Relationship Between Husband and Wife in Islam
Pearls of Wisdom
A Mother’s Advice to Her Daughter
From Jamharah Khutah al-‘Arab, 1/145
Zawaj.com Editor’s Note: The speech that forms the main content of this article is over 1400 years old, from the pre-Islamic period. The advice in the article is certainly out of date and one-sided, but there is much wisdom here if you look it as mutual advice for how the husband and wife should treat each other. So both partners should serve one another, please one another, protect one another, etc.
Abd al-Malik (Radiyallaahu ‘anhaa) 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, as she was made ready to be taken to the groom, her mother, Umamah came into her room 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 posses 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 to 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 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 eight 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.
Reviving Our Sense of Gheerah
By Fatima Barakatullah
We live in societies in which most men and women have lost their sense of modesty, women are obsessed with their appearances and wear clothes to be seen by others and to attract the attention of other men even if they are married! They have lost their sense of shame. Marriage is often looked upon as old-fashioned and short term affairs and frivolous relationships are the norm, everyone waiting to attract a better partner and feeling totally justified to dump one partner for another at the drop of a hat. Feminism too has reached its peak and men and women are told to suppress their natural emotions. Men are not even embarrassed when their wives are dressed up and attract the attention of other men, they don’t mind if another man sees, chats, laughs and even dances with their womenfolk and if they do mind, they are told not to be so possessive!
In Islam we have a concept of Gheerah. Gheerah is an Arabic word which means protectiveness or jealousy. It is a good type of jealousy, like when a man feels jealous or protective over his wife or sisters and other-womenfolk and doesn’t like other men to look at them. It is a natural inbuilt feeling Allah has given men and women. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had the most Gheerah for his wives and all of the companions were known for their Gheerah.
All Muslim men should have a collective sense of protectiveness for Muslim women as Allah says in the Qur’an, the meaning of which is: “The Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…” (Surah An-Nisaa, Ayah 34).
Men who do not care about how their women behave and appear in front of other men and don’t enforce hijaab upon their wives or women-folk are called Dayyooth. Being a Dayyooth is a major sin and a detailed discription of this evil characteristic can be found in adh-Dhahabee’s book of Major Sins (Kitaab ul-Kabaa’ir).
A Story of Gheerah
To further understand the quality of Gheerah, we can look at an incident that Asmaa’ radiallahu ‘anhaa) the daughter of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (radiallahu ‘anhu) and sister of Aisha (radiallaahu ‘anhaa), relates about herself. Abu Bakr was a wealthy merchant and he married his daughter Asmaa’ to the great companion Az-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam (radiallahu ‘anhu) who was a very poor man but a man of great piety and one of the companions who were promised Paradise.
Asmaa’ relates: “When az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land nor wealth nor slave…”, so Asmaa’ had to work very hard kneading dough, going far off to get water. “And I used to carry on my head,” she continues, “the date stones from the land of az-Zubair which Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madeenah. One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered az-Zubair and his Gheerah and he was a man having the most Gheerah. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) understood my shyness and left. I came to az-Zubair and said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it, but I felt shy and I remembered your Gheerah.” So Asmaa’ declined the offer made by the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Upon this az-Zubair said: “By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden on me than you riding with him.” (related in Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Look at the sense of dignity and modesty of Asmaa’! See how she felt shy in front of men? See how careful she was about her husband’s feelings? She knew that her husband had a lot of Gheerah so she didn’t want to upset him by accepting the Prophet’s (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) help even though the Prophet was the purest of men and even though it meant bringing hardship on herself! And look at Az-Zubair (radiallahu ‘anhu), even though he had a lot of Gheerah, he didn’t want to inconvenience his wife. What a beautiful relationship they had!
Nurturing Our Sense of Gheerah
Sometimes Muslim women don’t understand if their menfolk want them to cover their faces or if they ask them to change something about the way they dress or speak in public, thinking that the men are being over-protective. But my dear sisters! If your husband asks you not to wear a certain colour of khimaar because it brings out the beauty of your eyes, or if he wants you to cover your face – by Allah, be thankful! Be proud of the fact that your husband has a sense of Gheerah for you and that he values you and cares for your hereafter. He knows what men can be like more than you do and so never try and suppress his Gheerah in these types of matters. And his concern for you should incite your own sense of honor! Why should any man be able to see your beauty and think indecent thoughts about you? We must nurture our own and our menfolk’s sense of Gheerah by behaving and dressing modestly ourselves and paying attention to their valid opinions. We expect certain behavior from them and they expect it of us. And besides, if our husband asks us to do something that it not haraam, we must do it.
And Brothers! How can you allow your wife or sister to walk around attracting the attentions and evil-thoughts of other men? How can you not mind if she smiles as she talks to other men. Nobody has the right to enjoy her and her company but you and her Maharim men. You are not being overbearing if you first encourage and then enforce the hijaab on your womenfolk because YOU will be asked about it on the Day of Judgement and it is also a major sin upon YOU! It is upon the men to enforce these things in their homes and you cannot use the excuse that your wife didn’t want to. Women need a firm, balanced, guiding hand from their men, so with wisdom you must enforce hijaab in your home. You are a shepherd and are responsible for your flock! Allah reminds us all in the Qur’an, the meaning of which is: “Oh you who believe, Protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.” (At-Tahreem, Aayah 6)
There is a big difference between how Islam values and protects women and how cheaply women are treated outside of Islam! As Muslims we have to be careful that our Hayaa’ (sense of modesty and shame) and Gheerah don’t wear out in a society in which people have lost it.
The First Two Years:
A Marriage Survival Guide
Source: Soundvision, http://www.soundvision.com/Info/marriage/survivalguide.asp
More Muslim marriages in North America are breaking up in their first year than ever before, according to Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada (ISSA).
The first five to seven years are the most challenging of any marriage. They are a time a couple spends getting to know each other better and adjusting to each other’s habits and personalities.
Below are some of the main problems couples face in the early years and some possible solutions.
1. Lack of proper information before marriage
A number of problems are caused simply by the fact that the couple and their families have not discussed crucial issues beforehand. Some of these include:
- whether or not the wife will work outside the home
- will the couple wait to have children
- which city and country the couple will live in after marriage
- will they live with his parents or have their own apartment
These and other relevant issues need to be discussed and decided in the beginning stages of the marriage process.
2. Who’s in charge?
One of the biggest problems is the tug-of-war between couples over who is in control in the relationship. This has led to a stalemate in disagreements, as well as bitter feelings.
Many couples today are refusing to compromise within moderation when differences arise.
While from an Islamic perspective, the husband is given the leadership role in the marriage relationship, this does not mean he runs the couple’s family life like a dictatorship.
It must be remembered that Islamically, a leader is one who serves, manages, provides and nourishes. A leader must also have humbleness and humility.
A husband exercises the right kind of leadership by being listening to and consulting (doing Shura) with his wife.
Also, a husband is bound to follow the rules of the Quran and Sunnah. So differences in opinion should be referred back to these sources, instead of becoming a source of tension and problems.
3. The divorce option
Once upon a time, “divorce” was the seven-letter word most Muslim couples avoided using. Today, amongst many Muslim couples in North America, it is one of the first recourses turned to when conflicts occur in marriage.
It should be remembered that out of all of the things Allah has made Halal, divorce is the one He hates the most. Couples need to look at several other alternatives before turning to this drastic measure.
They should seek the help of older, wiser and trustworthy elders who will try to help them resolve their differences. Generally, they need to make a sincere, concerted effort to try to work things out before divorce is seriously considered.
4. Sexual problems
It is unrealistic to expect the issue of sex and sex-related problems to mysteriously disappear once a couple gets married.
In the sex-saturated culture of North America, couples tend to place very high expectations of each other in this area. They also expect instant results.
In reality, it takes time, commitment, disappointment and investment to establish a sexual relationship in marriage which is in tune with the needs of each partner.
It’s important for Muslim couples to walk into marriage with proper information about sex and sexual etiquette from an Islamic perspective. They need to know what is Halal (permissible) and what is Haram (forbidden). They should also keep in mind that spouses must never discuss their sexual relationship with others, unless it is to get help for a specific problem with the right person or authority figure.
On a similar note, it’s important for both the husband and wife to remember that they need to make themselves physically attractive to each other. Too many couples take marriage to mean an excuse to now let themselves go. The couple or one of the partners may gain too much weight, or may not care about hygiene and their looks in general. The reverse should be true: spouses should take the time out for these things and give them even more attention after marriage. Our beloved Prophet has recommended husband and wife both to do that, May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.
The first few years of marriage are not just a period of adjustment for the married couple. It’s one of getting used to in-laws and vice-versa.
Husbands, wives and in-laws need to practice the Islamic rules of social relations with each other. These include: avoiding sarcasm, backbiting, calling each other by offensive nicknames, and making a special effort to respect each other as family members.
As well, comparisons need to be avoided, since every individual and every couple is different. So wives should not be compared to mothers and sisters. Husbands should not be compared to fathers and brothers. In-laws should not be compared to parents, etc.
In addition, there should be regular, healthy contact between spouses and in-laws. This can mean visiting each other at least once or twice a month, or calling if distance makes it difficult to get together.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after.
This is the plot of many a Hollywood and Bollywood movie, where everyone is “perfect”. Real life is very different.
Couples may enter marriage with high-flying romantic ideas and expecting their partner to be the ideal human. But all humans have good and bad points. Husbands and wives have to learn to accept each other, warts and all.
6. Making a schedule and establishing rituals
Making a schedule may seem like an end to spontaneity but it’s not.
This allows you to establish your own lifestyle and rituals as a couple. It’s especially important if both the husband and wife are going to school and/or working. In this scenario, a schedule helps in setting time aside for each other during a fast-paced week of work and studies.
Some rituals couples can establish may include:
- praying at least one prayer together
- attending a study circle together once a week
- deciding on a weekly menu
- having a pancake breakfast every Saturday morning
- setting aside one day on which no work or studying will be done
- setting a day when both the husband and wife will clean up the house
- setting a time to discuss finances and a budget
- making a phone contacting during the day
- deciding on a particular day and time once a month at least to visit each other’s parents
By discussing and setting up these rituals, couples learn how to talk to and feel responsible for each other. They also learn to become a team instead of two people living in the same with separate lives.
7. Marriage as a restriction
Muslim men who have grown up in North America may find marriage restricting. After all, before, they could hang out with their buddies and get home by 11:00 p.m. and no one would say a word. After marriage though, they have to be home by 7:00 p.m if not earlier.
While marriage comes with responsibilities and a tighter schedule, the benefits are also there. It takes time and patience to realize that in the end the benefits (i.e. a life partner, kids, etc.) are greater than the restrictions.
8. Friends and Islamic activities
Friends are a joy and a good friend is someone you want to be close to for the rest of your life.
But friends are often the source of many marriage conflicts. Too much time spent with friends, either hanging out or on the phone, means time lost with a husband/wife.
Also, friends, especially if they are of the same age group, may give the wrong advice on marriage, due to their own inexperience in the area.
Some possible solutions to the friends dilemma could be:
· working out a “friends time” at least once a week where the husband and the wife meet and/or talk with friends privately
· developing friendships with other married couples so spouses can befriend spouses
Islamic activities fall in a similar category. Young Muslim activists may think they can keep attending those three-hour Muslim Students’ Association meetings as they did before marriage. Not so.
Too much focus on outside Islamic activities takes away from spouse time. Give Islamic activities their due but within a balance of everyone’s rights, including those of your spouse.
9. Not keeping secrets
A number of young married couples are notorious for not keeping secrets, especially related to sexual matters, and exposing their spouse’s faults. This is not only unacceptable. It’s unIslamic.
Couples should seek to hide each other’s faults. They should seek advice on marriage problems from a “marriage mentor”, someone who is older, wiser, trustworthy and has the best interests of both parties at heart.
How much should be spent on furniture, the house, food, etc. These are staple issues of any household and can lead to a tug-of-war between husband and wife.
To keep spending in check, husbands and wives need to draft a budget then stick to it. The household will run more efficiently and that’s one less source of conflict in the marriage.
A special note to husbands: in the beginning of marriage, husbands tend to shower their wives with gifts. They do this as an expression of love and because they want to provide for their wives. However, as time passes and they keep giving, they go into debt or experience financial difficulty. As well, wives get used to a certain level of comfort which husbands can no longer afford.
Providing for a wife (and later on, a family) is not just reserved to material things. It includes spending time with her, and treating her with equity and kindness. In fact, most wives would prefer this kind of provision over expensive gifts.
11. Give each other space
A number of couples think being married means always being together and serving each other hand and foot.
Wives may initially take over all household chores, not letting the husband help or even do his own things (i.e. ironing his own clothes). They later regret this as household responsibilities increase and their husbands become dependent on them for the smallest things.
Husbands may think getting married means being with their wives all the time. This later may lead them to becoming irritable and cranky.
The key is to focus on being caring, fond of and accepting each other and giving each other sufficient space. Doing this provides a necessary balance in a relationship which is so close physically and emotionally
What is a Husband?
Guidelines for the Husband in Interacting with his Wife
Author: Dr. Marwwan Al-Qaisee
Source: Al-Asaalah Magazine
Translator: isma’eel alarcon
The family is that brick which forms the foundation of a society. It is composed of individuals that have permanent relations established between them. Most importantly, it possesses almost a majority of the different kinds of personal relations. Because of this, there must be certain etiquettes placed in order to control and regulate these relations. This is such that it can be maintained in the best possible manner, and so that it can generate and produce its proper fruits. Family relations consist of the relationship between the spouses from one perspective, the relationship between the parents and the children from a second perspective, and the relationship between the children themselves from a third perspective.
Etiquettes of the husband:
It is not from the deficiencies, but rather from good manners, that the husband shares in the responsibility of specified matters, such as the mending of garments or what is similar to that.
It is appropriate for a man to not restrict himself from serving himself. This is since the wife takes care of the household affairs. So therefore, it is from good manners that the husband extend a helping hand to his wife in the house, during times of necessity, such as when she is sick, pregnant, has given birth or similar to that.
The exemplary husband is he who cooperates with his wife by bearing good relations and showing kind manners (to her), according to the full extent of the meaning contained in these (last) two expressions. Truly, the husbands who are best at working alongside their wives are the best of mankind in the view of Islaam. This good way of living between the spouses must be deeply imbedded into the daily marital life, even at the time of divorce.
Beware of characterizing the relationship between the spouses with over-seriousness! For indeed characterizing the family life with a militaristic nature amounts to one of the causes for failure and bad results.
From the kind and noble manners of the husband is that he complies and assents to the requests of his wife, so long as they are not forbidden in the Religion. And being luxurious in food, drink and clothing is at the entrance of matters forbidden in the Religion.
The husband should specify a time in which he can play around and pass free time with his wife.
The relationship between the spouses must contain one singular and specific nature. And it cannot be this way unless the couple begins demolishing all the obstacles and impediments that stand between them. For example, the husband should not feel timid and restrain himself from drinking out of the same cup that his wife drinks out of.
There is no human being that is perfect. So there is no doubt that the husband will see things in his wife that does not comply with his natural disposition and preferences. If these aspects are not in opposition to the fundaments of the Religion or to the obedience of the husband and his rights, then at that point, he should not try to change her personality so that it complies with his natural preference.
And he must always remember that for each member of the couple, there will be an aspect of ones personality that conflicts with the others personality. And he should also remember that if there are some characteristics that he doesn’t find pleasing in his wife, then indeed she has other characteristics, which will definitely be pleasing to him.
Do not let Ramadaan be a barrier that impedes you from showing affection to your wife, such as by kissing her. But this is so long as you are able to refrain yourself, since what is forbidden during the days of Ramadaan is only sexual intercourse.
Do not chase after the errors of your wife and recount them to her, for too much blaming and reprimanding will worsen the relationship between the two of you, and it will pose a threat to your marital life. So overlook your wife’s easy ability to make mistakes, and make her falling into them seem like something small.
If you are able, do not hold back from providing your wife with good clothing and food, and from being generous in spending money on her. This is of course according to the extent of your ability.
Do not give little importance to implementing the punishment required for any acts in opposition to the Religion, which your wife has committed, whether it is in the home or outside it. This should be the main reason that causes you to become angry, thus no other reason should affect you (besides this one).
What has been stated previously does not mean that you should leave matters alone until that result comes to happen. Thus, whenever you realize that a matter is left alone, weigh it with seriousness and determination, without being too harsh or rude about it.
The woman is the head of the household, the one responsible for it. So do not attempt to meddle into affairs that do not fall into your area of duties and responsibilities, such as the food and the order of the house.
Beware of scolding your wife or blaming her for a mistake she committed, in the presence of others, even if they are your own children. For indeed that is an act that goes against correct behavior and it will lead to raising anger in the hearts of people.
If you are forced to place punishment upon your wife, then let it be by staying away from her at bedtime. And do not boycott her except that it is done within the household. And avoid using foul language, insulting her, beating her and describing her with repulsive names. For these matters do not befit an exemplary husband.
Having jealousy and caring about the modesty of your wife is a praiseworthy thing, which shows your love for her. However it is on the condition that you do not go to great extremes in this jealousy. For then at that point, it would turn into something worthy of no praise.
When entering the house, do not alarm your family by entering upon them suddenly. Rather, enter while they are aware of it, and greet them with Salaam. And ask about them and how they are doing. And do not forget to remember Allaah, the Mighty and Sublime, when you enter the house.
Beware of spreading any secrets connected with the intimate encounters you have with your wife, for that is something restricted and forbidden.
Constantly maintain the cleaning of your mouth and the freshening of your breath.
Guardianship of your wife doesn’t mean that you can exploit what Allaah has bestowed upon you from taking charge of her, such that you harm and oppress her.
Showing respect and kindness to your wife’s family is showing respect and kindness to her. And this applies even after her death, on the condition that it is not accompanied by an act forbidden in the Religion, such as intermingling of the sexes or being in privacy (with them).
Too much joking will lead to (your family having) little fear (of disobeying you) and a lack of respect for you. So do not joke too much with your wife.
Be considerate that fulfilling the conditions which you promised to your wife during the pre-marriage agreement is a matter possessing the highest of importance and priority. So do not neglect that after getting married.
When you lecture your wife or reprimand her or simply speak to her, choose the kindest and nicest of words and expressions for your speech. And do not reprimand her in front of others or in front of your children.
It is not proper for you to ask your wife to look for work outside of the house or to spend upon you from her wealth.
Do not overburden your wife with acts that she is not able to handle. Consider, with extreme regard, the environment she was raised up in. Rural service is not like urban service, and the service of a strong woman and her preparation for it is not like the service of a weak woman.
There is nothing in the obligation of a woman’s service to her husband that negates his assisting her in that regard, if he should find the free time. Rather, this is from the good manners of living between the spouses. This discussion will continue in an upcoming issue, if Allaah wills.
This article has been widely atributed to a lecture given by Sheikh Abdullah Adhami, but I have been informed that he is not the actual author, so for now it is, Author Unknown.
By getting married you are not just getting a wife, you are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend.
She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you; when you have a secret, she will keep it; when you need advice, she will give you the best advice. She will always be with you: when you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be hers; during the day, she will be with you, if for some time she is not with you by her physical body, she will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her heart, mind, and soul; when you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her; and when you are asleep you will still see her in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.
The best description that I personally have ever read describing the closeness of the spouses to each other is the Qur’anic verse which says: “They are your garments and you are their garments.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:187). Indeed, spouses are like garments to each other because they provide one another with the protection, the comfort, the cover, the support, and the adornment that garments provide to humans. Just imagine a journey in the winter of Alaska without garments! Our spouses provide us with the same level of comfort, protection, cover, and support in the journey of our lives on this earth as garments would do in the Alaskan journey.
The relationship between the spouses is the most amazing of all human relations: the amount of love and affection, intimacy and closeness, mercy and compassion, peace and tranquillity that fills the hearts of the spouses is simply inexplicable. The only rational explanation for these most amazing of all human feelings is that: it is an act of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, “And Allah has made for you Mates (and Companions of your own nature …” (Surah Al Nahl 16:72)
Only our Almighty Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in His Infinite Power, Boundless Mercy, and Great Wisdom can create and ingrain these amazing and blessed feelings in the hearts of the spouses. In fact Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala is reminding those who search for His signs in the universe that these feelings in the hearts of the spouses are among the signs that should guide humans to His existence as He says in the Qur’an, “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Surah Al Rum 30:21)
But Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala knows that the human heart is not a static entity, it is sometimes weak and at times dynamic. Feelings can and do change with time. Love may wither and fade away. The marital bond might weaken if not properly cared for. Happiness in marriage cannot be taken for granted; continuous happiness requires constant giving from both sides. For the tree of marital love to remain alive and keep growing, the soil has to be sustained, maintained, watered and nurtured.
Remember that our Prophet Muhammad Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam had found the time to go out to the desert and race with his wife Aisha. She outran him but later after she had gained some weight, he outran her. Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam took his wife to watch the young Ethiopians playing and dancing their folk dances. The show of emotions is necessary to keep the marital bond away from rusting and disintegrating. Remember that you will be rewarded by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for any emotions you show to your wife as the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam said “One would be rewarded for anything that he does seeking the pleasure of Allah even the food that he puts in the mouth of his wife”
Never underestimate the importance of seemingly little things as putting food in your wife’s mouth, opening the car door for her, etc. Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam used to extend his knee to his wife to assist her up to ride the camel.
Try to always find some time for both of you to pray together. Strengthening the bond between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala is the best guarantee that your own marital bond would always remain strong. Having peace with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will always result in having more peace at home.
Remember that the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam gave glad tidings for those couples who wake up at night to pray together. The Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam even urged the spouse who rises up first to wake the other spouse up, even by splashing cold water on his/her face.
Always try your best to be good to your wife by words and by deeds. Talk to her, smile to her, seek her advice, ask for her opinion, spend quality time with her and always remember that the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam said, “The best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Finally, it is common that spouses vow to love and honor their spouses until death do them part. I do believe that this vow is good or even great, but not enough! It is not enough that you love your wife. You have to love what she loves as well. Her family, her loved ones must also become your loved ones. Don’t be like my colleague who was unhappy about his wife’s parents coming to visit for few weeks. He candidly said to her “I don’t like your parents.” Naturally she angrily looked at him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t like yours either.” Also, it is not enough that you love her until death do you part. Love should never end and we do believe there is life after death where those who did righteousness in this world will be joined by their spouses (Surah Al Zukhruf 43:70) and offsprings.
The best example in this regard is the Prophet Salallaahu ‘aliahi wa’sallaam whose love for Khadija, his wife of 25 years, extended to include all those she loved; this love of his continued even after her death. It was many years after her death and he never forgot her and whenever a goat was slaughtered in his house he would send portions of it to Khadija’s family and friends and whenever he felt that the visitor at the door might be Khadija’s sister Hala, he would pray saying, “O Allah let it be Hala.”
10 Tips on How to Be a Successful Husband
Prepared by Muhammad AlShareef, Reprinted from Islamway.com
1. Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good.When was the last time us men went shopping for designer pajamas? Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her too. Remember that Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – would always start with Miswak when returning home and always loved the sweetest smells.
2. Use the cutest names for your wife. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – had nicknames for his wives, ones that they loved. Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt their feelings.
3. Don’t treat her like a fly. We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day – which brings no attention from the husband – until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognize all the good that she does and focus on that.
4. If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment! This is one of the ways Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives – radi Allahu ‘anhunn. It’s a technique that few Muslim men have mastered.
5. Smile at your wife whenever you see her and embrace her often. Smiling is Sadaqah and your wife is not exempt from the Muslim Ummah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling. Remember also those Ahadith when Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – would kiss his wife before leaving for Salah, even if he was fasting.
6. Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again! Take for example a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, and a dozen other tasks to prepare. And sometimes the only acknowledgement she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!
7. Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again. It may be hard to recognize what gives your wife pleasure. You don’t have to play a guessing game, ask her and work on repeating those times in your life.
8. Don’t belittle her desires. Comfort her. Sometimes the men may look down upon the requests of their wives. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam set the example for us in an incident when Safiyyah – radi Allahu ‘anha – was crying because, as she said, he had put her on a slow camel. He wiped her tears, comforted her, and brought her the camel.
9. Be humorous and Play games with your wife. Look at how Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – would race his wife Aisha – radi Allahu ‘anha – in the desert. When was the last time we did something like that?
10. Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam: “The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.” Try to be the best!
In conclusion: Never forget to make Dua to Allah – azza wa jall – to make your marriage successful. And Allah ta’ala knows best !!
From Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D
A Happy Conjugal Household
Mutual Rights and Obligations including Sex Etiquette
In order to ensure an atmosphere of harmony and to promote a cheerful and successful life in the newly established nest of the newlyweds, Islam has provided guidance in defining the relationship between husband and wife and in distributing the rights and obligations arising from this relationship.
In Islam the husband is the head of the household. This is not male chauvenism. It derives from the natural psychological and physical makeup of the male. Man does not suffer from a regular monthly indisposition with its attendant adverse psychological effects. He does not have to be confined by pregnancy or for delivery; nor can he feed children from his breasts. He is therefore always ready to go out and search for sustenance for himself and his dependents. In fact it was Islam which delivered woman from her plight. It established her equality with man both theoretically and practically. It restored her dignity and recovered her freedom. The Koran stresses her right to benefit from the fruits of her efforts as much as man is entitled to benefit from his (IV, 7). It severely condemned the old customs of ill-treating women (XVI, 58/59,and LXXXI 8/9), and protected their rights in one of the longest chapters, IV, which is given the title “Women.” We have already noticed that in the process of the marriage contract, the bride initiates the offer of marriage, a significant detail which emphasizes her spontaneous free action in making this most important decision.
Let us now set out to consider the obligations imposed by Islam upon the husband toward his wife , and then proceed to discuss those of the wife toward her husband.
The Husband’s Duties
1. A husband is responsible for the protection, happiness and maintenance of his wife. He is responsible for the cost of her food, clothes and accommodation. Although she may have to cook, he has to buy her the raw materials and cooking and kitchen facilities, as may be required and applicable. He may also have to buy her two sets of clothes or more each year, providing the types of clothing suitable for the seasons. However, the number of sets of clothes and their quality depend on the husbands means and social requirements. A wife is also entitled to a comfortable, independent accomodation, suitably furnished and provided with basiic sanitation facilities. She is not obliged to stay with the husband’s parents or relatives as he is not obliged to live with hers. She is also entitled to enjoy herslef with her husband in a relaxed atmophere, free from the embarrassment caused by the presence of another adult in the household The cost of smoking or of a forbidden fruit or drink is not to be provided by the husband.
2. In addition to providing these material needs, a husband has to be kind, understanding and forgiving, and must treat his wife in a tender and loving manner. He not only should avoid hurting her but should bear with her if she ever does something disagreeable, so long as this clemency does not spoil her and she does not habitually behave out of bounds. The Koran reads:
…and treat them [women] kindly. [IV,19}
And the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:
[Fear] God, [fear] God in the matter of women. They are weak partners, a trust from God with you; and they are made by the divine word permissible for you.
He also says:
Whoever of you whose wife behaves in a disagreeable manner and he responds by kindness and patience, God will give him rewards as much as Job will be given for his patience.
Patient behavior was the practice of the Prophet, even when his wife dared to address him harshly. Once his mother-in-law- saw her daugher strike him with her fist on his noble chest. When the enraged mother -in-law began to reproach her daugher, the Prophet smilingly said, “Leave her alone; they do worse than that.” And once Abu Bakr, his father-in-law, was invited to settle some misunderstanding between him and Aishah. The Prophet said to her, “Will you speak, or shall I speak?” Aisha said, “You speak, but do not say except the truth.” Abu Bakr was so outraged that he immediately struck her severely, forcing her to run and seek protection behind the back of the Prophet. Abu Bakr said, “O you the enemy of herself! Does the Messenger of God say but the truth?” The Propeht said, “O Abu Bakr, we did not invite you for this [harsh dealing with Aishah], nor did we anticipate it.”
3. It is further recommended that a husband be relaxed with his wife, and cheer her up with his humor or by making agreeable jokes. The Prophet, peace and belessings be upon him, in spite of his lofty status, used to play with his wife. He ran in competition with Aishah. Sometimes she won, and other times he won. And once, hearing an Abyssinian entertainment team playing outside the home, the Prophet said to Aisha, “Would you like to see them?” When she agreed, he sent for them and they came and performed in front of his door. The Prophet stretched his hand, putting his palm on the open door and letting Aisha’s chin rest on his arm so that she culd see comfortably. A while later the Propeht asked Aishah, “Enough?” She said, “Silence!” Another while later he asked, “Enough?” and the answer was again, “Silence!” But when he asked her for the third time, “Enough? she agreed, “Yes,” and the team went away on a gesture from the Prophet. He then said, “The most perfect belief is that of those who are best-mannered and most tender with their wives. ” The Propeht also used to say, “Surely God does not love a rough person who is boastful, and rude to his wife.” A Bedouin widow once described her husband: “He came always with a smile and left with a greeting. When he was hungry he ate whatever was found, and did not bother when something was missing!”
4. It is of supreme importance that the husband endeavor to handle the matter of sex relations with skill, care and understanding. He should not regard his wife as an object for his own enjoyment alone but as a partner with whom he should always seek mutual bliss, satisfaction and fulfillment. He should always approach her with love and tenderness. In the early stages of marriage, especially in their first expereince on the wedding day, he has to be particulary gentle. The husband should always have due regard for his wife’s feelings and should endeavor to let her reach the degree of full satisfaction in this respect. Because of the importance of this element, early Muslim authorities discussed such details as love play, the techniques that arouse excitement, and the question of orgasm. The right Islamic literature treating this subject far exceeds and is more original and stimulatiing than- but not so obscene as-the crude and vulgar material now in wide circulation in the West. We may discuss here some of the remarks made by these early authorities. They stress the importance of premliminary love play-caresses, fondling, kissing, endearing words- in order to arouse the wife’s sexual passion and prepare for a deeper sensation and a successful conclusion. At the beginning of actual coitus, it is recommended that the following prayer be said:
In the name of Almighty God, the Most High, Please,God, ward off the evil forces away from us and from the blessings You bestow upon us.
The authorities also recommend that in the process of coitus, especially before full penetration, the excitable areas of the male genitals be gently provoked to contribute to completl fulfillment. We have to remind the reader, however, that even at this moment of absorption and ecstasy, propriety and cleanliness have to be maintained. On the one hand, both partners may utter exclamations or ejaculations venting or expressing the intensity of their pleasure, which also may increase the degree of their excitation; but neither may scream to the degree of disrupting the natural privacy of the act. Some Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, recommend the repetition of the words: Allahu Akbar, “God is Great.”
On the other hand, it is to be remembered that the liquid (lubricating) material discharged by the sex organs on excitement is counted as a pollution and a polluting element in Islam and that a Muslim is forbidden to smear a part of his or her body with a polluting stuff unnecessarily. Therefore the custom of licking the excitable areas with the tongue said to prevail in the West may not only be unhealthy; it is also forbidden on that account. We also feel that it is indeed disgusting; and this disgust might in the long run plant the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the couple and ultimately break their rellationship.
The position to be assumed by male and female in relation to each other during coitus occupied a great deal of the attention of Muslim authors who treated the subject. They compiled some fifteen basic different positions; and within each choice they suggest varieties of details. We do not need to discuss this matter here at length, since husband and wife, in their search for their own fulfillment, can easily discover these varieties and select what they find to be most suitable and comfortable for themselves. Muslim writers also emphasize that the husband should endeavor to achieve mutual orgasm. If he should fail to hold out sufficiently for his partner, they say he should continue his efforts to have her reach a climax. To rush away from her too soon might be injurious.
They also recommend that parting at the end of the act should be slow, pleasant and cordial, not abrupt or indifferent.
After some rest both parties have to have the full ablution (a bath). This duty does not need to be rushed; but when the time of the next prayer comes, it has to be performed to remove the ceremonial pollution arising from coitus. Prior to having this bath, the parties, like a woman during her priod of menstrual dischage, are forbidden to perform prayers or to touch or read the Koran. Moreover, it is better to delay hair cutting and fingernail-clipping until after the ablution.
It is also recommended that the husband seek to introduce changes and variations in his approach and in the performance, even in little details, in order to avoid boredom. Variations also create a sense of novelty, and novelty stimulates interest and curiosity; and this intensifies the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. These Muslim etiquettes are probably best summed up in the following words attributed to the Prophet:
Let not one of you fall upon his woman in the manner a male animal suddenly jumps over its female victim. Let there be a messenger [to go] between them.” He was asked, “What is the messenger, O Messenger of God?” He said, “Kissing and endearing speech.
Another tradition reads:
Three practices are shortcomings in a man; namely, to fail to enquire about the name of a man he has just encountered, but was worty of friendship; to refuse a favor extended to him in good faith; and to assault his woman without introductory entertainment [to stimulate her] and so he satisfies his own desire before she can achieve her own fulfillment.
When one of you retires with his wife, let them not strip off their clothes completely in an animal-like manner; and let him begin by [stimulating her by the use of] fine exciting speech and by kissing.
In the course of their game of pleasure a husband and his wife may enjoy and fondle any part of the body of each other; and their engagement in this kind of activity is regarded as a type of divine devotion. However, a husband is discouraged from looking at his wife’s gentials, perhaps for its adverse psychological effect. Moreover, coitus is strictly forbidden during the menstrual period; and penertration in the back passage is always forbidden. If the femal genitals are to be avoided during the menstrual period, presumably because of their temporary blood pollution, a filthier pollution is an enternal factor in the case of the back passage. Prohibition also applies to all types of unnatural and unproductive activities, whether committed between two persons of the same sex or otherwise.
Early Muslim authorities also discussed the advisable frequency of coitus. Some advised that the experience should be repeated at least once every four days. It seems, however, that the matter of frequency should be left to the mood and the personal inclination of the parties concerned, which indeed depend on many factors, including their age and the condtion of their health.
5. A husband should also see to it that his wife has sufficient knowledge of her religious obligations and encourage her in observing her devotional duties. Of special importance are the rules pertaining to the menstrual period. During this period, as well as during the period of postnatal dischange, the oblgation of mandatory prayer is lifted; and coitus is forbidden. The prohibition of coitus is lifted when the blood discharge has stopped and the woman has had the ablution of a full bath.
6. A husband should not harbor doubts or suspicion about his wife unduly. Jealousy is indeed a natural element; and a husband is not to be too indulgent or to remain indifferent in reasonably provocative situations, and surely must guard his wife against all corruptive influences. Yet he should not allow fanciful thoughts to engage his mind and should not behave in a spying manner toward his wife. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
There is a type of jealousy which God loves and there is another type which God hates. As for that which God loves, it is the jealousy which is provoked by a legitimate cause of suspicion; and that which God hates is the jealousy which is unduly aroused.
The Prophet once asked Fatimah, his own daugher, “What is best for a woman?” She replied, “That she should not mix with men and men should not mix with her.” The Prophet, who was pleased with her answer, hugged her and said, “An offspring resembling its roots.” Thus a happy life depends on mutual trust between the partners; and all that has to be done is to keep away from situations that are likely to incite evil or arouse suspicion.
8. If the wife becomes pregnant, her husband should display greater consideration for her and should do all he can to alleviate her discomfort. When she is delivered, he should be grateful to God for her safety and for what God has beneficently graced them with. If his wife has been delivered of a male child, he should not go out of his way to show his pleasure; and if it is a female, he should not at all feel disheartened. After all, he does not know which is better for him. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:
Whoever is graced with a daughter and treats her well and lavished upon her some of the favors God has bestowed upon him, she will be a protection for him against the punishment of the Hell Fire.
Whoever brings home some good things to his children, it will be counted as a divine charity for him. Let him begin by giving the female ones. Whoever cheers up a female child shall have the merit of him who weeps out of divine fear of God; and whoever so intensely fears God, God will protect him from the Hell Fire.
Whoever has two daughers or two sisters under his care and treats them well, he will be my companion in Paradise.
A child, however, should be given a good name, evein if it is delivered in a miscarriage. And shortly after a child’s safe birth, the full text of the call to prayer should be recited in its right ear, and the short one in its left ear. It is recommended that a boy be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth, excluding the day of birth itself. Whether it is a boy or a girl, it is recommended that the family then hold a feast for which a lamb or larger animal should be sacrificed. Some of the meat should be distributed to the poor, as well as the value of gold whose weight is the weight of the baby’s hair. The sacrifice offered on the seventh day of birth is known as ‘aqiqah.
The Wife’s Duties
1. The first task of the wife is to create a home a soft relaxing atmosphere in which she and her husband can live together smoothly, happily and enjoyably. The way in which this is to be acheived depends on her taste and their means and upon prevaling values and conditions.
2. A wife must be faithful and devoted to her husband. Her loyalty is due to him first, even before her kin. She should avoid associating with undesirable or suspicous elements and should not entertain alone any male friends.
3. The management of the household is the wife’s primary responsibility. She has to take care of meal preparation, house-cleaning and laundry. Whether she undertakes these tasks herself or has them done under her careful supervision, it is her task to manage them in the best interests of the family. She may expect some cooperation from her husband, but this should depend on what he can afford to do. What is important is the mutual goodwill and love which will no doubt stimulate each party to alleviate the burden of the other as much as possible.
4. The wife should not be too demanding; she must be contented, and appreciative of any kind gesture her husband may extend to her. She should not insist on buying expensive clothes or luxurious peices of furniture beyond her husband’s means.
5. The wife should take care of herself in order to appear always cheerful, charming and attractive to her husband. She should always smell good and may reasonably apply cosmetics but should avoid excessive use of it. Such excess is not only financially unwise but also psychologically harmful. It makes her beauty appear to be merely artificial. An ancient Arab women advised her daugher on her wedding day:
O my daugher! you are leaving the home in which you were brought up to a house unknown to you and to a companion unfamilar to you. Be a floor to him, he will be a roof to you; be a soft seat to him, he will be a pillar for you; and be like a slave girl to him, he will be like a slave boy to you. Avoid inopportune behavior, lest he should be bored with you; and be not aloof lest he should become indifferent to you. If he approaches you, come running to him; and if he turns away, do not impose yourself upon him. Take care of his nose, his eye and his ear. Let him not smell except a good odor from you; let his eye not see you except in an agreeable appearance; and let him hear nothing from you except nice, fine words.
6. In managing the household, the wife should economize and avoid extravagance. She is not to give of her husband’s wealth except within the degreee he approves of. Whatever she gives within this degree, she will share in its divine reward; and what she gives away beyond it will be to the advantage of her husband and to her own disadvantage on the Day of Judgment.
An objective analysis of the above outline of the mutual rights and obligations of a husband and wife as set out and stipulated by Islam for the guidance of its adherents reveals the following facts:
1. The husband-wife relationship is to be based not on dry legal rules or decisions of the court but on mutal respect, love and regard.
2. The husband is alone responsible for the entire cost of, and the wife is the misstress of, the household. The objective of each is to serve the other and to provide to the other means of comfort, enjoyment and happiness; and the aim of both is to acheive optimum bliss for themselves and to contribute through their offspring to the perpetuation of the human race.
3. A woman is not a chattel or a blind follower but an equal partner. However, her soft nature, her beautiful natural role as the partner who is to provide more for the sexual attraction and excitement, her monthly menstrual discharge with its attending psychological and physical adverse effects, her childbearing and child-rearing–all these natural considerations, not a male dictatorship as has recently been contended, have made her the dependent but respected, virtuous and beloved partner.
4. Within the framework of the above basic considerations, and within the Islamic flexibility which has regard for custom and prevaling traditions, consistent with the moral values of Islam, the couple may choose any type of arrangement for the distribution of their mutual responsiblities in order to meet their needs as they may see fit in the conditions prevailing where they live.
5. An interesting point which emphasizes that the wife does not lose her own independent character on gettting marries is that she always retains her full maiden name. So Miss Nancy Jones on her marriage to Mr. Martin James is called Lady Nancy Jones and not Mrs. James. She may be called Lady Nancy Jones, wife of Mr. James, but not simply Mrs. James. This point is significant, as it expresses both a wife’s greater freedom under Islam and her continued relation with her own family.
Tips to a Better Marriage
By Sr. Muntaqima Abdur-Rashid
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30: 21).
I have listed some rules that may benefit those seeking an Islamic marriage, as well as those who are already married. I do not pretend to be an expert of any kind. I have learned what I know through marrying at the early age of 18, just 9 months after embracing Islam. I muddled my way through much of my 14 years of marriage, and consider myself a graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks’. The rules are:
1. Be conscious of your physical appearance.
No one was more conscious of this than the Prophet. His Sunnah reflects keen attention to personal hygiene and good grooming. He kept himself strong and muscular. Most likely the first aspect of you that attracted your mate was your appearance, so don’t think that simply because you are married the task is over. You can’t hide a weight problem under Thawbs’ (dress) and long Khimars’ (veils). Your mate knows. Be aware that you live in a society that places a high premium on physical appearance. It flaunts the shapely female and her muscular counterpart. Temptations that beckon non-Muslims beckon Muslims as well. Don ‘t allow your mate to get side-tracked by the likes of a ‘Raquel Welch or an Arnold Schwarzenegger’. Jog, join a gym, roller skate, swim and stay in shape. Insha’ Allah, you will be more vibrant, more radiant, and more attractive to your mate.
2. Be aware of your role, but do not fall into role-playing.
Muslim spouses sometimes experience difficulties because they are trying to do things ‘by the book’ without giving due consideration to the conditions prevailing in their country. For example, most female converts are taught that the role of the Muslim woman is to be at home raising her children. Supposedly, it is the man who works outside the home to maintain the family. She may have read about birth control and assumed that it has no place for the Muslimah; yet, it is worth noting that the Prophet himself allowed coitus interruptus. If ideal Islamic conditions prevailed, there would be no reason for a sister to worry about her financial situation interfering with her right to bear children. However, without an Islamic society, needy Muslim families may have to resort to welfare and food stamps rather than Zakaah and Sadaqah. This creates a feeling of dependence and humiliation that can place extreme stress on a marriage. In this ease, it may be helpful for the Muslim couple to delay having children, or for the wife to work while the children are young and until the couple ‘s financial situation improves. Islam gives you this flexibility. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to use it.
3. Be a companion to your mate.
Try to show enthusiasm for your spouse’s interests and hobbies. It is well-known that the Prophet would run races with ‘Ayesha. By all means try to involve your mate in your interests.
4. Be active in Islamic community life.
This will strengthen your commitment to Islam while providing you wish a wholesome social outlet. Encourage your spouse to engage in activities that promote Islam. Have dinners at your home for Muslims as well as non-Muslims, and don’t neglect your relatives. These activities will indirectly enhance the quality of your marriage through widening your circle of activity and contacts.
5. Admit your mistakes and have a forgiving, generous attitude when your mate errs.
This country is a difficult place to live in. Most Muslims fall short of the Islamic ideal. Contradictions abound. Be quick to admit your shortcomings and work to amend them. Be understanding when your mate does not live up to the Islamic ideal and gently try to motivate him or her in the right direction.
6. Have a sense of humour.
Be able to chuckle at life’s minor aggravations.
7. Be modest when around members of the opposite sex.
Do not try to test your spouse’s affection by feigning interest in another. This will only cause dissension and bad feelings.
8. Share household duties.
Brothers, take note. This is especially important these days when women work outside the home. The Prophet always helped his wives around the house and even mended his own clothes. Who knows? You might find you actually like preparing the evening meal or taking care of junior so your wife can have the afternoon off. The Messenger of Allah said, “The most perfect of the believers in faith is the best of them in moral excellence, and the best of you are those who are kindest to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi).
9. Surprise each other with gifts.
Treat her to an evening out alone, away from the children. There are no words to describe the lift this can give to a marriage.
10. Communicate your feelings to one another, good and bad.
Tell him how handsome he looks. Where there is disagreement, have an open discussion. Don ‘ t collect red stamps. Nip it in the bud .
11. Live within your means.
Stay away from credit cards if you can. Sisters, take note. Don’t envy the possessions of your friends, and don’t belittle your husband because he can’t provide them for you. Muslim couples will do well to stay away from ostentatious living. The Prophet did not live luxuriously, and neither should you.
12. Respect your mate’s need for privacy.
A quiet time to oneself each day, either at home or away from home, can make a disagreeable person agreeable.
13. Don ‘t share personal problems with others.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, but if you must discuss personal problems, make sure it is with a person in whom you have the utmost confidence. If you have a learned Muslim brother or sister in your community, seek him or her out first.
14. Be sensitive to your mate’s moods.
If you want to share a personal achievement, don’t do it when your spouse is ‘down in the dumps.’ Wait for the proper time.
You may be saying to yourself, “All This is easier said than done.” Well, you’re right. A successful marriage doesn’t just happen. It’s not simply a matter of luck or finding the right person. It takes hard work and determination. It means being selfless and making mistakes. It means having vengeance on your mind but forgiveness in your heart. But, then, its perfection is “half of faith.”
“And those who pray, ‘Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.'” Qur’an 25:74
“The whole world is an asset and the best asset is a good wife.” (Muslim)
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30: 21).
How to Make Your Husband Happy
by Sheikh Mohammed Abdelhaleem Hamed
(NOTE: To help strengthening the Muslim families and spread the teachings of Islam
in building families, the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of
Alberta prepared a extremely summarized translation for two books. The
books are Arabic by Sheikh Mohammad Abdelhaleem Hamed. An Egyptian scholar,
who graduated from the Islamic University of AlMadinah Al-Munawwarah in
Saudi Arabia. The two books are:
1- How to make your wife happy
2- How to make your husband happy
They exceed the traditional presentation of stating rights and duties to the ‘Adab (good
manners) and extend into application of these rights in daily life. The
following summary highlights mainly the responsibilities or examples of what
could or should be done. Every single item mentioned by the author is
supported by evidences from Qur’an, Sunnah or the actions of the companions,
but evidences are omitted in this translation.)
1- Beautiful Reception
After returning from work, school, travel, or whatever has separated you,
begin with a good greeting.
* Meet him with a cheerful face.
* Beautify and perfume yourself.
* Start with good news and delay any bad news until he has rested.
* Receive him with loving and yearning sentences.
* Make hard efforts for excellence of the food & having it ready on time.
2- Beautify and Soften the Voice
* For your husband only, it shouldn’t be used in front of non-mahram men
(men who can marry you if you were unmarried).
3- Smelling Good and Physical Beautification
* Taking good care of your body and fitness.
* Put on nice and attractive clothes and perfumes.
* Bath regularly and, after the monthly period, remove any blood traces
or bad smells.
* Avoide that your husband observes you in dirty clothes or rough shape.
* Avoide prohibited types of ornamentation, e.g. tatoo.
* Use the types of perfumes, colors, and clothes that the husband likes.
* Change hair style, perfumes, etc. from time to time.
* However with these things you should avoid excessiveness and, of course,
only act as such in front of mahrem men and women.
* Hasten for intercourse when your husband feels compulsion for it.
* Keep your body clean and smelling good as possible including cleaning
yourself of released fluids during intercourse.
* Exchange loving phrases with your husband.
* Leave your husband to fully satisfy his desire.
* Choose suitable times and good occasions for exciting your husband,
and encouraging him to do intercourse, e.g. after returning from a
travel, weekends, etc.
5- Satisfaction With What Allah (SWT) Has Allotted
* You shouldn’t be depressed because your husband is poor or works in a
* You should look at poor, sick, and handicapped people and remember
Allah (SWT) for all that was given to you.
* You should remember that real wealth lays in Iman and piety.
6- Indifference to Worldly Things
* You should not consider this world as your hope and interest.
* You should not ask your husband for many unnecessary things.
* Asceticism does not mean not to enjoy what is good and permissible
(Halal), but it means that one should look forward to the hereafter and
utilize whatever Allah SWT gave them to achieve paradise (Jannah).
* Encourage your husband to reduce expenses and save some money in order
to give charity and feed poor and needy people.
* By the saying of the prophet, the majority of people in hell were women
because they were ungrateful and deny the good done to them.
* The result of being grateful is that your husband will love you more and
will do his best to please you in more ways.
* The result of being ungrateful is that your husband will be dissappointed
and will start asking himself: Why should I do good to her, if she never
8- Devotion and Loyalty
* In particular in times of calamities in your husband’s body or business,
e.g. an accident or a bankruptcy
* Supporting him through your own work, money, and properties if needed.
9- Compliance to Him
* In all what he commands you, unless it is prohibited (Haram).
* In Islam, the husband is the leader of the family, and the wife is his
support and consultant.
10-Pleasing Him If He Is Angry
* First off, try to avoid what will guarantee his anger.
* But if it happens that you can’t, then try to appease him as follows:
1- If you mistaken, then apologize.
2- If he mistaken then:
# Keep still instead of arguing or
# Yield you right or
# Wait until he is no longer angry and discuss the matter peacefully
3- If he was angry because of external reasons then:
# Keeping silent untill his anger goes
# Find execuses for him, e.g. tired, problems at work, some one
# Do not ask many questions and insist on knowing what happened,
e.g. 1) You should tell me what happened? 2) I must know what
made you so angry. 3) You are hidding something, and I have the
right to know
11-Guardianship While He is Absent
* Protecting yourself from any prohibited relations.
* Keep the secrets of the family, particularly intercourse and things
that the husbands don’t like other people to know.
* Take care of the house and children.
* Takecare of his money and properties.
* Do not go out of your house without his permission and put on full
* Refuse people whom he does not like to come over.
* Do not allow any non-mahram man to be alone with you in any place.
* Be good with his parents and relatives in his absence.
12- Showing Respect for his Family and Friends
* You should welcome his guests and try to please them, especially his
* You should avoid problems as much as you can with his relatives.
* You should avoid putting him is a position where he had to choose
between his mother and his wife.
* Show good hospitality for his guests by arranging a nice place for them to
sit in, perfection of food, welcoming their wives, etc.
* Encourage him to visit his relatives and invite them to your home.
* Phone his parents and sisters, send letters to them, buy gifts for
them, support them in calamities, etc..
13- Admirable Jealousy
* Jealousy is a sign for wife’s love for her husband but it should be kept
within the limits of Islam, e.g. not insulating or backbiting others,
disrespecting them, etc..
* You should not follow or create unfounded doubts.
14-Patience and Emotional Support
* Be patient when you face poverty and strained circumstances.
* When you face calamities and disasters that may happen to you, your
hsubandh, your children, relatives or properties, e.g. diseases,
accidents, death, etc.
* When facing hardships in Da’wah (imprisonment, getting fired, arrested,
etc.), be patient and encourage him to keep on the path of Allah and
remind him of paradise.
* When he mistreats you, counteract his ill-treatment by good treatment
15- Support in Obedience to Allah, Da’wah and Jihad
* Cooperate with your husband and remind him of different obligatory
and voluntary worships.
* Encourage him to pray at night.
* Listen and reciting the Qur’an individually and with your husband.
* Listen to Islamic tapes and songs individually and with your husband.
* Remember Allah SWT much, particularly after Fajr and before Maghrib.
* Share in arranging Da’wah activities for women and children.
* Learn Islamic rules (ahkam) and good manners (‘adab) for women.
* Support your husband’s activities by encouraging him, offering wise
opinions, soothing his pains, etc.
* Yielding some of your rights and a part of your time with your husband
* Encourage him to go for Jihad when needed and remind him that you and
children will be in the preservation of Allah SWT.
* Keep it clean, decorated and well arranged.
* Change house arrangements from time to time to avoid boredom.
* Perfect of food and prepare healthy foods.
* Learn all the necessary skills for managing the house, e.g. sewing.
* Learn how to raise children properly and in an Islamic way.
17-Preservation of Finances and the Family
* Do not spend from his money, even for charity without his permission
unless you are sure that he agrees on this.
* Protect his house, car, etc. while he is absent.
* Keep the children in good shape, clean clothes, etc. Take care of
their nutrition, health, education, manners, etc. Teach them Islam
and tell them the stories of the Prophets and companions.
Finally, please make Du’a for the writer; Sheikh Mohammad Abdelhaleem Hamed,
for the translator brother Abu Talhah, and for the reviewer,
brother Adam Qurashi. Remember this is not a perfect translation so
forgive us our faults and correct our errors.
Muslim Students’ Association
University of Alberta
How to Make Your Wife Happy
by Sheikh Mohammed Abdelhaleem Hamed
(NOTE: To help strengthening the Muslim families and spread the teachings of Islam
in building families, the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of
Alberta prepared a extremely summarized translation for two books. The
books are Arabic by Sheikh Mohammad Abdelhaleem Hamed. An Egyptian scholar,
who graduated from the Islamic University of AlMadinah Al-Munawwarah in
Saudi Arabia. The two books are:
1- How to make your wife happy
2- How to make your husband happy
They exceed the traditional presentation of stating rights and duties to the ‘Adab (good
manners) and extend into application of these rights in daily life. The
following summary highlights mainly the responsibilities or examples of what
could or should be done. Every single item mentioned by the author is
supported by evidences from Qur’an, Sunnah or the actions of the companions,
but evidences are omitted in this translation.)
1. Beautiful Reception
After returning from work, school, travel, or whatever has separated you:
* begin with a good greeting.
* Start with Assalamau ‘Aliaykum and a smile. Salam is a sunnah and a du’aa for her as well.
* Shake her hand and leave bad news for later!
2. Sweet Speech and Enchanting Invitations
* Choose words that are positive and avoid negative ones.
* Give her your attention when you speak of she speaks.
* Speak with clarity and repeat words if necessary until she understands.
* Call her with the nice names that she likes, e.g. my sweet-heart, honey, saaliha, etc.
3. Friendliness and Recreation
* Spend time talking together.
* Spread to her goods news.
* Remember your good memories together.
4. Games and Distractions
* Joking around & having a sense of humor.
* Playing and competing with each other in sports or whatever.
* Taking her to watch permissible (halal) types of entertainment.
* Avoiding prohibited (haram) things in your choices of entertainment.
5. Assistance in the Household
* Doing what you as an individual can/like to do that helps out, especially if she is sick or tired.
* The most important thing is making it obvious that he appreciates her hard work.
6. Consultation (Shurah)
* Specifically in family matters.
* Giving her the feeling that her opinion is important to you.
* Studying her opinion carefully.
* Be willing to change an opinion for hers if it is better.
* Thanking her for helping him with her opinions.
7. Visiting Others
* Choosing well raised people to build relations with. There is a great reward in visiting relatives and pious people. (Not in wasting time while visiting!)
* Pay attention to ensure Islamic manners during visits.
* Not forcing her to visit whom she does not feel comfortable with.
8. Conduct During Travel
* Offer a warm farewell and good advice.
* Ask her to pray for him.
* Ask pious relatives and friends to take care of the family in your absence.
* Give her enough money for what she might need.
* Try to stay in touch with her whether by phone, e-mail, letters, etc..
* Return as soon as possible.
* Bring her a gift!
* Avoid returning at an unexpected time or at night.
* Take her with you if possible.
9. Financial Support
* The husband needs to be generous within his financial capabilities. He should not be a miser with his money (nor wasteful).
* He gets rewards for all what he spends on her sustenance even for a small piece of bread that he feeds her by his hand (hadeith).
* He is strongly encouraged to give to her before she asks him.
10. Smelling Good and Physical Beautification
* Following the Sunnah in removing hair from the groin and underarms.
* Always being clean and neat.
* Put on perfume for her.
* It is obligatory to do it habitually if you have no excuse (sickness, etc.)
* Start with “Bismillah” and the authentic du’a.
* Enter into her in the proper place only (not the anus).
* Begin with foreplay including words of love.
* Continue until you have satisfied her desire.
* Relax and joke around afterwards.
* Avoid intercourse during the monthly period because it haram
* Do what you can to avoid damaging her level of Hiyaa (shyness and modesty) such as taking your clothes together instead of asking her to do it first while he is looking on.
* Avoid positions during intercourse that may harm her such as putting pressure on her chest and blocking her breath, especially if you are heavy.
* Choose suitable times for intercourse and be considerate as sometimes she maybe sick or exhausted.
12. Guarding Privacy
* Avoid disclosing private information such as bedroom secrets, her personal problems and other private matters.
13. Aiding in the Obedience to Allah
* Wake her up in the last third of the night to pray “Qiam-ul-Layl” (extra prayer done at night with long sujood and ruku’ua).
* Teach her what you know of the Qur’an and its tafseer.
* Teach her “Dhikr” (ways to remember Allah by the example of the prophet) in the morning and evening.
* Encourage her to spend money for the sake of Allah such as in a charity sale.
* Take her to Hajj and Umrah when you can afford to do so.
14. Showing Respect for her Family and Friends
* Take her to visit her family and relatives, especially her parents.
* Invite them to visit her and welcome them.
* Give them presents on special occasions.
* Help them when needed with money, effort, etc..
* Keep good relations with her family after her death if she dies first.
Also in this case the husband is encouraged to follow the sunnah and keep giving what she used to give in her life to her friends and family.
15. (Islamic) Training & Admonition
* The basics of Islam
* Her duties and rights
* Reading and writing
* Encouraging her to attend lessons and halaqahs
* Islamic rules (ahkam) related to women
* Buying Islamic books and tapes for the home library
16. Admirable Jealousy
* Ensure she is wearing proper hijab before leaving house.
* Restrict free mixing with non-mahram men.
* Avoiding excess jealousy. Examples of this are:
1- Analyzing every word and sentence she says and overloading her speech by meanings that she did not mean.
2- Preventing her from going out of the house when the reasons are just.
3- Preventing her from answering the phone.
17. Patience and Mildness
* Problems are expected in every marriage so this is normal. What is wrong is excessive responses and magnifying problems until a marital breakdown.
* Anger should be shown when she exceeds the boundaries of Allah SWT, by delaying prayers, backbiting, watching prohibited scenes on TV, etc..
* Forgive the mistakes she does to you (See item 18).
* How can you best correct her mistakes?
1- First, implicit and explicit advice several times.
2- Then by turning your back to her in bed (displaying your feelings). Note that this does not include leaving the bedroom to another room, leaving the house to another place, or not talking with her.
3- The last solution is lightly hitting (when allowable) her. (Zawaj.com Editor’s note: We do NOT agree with or endorse this particar suggestion. We are printing this article as it was written, however we believe that striking a woman is not an acceptable solution to problems. In fact, it contradicts all of the other advice offered in this article.) In this case, the hsuband should consider the following: – He should know that sunnah is to avoid beating as the Prophet PBUH never beat a woman or a servant. – He should do it only in extreme cases of disobedience, e.g. refusing intercourse without cause frequently, constantly not praying on time, leaving the house for long periods of time without permission nor refusing to tell him where she had been, etc.
– It should not be done except after having turned from her bed and discussing the matter with her as mentioned in Qur’an.
– He should not hit her hard injuring her, or hit her on her face or on sensitive parts of her body.
– He should avoid shaming her such as by hitting her with a shoe, etc.
18. Pardoning and Appropriate Censure
* Accounting her only for larger mistakes.
* Forgive mistakes done to him but account her for mistakes done in Allah’s rights, e.g. delaying prayers, etc..
* Remember all the good she does whenever she makes a mistake.
* Remember that all humans err so try to find excuses for her such as maybe she is tired, sad, having her monthly cycle or that her commitment to Islam is growing.
* Avoid attacking her for the bad cooking of the food as the Prophet PBUH never blamed any of his wives for this. If he likes the food, he eats and if he doesn’t then he does not eat and does not comment.
* Before declaring her to be in error, try other indirect approaches that are more subtle than direct accusations.
* Escape from using insults and words that may hurt her feelings.
* When it becomes necessary to discuss a problem wait until you have privacy from others.
* Waiting until the anger has subsided a bit can help to keep a control on your words.
Finally, please make Du’a for the writer; Sheikh Mohammad Abdelhaleem Hamed,
for the translator brother Abu Talhah and for reviewer Br. Adam Qurashi. Remember this is not a perfect translation so forgive us our faults and correct our errors.
Muslim Students’ AssociationNIKAH: HUSBAND’S OBLIGATIONS
University of Alberta
by Ml I Khamisa for Al-Jamiat Magazine
Have you ever pondered over the Khutbah which the Imaam recited to you before you enthusiastically uttered ‘Nakahtuhaa Wa Qabiltuhaa Wa Tazawwajtuhaa?’
Let me help you and shed some light over this contract which you have made yourself party to, that is ‘The Nikah Contract’. The Imaam recited to you three verses from the Noble Qurãn:
- Surah Nissa (4) verse 1
O Mankind Fear your guardian Lord who created you from a single soul, and He created from it its mate and from them He scattered many men and women…
- Surah Aale Imraan (3) verse 102
O Ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.
- Surah Ahzaab (33) verse 70
O Ye who believe. Fear Allah and make your utterances straight.
The common element in each of these verses is the Arabic word ‘Taqwa’ (God Consciousness). In these verses you are reminded to fear Allah Taãla in the manner you treat the lady you are taking as your wife. There is no one to see the way you conduct yourself within your home. Let the fact and belief that Allah is watching guide you in your treatment of the woman you have made your wife by granting her the respect and dignity she deserves.
You have brought somebody’s daughter into your own home. She left her family, her friends, close associates and in many cases even the town that she grew up in and she came to a strange environment just to share the rest of her life with you. Was she handed over to you to be a target of your physical and verbal abuse?
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said in connection with the treatment of animals: ‘Fear Allah in your treatment of these animals who cannot speak.’ If this was his concern for the animals, how tremendously greater would his concern have been for humans; therefore, can you imagine what his reaction would have been to the wife battering that takes place nowadays?
What then are the most important ingredients of a happy marriage? Allah Taãla says in Surah Roum (30) verse 21.
‘And from amongst His signs is that He created for you from amongst yourselves partners, that you may live in tranquility with them, and He has created love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.’
It is this love and mercy that strengthens the bond of marriage. The ability to overlook each other’s faults goes a long way in cementing the relationship. Once a man came to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) and said, ‘O Allah’s messenger, how many times should I forgive the wrongs of my slaves.’ The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) replied, ‘Forgive them seventy times a day.’ If a worker is entitled to so much of compassion what about your lifelong companion?
BEST OF YOU
Today, we are very courteous to our clients, appreciative to our colleagues and cheerful to our friends. Unfortunately this warmth is not extended to the poor wife who is most deserving of this courtesy and charm. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said, ‘The most complete of believers in faith are those who are best in character. The best of you are those who are best to their wives.’ (Mishkat)
Every person has shortcomings. It is therefore quite natural to find this in your partner. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) has advised us to take pleasure in the good and overlook the bad. Have you ever spared the thought that there may be so many habits which you possess that may be bringing grief to your wife? She may have been patiently bearing it not wanting to hurt your feelings.
Let us go back and fulfil the demands of this contract.
TREAT YOUR WIFE AS YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR SON-IN-LAW TO TREAT YOUR DAUGHTER.
By: Ml. I Khamissa
NIKAH: WIFE’S OBLIGATIONS
by Ml I Khamisa for Al-Jamiat Magazine
Many prospective wives seem to have their hopes dashed after they enter into the contract of marriage. Once the honeymoon is over, suddenly things are not so rosy any more, and the reality of married life seems to be a far cry from the Haraam movies which many have been watching or the novels which end up with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. In a world where it has become fashionable to engage in immoral activities and illicit relationships, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince people that marriage is an important component of a pure society.
What guidelines does the Shariáh give the wife to help cement the relationship between herself and her husband?
The Qurãn in Surah Shuáraa (v74), describes the prayer of the pious in the following manner: ‘Oh our lord! Grant us wives and offspring who will be the joy and comfort of our eyes.’ The explanation of the above verse is clearly illustrated in the beautiful words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) (as narrated by ibn Abbaas) ‘The best woman (wife) is the one whom, when you look at her she pleases you, when you command her she obeys you, when you are not in her presence she safeguards herself and your belongings.’
Today, the wife adorns herself for weddings and other social events, beautifying herself to attract the attention of everyone else besides the one who is most important in her life. The husband comes home tired from work, only to find his wife shabbily dressed, too glued to the drama on TV to even reply to the Salaam of her husband. Meal times and other household duties are dictated by the box. The children are sent away to their rooms with the words ‘Go to your room and read your Qurãn – or finish up your homework.’ These words, mind you, are not uttered because of some great concern for the child’s education; in fact it is only mentioned to get them out of the way.
Remember! Your children may not do what you ask them to do, but they very often do what they see you do. What kind of example are we setting for these impressionable young minds?
Unrealistic demands made by the wife do not help much to strengthen the marital bond. Being dictated by fashion and the way the people next door are living, the wife forces the husband to beg and borrow just to keep up with the Jones’s. ‘If your brother’s wife can have it, then why can’t I?’ ‘Well your sister has it in her house.’ Comparing ourselves with those who have more than us does not help to relieve tension between husband and wife. The words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) beautifully explain:
‘Look at those who have less than you, do not look at those who have more than you, (if you do so) then you are more likely to appreciate Allah’s favours upon you.’
If a man had to choose a wife according to the guidelines given by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), what kind of a person was he to look for? The Hadith states: ‘A woman is married for four (things); her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So choose (marry) the religious woman, otherwise you will be a loser.’
The most important quality of the wife is consciousness of her Islamic responsibilities. How Deeni conscious are you? How supportive are you of your husband when he is engaged in Deeni activities? Are you preventing him from serving humanity?
The Qurãn in Surah Rum (v21) explains the purpose of marriage as a source of comfort for both partners. No one has married ‘Mr Perfect’ and no one is perfect! Are you making the environment in the home conducive to living in peace and harmony or does your husband feel that he rather be at work than at home with you?
What degree of obedience does the Shariáh command the wife to have for her husband? A Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) explains, ‘If I had to command anyone to prostrate to somebody, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her husband.’ However, if your husband commands you to do something against the Shariáh you do not have to obey him.
If the objectives of both husband and wife are to please Allah, the couple will find more common ground on which to build the relationship.
-by Ml I Khamisa
Islamic Sex Education?
Sex in our society, sex in Islam and the hypocrisy of our society!
By M. Tufail
Sex- a topic with the most polarized attitude known in our society! With all the presumption and the cultural aspects accredited to it, all the more desperate and urgent is the need to initiate a communication regarding this vacuum in our minds, in our conduct and in our society is not only
Why does this attitude prevail in our society? Thanks to our religion? NO! Thanks to our cultural upbringing, ignorance and the hypocritical attitude of our society, which allows sex everywhere, which condones sex as “student life kae mashghaley” (part of growing up, in the sense of first experiences)- the most pathetic excuse I ever heard. It accepts marrying off their daughters to those very students, but will run amok if a girl speaks of “hush…. that disease”, called AIDS! No, I am not exaggerating, I hardly could believe my ears, when a literature graduate mother, of educated background, hushed her then medical student daughter into silence while we were discussing about HIV and AIDS, telling her not to mention this disease without any inhibitions, blurting out its name.
Sex is hushed and curtained off to the bedroom and speaking about it is a sin, accredits a loose character and well, I could go on echoing all those remarks, prevailing even in our Muslim society- be it Pakistan, the middle East or the sisters (I guess the brothers aren’t any better) and gatherings in the western hemisphere, to which I have been, regretfully but in not avoidable situations, witness.
Grown up in the west, being educated in the normal public schools and experiencing the era when sex education was introduced in the curriculum of German schools, I could follow the conservative attitude of our society, but what shattered my respect for our society was the hypocrisy as pointed out above. In the West I knew what people thought, you knew who is sexually active or at least you knew how they think of it and thus also protect yourself in some way from it. Boys knew I wouldn’t date, so I wasn’t asked. Period. In the Muslims countries, you can’t guarantee and know where the person would have been around, the very person you may end up marrying through a proposal “with good and respected family background and bright future” I would have loved to see the faces of people, if a girl would have asked him to get his HIV test done before saying yes, let alone his attitude towards family planning or contraceptives!
Can we endorse this hypocrisy as a society?
I can’t accept this ignorance and hypocrisy, neither as a Muslim nor as a responsible citizen of any society, be it ANYWHERE in the world!! I thus pondered over this hypocrisy and found many answers, which collectively I would title as “ignorance and uneasiness of expression with respect to our sexuality, blindly following cultures and traditions, instead challenging it through education, as Muslim in the days of Muhammad (S) used to do”. They used to come up to him and ask and discuss issues pertaining to sexuality; shyness is indeed a virtue of a Muslim- male or female, but not in matters of knowledge or deen/concept of life (Islam). Any person, yes in fact even child who reads the Qur’an and understand it, will come across the teaching pertaining to reproduction, creation (32:7-9)), menstruation (2:222), family life, sexual positions (2:223) and even ejaculation (86:6)(75:38) along with the moral and the social ethics in the light of Islam. This is the basics of Islamic Sex education: treating it as a blessing form the Almighty, a gift to human nature, a source of peace and tranquillity, as well as hasana in the light of high social and moral ethics.
Sex is not a “dirty word”, as per our cultural concepts; it is a gift of God to mankind. Islam provides a legal frame to enjoy this blessing from God, which is NOT only for procreation. The sexual urge should be enjoyed as His blessing, but within a commitment. Contrary to some religions and philosophies, Islam doesn’t degrade Sex to the status of ” lust of flesh, thus sinful, which the soul has to conquer.” In fact exercised within the appropriate frame, it is not only a source of emotional satisfaction and enjoyment, thence peace, but also a source of hasana is promised in return.
In this very light, we Muslims should emancipate ourselves in the light of the open minded and very modern concept of life Islam, abrogating all those cultural and traditional influences, which only turn the wheel backwards.
Sex education should start at home or in the frame of Islamic Sunday/Friday Schools, wherever the possibility is given. It should however be actively supported through the participation and support, as well as objective answering to the questions, through parents and elder siblings. In the Islamic Schools Muslim teachers, pref. Physicians should come forward and fill this vacuum. What should be taught? Anatomical and physiological aspects, table of puberty, along with the physical changes, need for family life, sexual drive, menstruation and pre-menstrual syndrome, conception and development of the child/foetus, contraception and then also the STD’s and the Islamic concepts of it. The emotional, mental and social aspects of puberty should be discussed, moral, social and Islamic ethics of sexuality should be brought to word; in the western hemisphere tell them how to avoid peer pressure.
Preferably premarital counselling should be conducted, including sex education. Scholars prefer sex education in separate classes, contrary to the model in Iran, as described somewhere. We should however not forget the potential of marital counselling along with sex education in marital life. A very good book in this regard is the “Muslim Marriage guide”, written by Ruqayya M. Waris.
We need to grow out of the traditional baggage and pressure, which we carried along with us for centuries, malpractising the most modern concept of life, if we only gave ourselves the chance to understand it. The potential is enormous, we only need to take up the challenge and give ourselves the chance, thus abrogating this hypocrisy in our society of which we ourselves-me and you, are a part.
A proper sex education may not only be an effort against this hypocrisy and a potential towards a more natural attitude to sex, but also help to fight the very grave crime of child sex abuse. It could happen to your child, get involved and prevent it, fight it!
Written in response to an article “Sex everywhere” at Chowk.com, edited w.r.t transcription of Urdu language; Ramadan 1999
19. April 1999
Sex Roles in Muslim Families in the U.S.
by Mahmoud Abu Saud
The first half of this article is a highly scientific analysis of gender and sex roles. In the second half, the article uses the scientific discussion as a springboard to explain gender and sex roles within the Muslim family.
ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY : BIOLOGICAL FACTOR
Unless sex education addresses “values, morality, deferment of gratification, and goals, it is incomplete and potentially dangerous.”
Donald Ian Macdonald.
An Approach to the Prevention of
Public Health Report,
Sociologists give different definitions of the family institution to which we shall refer later. However, and for the purpose of this essay, we shall consider that the basic biological coupling of a male and a female is an essential element to constitute a family, as homosexuality does not exist in nature.
Biologically speaking, all living things are made of just two kinds of cells: eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The first ones are those cells which have nuclei and multiply by mating or marriage. The second, the prokaryotes, are those which have no nuclei and accordingly are unicellular, multiplying by division. Each cell has its hereditary traits and carries its information in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). “. . . two extremely long strands of it, wrapped around each other in a double helix.”‘ It is of fascinating interest to know that only the eukaryotes are “capable of making up the bodies of the marvels of creation-those with hearts, lungs, kidneys and brains.112 The prokaryotes are parasitic by nature and are deadly enemies of the eukaryotes who eat them up or destroy them with their enzymatic secretions. Human organisms are no more than the sum of their cells functioning together.
Sex, a word for the exchange of genetic material, requires two organisms to come together and reproduce. Though there are some organisms that can reproduce without sex, such as some bacteria, their progeny are doomed to be identical to the parent without variation or susceptibility to evolution. Evolution needs genetic variety which can only be realized by means of ever new combinations of genes of heterosexual cells-the eukaryotes.
Before exploring the functioning of cells as constituents of human males and females, it is of great interest to know that cells themselves are the product of atoms. Atoms follow an eternal strict code of behavior as if they had some sort of consciousness that brings them together in a highly organized manner. They form molecules in extraordinarily geometric forms; molecules make “tissues that become the organs that inexorably build the organism.. Every molecule has its own distinct properties by virtue of the atoms that make it up and… life has its properties by virtue of the molecule used in constructing living organisms.”113 All living organisms, including bacteria, must use nucleic acid organized into genes for reproduction. The genes are the true carriers of all hereditary traits and properties of the offspring.
Such established elementary knowledge reveals some basic facts of life that concern us in this study. The first fact is that prokaryotes-the unicellular organisms-are parasitic and destructive. They are not capable of evolution and do not constitute any part of our functioning organisms.
The second is that eukaryotes cannot continue to exist without marriage as they multiply by means of coupling. Their union is the basis of evolution to the better through a process of natural selection. They are endowed with a gift to choose the fittest from among themselves and thus genetically improve.
The third is that all molecules belong in their first origin to the atom, which by virtue of its nature does not exist without union. The components of the atom: the protons, the neutrons, and the electrons are likewise bound to unite.
Thus, marriage is simply a law of existence, an inherent property ingrained in our cells and constitution without which we cannot continue to live or evolve. In each cellular marriage there must be the male and the female, or the positive which gives in mating to the negative which takes. In the world of the cell, which is our world, everything goes on progressing in meticulous order. Order defines the cell as the cell defines life- “Before there was life, there had to be a system… there has to be order. . . it is life… Death is disorder.”
Much has been discovered about the cell, its composition, its functioning and its reproduction yet nobody has been able to guess how the first cell came into being. The eukaryotes, as mentioned before, are highly organized and highly specialized cells that build our body and, in fact, bring us into life. Every cell is composed of several layers above layers of molecules separated by membranes, and in its middle there is the nucleus ringed by double membrane. The nucleus holds the genes-the ultimate dictators of the cell-wound into the coils of chromosomes.
Humans reproduce through the union of a male and a female cell, exactly as any other offspring is reproduced. When fertilization (union or mating) takes place, a new cell is formed and the sex, together with the physical structure, including the brain, are determined by the genes united in the new cell. Both males and females have the same basis of a chromosome (X). But from the very beginning, if this basis is coupled with one (X) chromosome or more, the offspring is a female. If the basis is coupled with one chromosome (Y) or more, it is a male.
Once the new cell is “born,” it starts functioning on its own, activated by its inherent power administered by the new set of genes, and is called, in this early stage, a zygote. Soon after inception, male embryos secrete a predominant hormone called androgen, while female ones secrete estrogen, and later on the female hormones: the progesterone and the prolactin. The growth of the embryo, whether male or female, follows the same laws of growth: the reproduction of the specialized cells continues building up our different organs, without any deviation except for hormonal secretions. By the time the child is born, he or she has already been influenced by the most active hormones which affect the functioning of the brain.
The human brain is one of the greatest wonders of creation. In its lower part, there is a small zone called the “limbic system,” composed of structures which are involved in both human emotion and motivation. One of these structures, named amygdala, is among the major brain parts responsible for our behavior, as it affects some endocrinal secretions, especially those touching upon our sexual dispositions. Moreover, “the cortex also feeds it (the limbic system) with condensed indications of cortical activity, including categorized representations of the state of the external world. It appraises and evaluates the activities of (the upper brain -system)… and balances current priorities with regard to short term and long-term needs of the organism and the selection and evaluation of different integrative activities.”
It is well-established that the structure called “hypothalamus” of the limbic system is prenatally formed and becomes indelibly ‘sex-typed’ through the action of sex-hormones, thereby permanently pre-disposing the animal to male or female physiological and behavioral responses. In most animals this critical period of hormone action is thought to occur prenatally and thereafter be immutable. “This irrevocable hormonal sex- typing of the nervous system has the most far-reaching implications for sex differences in human behavior.”This means that from the earliest days of conception the new fertilized cell or zygote our brain starts its formation, disposition and mode of functioning.
When born, an infant carries within himself or herself its own particular way of thinking, imagination, motivation and manner of evaluation. Even among individuals of the same sex, there are genetic inherent differences due to the differences in the rates of flow of hormones into the brain. Chromosome (Y) is responsible for the male hormones androgen, which are associated with what the psychologists call the “aggressive” tendency, meaning that type of behavior which is generally characterized by a direct and overt reaction, competitive acumen, and long-term evaluation and perception. The term implies, also some final and actual aggressive action which, unless well disciplined, would cause destructive consequences. As a matter of biological fact, such hormones in a male embryo rely on a hormone called “gonadal” which accounts for the behavioral differences between the two sexes and which is thought to influence the behavioral decisions issued by the brain.
In the female, sex hormones are responsible for the menstrual flow which is directly regulated by the key female hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Less secretion of these hormones causes menstruation usually accompanied by a state of discomfort, inhibition, and often gloomy attitudes. It is believed that the hormonal input in this case affects the functioning of the brain of the female, inhibiting or reviving her emotional state. Biologists emphasize the fact that the natural disposition in human is to a female system (X) unless broken by the male chromosome (Y) causing production of the male hormone: androgen.
Aggression – as previously defined – is the product of the testestrone hormone, androgen, a hormone that exists in the supra-renal glands of both sexes but, of course, in widely varied quantities. Aggression in women is mostly due to an overdose of this hormone, unless the woman is suffering from some societal trauma. A violently aggressive man is like- wise greatly motivated by an extra dose of androgen. If such a man is given estrogen, he would calm down in most cases and develop a new more docile behavior. In transsexuality, the individual who chooses to become a female undergoes surgical intervention and female hormone therapy without which femininity cannot take its usual course. Hormones, in such circumstances, are necessary to build up the breast, to stimulate sexual desires, to eliminate profuse facial and body hair, etc. Once the new female is given such hormonal treatment, her limbic system functions accordingly: The maternal instinct becomes greatly felt, the desire for talking more becomes more persistent, the feminine emotionality supersedes rationality, and the lachrymatal glands secrete more profuse tears during emotional stress. Nothing, perhaps, can be more convincing of the biological dichotomy than maternity. Weitz writes, “Animal evidence does support the concept of the maternal instinct, in that female sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and prolactin seem to be implicated in the ontogeny of maternal behavior.” The same author relates the experiment of the monkey-mother who killed its newly born babies when given androgen and the motherly monkey-father who cared for the babies after receiving female hormones. Nowhere in the animal kingdom do fathers assume the basic role of caring for the newly born offspring.
A female child is born with a maternal instinct: she distinctly feels a strong interest in children and this explains why girls prefer to play with dolls. It has been established that girls with an excess of prenatal androgen “do seem to show less interest in infants than normal girls,” and obviously more than normal boys. The maternity behavior is mainly characterized by tenderness, affective bonds, self-preservation, protectiveness, and self-identification with the child.
To conclude, one can safely say that, “Sexual behavior of an individual, and thus gender role, are not neutral and without initial direction at birth. Nevertheless, sexual predisposition is only a potentiality setting limits to a pattern that is greatly modifiable by ontogenetic experience.”
In other words, the ontogeny (i.e. the biological development of the individual organism) asserts that a female is born with a maternal instinct carrying genetic predispositions different from those of a male. It is of interest to note that there is differential treatment of children by parents according to their sex. Mothers are more inclined to tolerate boys and girls, while fathers are more tolerant towards girls than towards boys. This phenomenon prevails among humans and some primates and is quite conspicuous among monkeys.
“Conspiracy theories of history, which seem to imply that men have kept women down over the centuries through some collective act of will, do not merit serious consideration.” There is no doubt that our physiological functioning is affected by our psychological and societal conditions and that biology, psychology and society have contributed to the present sex roles in their different grades and limits. It is rather impossible to separate the biological factor from the societal. Yet, one has to take into serious consideration that there is a definite predisposition in each sex that takes place in the embryo and the fetus. This prenatal conditioning cannot be due to any societal agent, but most probably can be a major cause of societal differential treatment of the sexes. When parents give a doll to their daughter, they are aware of her instinctive motherly feeling and they are responding to her instinctive desires. Instinctive urges can be mollified, re-oriented and mitigated, but never nullified or totally wiped out. To suppress such urges is to cause more harm than good to the individual and to ignore them is to push the child in a wrong way where he or she tries to fulfill the desires by any means, legitimate or illegitimate, socially acceptable or unacceptable.
Socialization agents, namely: the parents, the school, the peers and the social symbols of the sexes, are supposed to be, and in fact should be, factors of disciplining the instinctive behavior. Our basic sexual desires should be satisfied by marriage and not by adultery and fornication. Our instinctive need for security should be met by honorable work and lawful gain and not by theft and violence. Even our innate instinct implanted in the eukaryotes for evolving to the better must be encouraged through a proper education leading to a feeling of self-esteem and elation. Failing this, the individual would resort to unhealthy and even anti-social practices to feel the importance of his ego he or she may develop the bad habits of lying, boasting, or even killing. Any infringement upon instincts is a violation of a natural law of life that conduces to masochism, narcissism, schizophrenia and the rest of the psychotic ailments.
The family has a lasting effect on sex roles as most of the individual’s latent behavior is basically formulated in the first seven or eight years of childhood. The major role of parents relates to the child’s identification where affective bonds, mechanism of modeling and cognitive categorization should be carefully observed. Here the question generally raised by the “libs” is whether parents should or should not differentiate in their treatment between males and females. Many of them believe that they should not heed the sex and thus should treat both the boy and the girl as if they were of the same sex. They allege that any differentiation at this early stage leads to some category of inferiority complex in the girl and to a bias in favor of the boy. There is enough evidence in everyday life that supports such allegations. However, any fair mind can easily see that it is not the differentiation, per se, that causes such inhibition in the girl, if only because differentiation occurs in families which have girls and no boys. Every individual child is different from others and should accordingly be treated differently. What hurts a child is the way parents associate differentiation with sex. If a doll is given to a grid it is not because she is inferior to a boy who was presented with a horse or a gun. Girls would only suffer inhibition and inferiority if the parents treat them as inferior, or if when differentiating between both of them, parents explain the act in preferential language.
Another important factor in socialization is the school infants in nurseries, children in kindergarten and boys and girls in higher age brackets are treated differently in one way or another, in accordance with their sex. In pictures for the very young, in all books and prints, there is always a “he” and a “she.” He is tough, daring, exterior-oriented, and somehow aggressive, while she is kind, caring, child-loving, interior oriented, and somehow self preservative. Then, there are the great differentiation in students’ activities: the boys compete in physically rough and hard sports, participate in political and social discussions, and are expected to excel girls in empirical sciences. On the other hand, girls practice dancing and singing, fight and non-violent sports, domestic arts, and are expected to excel boys in artistic sciences.
Here again differentiation is undeniably conspicuous and while it is in essence compatible with human biology, it is condemned by the “libs.” Their plea is always the same: such treatment leads to the development of a feeling of inferiority in the female. It indoctrinates the subconscious mind of the girl with a view to convince her of the conspired falsehood, i.e., the superiority of the male. The “libs” believe that keeping the “traditional roles” of sexes in the school gives an edge to the boy over the girl: he is depicted as the hero, the protector, the leader and even the mastery. This seems to be an exaggeration which has its roots in feminine emotion. In many cases, the slave-mind prevails over the “libs” and is manifested in irrational and perverted behavior.
The staunchest proponent of liberalism cannot deny that the male is created with more muscular strength, that biologically speaking, he is more “aggressive ‘” that his mind is more outwardly inclined, and that he is more free from physiological cyclical effects. The female is created with other exceliencies anti-distinctions by virtue of her constitution. Her motherhood instincts, her feminine tenderness and her physiologically receptive aptitude for procreation. These clear facts should induce us to accept, at least, such differentiation that confirm anti correspond with the distinct natural characteristics of each sex. It follows that there must be differentiation in all schools to respond to these basic biological divergent requirements.
The so-called peer group effects and the symbolic agents of sex roles are very akin to each other, especially among adults. Clubs of men and women, the distinction in public behavior and the discriminatory treatment of the sexes in many public and social functions do exist in all present societies. One has to admit that some of this differentiation is due to societal factors and/or obsolete inherited tradition. But one cannot also deny that there are genuine irrefutable reasons for differentiation in this field. Despite the equal opportunities open to both sexes in education and public life, women have been active in fields that do not require much “aggressiveness,” and where there is a concurrence of biological effect and societal functioning. In such activities there is no reason whatsoever for a woman not to succeed and even excel any man.
SOCIALIZATION VERSUS BIOLOGY
There is evidence that socialization factors, when carried out extensively at an early age, affect the biological functioning of the child. That is how we notice the ‘sissy’ boy and the ‘tomboyish’ girl. Also, oversecretion of female hormones in a male would produce the same effect, despite any socialization effort to the contrary. In both cases, the situation becomes unhealthy and the individual suffers from some perversion and could develop trans-sexualism. The correct attitude is obvious: we have to adapt our socialization processes in such a manner that they correspond to our biological functioning. The indelible male and female characteristics installed in our limbic systems as a result of the prenatal hormonal secretions must be the basis of our socialization process. There must be harmony between the act of creation (natural state) and the willful human action. Failing this, a grave imbalance takes place, shaking the personality of the individual to its very roots. Thus, the “libs” claim for identical treatment of males and females in every domain denies the biological constitution of the human mind and body and nullifies masculinity and femininity. Homosexuality, which at present is assuming some prominence in industrialized Western societies, is the product of lopsided thinking and is bound to fail. It is a revolt against the law of creation and will not be allowed to prevail, whatever price humanity may pay for it.
A female must be brought up in a manner that makes her feel proud of her femininity and not ashamed of it. She must be treated with equity but she must not be equated to the male. They are different and can never be equals, as each of them has a domain predestined from his or her conception.
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE FAMILY
We have seen that there is no continuity of life without marriage-a union between male and female -a nd that life is order. Death is entropy or disorder. In Cadmure’s words: “Life is mainly to reproduce and to feel.” The marriage of cells which constitute our body, brain, and nerves is a highly organized “institution” administered by sophisticated laws and geared by strict discipline. Humans are no more than their cells, and the rule of order and discipline is the essence of their existence. Any violation of this rule is a step towards entropy or self-destruction.
As we live, we reproduce – we marry. Humans learn to live in heterogeneous couples and reproduce within a certain orderly social framework called the “family institution.” The word “social” here is not a mere fabrication by man. It is necessarily biological in the sense that one human cell cannot alienate itself from other similar cells. Whenever a group of cells (families) comes together, the necessity for order and discipline becomes incumbent. Hence those who believe that there should be-or even could be-a society of human cells (families) without rules administering the relationships between its individuals, are asking for the impossible, the anti-natural. Such a chaotic grouping does not exist in nature.
Oparin, a Russian biologist, proved that if a collection of molecules (he calls them coacervates) is given a chance to act, they have order. He set a chemical reaction in the solution where these coacervates were floating and found that they formed an inexplicable and unpredicted order: heads outward and tails inward. There was a mystifying difference between the rate of reaction outside and inside the coacervates. According to Oparin, “This difference accounts for the formation of the cell.”
Sociologically speaking, a family is operationally defined as “…a special kind of structure whose principals are related to one another through blood ties and/or marital relationships, and whose relatedness is of such a nature as to entail ‘mutual expectations’ that are prescribed by religion, reinforced by law, and internalized by the individual.” This definition takes into account the general aspect of any family and the Islamic point of view. Dr. Abd al-Ati, accordingly specifies the purposes of marriage as:
-a means of emotional and sexual gratification,
-a mechanism of tension reduction,
-a means of legitimate procreation,
-an approach to inter-family alliance and group solidarity, and
-above all, an act of piety.
Both above definitions and purposes are quite elaborate and comprise many views about the functions of the family. Nevertheless, there is the intricate cause and effect relationship between the family and society.
The culture of any society comprises many traditions installed in its individuals’ minds and which are passed on from one generation to another. As man is conservative by instinct, he does not try to change such traditions except under the great pressure of evolutionary requirements. This perpetual struggle between the two instincts: conservatism and evolution plays an important role in delimiting the functions of the family institution in every society. Both instincts are dynamic and must be kept in good balance for any sane society to develop. Traditions constitute a part of the established ideology of a people, whilst evolution is the active element that steers the present status towards a future one, and as such, it formulates another part of the ideology. Amidst this continuous process the family exists, caught between the two parts. The family is there to conserve what is best and most appropriate in tradition, and to adopt and practice what is best and most appropriate in the new evolution.
To apply the above philosophy, functions, and definitions to the Muslim family in the States, we come immediately to a host of variegated and intertwined problems. Islam is integral and Muslims are supposed to adopt it in its entirety. “Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom.” (2:85)
Accordingly, they are required to apply Islamic laws concerning all matrimonial matters. Yet, being residents in a non-Muslim country which does not follow the Islamic Shariah, they are bound to meet with a complex of contradictory situations. Such complication is exacerbated by the lack of consolidated Muslim communities and the absence of any Islamic order that could help solve their problems.
To start with, there is the problem of the marriage contract. Muslims who intend to live here for a protracted length of time or forever are obliged to register their marriage in accordance with the laws of the state in which they wed. Once this is done, the rights and obligations of both spouses are defined by what these laws stipulate and not by Islamic injunctions. This applies, in fact, to all subsequent familial issues. The husband’s financial obligation towards his wife and household, the wife’s duties towards her husband and household, and the social code which should be observed by both-all these important issues become subject to local American jurisprudence. In case of divorce, it is again the state laws that adjudge the final separation act irrespective of the Islamic injunctions.
Another important issue that affects the Muslim family in the States is the economic status. In many cases, both spouses are obliged to work and gain more income to make ends meet and to save something as a security for the future. This economic aspect is very common to most American families and is taken for granted by them, with its good and bad effects. It does not constitute a major problem to them as it is consistent with their material civilization and ideology. Westerners have developed a certain philosophy of life in regard to the status of women as a result of their past heritage and present industrialized societies. It is common knowledge that Athenians treated women as a commodity which could be bought and sold. The Romans considered women to be the property of the father and/or the husband until the days of Justinian (5th century) when some separate identity of women was legally acknowledged. Judaism looks down upon women as a curse worse than death and considers them essentially evil. The Christian views on women varied from considering them to be living beings without souls to humans without identity. The British law until 1801 allowed the husband to sell his wife. The list of historical abuses of women in the West is too long to be enumerated in this paper.
It is only very recently that non-Muslim societies agreed to give women some independent status. Even today, the renowned liberal American wife cannot buy property without the consent of her husband nor is she allowed to stick to her maiden name without adding that of her husbands. In Switzerland, she cannot enter into any contractual transaction without her husband’s written consent, and if she earns any money from her work, he is legally entitled to half her income. All over the West, the husband can deprive his wife of his legacy after death.
No wonder, then, we hear women claiming “equality” with man and justice in treatment. The present culture, predominantly influenced by the economic or materialistic agent, gave justice, equality and liberation a material implications pecuniary value. In their industrial age where money is power, where rich is good and poor is bad, where dog eat dog are accepted premises of individuals’ interrelations, and where moral values have been dumped into the garbage bin, women are contending for economic independence as a basis for their claim for equal human rights.
To achieve this end, they did not mind the commercialization of their femininity, the loss of their chastity, the destruction of their family and the perturbation of their emotions. This yearning for liberation pushed the Western woman into deep waters. Her desire for independence dragged her into competition and aggression, and her pride alienated her from the affectionate society. In her solitude, she accepted permissiveness and along with her struggle for survival, she nurtured bitterness and rancor. In the midst of her secular preoccupation, she suppressed her spiritual values and trod on her motherly instincts.
The American concept of family and marriage has undergone radical change in the last few decades. Originally, as Edward Westermack puts it, “Marriage is rooted in the family and not the family in marriage.” The family in turn was the foundation of society. Hence, the regulation of all family relations was considered a necessity called for by two fundamental exigencies: wholesome human procreation and preservation of society.
The modern industrial culture upset the past norm of family life and greatly changed the purposes of marriage. New opportunities of material gain were opened to married and unmarried. Women making them eco- nomically independent from their husbands and male providers. The women’s emancipation movement accordingly declared that there was no more reason for tolerating subjugation to the male and cultivated the eccentric tendencies against the traditional functioning and sex-roles in the family. “The woman’s new freedom has greatly increased sexual opportunity outside marriage, supported by contraception and abortion.” The main purpose of marriage has become to satiate the desires of the couple, or what the libs call to achieve individual fulfillment and to ascertain the spouse’s identity. The new concept has become tantamount to fulfilling the “desire of each other’s need for individual happiness” and “the development of man-woman relationship.” This, according to them, would lead to giving the wife the same status as the husband without differentiation or discrimination. Thus, a new concept of marriage rooted in the family had to be developed, and four substitutes are being practiced in modem societies:
1. Serial monogamy, where a series of marriages take place one after the other. This is what prevails in the United States at present where divorce occurs in 40% of marriages and where 75% of the divorced remarry. There are some modernists who suggest the “bypass of divorce by requiring renewal or cancellation of all marriage contracts at three year intervals.”
2. Open marriage, where the exclusivity of husband-wife (sexually and otherwise) is eliminated. Those who advocate this category of marriage practice “wife swapping” or “swinging.” They claim that extramarital experiences would reduce jealousy, relieve tensions and ease the pressures of personal conflict.
3. Polygamy and group marriage, where an association of husbands and wives and their children mix together without restriction or constraint. The claim here is that multiplicity of parenthood for adults and children would offer a wider variety of interactive experiences in meeting individual needs.
4. Homosexuality, where women “marry” women and men “marry” men without the usual conflict which is inevitable in every new normal marriage.
All such approaches can never succeed in creating a happy family because they ignore the biological and the spiritual elements. Humans cannot survive without a society and no society can survive without the family. As individuals, “to live is to love and to love is to live,” as Havelock Ellis puts it. Serial monogamy, open marriage, group marriage and homosexuality lack the premodial basics of the family. Humans are the only species where the offspring needs parental catering for a relatively long period after birth, not only physically but emotionally as well.
The new frustrated efforts, as reflected in the modern abnormal family life do not unite man and woman in a bond where both enjoy material and emotional security, stability and contentment. They do not cure the ailments created by the prevailing technological culture: alienation, loneliness, anomie, lack of love, and anxiety. “Search any average human being and you soon find evidence of heart-hunger for closeness and intimacy and the shared life as the only dependable sources of a sustained sense of self-esteem and of personal worth.”
The women’s emancipation movement in this country is revolting against long-standing inequitable treatment, against a biased, unjust legal system and a domineering economic exploitation. In their revolt, and in the absence of any effective religious or moral guidance, women have gone to the extreme which has brought down on them the misery of “civilized prostitution and adultery.”
Such are the circumstances of the culture under which a Muslim family lives in this country. It would be a gross mistake to assume that Muslims will not be affected by the American way of life, the American materialistic values and American laws. Hence, the complex of problems of Muslim families start. If we add to the above anomalies the problems arising from the educational systems and its repercussions on the youngsters and adults, we could better understand the vast dimension of the Muslim dilemma. An example of this confusion is the so-to-speak highly educated Muslim wife who believes that it is her legitimate right to invite any male friend into the home, even in the absence of her husband, to accept an invitation in another city or another country without his permission, or the right to choose hard work in a locality other than where he lives. It is not a rare case to come across a Muslim woman who believes that she has the right to work as she has spent long years qualifying herself in a certain profession. In most cases, she would be motivated by her desire to material gain, especially when she can have some fulfillment out of the social activities in her professional domain. Such wives are deeply influenced by the American materialistic mentality and would claim the best of two worlds: to keep her job and to claim her Islamic right to be sustained by her husband.
The problems of children born in Muslim families are well known to all and have been repeatedly discussed by Muslim sociologists and thinkers in numerous conventions and symposia. They revolve on the cold fact that the American environment and culture affect the Muslim child’s mentality and code of ethical values. When both parents are working, the child does not get enough care and domestic orientation to protect him against anti-Islamic practices. More serious a menace is the loss of the child’s Islamic identity and his relatedness to a Muslim community. But these children’s problems are mainly derived from the principal family problems which, if solved, would automatically bring relief to the chil- dren’s ordeal.
THE ISLAMIC SOLUTION- BIOLOGY AND SOCIALIZATION
There is nothing more compatible with human nature than Islamic teachings and injunctions, if only because they take the individual as a fallible being, subject to trial and error and subject to correction and evolution. “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” (2:286)
It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. As we are concerned here with the Muslim family, it is natural that whatever solution we may suggest, it must be in accordance with Islam. Luckily enough, Islam decides upon every issue, taking human nature in consideration and exhorting us to abide by the eternal laws of creation.
Empirical sciences have discovered many facts concerning our biological structure and physiological functioning, but there are still many more of life’s secrets to be uncovered. There is not one single established scientific fact that runs contrary to any Islamic injunction; but there are many postulates, ideas and theories that may be incompatible with Islamic teachings. Under such uncertain conditions, the Muslim is supposed to follow the Islamic rules irrespective of the scientific dubious points of view and his personal desires.
Regarding the traditions and cultures that affect our socialization, we must bear in mind that these are the product of certain practiced ideals and established ideas prevailing at one time in a certain society. This is an extremely important element in the Islamic syndrome of solutions to societal problems. Islam is a philosophy that defines the purpose of human life, the relation between man, nature, and the Creator. It is a doctrine that sets up the broad outlines of the social, political, economic and esthetic systems which should be applied in our daily transactions and intercourse. Such philosophical definitions and doctrinal delineations are confined to the basic facts which do not evolve or change in accordance with the continuous human evolution. Facts are absolute and are not subject to change, otherwise they are neither facts nor absolute.
Whatever solutions we find in Islam, they are based on such absolute facts whether known to our contemporary scientists or unknown to them. The entire concept of the family and roles of its members is a part of the general concept of the Islamic society. Let us bear in mind that marriage is dictated by our biological needs and is a part of the indispensable human society and not just a matter of individual option. “And of everything we have created pairs.” (51:49).
The word ‘zawj’ is used in the Quran as meaning a pair or a mate. Both words connote marriage. “Do they not look at the earth, how many pairs of noble things we have produced therein?” (31:10). Even in Paradise, the Quran informs us that we shall have mates (see 2:25, 4:57). Allah created humans from one soul, which could be the first cell. From this soul He created the male and the female. The story of creating Eve (the first female) from a rib of Adam (the first male) is not mentioned in the Quran. “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from yourselves that ye may find rest (and peace) in them.” (30:2 1). “O mankind, heed (in reverence) your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from them both spread a multitude of men and women.” (4:1).
Our Prophet orders us to get married as soon as we can. The family is the nucleus of the Islamic society and marriage is the only way to bring about such an institution. Extra-marital relations are categorically condemned and prohibited. “Nor come nigh to adultery (or fornication) for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road to other evils.” (17:30).
It is only logical that Islam set up the rules to regulate the functioning of the family whereby both spouses can find peace, love, security and relatedness. The elements are necessary to accomplish the greatest purpose of marriage: the worship of Allah. By worship it is not only meant the performance of rituals, but it essentially implies righteousness in all transactional behavior. Every good deed, every service to humanity, every useful productive effort, and even every good word are a part of a true Muslim worship of his Allah. If both husband and wife observe this main purpose, this cardinal purpose of their union, they would easily learn how to help each other achieve this goal which is greater than themselves. They would learn how to tolerate each other, how to love Allah in themselves and in other beings, and how to overcome their difficulties and their shortcomings.
The second purpose of marriage is to respond to the basic biological instinct of procreation. Children are the realization of motherhood and fatherhood. Islam is particular in providing the most possible wholesome atmosphere for bringing up the offspring. To give birth to children and neglect them is a crime towards society, the children, and the parents themselves. The child who is deprived of the ample love of his or her parents, who is not properly tutored at an early age, and who is left to babysitters and nurseries will develop many anti-social behavioral patterns and may end up with crime, perversion and corruption. Such a child may never find his or her identity as he or she could have felt it in a systematic manner during his or her childhood. Without a family life, governed by Islamic order and discipline, how can we expect a child to have the Muslim conscience and the Islamic value of righteousness.
Islam prescribes clear rights and obligations on parents and their descendent Parents are legally responsible for the education and maintenance of their children. These, by turn, are legally responsible for accommodating and maintaining their parents, if they so require, in their old age. Both parents and children inherit from each other according to a prescribed and accurate law of inheritance specified in the Quran. Neither of them can deprive the other of their respective shares in the legacy. This is only part of the long family code in Islam. What is of import here is the husband-wife relationship-their sex roles-within the context of Islamic comprehension: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may find rest (and peace) in them. And He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); Verily in this are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21).
Despite the importance of these moral values: rest, peace, love and mercy, Islam did not stop there. It bolstered its original concept of the family by defining the roles of man and woman in such a manner that each should act in accordance with his or her biological merits. The man, with his aggression, is charged with what is called the instrumental functions: maintenance, protection, dealings with the outworldly matters and leadership within the family. The woman is entrusted with caring for and rearing the children, organizing the home, and creating the loving atmosphere inside. Let us be clear from the beginning that in an Islamic society the wife is not expected to be pushed to work to gain money. Even the unmarried, the divorcee, and the widow are guaranteed, by law, an income that helps them lead a reasonably comfortable life. Work or trade are not prohibited to women. Yet, they are not recommended to undertake such activities unless there is a justification for them and without prejudice to their husband’s rights. Once the woman gets married, she accepts the Islamic ruling on the functioning of the family. Her role becomes mainly to achieve the welfare of her household and to look after the internal family affairs. If she wants to work, she is bound to ask the explicit approval of her husband. However, if she has her own property or fortune, and if she opts to run or invest such wealth, she is entitled to do so without her husband’s permission, but provided this does not infringe upon her marital obligations.
THE ISLAMIC FAMILY
In Islam, as in biology, there is no family without marriage, and there is no marriage without rules and discipline. The family in Islam is a unit in which two independent persons unite and share life together. The husband’s dignity is an integral part of his wife’s dignity. Accordingly, neither of them is better than the other. To unite and share, there must be mutual love and compassion-a genuine feeling which unless translated into action and behavior would be mere illusion and futile emotion. One can hardly accept the claim of love of the spouse who does not care for his or her sick partner or who does not share the family responsibilities.
This fundamental basis, if well understood and observed, makes the first loyalty of both spouses to their family which is supposed to serve Allah in piety as the main purpose of marriage. It implies that they act as if they were one person with many organs. The head of the human is not better than the heart, and the hand is not better than the foot. If the man is charged with the duty of leadership and maintenance, he is not better than the woman who is assigned the duty of keeping the household, even if the first duty is more difficult and perhaps more significant. Imam Muhammad Abduh emphasizes this point as vital for the right understanding of the sex roles of spouses. He adds that the Quranic verse, “And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others; to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn” (4:32) does not imply that every man is better than every woman or vice versa. According to him, each sex, in general, has some preferential advantage over the other, though men have a degree over women.
There has been much controversy about this ‘degree’. Some interpret it as the delegation of leadership, surveillance and maintenance which are bestowed on men. Others say that it is the tolerance with which men must treat their wives. A third view is that it is men’s natural gift for judging matters and managing external problems. However, the consensus is that this ‘degree’ comprises the principle of ‘guardianship’ or ‘qiwamah’.
Imam Abduh in the course of interpreting the preceding Quranic verse, stated that qiwamah or guardianship has four elements: protection, surveillance, custody and maintenance. Dr. Abd al-Ati considered the element of obedience over and above the aforementioned four elements- the most important indication of qiwamah. Obedience, to him, and in accordance to the Quran and Traditions comprises the following:
1. She must not receive male, strangers or accept gifts from them without his permission. Nor must she lend or dispose of any of his possessions without his approval,
2. The husband has the legal right to restrict her freedom of movement and prevent her from leaving her home without his permission. She must comply with this right unless there is a necessity or legitimate advantage for her to do otherwise. However, it is his religious obligation to be compassionate so as to relax his right to restrict her freedom of movement. If there arises a conflict between this right of his and wife’s parents’ right to visit and be visited by their daughter, his right prevails.
Yet it is religiously recommended that he be considerate enough to waive his right and avoid estrangement within his conjugal family or between any member of this family and close relatives, e.g. the wife’s parents.
3. A refractory wife has no legal right to object to the husband’s exercise of his disciplining authority. Islamic law, in common with most other systems of law, recognizes the husband’s right to discipline his wife for disobedience.
4. The wife may not legally object to the husband’s right to take another wife or to exercise his right of divorce. The marital contract establishes her implicit consent to these rights. However, if she wishes to restrict his freedom in this regard or to have similar rights, she is legally allowed to do so. She may stipulate in the marital agreement that she too, will have the right to divorce, or that she will keep the marriage bond only so long as she remains the only wife; should he take a second wife, the first will have the right to seek a divorce in accordance with the marriage agreement.
5. Finally, if the husband insists on patrilocality or neolocality, the wife Must Comply.”
The problems facing Muslim families living in the States can be dealt with in compliance with Islamic teachings and principles once we accept them as binding. If the spouses are really devout, they will have no difficulty in encountering the evils of the Western culture and in escaping the anti-Islamic societal factors that may run contrary to Islam. The guidelines as we see them would be:
1. The main purpose of marriage is to live in piety and to serve the Islamic Cause. The wife has the right to discontinue working whenever she pleases. The husband may allow the wife to work with the condition that her gain belongs to the family and not be considered as her personal property.
2. Household: When the wife is not employed, the household becomes her first occupation. By household it is meant the rearing of the children and all domestic services required for maintaining a clean and comfortable habitation. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Cleanliness is a part of faith.” Motherhood is highly appraised in Islam and is the most elated value second to the worship of Allah.
MARRIAGE, DISPUTES AND DIVORCE
Marriage: Muslims should marry according to Islamic traditions and rules. The marriage will have to be registered with the State in which they wed in order to give it a legal force. This legal procedure subjects the marriage contract to the jurisdiction of American laws which, in most cases, contradict many Islamic rulings. However, such contradiction does not happen unless there is a dispute that both spouses fail to solve in accordance with the Shariah.
Disputes: These are expected to arise in all matrimonial relations. Muslim abiding spouses must learn how to compromise and tolerate each other. Their guide is the teaching of their religion and their good example is their Prophet. However, in case they fail to solve their own problems, they have to resort to arbitration. The spouse who refuses this Quranic injunction or who defies the other partner taking shelter under the umbrella of American laws is failing in his or her religious commitment. The Quranic arbitration is meant to be binding on both spouses and would, indeed, relieve the Muslim family of most of its problems.
Divorce: If one to the spouses refuses arbitration, non-Islamic divorce is bound to take place, leaving a deep painful scar on both of them. Arbitration may end in divorce, but in this case it would be least harmful as both would feel more content when Shariah is justly applied.
It is a pity that many recalcitrant (nashiz) Muslim women think that American law would serve their interest more than the Islamic Law. This is not only wrong but the consequences of litigation generally leaves more ill feeling than should be.
ENVIRONMENT AND CHILDREN
Nobody can deny the impact of environment upon adults and children. Up until now, one can safely say that Muslims of America could not constitute any physical or moral community comparable to that of the Jews or the Chinese. Granted that there are some groupings in scattered localities and spiritual guidance from different sources, yet there is no community that could respond to many basic needs. The family must live in a society, and unless an Islamic community is created, the Muslim family will have no alternative but to merge in a non-Muslim one.
The danger is so imminent that it forms the major part of the family problems in the United States. Both adults and children are influenced by American values and traditions, and by American behavior and manners. There is no escape from this “assimilation” except by strengthening the family bonds and by steadfast observation of Islamic teachings. The husband must lead here by strict adherence to Islamic ways of life and by requiring the same from his wife.
Such are the sex-roles in Islam and the main problems facing Muslim families in the United States and, indeed, in all non-Muslim countries. The solutions mentioned above entirely depend upon the faith of the spouses and their earnest desire to live up to their religion. Allah, according to the Holy Quran, has made men in charge of their wives, has ordered them to maintain and protect them and has ordered women to obey their husbands and guard their secrets (see 4:34, 35). As for those spouses who claim the right to twist the meanings of Quranic texts so as to suit their personal desires, and those who try to subject Islam to non-Islamic laws are sick in their hearts and are transgressors. Most probably, such persons would not like to read this essay, though we pray to Allah to guide them to the right way: “Say: This is my Way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge and (so does) whosoever follows me – glory be to Allah! and I am not of the idolaters” (12:108).
1. L. Cadmure and L. Larson, “The Center of Life,” The New York
Times Book Co., 1977, p. 8.
2. Ibid., p. 9.
3. Ibid., p. 28.
4. Ibid., p. 38.
5. 1. R. Symthies, “Brain Mechanisms and Behavior.” New York:
Academic Press, 1970, p. 156.
6. Shirley Weitz, “Sex Roles.” New York: Oxford University Press,
1977, p. 7.
7. K. E. Moyer, “Sex Difference in Aggression.” Quoted in R. C.
Friedman, R. M. Richart, R. L. Vande Wiele, eds., “Sex Differences in
Behavior,” Wile, 1974, p. 156.
8. Weitz, op. cit., p. 42.
9. D. B. Lynn, “The Father: His Role in Child Development,”
Monterey, CA: Brooks Cole, 1974, pp. 14-21.
10. Weitz, op. cit., p. 42.
1 1. M. A. Diamond, “A Critical Evaluation of the Ontogeny of
Human Sexual Behavior,” Quarterly Review of Biology, 50 (1965), pp.
12. Weitz, op. cit., p. 5.
13. Cadmure, op. cit., p. 8.
14. Ibid., p. 39.
15. Hammudah Abd al-Ati, “The Family Structure in Islam.” Indiana:
American Trust Publications, 1977, p. 19.
16. Ibid., pp. 54-55.
17. Lately a few states have allowed married women to use their
18. R. H. Williams (ed). To Live and To Die. “Marriage: Whence and
Whither,” NY- Springer-Verlad, 1973, p. 298.
19. Ibid., p. 299.
20. Ibid., p. 304.
21. Tafsir al-Manar, vol. 5, p. 68 ff.
22. Abd al-Ati, op. cit., pp. 172-173. These rights and obligations are
corroborated by the Quran and Hadith.
Causes (of Marital Discord) That Can Be Traced Back to the Husband Himself or His Friends
Marital Discord (al-Nushooz):
Its Definition, Cases, Causes, Means of Protection From It, and Its Remedy From the Quran and Sunnah
By Dr. Saalih ibn Ghaanim al-Sadlaan
(Translated by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo)
© S. Al-Sadlaan and J. Zarabozo
The husband himself may be the cause of the woman’s disobedience and rebelliousness. For example, he may be very stingy and miserly. He may also be very emotional and excitable. He may also be someone who is very harsh, tough and despotic. He may be one who forces his will and decisions upon his wife in every matter without consulting with her, taking into consideration her feelings, exchanging views on the matter and being pleasant with this wife. He might consider his wife like some kind of chattel (instead of another human) and therefore deals with her with coldness and coarseness without any compassion or gentleness. (Translator’s Footnote: A disease that seems to afflict many men in their ability to be very kind and brotherly to their brothers but extremely cold and harsh towards their own wives. Obviously, their wives have more rights upon them than any of their brothers in Islam. This mistaken behavior must be corrected.)
The cause for that may also be in his evil friends who sow discontent and evil between a man and his wife by leading him and pushing him to disliking and hating his wife and wishing to be free from her.
“(In fact,) (his extreme good nature beyond normal limits) may also lead to his wife to change her disposition and make her try to override him and then disobey his commands and elevate herself above him.” (Majallah al-Jundi al-Muslim, p. 29, fn.1.)
“He may cause his wife different forms of harm, such as cursing her or her family, reviling her, verbally abusing her for the tiniest of reasons. He may insult her because of her family, if it is less prestigious or honorable than his. Or (another act of nushooz on his part is that) he may try to bring harm to her by divorcing her and then, before the waiting period is finished, bring her back as his wife and then divorce her again. All this is done without the intention of returning to a real married life but simply to harm her and transgress her rights. Or he may avoid having sexual intercourse with her for no reason or legal sanction. This may lead the woman to lose her chastity and doing something forbidden.” (Al-Bahuti al-Hanbali, Kishaaf al-Qinaa’; an Matn al-Iqnaa’;, vol. 5, pp. 184, 290, 213; Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Mukhtar ala al-Darr al-Mukhtar wa Hashiyah, vol. 3, p. 190; Tafseer al-Manaar, vol. 5, p. 76.)
Shaikh al-Islam ibn Taimiya stated, “The harm that comes about to the woman by the man avoiding sexual intercourse with her is such that the marriage may be dissolved under every circumstance, regardless if it was intentional from the husband or unintentional, or if he had the ability to perform sexual intercourse or not.” (Ibn Taimiyah, al-Fatawa al-Kubra, vol. 4, p. 562; Ibn Taimiyah, Majmuah al-Fatawa, vol. 32, p. 40.)
(Nushooz on the part of the husband includes) when he orders her to do something forbidden or illegal, such as going out in public displaying her beauty or uncovering parts of her that must be covered, to go among men she is not related to, to drink alcohol or take drugs, go to clubs and salons wherein bad things are taking place.
Also from nushooz on the part of the husband is his not fulfilling his marital obligations. For example, he makes life difficult for her with respect to her food, drink, clothing and so forth. (Translator’s footnote: This is one of the biggest marital problems that one can see occurring in the West. Many times, the husbands simply do not support their wives and families. Although they have the physical and other means to work and support their families, they would resort to putting themselves and their families on the welfare system. Often times, the husbands will give the flimsiest excuses for not accepting work and therefore put families in such situations. Many times, the husband would rather force his wife to go out and work; which, in the West, almost always involves putting the Muslim woman into situations that she should not be put into; rather than he accept a job that he is not completely pleased with. Hence, their families do not achieve the economic well-being that they deserve and, often, the wife loses respect for the husband as he is not performing one of his most important obligations of married life: providing maintenance for his wife and family. Sooner or later this often leads to many other problems within the marriage, although the root of those problems is the husband’s unwillingness to work and sustain the family.) Or he makes her live in a residence that is not something suitable for her.
(In addition, included among the acts of nushooz) is his unfair distribution of his time or where he stays (when he is married to more than one wife) without legal justification. Or, he may not fulfil the needs of his wife and children such that their well-being is not met. Or, he does things that hurt and dishonor his wife and show lack of respect for her, such as backbiting her, slandering her or joking about her. Or, he may be desirous of her wealth and forces her to spend it on his behalf.
(The following are also acts that constitute nushooz on the part of the husband:) having anal intercourse with her, which is forbidden and is never permissible, his travelling for fun, amusement and entertainment without taking her permission as he is thereby wasting ample wealth for a useless purpose, while that wealth is meant to sustain the rights of his household.
If the man apostates from Islam, and refuge is sought in Allah, that is considered nushooz and the marriage contract is dissolved unless he returns to Islam. (See al-Khalafaat al-Zaujiyah, p. 39.)
There are many other causes or acts of nushooz that we have not mentioned here in order not to overly lengthen the discussion.
Reprinted from http://www.islaam.com
By Dr. Jamal Badawi
In the event of a family dispute, the Qur’an exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not overlook her POSITIVE ASPECTS (see Qur’an 4:19). If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, her husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem continues, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in deliberate mistreatment and expresses contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but NEVER ON THE FACE, making it more of a symbolic measure then a punitive one. Following is the related Qur’anic text:
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women. because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) do not share their beds, (and last) beat (tap) them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (4:34)
Even here, that maximum measure is limited by the following:
a. It must be seen as A RARE EXCEPTION TO THE REPEATED EXHORTATION OF MUTUAL RESPECT, KINDNESS AND GOOD TREATMENT, discussed earlier. Based on the Qur’an and hadith this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband’s reasonable requests on a consistent basis (nushuz). Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first.
b. As defined by hadith, it is NOT PERMISSIBLE TO STRIKE ANYONE’S FACE, CAUSE ANY BODILY HARM OR EVEN BE HARSH. What the hadith qualified as dharban ghayra mubarrih, or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of miswak (a small natural toothbrush)! They further qualified permissible “striking” as that which leaves no mark on the body. It is interesting that this latter fourteen-centuries-old qualifier is the criterion used in contemporary American law to separate a light and harmless tap or strike from “abuse” in the legal sense. This makes it clear that even this extreme, last resort, and “lesser of the two evils” measure that may save a marriage does not meet the definitions of “physical abuse,” “family violence, ” or “wife battering” in the 20th century law in liberal democracies, where such extremes are so commonplace that they are seen as national concerns.
c. The permissibility of such symbolic expression of the seriousness of continued refraction DOES NOT IMPLY ITS DESIRABILITY. In several ahadith, Prophet Muhammad (P) discouraged this measure. Among his sayings are the following: “Do not beat the female servants of Allah;” “Some (women) visited my family complaining about their husbands (beating them). These (husbands) are not the best of you;” and”[It is not a shame that] one of you beats his wife like [an unscrupulous person] beats a slave and maybe he sleeps with her at the end of the day.” (See Riyadh Al-Saliheen, op.cit,p.p. 137-140). In another hadith the Prophet(P) said
…How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?… (Sahih Al-Bukhari,op.cit., vol.8.hadith 68,pp.42-43).
d. True following of the sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (P), who NEVER RESORTED TO THAT MEASURE, regardless of the circumstances.
e. Islamic teachings are universal in nature. They respond to the needs and circumstances of diverse times, cultures and circumstances. Some measures may work in some cases and cultures or with certain persons but may not be effective in others. by definition, a “permissible” act is neither required, encouraged or forbidden. In fact it may be BETTER TO SPELL OUT THE EXTENT of permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted and unqualified, or ignoring it all together. In the absence of strict qualifiers, persons may interpret the matter in their own way, which can lead to excesses and real abuse.
f. Any excess, cruelty, family violence, or abuse committed by any “Muslim” can never be traced, honestly, to any revelatory text (Qur’an or hadith). Such EXCESSES AND VIOLATIONS ARE TO BE BLAMED ON THE PERSON(S) HIMSELF, as it shows that they are paying lip service to Islamic teachings and injunctions and failing to follow the true Sunnah of the Prophet (P).
Marriage: Lack of Faith or Lack of Focus?
By Hwaa Irfan
March 3, 2001
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said, “A person who does not marry on account of his poor financial condition does not have faith and confidence in Allah.”
With this in mind, many Islamic countries have adopted the hosting of mass weddings. As one of many gifts given during the month of Ramadan, Egypt hosts mass weddings for low-income and physically handicapped couples. The decorated tables and entertainment provided for the couples and their guests are a blessing.
Earlier this month, Iran’s Interior Ministry married 700 couples in one day and 850 couples on the next. They expect to marry 14,000 couples. The general director of the project, Ahmad Bahraini, said to Associated Press writer Ali Akbar Dareini that the purpose is to “…encourage marriage among our young people, and invite the public to hold modest celebrations in order to save money.”
Many young Iranian men do not get married before they are 30 because it is too difficult for them to save enough money to cover the expenses of marrying. Yet maintaining modesty in the expenses of marriage is what the Prophet of Islam (SAW) recommended, and the example he set when he married his daughter, Fatima Zahra, to the fourth Caliph, ‘Ali ibn Talib.
Bride Zahra Nowruzi said, “I’m spending the happiest days of my life.”
Her groom, Rostam Bahadori, 27, a Geography graduate is looking for work, but he expressed that he’s not really worried. “If I can’t find a job, I can work on a piece of land for my father.”
This choice is not always available to Muslims living in westernized societies, but many other choices can have implications that delay the decision to marry. Among the socialites in Cairo, Egypt, there can be an average of three weddings a week that are laboriously planned for the public’s attendance. Yet, there are many divorces.
Muhammed Hefzy is of the opinion that, “…We suffer from a distinct lack of romanticism surrounding our lives.”
Bachelors from these communities argue that:
- Many girls convince themselves that they love men that they want to spend the rest of their lives with, but their underlying reason for wanting to marry is to break away from the control of their parents and they assume marriage will bring them independence.
- For this reason, many young people will never know what it is like to experience love and companionship.
- There is a failure to see the difference between being loved and cared for and paying for someone to care for you.
- Men are scared of losing their privacy. It is considered that most women are too insecure to handle a request for privacy and feel that some thing is wrong; that their husbands do not love them any more.
Across communities and social classes, one finds Muslim women who have limited experience dealing with people outside of their immediate families. It is a trend for them to marry because of their belief that they will gain independence by doing so. Then, within a year or so, their commitment towards their husbands changes once they realize that the dreams they had pictured in their minds (that songs and films have inspired) are different from the reality of their lives. Imaginary icons are then either broken, or they are imposed on husbands (sometimes on wives).
Without their realizing it, a mutual distrust develops that begins to form the direction in which each spouse relates to their marital partner. Couples either adjust and accept the disparity between expectations and reality, or a crisis occurs that gives them a second chance in their marriage, or they drift apart within the marriage, or ultimately they separate or divorce.
We go “off-course” when we lose touch with our inner beings, or if, in fact, we haven’t yet developed that inner understanding of ourselves. Distracted by the daily demands of life in the form of school, employment, and eventually marriage, we might not have ascertained what we really want. This can set up a pattern for choosing a wrong partner.
Rasul’ullah (SAW) said, “…A person who will marry for the sake of wealth and beauty will ultimately be deprived of both, and he who will marry for the sake of piety and faith will be blessed with wealth and beauty from Allah.”
The right choice in marriages involves a person that we can bring out the best in, and vice versa, in order to form a family that can provide security and peace of mind and heart. We need to look for mates who can satisfy our needs and goals.
If a couple with a healthy, functional marriage is blessed with children, the family environment will provide a sound foundation for them in choosing the best marital partner and making the right decisions in their lives.
To wives, Rasul’ullah (SAW) said, “Invite your husbands to do good before they persuade you to do wrong deeds.”
To husbands, Rasul’ullah (SAW) said, “You men must make yourselves tidy and be prepared for your wives, as you would like them (your women) to be prepared for you.”
Hendawi, Hamza. “Arabic Talk Show Stirs Controversy,” Associated Press, February 2001.
Dareini, Ali Akbar. “Mass Weddings Encouraged In Iran,” Associated Press, February 2001.
Amina, Hujjatul-Islam Ibrahim. Principles of Marriage Family Ethics, Islamic Propagation Organization
Hefzy, Muhammed. Much Ado About Marriage, Engima, February 2001.
Reprinted from Islam Online
Some Husband and Wife Issues
By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
These questions and answers are from Dr. Siddiqi’s column, which is published on the Pakistan Link website.
Q 1. A Muslim woman was very badly treated by her husband. For several years she tried to separate from him and asked him for divorce, but he refused to divorce her. Finally she went to the American court and filed for divorce. Now she has received the judgment from the court and her marriage with this husband is dissolved by the American court, but her husband tells her that only a Muslim judge can dissolve the Islamic marriage. The non-Muslim American court has no right to dissolve their Islamic marriage. He insists that they are still married. He has some Fatwas from some ‘Ulama in India and Pakistan who support this view. She really does not want to live with him, but he wants to punish her by keeping her in this uncertain condition. What is the solution? Please explain the Islamic position in this matter.
A 1. According to Islamic law only a husband has right to divorce his wife. In case a wife does not want to live with her husband she has a right of Khula’, i.e. she should ask her husband to divorce her and in return she may give up her Mahr. If the husband refuses to divorce her and she finds it impossible to live with him, then she can go to a Muslim judge (Qadi) and can ask him for the dissolution of their marriage. Muslim judge has the authority to dissolve Islamic marriage.
The dilemma that Muslims in America face is this that there are no Muslim courts or Muslim judges in this country, and even if some Muslim scholars or imams of some Islamic centers dissolve a marriage according to Islamic laws, the American courts do not recognize Islamic divorces. Until the American court dissolves the marriage, the parties are considered legally married. In America, divorce can only take place by the judgment of the civil court, neither a husband has right to divorce his wife, nor a wife to divorce her husband, nor a religious authority of any religion can dissolve a legal marriage. (To my knowledge the only exception is given to some American Indian groups in their reservations.)
Under these circumstances we can say that Muslims have three options:
- In case of marital dispute the husband of wife both should go to a Muslim scholar and both of them should sign an agreement that they would accept his decision. Once the decision is made they should file it in the family court. Such marriage settlement agreement will be according to Islamic law but it is also acceptable under the American family law. Once this agreement is filed it becomes binding on both parties.
- Second option is that husband and wife both sign a pre-marital agreement that in case of dispute they will resolve their differences and/or dissolve their marriage according to the Islamic law.
A properly formulated pre-nuptial agreement is acceptable in most of the States and it is binding on both parties. 3. In case they do not have a pre-nuptial agreement or either the husband or the wife refuse to go to an Islamic authority to resolve their disputes, then they have no choice except to go to non-Muslim American courts and because of the necessity and to protect the rights of woman or man, the decision of the American court should be acceptable, as long as it does not contain anything that is clearly forbidden under the Islamic law. Under these circumstances, if a woman obtains a decree of the dissolution of marriage, the Islamic centers should recognize it and should give the woman a letter confirming American court’s decision. They may say that under the present circumstances we have no objection to the courts decision and consider this couple no more husband and wife under the Islamic law as well.
Q 2. Can husband and wife or one of them expose themselves in front of each other? (H.Y., Los Angeles)
A 2. Yes, there is no ‘awrah (things to be hidden) between the husband and wife. Husband and wife can be naked in front of each other. However, Islam urges human beings to observe haya’ (modesty). The Prophet – peace be upon him- said, “The Haya’ is part of faith.” So one should not be nude unnecessarily. Husband and wife can take their clothes off in front of each other to enjoy their sexual relations at the time of sex, but after that they should cover themselves. It is not good to walk all around the house naked, even in one’s privacy what to say in front of others. It is absolutely haram to be nude in front of other people unless it be before the doctor for medical examination and treatment only.
Q 4. Can husband and wife taking bath together?
A 4. Yes, husband and wife are allowed to take bath together.
Q 5. Is husband allowed to drink his wife’s milk?
A 5. It is makruh (disliked, not recommended). That milk is for the babies and it should be left for them. However, if, unintentionally, some milk goes into his mouth, it is not forbidden, but he should not plan to drink that milk. Rada’ah or foster relationship and its rules come only when a child under the age of two years drinks a woman’s milk several times. If a grown up person drinks a woman’s milk, she would not become his foster mother and the rules of rada’ah will not be applicable in this situation.
Marriage Break Down
Reprinted from the Jamiat-ul-Ulama website, jamiat.org.za
Nowadays, the general trend governing marriages is that the husband views his responsibility towards his family as being a purely materialistic one i.e. to provide financially for them (a house, car, clothes, etc). This attittude is resulting in many marriages breaking down since many husbands are seriously deficient in not spending sufficient time with their families – in communicating and interacting with the family and children. Islam presents a different view of the role of the husband, where he is made responsible for the Islamic nurturing and development of his wife and children as well as their psychological and moral welfare. In actual fact the time which he spends with his family is not only a responsibility but an act of Ibaadat for which he will be rewarded. Sad to note that despite this, many husbands become restless and seek every opportunity to withdraw from their families by, among other things:
- Spending a great deal of time watching sports on TV
- Spending many afternoons and evenings ‘with the boys’ at THE CLUB.
- Going off at weekends to play golf or fishing.
It also often transpires that if the wife (reluctantly) agrees to an arrangement allowing the husband regular time ‘with the boys’ the opportunity is used for other purposes e.g. conducting illicit relationships (adultery), etc.
He seeks more and more to be away from his family and should the wife raise even the mildest objection, he usually reacts with a great temper tantrum. Sadly, many wives endure this torture of loneliness and neglect with a great deal of bitterness and sorrow, tolerating their miserable condition because they have no where else to go. How often have you heard a tearful wife say, ‘He’s got more time for his friends than for me’.
Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam) said, ‘The best of you is he who is best to his family’. (Mishkat)
Fatwa: The Maximum Amount of Time a Man Can Live Away From His Wife
Reprinted from Islam Online
Fatwa Question Details
Name: Anwar from Pakistan
Title: The Maximum Amount of Time a Man Can Live away from His Wife
Question: As-Salaamu `alaykum. What is the maximum amount of time a man can live away from his wife? When a person moves to Europe or America, it can take one or two years (depending on the individual) to settle down properly. If his wife joins him from the beginning, it will be difficult for him to cope with the financial pressure and concentrate on other aspects of life.
Mufti: Islam Online Fatwa Committee
Answer: Dr. Su`aad Salih, Al-Azhar University, answers:
Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
The maximum limit a husband is allowed to be away from his wife is four months, or six months in the view of the scholars of the Hanbali school. This is the maximum period a woman can endure separation from her husband.
Exegetes of the Glorious Qur’an narrate the following incident in support of this opinion.
One night Caliph ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, was making his rounds of Madinah when he heard a woman singing:
The night is long, darkness all around me;
I am sleepless, for I have no friend to play with.
By Allah, had there been no fear of Him,
This cot would be shaking from side to side.
Upon investigation, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, found that the woman’s husband had been on a military expedition for a long time. He then asked his daughter, Hafsah, a widow of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, “How long can a woman endure separation from her husband?” She replied, “Four months.” As a consequence, he decided that he would not send a married man away from his wife for a period exceeding four months.
However, if your wife agrees to give up this right for more than this period, and allow you to travel until she is able to join you, then it is lawful and there is no wrong in this.
Allah Almighty knows best.