Case: Muslim husbands, under the Quranic law, enjoy unbridled authority to liquidate the marriages
The “Al Quran”, is the most vital and religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the verbal divine guidance and moral direction for mankind. Muslims also consider the original Arabic verbal text to be the final revelation of God. The Quran has mentioned about every single thing of this world. From every insect’s structure to the sky’s every star’s creation, all are written with explanations in the Quran.
Quran is composed of individuals that have permanent relations established between them. Most importantly, it possesses almost a majority of the different kinds of personal relations. Because of this, there must be certain etiquettes placed in order to control and regulate these relations. This is such that it can be maintained in the best possible manner, and so that it can generate and produce its proper fruits. Family relations consist of the relationship between the spouses from one perspective, the relationship between the parents and the children from a second perspective, and the relationship between the children themselves from a third perspective.
Islam teaches that marriage is ‘half of Deen’ because it fulfils so many basic needs of an individual and of society. But y’ know, most of the problems in Muslim families nowadays are to do with marriage, coz we don’t have a clue how to get married Islamically and as a Muslim partner what our rights and responsibilities are.
By getting married men are not just getting a wife, they are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend. She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you.
The purpose of Marriage.
The word “Zawj” is used in the Quran to mean a pair or a mate. In general it’s usage refers to marriage. The general purpose of marriage is so that men and women can love one another, provide company to each other, procreate and live in peace and tranquility to the commandments of God.
* Marriage serves as a means to emotional and physical gratification. It is also a form of worship because it is obeying God and His messenger – i.e. Marriage is seen as the only possible way for the sexes to unite under God. One could choose to live in sin but by choosing marriage one is displaying obedience to God.
Marriage is a “Mithaq” – a solemn covenant or agreement. It should not be taken lightly. It should be entered into with total commitment and full knowledge of what it involves. Your partner should be your choice for life. One should be mature enough to understand the demands of marriage so that the union can be a lasting one.
The basis of husband-wife relationship is love and compassion. In this regard the Quran states,
“And among His sings is this that He has created mates from among yourselves, that you may live in comfort with them, and he has put love and compassion among you (husband and wife). Surely in that are sings for those who think ” (30: 21)
Body of the case:
In Quran, there are so many ways described as the ways for the Muslim husbands to lead their lives. From every perspectives of life such as- physical, social, mental life are described precisely to let the husbands know about their religious way of life. According to Islam the correct relationship between man and woman is marriage, a relationship in which social responsibilities are fully accepted and which results in the emergence of a family.
Quran Surah an-Nisa verse 34 is generally taken to be the main verse regulating the relationship between husbands and wives. The Arabic reads:
Ar-rijal qawwamuna ala an-nisa bi maa faddala Allah baada hum ala baadin wa bi maa anfaqu min amwalihim fa as-salihat qanitat hafizat li al-ghayb bi maa hafiza Allah wa allati takhafuna nushuz hunna fa a’izu hunna wa uhjuru hunna fi al-madaja’i wa idribu hunna fa in atana kum fa laa tabghu alay hinna sabil inna Allah kana aliyy kabir
This may be translated as:
Men are the continuous support of women by what Allah bounties some of them over others and by what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are obedient, guarding what is secret as what Allah guarded. And those whose recalcitrance you fear, so admonish them, then separate from them in bed, then hit them. So if they obey you, then do not seek a way against them. Surely Allah is ever High, Great.
In liquidating marriages, most of the Muslim husbands tend cross the line of the Islamic ways which eventually lead to divorce among husbands and wives. From the Surah above, the summery is as follows:
ü The reason that men have been given authority over their wives is that they are completely financially responsible for their wives. Even if a woman is wealthy, she is not required to spend any of her money to support the family; the obligation falls completely on her husband. Her own money is hers to use as she chooses and her husband can’t take it without her permission (Surah an-Nisa verse 4).
Instead of getting permission, illiterate husbands and in some cases literate husbands tend to pressurize their wives to take over the money or even demand more to collect money from their home and if the husbands don’t get the money, they start beating their wives which is totally out of the Islamic laws.
ü Many Muslims believe that the “obedience” referred to is not unquestioning obedience to whatever command the husband happens to give, but rather refers to accepting the husband’s decision as final. They cite Surah at-Tawba verse 71, which says that women may command men in what is right and away from what is wrong (as well as the other way around), and Surah ash-Shura verse 38 which says that all matters are to be decided by consultation. Thus when an issue comes up, the husband and wife should consult on it and discuss, then if they disagree, the wife should concede to her husband’s wishes in the matter. But in the middle-east countries, every decision are taken by the husbands weather the decisions are right or wrong. The wives are always dominated by the husbands which is In Islam is a wrong concept.
ü She has a right to be a lady of leisure. In Islam, a husband has a duty to provide for his wife and should not force her to work to earn money- this includes clothing, food, accommodation and general care etc, and she should not be forced to work to earn money. She also has the right of Mahr (wedding gift) and inheritance. On the other hand, in Bangladesh, we get to see so many garment workers and servants who are forced to work outside.
ü She has a right to keep her surname. Nowadays most women across the world lose their surname to their husbands’ name, but Islam gives the wife the choice and power to keep her surname.
ü She has a right to be treated with kindness. Allah (swt) knows that by nature woman are more sensitive and gentle. This is why the Prophet (S) told men to treat their women nicely. But as we get to know out of our societies, most Muslim husbands treat their wives as servants rather than talking nicely to them.
ü Under Quranic law, He must never ever divulge the secrets of the household and those of the married couple.
ü If she works outside the house, it is praiseworthy for the husband to hire house help to relieve her from too heavy a burden. The wife’s duties do not require her to feed her child, nor even to nurse it, nor to clean nor cook. It is the husband’s duty to provide a nursemaid, food for older children, and servants to clean and cook. However, if the wife does those things out of mercy and love, it is a gift to the husband on her part.
ü He must avoid excessive jealousy and remember that Allah is also jealous that he himself not commit. The Prophet (s) said: “Do not be excessively jealous of your wife lest evil be hurled at her on your account” (la tukthir al-gheerata `ala ahlika fa turama bi al-su’i min ajlik) and he said: “Allah is jealous and the believer is jealous; and Allah’s jealousy is that the believer should not go to that which Allah has forbidden for him” (inna Allaha yagharu wa al- mu’minu yagharu wa gheerat Allahi in ya’tiya al-mu’minu ma harrama `alayhi).
ü He must protect her honor and not place her in situations where it is compromised or belittled. The Prophet (s) said that Allah will not ever let him enter Paradise who cares little and who shares his wife’s privacy. This includes the husband’s brother, uncle, and nephew, let alone non-related friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.
ü . 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 the Prophet (s) said: “Of permitted matters the most loathesome before Allah is divorce” (abgh`ad al-halal `ind Allah al-talaq). In another hadith he said that divorce is so grave that because of it Allah’s throne is made to shake. He said: “The best intercession [i.e. intervention of a third party] is that which brings back together the husband and the wife.” 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” (la`ana Allahu kulla dhawwaaqin mutallaaq). Finally, even in the midst of and after divorce, Allah has prescribed kindness upon the man: “(After pronouncing divorce) she must be retained in honor or released in kindness” (2:228).
ü 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: “Turn not away (from your wife) altogether, so as to leave her hanging. If you come to a friendly understanding and practice self-restraint, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Merciful” (4:129). Protracted separation (6 months or more in the Shafi`i school) 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.
ü The Prophet (s) 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, but what expiation is there for striking one’s wife? The Prophet (s) condemned the man who beats his wife in the day and then approaches her at night. And to beat her to the extent of inflicting serious injury is enough grounds for her to obtain divorce from the judge.
ü Caring for one’s wife’s sexual fulfillment is an obligation of religion. The Prophet (s) 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.
ü The relationship between the spouses must contain one singular and specific nature. And it cannot be this way unless the couple begins demolishing all the obstacles and impediments that stand between them. For example, the husband should not feel timid and restrain himself from drinking out of the same cup that his wife drinks out of.
ü There is no human being that is perfect. So there is no doubt that the husband will see things in his wife that do not comply with his natural disposition and preferences. If these aspects are not in opposition to the fundaments of Islam or to the obedience of the husband and his rights, then at that point, he should not try to change her personality. He should also remember that if there are some characteristics that he doesn’t find pleasing in his wife, then indeed she has other characteristics, which are definitely pleasing to him. But in the middle-east Islamic countries, men tend to dominate in every ways of their personal lives n generally try to force to change the characteristics.
ü Husbands shouldn’t chase after the small errors of your wife and recount them to her, for too much blaming and reprimanding may worsen the relationships between husbands and wives, and it will pose a threat to their marital life.
ü Husbands should be prompt in fulfilling the conditions, which Husbands promised to their wives during the pre-marriage agreement. In Islam, promising is a must do work for every Muslims.
ü When husbands lecture their wives or reprimand them or simply speak to them, husbands must choose the kindest and nicest of words and expressions for their speech. This in general isn’t a common scenario among the husbands and wives of our societies.
Alcohol in Islam:
Alcohol is totally forbidden in Islam. At first, it was forbidden for Muslims to attend to prayers while intoxicated (4:43). Then a later verse was revealed which said that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good (2:219). This was the next step in turning people away from consumption of it. Finally, “intoxicants and games of chance” were called “abominations of Satan’s handiwork,” intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91).
In our societies, alcohol is the most vulnerable reason in liquidating marriages. In general, Islamic minded wives can’t tolerate alcoholic husbands which led to divorce among them. Apart from our societies, alcohol is a reason of divorce in western cultures too, but at a lower rate.
Most Muslim men would like to be ideal husbands. And most Muslim women would, no doubt, like to be married to one. But, for some reason, the men are not ideal husbands, and the women will almost surely admit that they didn’t marry one. So why the discrepancy between our sincere aspirations and reality? Is it an inability on the part of the man, an impossible goal; or is it perhaps that we do not even know what an ideal Muslim husband is? As Muslims, we must base our judgment on what makes an ideal Muslim husband on the guidance of Allah () and the example of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), not on the standards of a TV sitcom, the culture in which we were born, or our own materialistic mentality.
A look at the matrimonial section of an Islamic magazine will quickly demonstrate that many Muslim men and women do not know what an ideal Muslim husband is. Muslim men looking for wives advertise themselves as doctors, engineers, and financially secure. Muslim women appear to be on the lookout for an established professional or more likely a handsome MD. Rarely do Muslim men and women even mention character, religious convictions, and attitudes as a priority. At most, they might be mentioned as a sidebar. It seems that many of us believe that a man is an ideal Muslim husband if he is handsome, makes a lot of money, and comes from an influential family. And the divorce rate among Muslims continues to rise.
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 Sunna and an exalted state of life indeed. In the words of the Prophet (s), it permits one to meet Allah “pure and cleansed” (tahiran mutahharan). One’s behavior towards one’s wife is the measure of the perfection of one’s belief as the Prophet (s) 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.” 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 (s) called it “his way” (al-nikahu sunnati) 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.” He also warned that among the greatest of responsibilities that had been placed upon men is that pertaining to the treatment of their wives.
The main obligation of the wife as a partner in a marital relationship is to contribute to the success and blissfulness of the marriage as much as possible. She should be attentive to the comfort and well being of her mate. The Quran mentions good wife as “comfort of eyes.” (25 : 74)
The husband has been stated by scholars as the head of the family in Islamic family system. It is the duty of all family members to obey him in lawful matters. However, Islam has enjoined on all Muslims to manage their affairs (which includes family affairs) by mutual consultation. However, in case of disagreement, the head of the family should be obeyed. The mutual relation of men and women in Islam is that of “friend” and not of master and servant. The Quran says,
“Believers men & women are friends to one another (Wali), they enjoin right, forbid wrong, establish Salat, pay Zakat ,obey Allah & His Prophet” (9 : 71)
ID# 062 551 030
Barrister A. M. Masum
Faculty, North South University
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