Islam is a complete way of life. It considers the family the cornerstone of Islamic society. It bases the atmosphere in the family on sacrifice, love, loyalty, and obedience. When we say “family” we mean the traditional definition of it, namely husband, wife and children. Grandparents are also part of the extended Muslim family.
It may be asked here: how does Islam organize family relationships? To answer this, we have to concentrate on husband-wife relationship and parent-children relationship.
As for husband wife relationship the following verse portrays the right Islamic atmosphere:
“And among His Signs is this: He created for you spouses from yourselves, that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you affection and mercy.” (Qur-an, 30-21)
If we contemplate the Noble Qur-an, we find that it refers to parents-child relationships in four main places. Before it asks children to be good and loyal to their parents, it requires parents to be extremely careful in upbringing their children. In other words it asks parents to do their duty before asking for their rights.
These are the two main chapters of the Noble Qur-an that decide and clearly depict the Islamic relationship between parents and children. It is a relationship based, as we see, on belief in Allah, and feeling that He observes all that we do and that we are accountable to Him even in the bad breath that we may release against our parents when we are angry. Even this has to be controlled.
Let us remember, however, that it is only parents who do their duty, who deserve this honorable treatment of their children. That is why when a parent came to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and complained to him about the ingratitude of his son, the son said: He was ungrateful to me oh Messenger of Allah, before I showed ingratitude to him. So the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did not blame the son but disliked the attitude of his parent. This is a message to all parents.
The third place in the Noble Qur-an that refers to parents child relationship is in chapter 46 called Al Ahqaf where Allah says:
“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind toward his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and delivers him with hardship. His bearing and weaning are thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: ‘My Lord! Arouse me that I may give thanks for the favor where with you have favored my parents, and I may do right acceptable unto you. I have turned unto you repentant and Lo! I am one of the Muslims.”
Concerning this type of child the Noble Qur-an has the following comment: “Those are they from whom We accept the best of what they do, and We overlook their evil deeds among the dwellers of Paradise – a promise of truth, which they have been promised (in the world).”
The Noble Qur-an then turns to the other category of or children who are disbelievers and are, as a result, ungrateful to their parents. It declares:
“As for him who said to his parents: Fie upon you both! Do you threaten me that I shall be brought forth (again) when generations before me have passed away! While they too cry unto Allah for help and say: Woe unto you! Believe! Verily, the promise of Allah is true. But he says: This is nothing but fables of the ancient.”
Commenting on this attitude Allah says:
“Such are those whom the Word concerning nations of the jinn and mankind which have passed away before them has effect. Verily, they are the losers. And for each there will be degrees due to what they did; that He may recompense them in full for their deeds! And they will not be wronged.” (Qur-an, 46:15-19).
The forth and last place in the Noble Qur-an that refers to parents-child relationship is what is mentioned briefly in chapter 29 that says:
“We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents. But should they strive to make you join with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Unto Me is your return and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (Qur-an, 29:8)
Abu Saeed Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Rasullullah (The Messenger of Allah) has said that whosoever spends anything on his family members for reward, will enjoy the divine credit of charity. (Bukhari, Muslim)
It is described by Abu Huraira(radhiyallahu anhu) that Mohammed (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that, to spend on one’s wife, has great merit than giving charity to male and female slaves and beggars. (Muslim)
Abdullah bin Masood (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that the greatest preference is to spend on one’s wife and children which is necessary and then it should be spent on close relatives. (Tibrani)
It is narrated in the extract of Arbez bin Saarya(radhiyallahu anhu) that even to give water to one’s wife is charity.
Abu Huraira (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that someone asked Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) that he had one gold coin with him, where should he spend it ? Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that he should spend it on himself. The man said that he had one more and Mohammed(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that he should spend it on his wife. The man again said that he had yet another and Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said ,that he should spend on his servants. The man said that he had a fourth and Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that he should spend it, on whatever he preferred. (Ibn Habban)
Sa’ad bin Waqqas(radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Mohammed (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that whosoever spends his money to gain Allah’s pleasure and goodwill, gets the credit of charity so much that even a morsel which he puts in the mouth of his wife, has the credit of charity. ( Bukhari, Muslim)
A pious woman’s priority is to seek the pleasure of Allah. She tries acquiring the qualities of a good wife by following the examples set by the Prophet (Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam – may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), and obeying what is commanded in the Book of Allah. Complete obedience and adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and Quran is the best of a woman’s qualities.
A woman is married for four reasons: for her wealth, for her fame, for her beauty and for her religion. So marry one for her religion and you will successful. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands) and guard in their husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their honor, husbands property, etc) [4:34]
An-Nasaii narrated that the Prophet(Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) was asked “Who are the best of women?” He replied, “The one who pleases him (her husband) if he looks at her, obeys him if he asks (her) and does not subject her honor or money to what he dislikes.”
Ibn Hibban narrated that the Prophet(Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “If a woman prays her five prayers, fasts in Ramadan, protects her honor and obeys her husband; then she will be told (on the Day of Judgment): enter Paradise from any of its(eight) gates that you wish.”
If a woman harms (in any way) her husband, then his wife in Paradise tells her: “Do not harm him, May Allah fight you, he is only staying temporarily with you. Soon he will come to us.” [Ahmad & At-Tirmithi]
If a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses till he slept while angry, then the Angels will curse her till the morning. [Muslim]
Allah does not look to the woman who does not appreciate her husband while she cannot stand his departing her. [An-Nasaii].
Any woman who asks her husband for divorce for no reason will not smell the fragrance of Paradise. [Sahih Al-Jamii]
The Prophet (Sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, “If I were to order anyone to bow down to other than Allah, I would order the wife to do so for her husband. By the One who owns the soul of Muhammad, if a wife does not fulfill her obligations towards her husband, then she will not have fulfilled her obligations towards Allah.” [Ahmad]
Muhammad the last Prophet and Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is the exemplary character that all Muslims must emulate. His way is the straight path that a Muslim has to follow in order to succeed in this world and in the hereafter.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) despite being the Messenger of Allah, was a human being, and therefore he did and said things which even ordinary people can easily understand and follow. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had exemplary patience, a capacity to bear hardship and ability to forgive the erring people, especially the ones who ever ‘wronged’ him in one way or the other.
He also had the ability to be steadfast and resolute in the face of persecution. He kept his promises, fought bravely when attacked, was generous in giving, content with what he had, honest, clean-hearted, kind and compassionate. He always worshiped Allah in sincerity, behaved with people in a humane manner, loved children and respected the womenfolk. In sum, in him was Uswa Hasana, the exemplary character: The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the finest human being.
Men are judged in many ways. But the best scale to judge the character of a man is to see how good he is to the members of his family, especially to his wife. Because husband and wife know each other in a way that others, even parents cannot. A wife knows even those aspects of man’s personality that he can hide from others. This is the reason that a wife’s testimony about her husband’s character is regarded as the most authentic.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) received the first revelation in the Cave of Hira, he naturally became a bit apprehensive. In such a state of mind he went to no one but to his wife. And what Khadijah told him enumerating his good qualities is remarkable indeed. Imam Bukhari has narrated this story in the beginning of his magnum opus, Sahih, because it contains Khadijah’s testimony about the character and personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him). And this testimony has come from a woman who was witness to even those aspects of the Prophet’s life that others were not in a position to know.
It would, therefore, be rewarding to know as to how the Prophet (peace be upon him) behaved with his wives? It just so happens that people forget the real message or miss the spirit of the message and take their cultural habits as real things, even give them precedence and superiority over matters which are more essential. This is truer about our attitude towards women than anything else. Over the centuries, we have developed an attitude which deprives women even of the rights that the Holy Qur’an had given them. Women have all the rights to get educated and contribute to the welfare of the Ummah in befitting manners.
But we, the Muslims, have confined them within the four walls of their homes and do not do enough for their proper education. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had made it compulsory for both Muslim men and women to acquire knowledge. The Ummah must introspect and think what it has done so far for educating half of its population.
When we study the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we discover to our amazement that he was as much eager to teach women as he was about his male companions. Women were free to approach the Prophet (peace be upon him) and seek guidance from him. He never thought of them as a source of evil as some people think so today, and consequently deprive them of the opportunities that they deserve to have as a matter of right.
Some Muslims are harsh even toward their wives despite clear Islamic injunctions against such a treatment of women. Some think that being lenient to one’s children and wife is tantamount to spoiling them, and hence they never have fun or play with them. It would be advisable here to recount how the Prophet (peace be upon him) lived and behaved with his wives.
1. Dress up well for one’s wife:
Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good.When was the last time us men looked good to please our wives.Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her too. Remember that Rasullullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) – would always start with Miswak when returning home and always loved the sweetest smells.
2. Use likeable names for your wife:
Use the cutest names for your wife. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – had nicknames for his wives, ones that they loved.Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt their feelings.
3. Recognize the good & focus on that:
Don’t treat her like a fly. We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day – which brings no attention from the husband – until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognize all the good that she does and focus on that.
4. Be silent on the wrongs:
If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment! This is one of the ways Rasullullah( sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) – used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives – radi Allahu ‘anhum. It’s a technique that few Muslim men have mastered.
5. Smile at your wife:
Smile at your wife whenever you see her and embrace her often. Smiling is Sadaqah and your wife is not exempt from the Muslim Ummah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling. Remember also those Ahadith when Rasullullah( sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)- would kiss his wife before leaving for Salah, even if he was fasting.
6. Thank her:
Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again! Take for example a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, and a dozen other tasks to prepare. And sometimes the only acknowledgement she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!
7. Make her happy:
Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again. It may be hard to recognize what gives your wife pleasure. You don’t have to play a guessing game, ask her and work on repeating those times in your Life.
8. Comfort her:
Don’t be-little her desires. Comfort her. Sometimes the men may look down upon the requests of their wives. Rasullullah( sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) set the example for us in an incident when Safiyyah – radi Allahu ‘anha – was crying because, as she said, he had put her on a slow camel. He wiped her tears, comforted her, and brought her the camel.
9. Be humorous:
Be humorous and Play games with your wife. Look at how Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – would race his wife Aisha -radi Allahu ‘anha – in the desert. When was the last time we did something like that?
10. Try to be the Best:
Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam: “The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.” Try to be the best!
In conclusion: Never forget to make Dua to Allah – azza wa jall – to make your marriage successful.
And Allah ta’ala knows best !!
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.”