Almighty Allah ordered the believers to “Consort with women in an honorable manner” (4:19) and He said:
“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect” (30:21).
Of Course, this is distinct from her other rights regarding living expenditures, housing, clothing, and education of her. So, there are some other responsibilities on the Husband and he is commanded by Almighty Allah to perform them, Included:
1. The first and worthiest condition of marriage to be fulfilled by the husband is to “keep the promise or promises he made to the wife at the time he married her.” This is an order of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) according to Islamic ahadith.
2. He cannot order her to do anything that is against religion. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “No obedience is due to creatures in disobedience of the Creator”(Amali Sheikh as-Sadoogh, P.370).
3. He must exercise patience and be prepared to listen to her advice in every situation. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) listened to the advice of his wives in matters ranging from the smallest to the greatest.
4. He must respect her and pay attention to her needs so that she will respect him and pay attention to his.
5. He must control his passions and act in a moderate manner especially in the context of sexual intercourse. Remember that Allah has placed between you and her “affection and mercy”(30:21), not the gratification of your every lust; and that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) advised young men to marry “because it casts down the gaze and walls up the genitals,” not in order to stimulate sexual passions. The husband should habitually seek refuge in Allah before approaching his wife and say: “O Allah, ward off the satan from us and ward him off from what you have bestowed upon us in the way of children”. Allah has called each spouse a garment for the other (2:187), and the purpose of garments is decency. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) further said that he who marries for the sake of decency and modesty, Allah has enjoined upon Himself to help him.
6. He must never ever divulge the secrets of the household and those of the married couple.
7. He must strive with sincerity to acquire her trust, and seek her welfare in all the actions that pertain to her.
8. He must treat her generously at all times. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said that the best gift is that spent on one’s wife.
9. If she works outside the house, it is praiseworthy for the husband to hire house help to relieve her from too heavy a burden.
10. He must avoid excessive jealousy and remember that Allah is also jealous that he himself not commit. Imam Ali (PBUH) said:
“Do not be excessively jealous of your wife lest evil be hurled at her on your account”(Al-Mahajjat ol-Baydhaa, Vol.4, P.104)
11. He must protect her honor and not place her in situations where it is compromised or belittled. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said that Allah will not ever let him enter Paradise who cares little who shares his wife’s privacy. This includes the husband’s brother, uncle, and nephew, let alone non-related friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.
12. He must exercise patience and forgiveness in the case of disagreement or dispute, and not rush to divorce. The declaration of divorce is a grave matter indeed, and Imam Jafar Al-Sadiqh (PBUH) said:
“Of permitted matters the most loathe some before Allah is divorce”(Vasaei Al-Shia, Vol.22, P.8). In another hadith the Prophet (PBUH&HP) said that “divorce is so grave that because of it Allah’s throne is made to shake”(IBID). He also said: “The best intercession [intervention of a third party] is that which brings back together the husband and the wife”(IBID). Womanizing — divorce for the purpose of marrying another woman out of sexual attraction incurs Allah’s curse according to the hadith: “Allah’s curse is on the womanizing, divorcing man” (IBID). Finally, even in the midst of and after divorce, Allah has prescribed kindness upon the woman:
“(After pronouncing divorce) then [let there be] either an honorable retention, or a kindly release “(2:229).
13. He must not dwell on what he dislikes in his wife, but on what he likes.
14. The husband is not to stay away from his wife or keep his wife in a state of suspense, whether at home or abroad, for a protracted period of time except with her consent. Allah said:”…Yet do not turn away from one altogether, leaving her as if in a suspense. But if you are conciliatory and Godwary, Allah is indeed all-forgiving, all-merciful”(4:129). Protracted separation (at most 4 months in Shia Law) without prior or subsequent arrangement with the wife, whether the husband is away willingly or unwillingly (for example due to war, imprisonment, or illness) is sufficient grounds for her to obtain divorce from the judge.
15. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “Do not beat your wife.” He also said:”Do not strike your wife in the face.” The expiation for striking one’s slave in the face is to set him or her free on the spot. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) condemned the man who beats his wife in the day and then approaches her at night. Moreover, to beat her to the extent of inflicting serious injury is enough grounds for her to obtain divorce from the judge.
16. Caring for one’s wife’s sexual fulfillment is an obligation of religion. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) warned against rushing to gratify one’s pleasure and forgetting that of one’s wife. He also disliked that the husband should quickly withdraw from his wife afterwards, as it is a strain upon the wife. If she asks for intercourse, he should not refuse.
These are only some of the basic duties of the husband in Islam. The state of marriage is part of one’s adherence to the Islamic Ethics and Worship of Almighty Allah and an exalted state of life indeed. In the words of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), it permits one to meet Allah “pure and cleansed”. One’s behavior towards one’s wife is the measure of the perfection of one’s belief as the Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “The most complete of the believers in his belief is he who perfects his manners, and the best of you in manners are those who act best towards their wives”(Man layahzhoroh ol-Fagih, Vol.3, P.555).
Marriage must be approached with utmost seriousness, entered with the purest intent, and cultivated religiously as it does not come cheaply and it carries immense reward. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) called it “his way” and “half of religion” and he also said: “Two rak`at (prayer-cycles) of the married person are better than seventy rak`at of the unmarried.” (Vasael al-Shia, Vol.20, P.18)
He also warned that among the greatest of responsibilities that had been placed upon men is that pertaining to the treatment of their wives.
By:Dr. “G. F. Haddad – Damascus”
Edited and Extracted from article:”Some Responsibilities of the Husband and Rights of the Wife in Islam”
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