Archive for October, 2008

Does A Muslim Woman Have to Obey Her Husband?

Posted in Marriage Coaching on October 9, 2008 by Shaz

Question: My problem is in Islam, A woman must obey her husband, she can’t go out of the house without his permission, and she even has to obey her husband even if he tells her to do something that she hates; and she obeys him even against herself or her parents’ will – why is it like this? A woman is a human being with the right to think and decide for herself. Sometimes a woman can think in some situations more clearly than her husband, but if the husband says something, then his words are the ones to be followed – why is it like this? Why do I have to obey my husband even before obeying my father who raised me up all these years? I know that in Islam, men and women are equal, but this doesn’t seem like equality. I am not questioning Islam or God of course, but I just need an explanation. Why do we have to obey the men in submission like this? Did Prophet Muhammad really say “If I would have ordered someone to do sujud (prostration), for someone else except Allah, I would have ordered the wife to do it to her husband” ? Did he really say that, and why? And If I don’t follow this ahadith (tradition of Prophet Muhammad), will I be sinning? Thanks for your time.

Answer by Abdul-Lateef Abdullah

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious
the Most Merciful
May He bestow His peace and blessings on His messenger, Muhammad, his family, Companions, and all of those who follow them sincerely.

As salamu `alaykum,

Thank you for your very poignant question. It is an important one and one that you need to settle before you marry for there should be no lingering doubts about Islam or your future husband. It is, therefore, very important that you receive an answer to this and any other questions you have.

One thing that is very important for all of us to be able to differentiate is the difference between Islamic teachings, cultural practices, and beliefs. Sometimes these two are in complete opposite to one another even though the practices referred to are coming from Muslims. Yes, it is true that the husband is the head of the household in Islam, but that does not mean that he runs the household like a tyrant. It also does not mean that women have not the power to make decisions.

As a convert to Islam myself, I realize that there is a very big difference between the outward, literal aspects of these teachings and their application in real life. The Muslim home – in the true spirit of Islam — is one where Allah is God and He alone is worshipped, not the husband/father. Men are given a certain degree of RESPONSIBILITY over their wives, rather than a degree of privilege or power. According to Sheikh `Abdullah Adhami, the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the early scholars of Islam understood and practiced the Qur’an in these terms – that the degree that men are afforded is one of responsibility, not power: (see in the Qur`an Al Baqarah 2:228)

“Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.”

The degree above them, according to Sheikh `Abdullah is a degree of responsibility, not a degree of privilege or power. In many cultures, however, this degree is taken to mean that the husband has power to do and act however he wants without question. This, however, is against the teachings of Islam. Yes, men are the head of the household in Islam, but mutual respect and consideration are the way in which the affairs of the house should be governed.

Specific questions about a woman leaving the house, for example, are also important to consider in the spirit of Islam, along with the mere dictates of the law. Yes, a woman should get permission to leave the house. This should, however, be understood according to the spirit of mutual respect. A husband is responsible for safeguarding the safety of his family. If he does not know when and where his wife is coming and going, how is he supposed to do that? By the same token, a husband should also discuss with his wife his leaving the house out of respect for her. For example, perhaps she wants to pray and there is no one to watch the young children or a baby. The husband should first consult the wife about going out and the two should come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Maybe the wife will ask the husband to wait 20 minutes so that she can pray first, for example. In any case, the husband must be considerate of the wife’s needs and situation, not only his own. The point is that the affairs of the house are not a dictatorship; they should be conducted according to mutual respect and teamwork, with both respecting the rights and responsibilities of the other. The rights and legal dictates exist so that we know our basic responsibilities and do not cross any lines that we shouldn’t, however, in practice we should always strive for the best of ways in our affairs, which is, of course, according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who was nothing but kind, gentle and fair with his wives and family. There was no one on Earth who treated his wives better than the Prophet (SAW), so we should take his example in all of our affairs.

Some examples of Islamic teachings in regard to wives/women:
{Among His signs is the fact that he has created spouses from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquillity with them; and he has put love and mercy between you. In that are signs for people who reflect} (Qur’an Ar Rum 30:21)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was reported to have said:
• “From among the believers are those who have the kindest disposition and are the kindest to their families- such are those who show the most perfect faith. The best among them are those who are kindest to their wives.” (1)

• “The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behaviour; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives.” (2)

• “Do not beat the female servants of God.” (3)

• “Whoever has a female child and does not bury her alive, nor hide her in contempt, nor prefers his male child over her, God will make him enter Paradise.” (4)

• “Whoever brings up two sisters or two daughters, and gives them a broad education, and treats them well, and gives them in marriage, for him is Paradise.” (5)
(1) Bukhari and Muslim
(2) Tirmidhi
(3) Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah
(4) Abu Dawud
(5) Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi
Remember, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the best of creation was a servant of his family, not a tyrant or a king:

Ahadith – Sahih al-Bukhari 8.65, Narrated Al Aswad
I asked ‘Aisha what did the Prophet use to do at home. She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer.”

Serving his family, according to other hadith on the subject, included: sweeping floors, sewing clothes, cooking, serving guests, teaching and educating the children, and others. How many Muslim husbands, despite being so quick to claim their status of ‘head of household’ live according to this example? How many of us see ourselves and act as servants of our families rather than kings? This ahadith is just one powerful example of the difference between knowing the RIGHTS of husbands and knowing our RESPONSIBILITIES as husbands who are followers of the best of creation, Rasulullah (SAW). Using the Prophet’s example, we can understand that it was because of the standard of his behavior, and loving kindness to his family that he was so well respected and obedient to them. He never had to ‘demand’ his authority from them like many of us. He simply behaved in a way that made people want to serve him and follow him. That is the greatness of the Prophet (SAW) – he made people WANT to obey him because of his high standard of character and example as a human being, husband, father, etc.

Conjugal Relationship

Posted in Tips for a Happy Marriage on October 1, 2008 by Shaz

By: Shaykh Salaah Al-Budayr

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah and be conscious of Him.
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Hawwâ (Eve)) and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allaah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” (An-Nisaa 4:1)Dear Muslims! Allaah, through His mercy and wisdom, created man on a nature that loves stability and comfort. He created a wife for him from his own kind that he might find succour with her and be inclined to her. Allaah says,

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Room 30:21)

Fellow Muslims! Marital tie is a great one. It is a tie that is established on mutual wish, choice and altruism. It is a tie that the religion of Islaam ordained and which the human nature requests. This is because, the family is the foundation of the society and security of the society depends of security of each of the families that make up the society.

The two pillars of the family are man and woman who are both brought together by love, affection, friendship, sincerity, compassion and agreement under one roof.

In the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, there is a perfect welfare and complete justice that strengthen the foundation of this blessed relationship and that prevent it from going sour.

Dear Muslims! The causes of many marital problems and astounding rise in divorce cases lie in the people’s ignorance of the Islaamic injunctions, etiquettes of marital life and demands of family responsibilities. For how can a family enjoy happiness and tranquillity if the husband uses disgusting and vile language and he is hot-tempered and repulsively selfish? How can the family enjoy peace if the husband is worthless, frowning, overbearing and oppressive to his wife? Where is the kindness that the Qur’aan enjoined?

Brethrens in faith! How can the family enjoy happiness and tranquillity if the wife always go out, is talkative, cursing, revolting, negligent, extravagant, lazy, ingrate and obstinate? The Messenger of Allaah said, “I was shown the Hell-Fire and I found out that most of its inhabitants are women.” The Prophet was asked: ‘Why O Messenger of Allaah?’ He said, “Because they are ungrateful to their husbands. If you have being kind to one of them for your whole life and she once finds something she does not like in you, she says: ‘I have never got any good thing from you.'”

O you husband and wife! Fear Allaah regarding your marital life. Fulfil your responsibility to one another. Follow the injunctions of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and make use of the sound reason in your dealings with each other lest both of you become victims of divorce and regret. Follow the injunction of Allaah that says,

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.” (Al-Baqarah 2:228)

The Prophet said, “Certainly, you have rights over your wives as your wives also have rights over you.” (At-Tirmidhee)

Fellow Muslims! Whoever seeks for a life partner who is free from all defects is looking for something unachievable. The Messenger of Allaah said, “No believing man should hate his believing woman. If he finds some traits which he dislikes in her, he will find in her other traits which he likes.” He also said, “Any woman who asks her husband for divorce without valid excuse, she will never perceive the aroma of Paradise.”

Dear Muslim woman and wife! Be like the earth for your husband he will be like the heaven for you. Be like a resting place for him he will be like a pillar for you, be like a maid for him he will be like a servant for you. Take care of the time of his meals and maintain quietness during his sleeping periods, for the bitterness of hunger is burning and any disturbance during time of sleep is irritating.

Keep his company with satisfaction and relate to him with obedience. Do not ever reveal his secret and do not disobey him. Beware of the things that may make the life sour for him. Do not fast while he is at home without his consent and do not allow anybody to enter his house without his permission.

Know that the more you respect him the more he honours you. Do not keep far from him lest he forgets you and exert all efforts to please him. But you should do that in the light of the injunctions of Islaam. Whenever he requests his rights from you, give them to him. The Messenger of Allaah said, “If a man invites his wife to bed and she refuses and the man passes the night being angry with her, the Angels will curse her until the she wakes up in the morning.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

Serve him willingly and satisfactorily, for that strengthens mutual love and affection. It is enough for a Muslim woman as a blessing and good tiding that the Messenger of Allaah said, “Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her will enter Paradise.” (Ibn Hibbaan)

Dear brother who is the husband! Fear Allaah regarding your wife. Do not burden her with what is beyond her capability. Always assist her in difficulty and be compassionate with her if she is tired or if she falls sick. Always be considerate whenever she is pregnant, she is in post-natal period or she is breastfeeding. Thank her much and appreciate her gratitude. Know that your authority over your wife does not in any way mean that you are free to oppress her or treat her with contempt. It means that you should preserve her honour, teach her, educate her and keep her chaste. Do not let your major concern be monitoring her mistakes and do never treat her suspiciously.

However, do not overlook things that might contravene religious or moral values. The Prophet said, “There are two types of jealousy. Allaah loves one and hates the other. Allaah loves sense of jealousy in a suspicious situation and hates sense of jealousy in other situations.” (Ahmad)

O you husband! Beware of much nagging for it generate hatred. Do not deny your wife and children your kindness lest they become fed up with you and wish for your early death. The Prophet said, “It is enough a sin for a man to neglect those he ought to provide with sustenance.” (Aboo Daawood)

Be always generous and kind, for generosity is a quality of good leadership. There is no good in extravagance as there is no extravagance in kindness. Allaah says,

“Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means, and do not harm them so as to straiten them (that they be obliged to leave you house). And if they are pregnant, then spend on them till they lay down their burden. Then if they give suck to the children for you, give them their due payment, and let each of you accept the advice of the other in a just way. But if you make difficulties for one another, then some other woman may give suck for him (the father of the child). Let the rich man spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allaah has given him. Allaah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allaah will grant after hardship, ease.” (At-Talaaq 65:6-7)

The Messenger of Allaah said, “Fear Allaah regarding your wives, for you married them under the trust of Allaah and they became lawful for you with the word of Allaah. And you owe them their provision and shelter according to what is reasonable.” The Prophet also said, “When a man spends something on his family, it is will be recorded for him as a charity.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

Fellow Muslims! Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, who is the leader of mankind used to treat his family with kindness. He would laugh with them and share light moods with them. He used to say, “The most perfect of the believers in faith is the best of them in conduct. And the best of you is the kindest in the treatment of his family.”

O husbands! Do not exceed the limits set by Islaam while spanking your wives. Beware of inflicting bodily harm on them for doing so has horrible consequences. The Messenger of Allaah said, “None of you should flog his wife as he would do his slave and then sleep with her at the end of the day.”

Dear brethren! Some men exceeded the limit of punishing their wives during the time of the Messenger of Allaah. These women came to the wives of the Prophet to complain about their husbands’ battering. The Prophet then addressed the people saying, “Many women have come to the wives of Muhammad complaining of their husbands’ battering. Those husbands are not among your good men.” (Aboo Daawood)

O you husbands! Spending night hours outside the home causes distress for the wife and makes her life unbearable. It threatens the stability of your homes and exposes your children to negligence and temptations of this age.

Brethren in faith! The appearance of sins and religious violations in many homes is the major cause of their disintegration. Dissentions and mutual suspicion have prevailed in many homes as a result of the satellite programs that many families watch. Allaah says,

“Allaah wronged them not, but they wronged themselves.” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:117)

Fear Allaah and cleanse your homes from things that may bring upon you curse and expulsion from the mercy of your Lord. Allaah says,

“Say: ‘Verily, Allaah sends astray whom He wills and guides unto Himself those who turn to Him in repentance.'” (Ar-Ra‘d 13:27)

Fellow Muslims! Let the Muslim woman who is the nurturer of coming generations demonstrate tenderness, compassion and intelligent in carrying out her duties; and let the man who is in charge demonstrate resoluteness, valour, sound reason and deliberateness in discharging his duties. Let both of them live a honourable life under the shade of Islaam by adhering to the injunctions of Allaah and His Messenger and cooperating in righteousness and piety. The Prophet said, “May Allaah bless a man who wakes up in the night, observes voluntary prayers and then awakens his wife and she also observes voluntary prayers. If she refuses to wake up, he sprinkles water on her face. May Allaah bless a woman who wakes up in the night, performs voluntary prayers and then awakens her husband and he also performs supererogatory prayers. When he refuses to wake up, she sprinkles water on his face.” Allaah says,

“And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith: to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.” (At-Toor 52:21)

Brethren in Islaam! Fairness brings about familiarity and obedience. It is through fairness and justice that love renewed. The unjust person will have no neighbour.

O you men with more than one wife! Deal justly among your wives as regards housing, clothing, feeding, expenses and nights sharing. Beware of unfairness, for it causes punishment from Allaah. The Prophet said, “When a man has two wives and he is inclined to one of them, he will come on the Day of resurrection with a side hanging down.” (Ahmad)

A manifestation of the Prophet’s equal treatment of his wives is that whenever he wanted to travel, he would draw a ballot among his wives and would take along any of them whose ballot prevailed. Whenever he divided something equally among his wives, he would say, “O Allah, this is my division concerning what I possess, so do not blame me concerning what You possess and I do not.” (Aboo Daawood)

Treat your wives equally and take into consideration the jealousy that they cannot naturally prevent. An example of the women’s jealousy is what was narrated by ‘Aaishah who said, “I have never seen anyone who cooked better than Safiyyah. She presented a bowl of food to the Messenger of Allaah. I was overwhelmed by jealousy so much so that I broke the bowl. I told the Messenger of Allaah, ‘What is the atonement for what I had done?’ He said, “The similar bowl and the similar food.” (Ahmad)

‘Aaishah also said, “The envious woman (who is under the spell of envy) cannot tell the bottom of the valley from its top.”

Dear brethren! Demonstrate wisdom and deliberateness in your dealings with one another. Beware of evil company and evil deeds,

“And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Noor 24:31)