The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said, “A thankful tongue, a soft-hearted wife is a friend of yours in religion.” These are the qualities that Islam desires in a woman who shall nurture the future generations of mankind towards an Islamic society.
Sociologists all over the world are laying more and more stress on the importance of family life, as opposed to what goes on in the West, where 5 out of 10 marriages end in divorce, where 60% of divorced women are prone to suicide, and almost every separated family has a history of a delinquent child.
As a maintainer of woman, the man has been deemed responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs outside the house, striving to earn, a livelihood. Woman has been given complete charge of the house, responsible for rearing the children and managing the home. This division of management is not in any way derogatory to the honor of woman; she is not the man’s slave, but his equal. In all its wisdom, Islam has allotted different sets of duties to men and women because of their different physical and mental attributes. Man is physically better suited to rough it out in the harsh world, and, due to her physical and emotional make up, woman is more suitable to manage the house.
A woman is more self-sufficient in household affairs and better shoulders the responsibility of rearing the children. This arrangement guarantees the continuation and the formation of a society complementing religion. This is a great trial and test for man and woman. Very rarely do we find a family like that of Imam Ali (A.S.), which contains a Fatima Zahra (S.A.), Hassan (A.S.), Hussain (A.S.), Zainab (S.A.) and Kulsum (S.A.).
The Holy Qur’an states: “They (wives) are an apparel for you, and you are an apparel for them.” (2:187)
What the Qur’an is stating is clear – besides covering the body, apparel protects the body from the vagaries of nature, enhancing one’s personal beauty. Man and wife should complement each other, and as Imam Ali (A.S.) has said, “Like a dress, a worthy wife will conceal one’s fault.”