On Marriage: Role Of The Muslim Husband

June 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

We are towards the last weekend of the mid-term school holidays (last 2 weeks) and as usual, there have been plenty of marriages being held. Young newly weds looking resplendent befitting the traditional accord given to them as “Kings and Queen for the day”. Plenty of food and the event itself is full of pomp and galore with everyone in their best attire.

It also signals the start of a holy relationship that is blessed by Allah SWT. And each one of them have their roles clearly defined, with rules to obey and guidelines to follow. All of us are quite familiar (as they have been harped often enough) of the roles of the wives but little is being said of the roles of the Muslim husband. Let’s take a look at some of them:

The husband as the provider. Surely everyone knows this but are we really following it? The husband must provide for every expense of the household, including allowances for the wife. It is Haraam for the husband to Not work and live off the wife’s income (if she is working). Islam labels such husbands as cowards. In fact, the wife is entitled to claim allowances during breast-feeding of their child. According to Islam, a woman is not required to work in order to earn her living. Her husband is responsible to ensure a decent standard of living for her according to his means. Even when a woman is richer than her husband, her wealth does not deprive her of the right to be supported by him. If he takes advantage of her wealth in order to leave his duty unfilled, without having first secured her consent to this arrangement, then he is accountable for his misdeed. It is open to her to seek divorce on grounds of her not being supported by her husband. An Islamic court will have no hesitation to issue an order nullifying the marriage if the husband will not honour his responsibility.

The Prophet(Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said,

“The best of you is the best one to his family.” [Al-Tabarani]

To share food with her, to provide her with (decent) clothes as he provides himself, to refrain from smacking her, and not ignoring her but in the house. [Ahmad]

”A Dinar (a currency) that you spend on your family, a Dinar that you spend on a poor person and a Dinar that you spend in the sake of Allah. The one that carries the most reward is the one that you spend on your family.” [Muslim]

”Know that no charity that you give whether small or large, for the sake of Allah, but you will be rewarded for it, even the bite (of food) that you put in your wife’s mouth.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

From the Qur’an:

“…and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense… And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father’s) behalf.” (65:6)”

The Husband shall not hit the wife. Physically abusing the wife is NEVER permitted in Islam. Hitting a wife is only permitted under extreme circumstances and it 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.

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)

The permissibility of such symbolic expression of the seriousness of continued refraction DOES NOT IMPLY ITS DESIRABILITY. In several hadith, Prophet Muhammad SAW discouraged this measure.

“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.” (Riyadh As-Saliheen, p137-140).

“…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, vol.8 hadith 68, p42-43).

The Husband is to do all the household chores. All the chores of the household are under the responsibility of the husband, and that includes washing clothes and cooking. If he is unable to do so, a maid/servant must be provided for the wife. The wife is to be relieved of such duties so that she can fully prepares herself to serve the husband. The wife’s duties do not require her to feed her child, nor even to nurse it, nor to clean nor cook. It is the husband’s duty to provide a nursemaid, food for older children, and servants to clean and cook. However, if the wife does those things out of mercy and love, it is a gift to the husband on her part.

And lastly, some advises to Husbands:

Jabir narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, gave these instructions in his sermon during Farewell Pilgrimage: “Fear God regarding women; for you have taken them [in marriage] with the trust of God.” [Mishkat]

Narrated Aisha, God’s messenger said: “Among the believers who show most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition, and are kindest to their families.” [Tirmidhi]

Narrated Abu Huraira, God’s messenger said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.” [Tirmidhi]

Aisha has related that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, would enter the house with a pleasing disposition and a smile on his lips. [Uswa-i-Hasana]

Narrated Al-Aswad: “I asked Aisha, `What did the Prophet, peace be upon him, do at home?’ She said, `He used to work for his family and when he heard the call for the prayer, he would go out.'” [Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Huraira: “Allah’s Apostle, peace be upon him, said, `The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some bent.'” [Bukhari]

Narrated Abu Huraira: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt (trouble) his neighbour. And I advise you to take care of women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of women. [Bukhari]

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As: “Allah’s Apostle, peace be upon him, said, `O Abdullah! Have I not been informed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?’ I said, `Yes, O Allah’s Apostle!’ He said, `Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you and your wife has a right over you too.'” [Bukhari]

Narrated Ibn Umar: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of his family; the lady is a guardian who is responsible for her husband’s house and his offsprings; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.”

Men should forbear any shortcomings of women in view of the following verse of Qur’an:
“Live with them in kindness; even if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike something in which God has place much good.” (Qur’an, An Nisaa : 19)

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