First of all, we’d like to state that in Islam the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement of living together but a sacred contract, a gift of God, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and continue the lineage. The main goal of marriage in Islam is the realization of tranquillity and compassions between the spouses. For the attainment of this supreme goal, Islam defined certain duties and rights for the husband and wife.
For a detailed account of these mutual duties and rights, we’d like to cite the following:
“Piety is the basis of choosing the life partner. Many are the statements of the Qur’an and the Sunnah that prescribe kindness and equity, compassion and love, sympathy and consideration, patience and good will. The Prophet(SAW), peace and blessings be upon him, says, “The best Muslim is the one who is best to his family.” Also, he says, “… and the most blessed joy in life is a good, righteous wife.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)
The role of the husband evolves around the moral principle that it is his solemn duty to Allah to treat his wife with kindness, honour, and patience; to keep her honourably or free her from the marital bond honourably; and to cause her no harm or grief. Allah Almighty says: “…consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein Allah has placed much good.” (An-Nisa’: 19)
The role of the wife is summarized in the verse that women have rights even as they have duties, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree over them. Allah Almighty says, “And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Al-Baqaraqh: 228)
This degree is usually interpreted by Muslim scholars in conjunction with another passage which states, among other things, that men are trustees, guardians, and protectors of women because Allah has made some of them excel others and because men expend of their means. Allah Almighty says: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.” (An-Nisa’: 34)
The Wife’s Rights; The Husband’s Obligations:
Because the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet(SAW), peace and blessings be upon him, have commanded kindness to women, it is the husband’s duty to:
1- Consort with his wife in an equitable and kind manner. Allah Almighty says, “… and consort with them in kindness.” (An-Nisa’: 19)
2- Have responsibility for the full maintenance of the wife, a duty which he must discharge cheerfully, without reproach, injury, or condescendence. Allah Almighty says: “Let him who has abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah has given him. Allah asks naught of any soul save that which He has given it. Allah will vouchsafe, after hardship, ease.” (At-Talaq: 7)
Components of Maintenance:
Maintenance entails the wife’s incontestable right to lodging, clothing, nourishing, and general care and well-being.
1-The wife’s residence must be adequate so as to provide her with the reasonable level of privacy, comfort, and independence. The welfare of the wife and the stability of the marriage should be the ultimate goal.
2-What is true of the residence is true of clothing, food, and general care. The wife has the right to be clothed, fed, and cared for by the husband, in accordance with his means and her style of life. These rights are to be exercised without extravagance or miserliness.
A husband is commanded by the law of God to:
1- Treat his wife with equity.
2- Respect her feelings, and to show her kindness and consideration.
3- Not to show his wife any aversion or to subject her to suspense or uncertainty.
4- Not to keep his wife with the intention of inflicting harm on her or hindering her freedom.
5- Let her demand freedom from the marital bond, if he has no love or sympathy for her.
The Husband’s Rights; The Wife’s Obligations:
The main obligation of the wife as a partner in a marital relationship is to contribute to the success and blissfulness of the marriage as much as possible. She must be attentive to the comfort and well-being of her mate. She may neither offend him nor hurt his feelings. Perhaps nothing can illustrate the point better than the Qur’anic statement which describes the righteous people as those who pray saying: “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the joy and the comfort of our eyes, and guide us to be models of righteousness.” (Al-Furqan: 74)
This is the basis on which all the wife’s obligations rest and from which they flow. To fulfill this basic obligation:
1- The wife must be faithful, trustworthy, and honest.
2- She must not deceive her mate by deliberately avoiding conception lest it deprive him of legitimate progeny.
3- She must not allow any other person to have access to that which is exclusively the husband’s right, i.e. sexual intimacy.
4-She must not receive anyone in his home whom the husband does not like.
5-She may not accept their gifts without his approval. This is probably meant to avoid jealousy, suspicion, gossip, etc., and also to maintain the integrity of all parties concerned.
6- The husband’s possessions are her trust. If she has access to any portion thereof, or if she is entrusted with any fund, she must discharge her duty wisely and thriftily. She may not lend or dispose of any of his belongings without his permission.
7- With respect to intimacy, the wife is to make herself desirable; to be attractive, responsive, and cooperative.
8- A wife may not deny herself to her husband, for the Qur’an speaks of them as a comfort to each other. Due consideration is, of course, given to health and decency.”
(Based on Hammudah `Abd al-`Ati’s famous book, Islam in Focus, with some modifications.)
Although many Muslims may right now be in failing marriages and on a fast track to divorce and its terrible consequences, there are many ways to put their marriage back on the right track if the husband and wife are sincere in their desire to reconcile. The following principles can be used by Muslims whose marriages are already in trouble or by Muslims who would like to avoid trouble in their marriage.
Examples of Negative
Relationship between Husband & Wife
Many Muslim husbands and wives treat each other like adversaries rather than partners. The husband feels that he is the boss, and whatever he says goes. The wife feels that she must squeeze everything she can out of her husband. Some wives never show their husband that they are satisfied with anything he does or buys for them in order to trick him into doing and buying more. They make him feel like a failure if he does not give them the lifestyle that their friends and families enjoy. Some husbands speak very harshly to their wives, humiliate them, and even physically abuse them. Their wives have no voice or opinion in the family.
Marriage In The Eyes of Allah
It is very sad that this relationship which Allah (SWT) has established for the good has been made a source of contention, deception, trickery, tyranny, humiliation, and abuse. This is not the way marriage is supposed to be.
Allah (SWT) described marriage very differently in the Holy Quran: ‘. . . He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts) . . . ” (Holy Quran 30:21, Yusuf Ali Translation).
Do not be a Tyrant
Regardless of whether or not Islam has made the husband the head of the household, Muslims are not supposed to be dictators and tyrants. We are taught to treat our wives well. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was reported to have said: ‘The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behaviour; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives” (From Mishkat al-Masabih, No. 0278(R) Transmitted by Tirmidhi).
Be Partners in the Decision Making Process.
Follow the principle of ‘Shura,” and make decisions as a family. There will be much more harmony in the family when decisions are not imposed and everyone feels that they had some part in making them.
Never be Emotionally
Never be emotionally, mentally, or physically abusive to your spouse. The Prophet (SAW) never mistreated his wives. He is reported to have said: ‘How could they beat their women in daytime as slaves and then sleep with them in the night?”
Be Careful of Your Words
Be very careful what you say when you are upset. Sometimes you will say things that you would never say when you were not angry. If you are angry, wait until you calm down before continuing the conversation.
Show affection for your mate. Be kind, gentle, and loving.
Be Your Spouse’s Friend
Show interest in your mate’s life. Too often, we live in the same house but know nothing about each other’s lives. It would be great if the husband and wife could work together for the same cause or on the same project. They could perhaps establish a husband/wife prison ministry, take care of orphans in their home, or lead an Islamic weekend class.
Show appreciation for what your spouse does for the family. Never make your husband feel that he is not doing good enough for the family or that you are not satisfied with his work or his efforts, unless, of course, he is truly lazy and not even trying to provide for the family. The Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said: ‘On the Day of Judgment, God will not look upon the woman who has been ungrateful to her husband.” Show your wife that you appreciate her. If she takes care of the house and the children, don’t take it for granted. It is hard work, and no one likes to feel unappreciated.
Work Together in the House
The Prophet (SAW) is known to have helped his wives in the house. And if the Prophet (SAW) was not above doing housework, modern Muslim husbands shouldn’t feel that they are.
Communication is Important
Communication, Communication, Communication! This is the big word in counselling. And it should be. Husbands and wives need to talk to each other. It is better to deal with problems early and honestly than to let them pile up until an explosion occurs. Also, things should be within both of them unless if they are critical due to which they should be discussed with a third person in order to find a solution. Most of the cases it so happens that the Husband tries to communicate something with the wife and that is taken in a wrong way which leads to misunderstanding and problems between the two. Without even trying to understand about the real message which the husband was trying to give, the wife starts discussing this with her parents and brothers which will in-turn creates lots of problems and issues which were not needed at the first place at all. Hence, the best way is to keep simple things within themselves is to communicate properly before bringing in a third person which is needless.
Forget Past Problems
Don’t bring up past problems once they have been solved.
Don’t be jealous of those who seem to be living a more luxurious life than your family. The ‘rizq” is from Allah (SWT). In order to develop the quality of contentment, look at those people who have less than you, not those who have more. Thank Allah (SWT) for the many blessings in your life.
Give Your Spouse Time Alone
If your mate doesn’t want to be with you all the time, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you. People need to be alone for various reasons. Sometimes they want to read, to think about their problems, or just to relax. Don’t make them feel that they are committing a sin.
Admit Your Mistakes
When you make a mistake, admit it. When your mate makes a mistake, excuse him or her easily. If possible, never go to sleep angry with each other.
Physical Relationship is Important
Be available to your mate sexually, and don’t let your sexual relationship be characterized by selfishness. The Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said: ‘It is not appropriate that you fall upon your wives like a beast but you must send a message of love beforehand.” Prophet(SAW) has also said that, if a wife rejects husband’s call for having sex, then the angels will curse her till the dawn”.
Have Meals Together
Try to eat together as a family when possible. Show the cook and the dishwasher, whether it is the husband or the wife, appreciation for his or her efforts. The Prophet (SAW) did not complain about food that was put before him.
Be Mindful of Your discussion Topics
Never discuss with others things about your marriage that your spouse wouldn’t like you to discuss, unless there is an Islamic reason to do so. Some husbands and wives, believe it or not, complain to others about their mate’s physical appearance. This is a recipe for disaster. Information about your intimate relations should be kept between you and your spouse.
Many of us treat our spouses in ways that we would never treat others. With others, we try to be polite, kind, and patient. With our spouses, we often do not show these courtesies. Of course, we are usually with our spouses at our worst times — when we are tired and frustrated after a hard day. After a bad day at the office, husbands usually come home angry and on edge. The wife has probably also had a hard day with the children and the housework. Wives and husbands should discuss this potential time bomb so that if they are short-tempered with each other during these times, they will understand the reasons rather than automatically thinking that their spouse no longer loves them.
Everyone must understand that marriage is a responsibility and not a ritual. Things will not be the same always and we must understand that we have to take up extra responsibilities depending upon the time we have spent together after getting married. As the days pass-on Allah will bestow the couple with children and whatever is done should be done as a family and we cannot think of spending time leisurely as it happens immediately post marriage. Hence, we must change as the days pass on and be ready to sacrifice ourselves for our family.
Good marriages require patience, kindness, humility, sacrifice, empathy, love, understanding, forgiveness, and hard work. Following these principles should help any marriage to improve. The essence of them all can be summed up in one sentence: Always treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated. If you follow this rule, your marriage will have a much greater chance for success. If you discard this rule, failure is just around the corner………………………………………………………………………………….
May Allah show us the right path in order to become a real Muslim following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad(SAW) and be a successful human being here and thereafter. Aameen.