Saturday, January 24, 2015

Husband and Wife: Rights and Limits

Men are guardians over women by (right of) what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. (An-Nisa, 4: 35)

In the same verse Allah (swt) continues to say that righteous women should be devoutly obedient, guarding in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard, even if nobody is watching them.

Therefore, based on this Qur'anic verse, the husband’s responsibility to fulfill his duties towards his wives is as important as those of the wives (or wife, should he have only one) towards their husband. And the Qur'an makes us understand that a husband has a little more authority upon his wife/wives than the latter upon him.

This verse of the Qur'an also shows that both man and wife enjoy each, rights (which have been bestowed to them by Allah) and which they have the right to demand from each other. And Allah (swt) has also showed the relation and responsibility which must exist between husband and wife whereby each one knows his/her rights.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: They are an apparel (garment) for you and you are an apparel for them. (2: 188)

By revealing this verse, Allah (swt) wanted to make us understand that the rights of both the husband and wife are equal. You all know that garments are meant to cover our body, especially its defects. Moreover, garments are means to embellish ourselves, man and woman and to protect us from heat and cold.

By likening the husband and wife as garments, Islam wants to show that a good wife is one who protects the honour and dignity of her husband, and she does not go outside and relate to creatures the defects/weaknesses of her husband, and similarly a good husband is one who does not humiliate, blame or relate the defects/weaknesses of his wife with others. This is the beauty of Islam, whereas the garment mentioned means Purdah (covering). The beauty therein is the way in which the woman must neither uncover her beauty nor her clothing before other men. She is to reserve that right to her husband. As for the husband, he is to remain loyal to his life (he must not lead a bad life). It is then that there shall be peace, tranquillity and blessings in their household.

Like clothing hides the defects of one’s body and enhance the elegance of someone, likewise man and wife should become clothing for each other by hiding the defects/weaknesses of the other and to make apparent only his/her good side. Instead of fighting with one another and reclaim his/her rights, and thus consequently bringing doom to their married life, it would have been good if both spouses meditate on the Holy Qur'an and see how Allah (swt) has clarified this issue in the Qur'an; that is on the rights which a husband has, and also on the rights which a wife has. And therefore it will become easier for them to understand each other and the responsibilities which they should shoulder in their marital life. In this way, many a fight can be avoided. Each partner/spouse should understand each other’s rights; such rights as taught by Allah to the Muslims in the Qur'an.

The husband must live in a good way with his wife/wives and if ever the wife does something which does not please him or ignore him or talk to him in a sarcastic way, Allah says in the Holy Qur'an that patience is better in such cases, and to live with her in a convenient manner, even if she does not completely please him.

Hazrat Muhammad (saw) advised that a husband should not have rancour towards his wife, even if the latter has some defects/bad traits, or she says such things as to offend her husband. Therefore, the husband should not hate her for she must have some good qualities also. 

In another Hadith, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) said: “Best among you are those who behave well with their women.” On the occasion of the last pilgrimage, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) said: “Oh people… Do treat your women well and be kind to them.”

Those commandments of Allah and of His Messenger (saw) show clearly the duties of a husband towards his wives. All husbands do not have the same means of living like the others to provide for their wives, to give them their necessities. A husband depends on his limited means - he spends from within that limit – to please his wife/wives, that is, according to his means. Verily, Allah does not like extravagant.

Significance of Conjugal Relations

The right of the wife is also to claim her right for sexual relations with her husband. The Shariah (Islamic Laws) did not put any restriction to this. If a husband is not pleasing his wife sexually, he has indeed failed in “Haquq-ul-Ibad”, that is, he failed in fulfilling his right towards his wife and he should seek (legal) ways to fortify himself – be it with one wife or several – and he should be equitable (towards them). The wife/wives in return should not abuse of this right and not annoy her husband on the subject. Bear in mind that the husband also is a human being and the wife must understand him also, understand that sometimes he can be tired with problems at work, stress or health problems. This must not become a major issue whereby husband and wife fight over this matter, and the wife must understand also that if her husband has more than one wife, then he should be equitable to them; each their turn. Therefore, it is very important that a husband pleases his wife sexually, and if the wife wants to have sexual relations, it is her right.

I say this because sometimes, it does happen that when a husband is not satisfying his wife sexually the latter leaves the house or falls prey to adultery. Thus, it is very important that I mention this fundamental right of the wife, and to show that importance, I relate to you an anecdote which happened in the time of Hazrat Umar (ra) (when he was caliph). Once, during his night tour of the town of Madina, Hazrat Umar (ra) came by a house from where he heard the voice of a woman reading a poem which was clearly reflecting her state of minds: “Were it not that I fear disobeying a command of Allah, I would have erred (commit adultery).”

The next day, Hazrat Umar (ra) enquired about the woman’s situation and learnt that her husband has gone since a very long time to do “Jihad” and the woman could not bear staying anymore far away from her husband. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar (ra) was sad for her and enquired from his daughter, Hazrat Hafsa (ra), the wife of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (saw), how long could a wife remain without her husband? Therefore Hazrat Hafsa (ra) replied him: “Four months”.

Hazrat Umar (ra), therefore, despatched letters in all military camps to announce that all married soldiers do not have the right to remain away from home more than four months.

Neglect of Family Rights in the Nizam-e-Jamaat 

I ponder over this wise decision taken by Hazrat Amir’ul Mumineen Umar (ra). Like I said in the past in my Friday Sermons and other discourses, I ask myself that question: is the Jamaat Ahmadiyya not aware of this?

When a missionary becomes “Waqf-e-Zindagi” (Dedicating his life for Islam), they do not hesitate to separate the missionary with his wife for three years or more than three years. When the missionary goes abroad, he has to cater for all his needs, and his wife is not by his side to take care of him. As for those “grand personalities” in the Jamaat who are in authority, when they go abroad, for some days or even weeks, they take along with them wives and children or other family members should accompany them. Is the missionary not a human then?!!! Does his wife have to sacrifice her husband for more than 3 years, and vice-versa? Is there not human/manly blood running in his body? What kind of injustice they do with all these missionaries who have to leave wives and children and go abroad to work! And it is a fact that Jamaat had blessed that Jamaat; there is no dearth of money to send their families along with those missionaries. When those missionaries are deprived of their rights, this is an abuse of power which those life-givers (Waqf-e-Zindagi) in the Jamaat Ahmadiyya. 

Insha-Allah, in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, this kind of abuse of power and injustice shall not be done on those people who devote their lives to work for the cause of Allah. Insha-Allah. Even after my death, and those who shall take over (take my place as head), I do not want that there is this kind of abuse of power.

I come back on the subject-matter of my sermon (this is not my subject today, but Insha-Allah, may Allah (swt) give me the Tawfiq to talk more on this kind of injustice on another occasion).

When the wife commits a wrong, the husband must rectify that wrong/mistake (depending on the gravity of the matter), sometimes with politesse, anger or advice/talk to her with love.

Husbands should make it their duty; make it a must to leave home for work with a Smile (on their lips) and Salaam (on their tongue). If the wife of a man falls ill, it is his duty to tender to her needs, taking care of her in her illness and treating her with lots of tenderness. And in that period when his wife is ill, the man should take care of the kids, and busy himself with the house chores and even cook so as not to disturb his wife. It is in these kinds of situations that true love is made apparent. Moreover, if a woman wants to visit her family members, her husband must make it a duty to take her to visit her near kin. A man must never relate to others the confidential marital life which he shares with his wife/wives, especially also their private conjugal moments. He must keep those moments strictly private and secret for himself.

In a Hadith, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) has said: People whom Allah (swt) detests more is the one who commerce with his wife in private and then go to relate that which happened publicly with others. – Bear in mind, if the woman hears about those talks, how she would lose trust in her husband!

If some disputes cropped up between husband and wife, the husband must not on an impulse and with anger give ‘Talaq’ (Islamic divorce). Each spouse must keep calm and let their anger cool down, and after that they must ponder over the matter with a cool head. Marriage is not a joke and Talaq (divorce) should not be given impulsively. Moreover, the wife also should not demand that her husband divorce her (give her Talaq). 

Behind the rising Divorce Rates

Bear in mind, nowadays very often youths who are getting married, especially the young girls belonging to wealthy families, or who hold a good job position and earning more than their (prospective) husbands, therefore after the wedding when these girls becomes the brides of the homes of their husbands, they tend to command their husbands and the latter lose whatever authority they may have on these wives.

This state of things is very recurrent in a household. If the husband is too sweet and showers his wife with love, therefore he tolerates all things, giving her all freedom, even if it means that the woman should go out alone and come back home the time she wants, and she abuses on her kind-hearted husband. This kind of wife exceeds of limits and starts commanding her husband and if ever the latter raises his voice against her, she angrily leave home along with her belongings and return back to her parents’ home. After that she begins backbiting the husband, letting people believe that her husband was a horrible man. This is the consequence is a husband gives too much liberty/freedom to his wife. 

The result can be shocking in terms of a broken married life and if the woman has a job and is in constant contact with many people, she may be desirous to lead the lives which others live and does not like to be ordered around. This is how many seek ‘Talaq’ from their husbands, when verily they (those kinds of wives) along with their family members know nothing of the teachings of Islam. They keep pestering their husbands to give them divorce. When the husband does not want to give his wife divorce, then the wife, thinking that she is a superior kind of woman and is indispensable in the life of her husband, she seeks to hammer on him her authority. Verily, Allah detests this.  

In a Hadith, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) said that among all permissible (Halal) things, the most detestable (in the sight of Allah) is ‘Talaq’ (divorce). (Abu Dawud).

There are some men who without thinking over the consequences of their act, they give Talaq to their wives and there are those kinds of women who seek Talaq from their husbands. If they are deprived of ‘Talaq’, these women seek special divorce (called ‘Khula’) when they verily do not know what is a Khula and in which situation to give one to their husbands and when they do not even know how to prepare one! The meaning of ‘Khula’ itself eludes them. There are many people who pretend that they are scholars but verily they know nothing of a true Khula and how to prepare one and in which circumstance to let the woman issue one.

Be very careful before giving Talaq or asking for Talaq, for afterwards you shall regret this all lifelong. And a woman must think a lot before giving Khula, because a Khula is not like a Talaq, and there is no prescribed solution for her which exists if tomorrow she regrets her decision to come back to her ex-husband. This is so, because Khula is absolutely final. Therefore, be careful. You shall not see the consequences (of that decision) on the spot, but in the long-term you (meaning, those women who take their Khula on an impulse) they shall see its consequences.

I thus end on this note the subject-matter of my Friday Sermon. May each of us be very careful and think well before doing things which may prove to be grievous, with bad consequences later on. Insha-Allah. Ameen. 

-Extracts from the Friday Sermon of January 23, 2015 delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of  Mauritius.