband. It is only the right of such a sacrifice on her part, that she is not inconvenienced in any manner.’ (At Tabligh, vol 7, p57)
• The Prophet stated: ‘The best from amongst the Believing men is he who is best in character and treats his family with patience and good actions.’ (Sunan Tirmidhi #2537)
The Mother of the Believers Sayyidah Aisha stated: ‘The Prophet used to assist his wives in the chores of the house.’ A man of strong character such as Sayyidina Umar used to say: ‘A man should be tender like a child for his wife in the home. When he is out of the house, he should be a man.’ It is unfortunate that in our time the opposite of this advice is witnessed in nearly every home.
In the matters that concern the house, a husband should seek the advice of his wife. • The Prophet said: ‘Seek the advice of your women in respect of their children.’ (Sunan Abu Dawood # 1793)
• Sayyidina Abu Hurairah narrates, ‘Rasulullah said ‘Any Mu’min male should not have dislike (in his heart) towards his wife, for if there is one action of hers that he dislikes, then verily, there could be some other action of hers which pleases him.’ (Saheeh Muslim/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p73)
• Allah says: ‘…and live with them (your wives) honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.’ (s4, v19)
For one individual to be perfect in all matters is not possible, as we are human beings. It should be realised that there are many matters which are not religiously binding upon a wife, yet, she carries out the wishes of her husband and others in this regard purely for the sake of Allah and love of her husband.
• Sayyidina Muawiya bin Hayra narrates, Rasulullah said, ’A man should feed his wife from what he eats, clothe her with what he clothes himself (A husband should care for his wife), he should not hit her on the face and should not swear at her.’ (Sunan Abu Dawood/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p73)
It is seen from experience, the man who oppresses women and specifically his wife, Allah punishes him for his actions before his death. Therefore, every man should fear Allah with respect to his wife and family. Certain men are such that they pay great attention to wearing good clothes and eating in fine restaurants when spending time outside the house with friends and associates. At the same time, they do not pay attention to the needs of their household, in the same regard of clothes and food.
• Sayyidina Abu Umamah narrates, the Prophet stated: ‘The worst from amongst the people is he who is miserly towards his family despite having the ability to be gracious.’ (Kanzul Amaar, vol 8, p26)
To neglect ones wife and family is shear oppression! A man only realises the faithfulness of his wife when he falls of old age or sick and no one pays much attention to him, his wife is still there to support him, clean his clothes and cater for his needs. A wife’s mercy can then be seen to beacon and she is content in keeping her husband happy while carrying a smile on her face.
• The Mother of the Believers Sayyidah Maimoona relates, ‘Rasulullah said, ‘In my Ummah, the best of men will be those who keep the best relation with his wife, and gives her religious advice, and instils the fear of Allah within her, and makes Sabr on any difficulty from her.’ (Guniatul Talibeen)
Some men are such that at the time of Nikah, to show-off to people they write large amounts of Dowry for their wife. Yet, they do not pay this off their entire life.
• Sayyidah Maimoona relates from her father that the Prophet said: ‘The person who weds a woman with a small or large amount of dowry, yet he has no intention to fulfil it in his heart, he has deceived his wife, 3 if he dies without having fulfilled the dowry payment, he will meet Allah on the Day of Judgement as a fornicator.’ (At Targeeb, vol 3, p71)
Generally, the cause of problems in the house is that the husband does not have the ability to control his anger and due to this many a home are destroyed. When a husband feels his anger getting the better of him, he should contemplate that as much power as he has to show his anger… Allah has much more ability and right to show His wrath upon His servants.
• The Prophet stated: ‘Whoever prevents his anger from getting the better of him, on the Day of Judgement Allah will divert His wrath from him.’ (Mishkaat Masaabih, p434)
It is due to a person’s anger that Talaaq is given without even a thought as to the consequences. When the anger is calmed, they begin to question the rulings of Talaaq, by which time it is too late. The excuses are then furnished: ‘It wasn’t my intention to give divorce, I was very angry, my wife was pregnant, she was in her menstrual cycle etc..’ Remember and Beware! The issue of divorce is binding following the words being spoken and all excuses presented after this do not justify the nullification of a Talaaq in any circumstance. Every married man should make himself aware of the rulings pertaining to Talaaq, prior to even contemplating such an action.
Advice for the Wife:
• Sayyidina Anas narrates that Rasulullah said, ‘On the Day of Qiyamah, a woman will first be questioned as to her Salaat, then she will be asked regarding her treatment of her husband.’ (Qanzul Amal) It is therefore most important that a woman, in addition to the obligation of five times Salaah, treats her husband in the correct manner.
• Sayyidina Abu Hurairah narrates that Rasulullah stated, ‘If I was to give the order of prostration to anyone other than Allah, then I would give the woman the order to prostrate to her husband.’ (Jami Tirmidhi/ Mishkat Masaabih, p181)
The respect of the spouse is a very great quality and necessary for a pleasant conjugal relationship. Within the boundaries of Shari’ah a woman should try to fulfil the needs of her husband. A woman should seek her husband’s permission when leaving the house and should not do so without his knowledge and should keep herself away from situations which can be a cause of staining her character. Some negligent women contribute and fulfil their duties at home but they are not wary of their speech and cause much grievance to their husbands. Others within the same category acquire a bit of knowledge pertaining to Deen and use mixed references and statements such as “this is not Wajib or Fard on me!” to justify their actions which are controversial to their duties in Shari’ah. For example: some women state that it is not Wajib to cook for the husband etc. This causes much distress to the husband and leaves him perplexed. The husband at times strives in always fulfilling extreme desires of their spouse, be it with clothing above and beyond the basic needs, spending money or holidays abroad etc. These are not obligatory (Fard) on the husband but are done out of sheer love for the spouse. Women should always have a view of the Sahabiyyah (Women companions of the Prophet and reflect upon their lives and try to follow them to attain piety and closeness with Allah
. • Sayyidina Abdullah bin Umar states that Rasulullah said, ‘Allah does not look with Rahmah (mercy) at that woman who is ungrateful to her husband.’ (Sunan Nasai/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p78)
It is mentioned in Saheeh Bukhari: On the occasion of Eid the Prophet called a gathering for the women. The Prophet stated to them: ‘I have seen that there are a great number of women in the Hell-fire. This is due to the fact they are ungrateful to their husbands.’
However much a husband does for his wife, she compares herself to other women and complains of her situation to be less appeasing. Certain women are demanding to the extent that the husband has to take interest based loans to fulfil their desires.
• Sayyidina Mu’adh narrates that Rasulullah stated: ‘When a woman troubles her husband in this world, the women of Paradise, who are to be his wives, address her saying: ‘Don’t trouble him, may Allah disgrace you… he is merely staying with you for a short time and is soon to leave you to come to us.’ (Jami Tirmidhi/ Mishkaat Masabih, p281)
The reality is that the pious women in this world will be greater in status than the maidens of Paradise. She will be made the leader of the maidens of Paradise. For this reason, a woman should seek to live her life in this world in accordance with the Islamic teachings and seek to make family life at home pleasant and comforting for her household. A woman should not trouble her husband in any manner, she should not seek to frustrate him emotionally or physically.
• Sayyidina Abu Hurairah narrates that Rasulullah stated: ‘When a woman (due to anger) sleeps apart from her husband, the angels continue to curse her until she returns to her husband.’ (Saheeh Bukhari/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p78)
• Sayyidina Abdur Rahman bin Auf narrates that Rasulallah said: ‘The woman who performs her 5 daily prayers with steadfastness, keeps the fasts of Ramadhan, safeguards her private parts and is obedient to her husband… it will be said to her ‘enter from whichever gate of Paradise you wish’. (Musnad Ahmed/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p74)
The above qualities mentioned in the Holy Hadith of the Prophet were the same qualities found in the mothers of the great scholars of Islam. Although these women themselves were not learned in the sciences of Islam, they fulfilled the requirements of the above mentioned Hadith. These women tending to the care and upbringing of their children also paid great attention to their Islamic education. The children were then favoured with becoming great scholars, thinkers and preachers of Islam through whom hundreds of thousands of people benefited.
• The Mother of the Believers Sayyidah Umme Salamah narrates Rasulullah said: ‘That woman who passes away in the state that her husband is pleased with her, for her this is enough to guarantee Jannah.’ (Jami Tirmidhi/ Ibn Majah/ Mishkaat Masaabih/ At Targeeb, vol 3, p73)
There is no greater blessing than attaining Paradise in the hereafter, a woman needs only to be attentive to this saying of the Prophet . Whenever there is a matter in the house which can be the cause of a dispute, a woman can take the advice of the Prophet and be patient towards her husband to gain a great reward.
In married life, there are certain occasions when, due to living together, spouses will disagree upon matters. If these circumstances are not dealt with patience, they can lead to a breakdown in the relationship. The spouse should not seek to win every argument all the time. In haste, over meagre matters women utter such words as: ‘Just grant me a divorce, I don’t want to stay with you anymore…’
• Sayyidina Thawbaan narrates that Rasulullah said: ‘The woman who without necessity seeks divorce from her husband, the fragrance of Paradise is prohibited for her (she will be so far from Paradise that she will not even be able to smell the fragrance of Jannah).’ (Jami Tirmidhi/ Mishkat Masaahib, p283)
The Muslims should have their gaze towards the Hereafter at all times. We should spend our lives in accordance with the Islamic teachings and laws. We should study the lives of the Pious predecessors and make them an example for our own lives both within the house and outside. It should be remembered that the Muslims, men and women, patiently persevered against intense difficulties in the beginning of Islam. Yet, they did not allow these to turn them away from their beliefs and practices. Sayyidah Sumayah was oppressed and killed by Abu Jahl for her acceptance of Islam. Sayyidah Umme Fakihah due to her acceptance of Islam was beaten to such an extent by her master that he would become tired! Sayyidah Nahdia and Sayyidah Umme Ubays were oppressed due to their entering Islam.(Asadul Ghaba, vol 7, p353)
The troubles and punishments that these women were afflicted with were for the sake of Islam. It is due to the sacrifices of such women and men that Islam spread. When spouses allow disputes to cause separation between them, the children are most affected and it becomes difficult to safeguard their Iman and Islamic upbringing. The female companions put up with such intense oppression and difficulty surely our women should be able to resolve minor differences and misunderstandings for the sake of our future generations in anticipation of a great reward.
May Allah grant all married Muslims love and unite them through such relationships that they will attain His pleasure in this world and the next by following the perfect ways shown by the Prophet . آمين Ameen!