Fiqh of Marriage: The Rights of the Wife

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

1.  Treating the Wife in a Kind and Good Manner

  • The husband should accompany the wife in a good way, keeping harm away from her, not delaying in fulfilling their rights, and demonstrating pleasure and happiness with her (or them, but in thise case, I’m going to use the singular “her”).
  • And treat them in a good and kind manner. al-Nisaa 19.
  • And they have the rights similar to those over them according to what is reasonable. al-Baqara 228.
  • The wife is not the only person within the household to beautify herself for her husband. Ibn Abbaas stated, “I love to beautify myself for the wife in the same way that I love for her to beautify herself for me because Allah has said, ‘And they have rights similar to those over them according to what is reasonable’”
  • The husband should be kind and gentle with her and not harm her. No matter what kinds of problems arises, whether it is her fault or his, he should treat her kindly and be reasonable.
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) alluded to this behaviour when he said, “A believing man should not hate a believing woman since if he dislikes one of her characters, he is pleased with another.” Muslim, 1469, Book on Virtues.
  • The husband should not hurt his wife with actions or speech.
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) was asked by one of the Companions, “What is the right of our wives upon us?” He replied, “it is that when you eat, you feed her; when you get clothing for yourself, you get clothing for her; do not strike the face; do not swear at her; and do not boycott her except in the house.” Abu Dawood, 2142, Book on Marriage.

2.  Teaching Her the Matters of the Religion and Supporting Her in Acts of Obedience to Allah

  • The husband should teach his wife if she is ignorant and reminds her if she forgets. He should support her and helps her remember what needs to be done. The most important is to maintain the proper belief in the oneness of Allah (tawheed) and the beliefs and practices of the early generations of Muslims.
  • “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones.” al-Tahreem 6.
  • Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Man is responsible over his family and he will be asked about his responsibility.” Part of hadith in al-Bukhari, 5188, Book on Marriage.
  • The husband should also teach his wife good manners and characteristics, to protect her modesty, and feel honour with respect to her and when she follows through with these acts.

3.  Maintaining Her Chastity

  • Such as men, women also have natural desires  Men should comply with them so she will keep herself from doing anything forbidden. One of the acts of keeping her chastity is to abstain from sexual intercourse: “Those who take an oath not to have sexual intercourse with their wives must wait for four months, but if they return [during this period], then Allah is forgiving, merciful.” al-Baqarah 226.

4.  Financially Maintaining the Wife

  • Fiancially supporting her is a necessary right of the wife. It is also in accordance with food, clothing, and housing.
  • “The father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear.” al-Baqarah 233.
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Fear Allah with respect to women. You have taken them by the trust with Allah and have made their private parts permissible by the word of Allah… Their rights upon you are that you provide for them and clothe them according to what is right and customary.” Muslim, Sahih, 1218, Book on the Pilgrimage.
  • The husband is obligated to spend on his wife and children for what is sufficient. This also indicated that the wife may take from her husband’s wealth if he refuses to give her what she needs, even if she does it without his knowledge as long as it is a reasonable amount.
  • The wife should not ask for numerous requests. She should be satisfied and happy with what her husband is giving her.
  • “The first thing that destroyed the Tribes of Israel is when the wife of a poor person would burden him for clothing or fashion like the way the wife of a rich man would burden him.” ibn Khuzaimah in al-Tauheed, 208.

It was brought up during the halaqa as, “Is it true that the Qur’an states that it is okay to beat your wife?”

No, it is not alright to beat your wife.

This is what Surah al-Nisaa ayah 34 says, which is ALWAYS taken out of context: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given them 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), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, do not seek against them means (of annoyance):  for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).”

Firstly, “men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given them one more strength than the other.” Specifically, men had to pull their weight in the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) because many of them were farmers, tradesmen, fishermen, etc. Just like back in the Biblical times. So yes, they were indeed stronger than women. Also, men ARE our protectors and they ARE the ones who usually have the job to support the families.

Secondly, “admonish them first”. They are allowed to verbally excuse us from our presence. This is in no way “beating” us. And it is stated that they (the men) should not be verbally abuse us. This does not mean that the husband will not be harsh or aggressive with words, but they should watch how they handle the situation.

Thirdly, “refuse to share the bed.” The husband has a right to either a.) leave the bed and sleep elsewhere in the house hold, b.) refuse to have sexual intercourse with her, c.) to keep his distance in bed, or d.) have his wife sleep elsewhere in the household.

Fourth, “beat them lightly.” Lightly is the key word here. A brother had a question about the beating the wife bit, and it is suggested that men can tap their wives with a miswaak. In other cases, he can tap her hand, her shoulder, her back (such as you would “strike” a child when they grabbed that cookie out of the jar that you didn’t want them to have).  In no way does it say, “take up a fist and beat your women” or anything of the sort.

Allahu A’lam.

May Allah make the men pious and grateful husbands.

[Taken from: Pearls of Wisdom]

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