Friday, 12 March 2010

She is obedient to her husband and shows him respect

post signatureShe is obedient to her husband
and shows him respect:

(Excerpt from the Book " The Ideal Muslimah")

The true Muslim woman is always obedient to her husband, provided that no sin is involved. She is
respectful towards him and is always eager to please him and make him happy. If he is poor, she
does not complain about his being unable to spend much. She does not complain about her
housework, because she remembers that many of the virtuous women in Islamic history set an
example of patience, goodness and a positive attitude in serving their husbands and taking care of
their homes despite the poverty and hardships they faced. One of the foremost of these exemplary
wives is Fatimah al-Zahra', the daughter of Muhammad (PBUH) and the wife of `Ali ibn Abi Talib
(RAA). She used to complain of the pain in her hands caused by grinding grain with the hand-mill.
Her husband `Ali ibn Abi Talib said to her one day, "Your father has brought some female slaves,
so go and ask him for one of them to come and serve you." She went to her father, but she felt too
shy to ask him for what she wanted. `Ali went and asked him to provide a servant for his beloved
daughter, but the Prophet (PBUH) could not respond to those who most dear to him whilst ignoring
the needs of the poor among the Muslims, so he came to his daughter and her husband and said:
"Shall I not teach you something that is better than that for which you asked me? When you go to
bed at night, say `Subhan Allah' thirty-three times, `Al-hamdu lillah' thirty-three times, and
`Allahu akbar' thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant."
Then he bid them farewell and left, after inin them this divine help which would make them forget
their tiredness and help them to overcome their exhaustion.
`Ali (RAA) began to repeat the words that the Prophet (PBUH) had taught him. He said, "I
never stopped doing that after he had taught me these words." One of his companions asked
him, "Not even on the night of Siffin?" He said, "Not even on the night of Siffin."8
Asma' bint Abi Bakr al-Siddiq served her husband al-Zubayr, and took care of the house. Her
husband had a horse, which she took care of, feeding it and exercising it. She also repaired the
water-bucket, made bread, and carried dates on her head from far away. Bukhari and Muslim
report this in her own words:
"Al-Zubayr married me, and he had no wealth, no slaves, nothing except his horse. I used to
feed his horse, looking after it and exercising it. I crushed date-stones to feed his camel. I
used to bring water and repair the bucket, and I used to make bread but I could not bake it,
so some of my Ansari neighbours, who were kind women, used to bake it for me. I used to
carry the dates from the garden that the Prophet (PBUH) had given to al-Zubayr on my head,
and this garden was two-thirds of a farsakh away. One day I was coming back with the dates
on my head. I met the Messenger of Allah, who had a group of his Companions with him. He
called me, then told his camel to sit down so that I could ride behind him. I told (al-Zubayr),
`I felt shy, because I know that you are a jealous man.' He said, `It is worse for me to see
you carrying the dates on your head than to see you riding behind him.' Later, Abu Bakr sent
me a servant, who relieved me of having to take care of the horse; it was as if I had been
released from slavery."9
The true Muslim woman devotes herself to taking care of her house and husband. She knows her
husband's rights over her, and how great they are, as was confirmed by the Prophet's words:
"No human being is permitted to prostrate to another, but if this were permitted I would
have ordered wives to prostrate to their husbands, because of the greatness of the rights
they have over them."10
"If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered women to
prostrate to their husbands."11
`A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "Who has the
greatest rights over a woman?" He said, "Her husband." She asked, `And who has the
greatest rights over a man?" He said, "His mother."12
A woman came to ask the Prophet (PBUH) about some matter, and when he had dealt with
it, he asked her, "Do you have a husband?" She said, "Yes." He asked her, "How are you with
him?" She said, "I never fall short in my duties, except for that which is beyond me." He said,
"Pay attention to how you treat him, for he is your Paradise and your Hell."13
How can the Muslim woman complain about taking care of her house and husband when she hears
these words of Prophetic guidance? She should fulfil her household duties and take care of her
husband in a spirit of joy, because she is not carrying a tiresome burden, she is doing work in her
home that she knows will bring reward from Allah (SWT).
The Sahabah, may Allah (SWT) be pleased with them, and those who followed them understood
this Islamic teaching and transmitted it from the Prophet (PBUH). When a bride was prepared for
marriage, she would be told to serve her husband and take care of his rights. Thus the Muslim
woman knew her duties towards her husband, and down through the ages caring for her husband
and being a good wife were established womanly attributes. One example of this is what was said
by the faqih al-Hanbali ibn al-Jawzi in his book Ahkam al-Nisa' (p. 331): In the second century AH
there was a righteous man called Shu`ayb ibn Harb, who used to fast and spend his nights in
prayer. He wanted to marry a woman, and told her humbly, "I am a bad-tempered man." She
replied, tactfully and cleverly, "The one who makes you lose your temper is worse than you." He
realized that there stood before him a woman who was intelligent, wise and mature. He
immediately said to her, "You will be my wife."
This woman had a clear understanding of how to be a good wife, which confirmed to the man who
had come to seek her hand that she was a woman who would understand the psychology and
nature of her husband and would know what would please him and what would make him angry;
she would be able to win his heart and earn his admiration and respect, and would close the door
to every possible source of conflict that could disrupt their married life. The woman who does not
understand these realities does not deserve to be a successful wife; through her ignorance and
shortcomings she may provoke her husband to lose his temper, in which case, she would be worse
than him, for being the direct cause of his anger.
The tactful Muslim woman is never like this. She helps her husband to be of good character, by
displaying different types of intelligence, cleverness and alertness in the way she deals with him.
This opens his heart to her and makes him fond of her, because being a good wife is a not only a
quality that she may boast about among her friends, but it is also a religious obligation for which
Allah (SWT) will call her to account: if she has done well, she will be rewarded, but if she has fallen
short she will have to pay the penalty.
One of the most important ways in which the Muslim woman obeys her husband is by respecting
his wishes with regard to the permissible pleasures of daily life, such as social visits, food, dress,
speech, etc. The more she responds to his wishes in such matters, the happier and more enjoyable
the couple's life becomes, and the closer it is to the spirit and teachings of Islam.
The Muslim woman does not forget that her obedience to her husband is one of the things that
may lead her to Paradise, as the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of Ramadan), obeys her husband
and guards her chastity, then it will be said to her: `Enter Paradise by whichever of its gates
you wish.'"14
Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) said:
"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: `Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased
with her, will enter Paradise.'"15
The Prophet (PBUH) draw a clear and delightful picture of the well-behaved, easy-going, loving,
righteous Muslim wife, one who will be happy in this world and the next:
"Shall I not tell you about your wives in Paradise?" We said, "Of course, O Messenger of
Allah." He said, "They are fertile and loving. If she becomes angry or is mistreated, or her
husband becomes angry, she says, `My hand is in your hand; I shall never sleep until you
are pleased with me.'"16
The true Muslim woman knows that Islam, which has multiplied her reward for obeying her
husband and made it a means of her admittance to Paradise, has also warned every woman who
deviates from the path of marital obedience and neglects to take care of her husband, that she will
be guilty of sin, and will incur the wrath and curses of the angels.
Bukhari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"If a man calls his wife to his bed and she does not come, and he goes to sleep angry with
her, the angels will curse her until the morning."17
Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) said Imam:
"By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there is no man who calls his wife to his bed, and she
refuses him, but the One Who is in heaven will be angry with her, until the husband is
pleased with her once more."18
The angels' curse will befall every woman who is rebellious and disobedient; this does not exclude
those who are too slow and reluctant to respond to their husbands:
"Allah (SWT) will curse those procrastinating women who, when their husbands call them to
their beds, say `I will, I will . . .' until he falls asleep." 19
Marriage in Islam is intended to protect the chastity of men and women alike, therefore it is the
woman's duty to respond to her husband's requests for conjugal relations. She should not givsilly
excuses and try to avoid it. For this reason, several hadith urge a wife to respond to her husband's
needs as much as she is able, no matter how busy she may be or whatever obstacles there may
be, so long as there is no urgent or unavoidable reason not to do so.
In one of these hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"If a man calls his wife to his bed, let her respond, even if she is riding her camel [i.e., very
"If a man calls his wife, then let her come, even if she is busy at the oven."21
The issue of protecting a man's chastity and keeping him away from temptation is more important
than anything else that a woman can do, because Islam wants men and women alike to live in an
environment which is entirely pure and free from any motive of fitnah or haram pleasures. The
flames of sexual desire and thoughts of pursuing them through haram means can only be
extinguished by means of discharging that natural energy in natural and lawful ways. This is what
the Prophet (PBUH) meant in the hadith narrated by Muslim from Jabir:
"If anyone of you is attracted to a woman, let him go to his wife and have intercourse with
her, for that will calm him down."22
The warning given to the woman whose husband is angry with her reaches such an extent that it
would shake the conscience of every righteous wife who has faith in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day:
she is told that her prayer and good deeds will not be accepted, until her husband is pleased with
her again. This is stated in the hadith narrated by Jabir from `Abdullah:
"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: `There are three people whose prayers will not be
accepted, neither their good works: a disobedient slave until he returns to his masters and
puts his hand in theirs; a woman whose husband is angry with her, until he is pleased with
her again; and the drunkard, until he becomes sober.'"23
When these hadith refer to the husband being angry with his wife, they refer to cases in which the
husband is right and the wife is wrong. When the opposite is the case, and the husband is wrong,
then his anger has no negative implications for her; in fact, Allah (SWT) will reward the wife for her
patience. But the wife is still required to obey her husband, so long as no sin is involved, because
there should be no obedience to a created being if it entails disobedience to the Creator.
Concerning this, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
"It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah (SWT) to allow anyone into her
husband's house whom he dislikes; or to go out when he does not want her to; or to obey
anyone else against him; or to forsake his bed; or to hit him. If he is wrong, then let her
come to him until he is pleased with her, and if he accepts her then all is well, Allah (SWT)
will accept her deeds and make her position stronger, and there will be no sin on her. If he
does not accept her, then at least she will have done her best and excused herself in the
sight of Allah (SWT)."24.
Another aspect of wifely obedience is that she should not fast at times other than Ramadan except
with his permission, that she should not allow anyone to enter his house without his permission,
and that she should not spend any of his earnings without his permission. If she spends anything
without him having told her to do so, then half of the reward for that spending will be given to him.
The true Muslim woman takes heed of this teaching which was stated by the Prophet (PBUH) in the
"It is not permitted for a woman to fast when her husband is present, except with his
permission; or to allow anyone into his house except with his permission; or to spend any of
his earnings unless he has told her to do so, otherwise half of the reward will be given to
According to a report given by Muslim, he (PBUH) said:
"A woman should not fast if her husband is present, except with his permission. She should
not allow anyone to enter his house when he is present without his permission. Whatever she
spends of his wealth without him having told her to do so, half of the reward for it will be
given to him."26
The point here is the permission of the husband. If a wife gives some of his money in voluntary
charity without his permission, then she will not receive any reward; on the contrary, it will be
recorded as a sin on her part. If she wants to spend in his absence, and she knows that if he knew
about it he would give his permission, then she is allowed to do so, otherwise it is not permitted.
Mutual understanding and harmony between husband and wife cannot be achieved unless there is
understanding between them on such matters, so that neither of them will fall into such errors and
troubles as may damage the marriage which Islam has built on a basis of love and mercy, and
sought to maintain its purity, care and harmony.
If the husband is a miser, and spends too little on her and her children, then she is allowed to
spend as much as she needs from his wealth on herself and her children, in moderation, without
his knowledge. The Prophet (PBUH) stated this to Hind bint `Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan, when
she came to him and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man. What he gives me is
not enough for me and my child, unless I take from him without his knowledge." He told her, "Take
what is enough for you and your child, in moderation."27 Thus Islam has made women responsible
for good conduct in their running of the household affairs.
The Muslim woman understands the responsibility that Islam has given her, to take care of her
husband's house and children by making her a "shepherd" over her husband's house and children.
She has been specifically reminded of this responsibility in recognition of her role, in the hadith in
which the Prophet (PBUH) made every individual in the Islamic society responsible for those under
his or her authority in such a way that no-one, man or woman, may evade responsibility:
"Each of you is a shepherd, and each is responsible for those under his care. A ruler is a
shepherd; a man is the shepherd of his family; a woman is the shepherd of her husband's
house and children. For each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for those
under his care."28
The true Muslim woman is always described as being loving towards her children and caring
towards her husband. These are two of the most beautiful characteristics that a woman of any time
or place may possess. The Prophet (PBUH) praised these two characteristics, which were embodied
by the women of Quraysh, who represented the best women among the Arabs in terms of loving
their children, caring for their husbands, respecting their rights and looking after their wealth with
care, honesty and wisdom:
"The best women who ride camels are the women of Quraysh. They are the most
compassionate towards their children when they are small, and the most careful with regard
to their husbands' wealth."29
This is a valuable testimony on the part of the Prophet (PBUH), attesting to the psychological and
moral qualities of the women of Quraysh which enhanced their beauty and virtue. This testimony
respresents a call to every Muslim woman to emulate the women of Quraysh in loving her children
and taking care of her husband. These two important characteristics contribute to the success of a
marriage, make individuals and families happy, and help a society to advance.
It is a great honour for a woman to take care of her husband every morning and evening, and
wherever he goes, treating him with gentleness and good manners which will fill his life with joy,
tranquillity and stability. Muslim women have the best example in `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased
with her), who used to accompany the Prophet (PBUH) on Hajj, surrounding him with her care,
putting perfume on him with her own hands before he entered ihram, and after he finished his
ihram, before he performed tawaf al-ifadah.30 She chose for him the best perfume that she could
find. This is stated in a number of sahih hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim, for example:
"I applied perfume to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) with myown hands before he entered
the state of ihram and when he concluded it before circumambulating the House."31
"I applied perfume to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) with these two hands of mine when he
entered ihram and when he concluded it, before he performed tawaf," - and she spread her
`Urwah said:
"I asked `A'ishah, `With what did you perfume the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) at the time
when he entered ihram?' She said, `With the best of perfume.'"33
According to another report also given by Muslim, `A'ishah said:
"I applied the best perfume I could find to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) before he entered
ihram and when he concluded it, before he perfomed tawaf al-ifadah."34
When the Prophet (PBUH) was in seclusion (i`tikaf), he would lean his head towards
`A'ishah, and she would comb and wash his hair. Bukhari and Muslim both report this in
sahih hadith narrated from `A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), such as:
"When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was in i`tikaf, he inclined his head towards me and I
combed his hair, and he did not enter the house except to answer the call of nature."35
"I used to wash the Prophet's head when I was menstruating."36
`Aishah urged women to take good care of their husbands and to recognize the rights that their
husbands had over them. She saw these rights as being so great and so important that a woman
was barely qualified to wipe the dust from her husband's feet with her face, as she stated: "O
womenfolk, if you knew the rights that your husbands have over you, every one of you would wipe
the dust from her husband's feet with her face."37
This is a vivid expression of the importance of the husband's rights over his wife. `A'ishah wanted
to bring this to women's attention, so as to remove from the hearts of arrogant and stubborn
women all those harsh, obstinate feelings that all too often destroy a marriage and turn it into a
living hell.
Honouring and respecting one's husband is one of the characteristic attitudes of this ummah. It is
one of the good manners known at the time of jahiliyyah that were endorsed by Islam and
perpetuated by the Arabs after they embraced Islam. Our Arab heritage is filled with texts that
eloquently describe the advice given by mothers to their daughters, to care for, honour and respect
their husbands; these texts may be regarded as invaluable social documents.
One of the most famous and most beautiful of these texts was recorded by `Abd al-Malik ibn
`Umayr al-Qurashi, who was one of the outstanding scholars of the second century AH. He quotes
the words of advice given by Umamah bint al-Harith, one of the most eloquent and learned
women, who was possessed of wisdom and great maturity, to her daughter on the eve of her
marriage. These beautiful words deserve to be inscribed in golden ink.
`Abd al-Malik said: "When `Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of the most highly respected
leaders of the Arab nobility during the jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn
`Amr al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her mother Umamah came in
to her, to advise her, and said:
`O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners
and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you possess these
qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are
`O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father's wealth
and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband,
but women were created for men just as men were created for them.
`O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to
walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion with whom you are unfamiliar. By
marrying you he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become
like a servant to you.
`Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.
`The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for
contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one's husband pleases Allah.
`The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not
see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is
the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.
`The fifth and the sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep,
for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.
`The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and
take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking
care of his children and servants shows good management.
`The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his
orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and
if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.
`Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show
sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgement, whilst the
latter will make him unhappy.
`Show him as much honour and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so
that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.
`Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure
before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah
(SWT) choose what is best for you and protect you.'"38
She was taken to her husband, and the marriage was a great success; she gave birth to kings who
ruled after him.
This advice clearly included everything that one could think of as regards the good manners that a
young girl needs to know about in order to treat her husband properly and be a suitable companion
for him. The words of this wise mother deserve to be taken as the standard for every young girl
who is about to get married.
If she is rich, the true Muslim woman does not let her wealth and financial independence make her
blind to the importance of respecting her husband's rights over her. She still takes care of him and
honours him, no matter how rich she is or may become. She knows that she is obliged to show
gratitude to Allah for the blessings He has bestowed upon her, so she increases her charitable
giving for the sake of Allah. The first person to whom she should give generously is her own
husband, if he is poor; in this case she will receive two rewards, one for taking care of a family
member, and another for giving charity, as the Prophet (PBUH) stated in the hadith narrated by
Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah, the wife of `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (RAA):
"The Prophet (PBUH) told us: `O women, give in charity even if it is some of your jewellery.'
She said, `I went back to `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud and told him. `You are a man of little
wealth, and the Prophet (PBUH) has commanded us to give charity, so go and ask him
whether it is permissible for me to give you charity. If it is, I will do so; if it is not, I will give
charity to someone else.' `Abdullah said, `No, you go and ask.' So I went, and I found a
woman of the Ansar at the Prophet's door, who also had the question. We felt too shy to go
in, out of respect, so Bilal came out and we asked him, `Go and tell the Messenger of Allah
that there are two women at the door asking you: Is it permissible for them to give sadaqah
to their husbands and the orphans in their care? But do not tell him who we are.' So Bilal
went in and conveyed this message to the Prophet (PBUH), who asked, `Who are they?' Bilal
said, `One of the women of the Ansar, and Zaynab/' The Prophet (PBUH) asked, `Which
Zaynab is it?' Bilal said, `The wife of `Abdullah.' The Prophet (PBUH) said: `They will have
two rewards, the reward for upholdithe relationship, and the reward for giving charity.'"39
According to a report given by Bukhari, he said, "Your husband and your child are more
deserving of your charity."40
The true Muslim woman is always careful to give thanks for Allah's blessings if her life is easy, and
she never loses her patience if she encounters difficulty. She never forgets the warning that the
Prophet (PBUH) issued to women in general, when he saw that most of the inhabitants of Hell will
be women, and so she seeks refuge with Allah from becoming one of them.
Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Ibn `Abbas (RAA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "O
women, give charity, for I have surely seen that you form the majority of the inhabitants of
Hell." They asked, `Why is this so, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Because you curse too
much, and are ungrateful for good treatment (on the part of your husbands)."41
According to another report given by Bukhari, he said, "because they are ungrateful for good
and kind treatment. Even if you treated one of them (these ungrateful women) well for an
entire lifetime, then she saw one fault in you, she would say, `I have never seen anything
good from you!'"42
According to a report given by Ahmad, a man said, "O Messenger of Allah, are they not our
mothers and sisters and wives?" He said, "Of course, but when they are treated generously
they are ungrateful, and when they are tested, they do not have patience."43
When the true Muslim woman thinks about these sahih hadith which describe the fate of most
women in the Hereafter, she is always on the alert lest she fall into the sins of ingratitude towards
her husband, or frequent cursing, or denying her husband's good treatment of her, or forgetting to
give thanks for times of ease, or failing to be patient at times of difficulty. In any case, she hastens
to give charity as the Prophet (PBUH) urged all women to do, in the hope that it may save them
from that awful fate which will befall most of those women who deviate from truth and let trivial
matters distract them from remembering Allah (SWT) and the Last Day, and whose bad qualities
will ultimately lead them into the Fire of Hell. The Muslim woman, on the other hand, sets the
highest example of respect towards one's husband and taking note of his good qualities. This is the
attitude of loyalty that befits the true Muslim woman who respects her husband's rights and does
not ignore his virtues.
Muslim women's history is full of stories which reflect this loyalty and recognition of the good
qualities of the husband. One of these stories is that of Asma' bint `Umays, who was one of the
greatest women in Islam, and one of the first women to migrate to Madinah. She was married to
Ja`far ibn Abi Talib, then to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, then to `Ali, may Allah be pleased with them all.
On one occasion, her two sons Muhammad ibn Ja`far and Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr were competing
with one another, each of them saying. "I am better than you, and my father is better than your
father." `Ali said to her, "Judge between them, O Asma'." She said, "I have never seen a young
man among the Arabs who was better than Ja`far, and I have never seen a mature man who was
better than Abu Bakr." `Ali said, "You have not left anything for me. If you had said anything other
than what you have said, I would have hated you!" Asma' said: "These are the best three, and you
are one of them even if you are the least of them."44
What a clever and eloquent answer this wise woman gave! She gave each of her three husbands
the respect he deserved, and pleased `Ali, even though he was the least of them, because she
included all of them in that group of the best.

1 comment:

nidurali said...

Asalamu Alaykum…


Good post.
I have added link to your site:
Reflections 4 Muslimahs