The smart Muslim husband is one of the most successful husbands ever, and the most beloved to a faithful, pure, righteous wife, because of this adherence to the guidance of Islam. He has a deep and compassionate understanding of her nature and psychology, and he directs her towards the straight path of Islam, which is in complete harmony with the true nature of mankind. He recognizes her inclinations, desires and moods, and tries to reconcile between them and the ideal life and behaviour he wants for her, while never forgetting for an instant that she has been created from the bent rib, and straightening a bent rib is impossible.

The true Muslim husband always understands his wife and respects her feeling. He does not criticize her family or any of her relations in front of her, out of respect for her feelings. In return, she respects his feelings and does not do or say anything that may adversely affect any member of his family.

He does not disclose any secret that she has entrusted to him, or spread any story that she has told him in confidence, for carelessness in such matters all too often explode into conflict between the spouses and extinguishes the love between them. The sincere Muslim husband is protected from all of that, so long as he continues to follow the guidance of Islam.

The sincere Muslim husband tries to make up for what his wife lacks, if he feels that she is lacking in knowledge or manner. He doses this in the gentlest, kindest, and most positive manner. If he encounters defiance or wilful deviance on her part, he brings her back to the straight and narrow in a gentle, humane and intelligent manner, avoiding harsh criticism or rebuking her in front of people, no matter what the reason. The most hurtful thing for a woman is that someone should hear her being reprimanded or witness her being scolded. The true Muslim is the most sensitive and respectful towards the feelings of others.

The sincere Muslim husband draws upon his intelligence, compassion and strength of character in his dealings with both his wife and his mother, in such a way he does not offend either of them. So she cannot be disobedient towards his mother or oppressive towards his wife. Rather, he recognizes his mother’s rights and treats her in the best possible way, while also recognizing his wife’s rights. He does not detract from his wife’s rights in the course fulfilling his duty towards his mother and taking care of her. The truly sincere Muslim is able to do this, as long as he is truly conscious of Allah and follows the guidance and teachings of Islam, which treat both mother and wife with fairness and give each her due status.

With such good attitudes and gentle treatment, the Muslim husband wins the heart of his wife, so he does not disobey him in anything. Therefore the Muslim man has been given the position of qawwam over women, because of the characteristics which Islam instils in him, the qualifications it has given him and the conditions and limits it has imposed on him. Allah (swt) said:Men are qawwam (the protectors and maintainers) of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means.” (Qur’an 4: 34)

This position of qawwam brings with it some inconveniences, for it gives men responsibilities. The man is completely responsible for his wife. The Prophet (saw) said:Each of you is shepherd, and each of you is responsible for those under his care. A ruler is a shepherd; a man is shepherd of his family; a woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children. For each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for those under his care.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This responsibility applies to every individual in an Islamic society, in which everyone is responsible in one way or another, because according to Islam, life is a serious matter, not something to be taken lightly.

Just as Islam has enjoined good treatment of woman and raised her status, so it has also commanded her to understand her role in life, and to stay within the limits of the Shari’ah, so that she may better fulfil her role in life as a partner to man in bringing up the next generation and making life more pleasant and enjoyable.

Similarly, just as Islam has required man to treat his wife kindly and take care of her properly, so it has commanded the wife to obey him within the limits of the permissibility, fairness and justice. This obedience is most strongly emphasized by the words of the Prophet (saw):If I were to order anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband.” (Timidhi)

(to be continued)

(Prepared by Ustad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)