Rights of Husband and Wife
While Allah, the Almighty, has emphasized on marriage and disliked anyone remaining single, He has also outlined the rights of the husband and wife. If we are mindful of these rights which Allah has defined then differences will never arise. Rather, it’ll be a highly successful life.
Love is the Key to Peace
Allah, the Almighty, has discussed the importance, aim and secret to success of a marital life in the following verse:
وَمِنْ اٰيٰتِہٖٓ اَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِّنْ اَنْفُسِكُمْ اَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوْٓا اِلَيْہَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَّوَدَّۃً وَّرَحْمَۃً اِنَّ فِيْ ذٰلِكَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّــقَوْمٍ يَّتَفَكَّرُوْنَ
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” 1
1. Marriage is among the signs of Allah. It is Allah who has placed attraction and a charm for each other in the partner’s heart. Both are vital and essential for each other.
2. Marriage is a medium of peace and tranquility. (لِّتَسْكُنُوْٓا اِلَيْہَا) Both husband and wife are incomplete without each other. Peace is achieved when they come together and complement each other.
3. The key to the foundation of this relationship is not wealth, beauty or lineage. Rather, it is attributed to love and mercy. وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَّوَدَّۃً وَّرَحْمَۃً means that human life stands firm based on love and mercy. If there is no love and mercy after marriage then it means that life is unstable.
Love and Mercy
The Holy Quran has used two words – love and mercy. A building does not stand firm only on the basis of strong bricks. Simply laying bricks on top of each other does not strengthen a wall. What strengthens it is the material that is placed between the two bricks which binds the two together. The strength of the materials will not allow the wall to break down even during earthquakes. It is love and mercy which binds the husband and wife together and provides strength to this blessed relationship. Life sustains this relationship despite the most difficult situations and the most unpleasant circumstances.
1. Love, in the initial stages, and mercy, when the couple grow old and weak and do not have the ability to serve each other, strengthen the relationship.
2. Love is between two adults but children grow up in the shade of mercy.
3. Love entails equality whereas mercy includes sacrifice. It means this relationship will not survive on serving each other equally. Rather, sometimes it’s the feeling of sacrifice which is required. Allah has placed these emotions right in the beginning to prevent severing of this relationship.
Rights of the Wife
Hazrat Imam Zain al-Abideen (a.s.) has mentioned the rights of a wife thus:
“It is the right of your wife that you should know that Allah has made her as a medium of peace and comfort for you and a medium of attachment and love for you. Both of you are each other’s need. You should thank Allah for this great bounty and both of you should praise Him. You should know that this is a grace of Allah upon you. Hence, it is incumbent upon you that you thank Allah and have good fellowship with her. Although your rights upon her are greater and her obedience to you is obligatory in all your likes and dislikes so long as it is not a sin. So she has a right that you treat her with love, mercy, attachment and affection. She is the center of your comfort and the medium of your pleasure. She is a great bounty.” 2
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“My brother Jibraeel has informed me and emphasized so much about women that I thought a husband does not have the rights to utter ‘Ugh’ to her.” 3
The last will of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was:
“He emphasized for prayers twice. Do not assign your slaves and servants any responsibility beyond their capacity. For the sake of Allah! Look after the women. They are the trusts of Allah in your hands. You have sought them after you made a covenant with Allah and she became your wife in the Name of Allah.”
It is reported in another tradition:
“On the Day of Qiyamat, a servant will be stopped near the Scale. His good deeds will be as large as mountains. At that time he will be asked about how he looked after his family and how he fulfilled their rights. The second question will be about his wealth and from where he acquired it.”
In reply to these questions, all his good deeds will be exhausted and not a single good deed will remain. Then the angels will call out,
“He is that person whose wife has exhausted all his good deeds and now he is engulfed in his deeds.” 4
The importance of the rights of a wife is evident from these traditions. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has repeatedly emphasized on this point and has willed concerning women during the last stages of one’s life.
It is obligatory upon to husband to pay alimony to his wife. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“Cursed, cursed is he who violates the rights of his wife.” 5
Wife’s rights on her husband are that he should provide her with food and clothes and not find fault with her. When he discharges these duties, I swear by God, he has paid her due…” 6
Traditions also clearly state that if the husband does not have the ability to afford his wife’s expenses then he better divorce her.
Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“If a person can provide alimony to his wife, provide for her food and clothing and fulfill her requirements, then he should be with her, else it is better that he sets her free.” 7
Scholars have defined alimony as follows:
“Alimony means daily necessities like bread, food, rice, meat, sugar, tea, seasonal fruits and clothes, bed and other requirements of life as per her needs and his financial and economic conditions. Nevertheless, it should at least be enough to fulfill the necessities.” 8
“Alimony to the wife is a must. If a husband does not provide for her expenses for a long time and neither did the wife have any amount from her husband with which she could pay for her expenses, then the alimony for that period is mandatory on the husband, the wife can demand it from him.” 9
Struggle in the Way of Allah
Fulfilling the needs of the family and looking after them is so important in the eyes of Islam that the one who works to fulfill the needs of his family, his efforts are given the status of struggle in the way of Allah. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
اَلْكَادُّعَلٰى عِيَالِهٖ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ
“The one who strives for the sake of his family is like the one who struggles in the way of Allah.” 10
700 times the Reward
Pay attention to this tradition. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said:
مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَكْسِبُ ثُمَّ يُنْفِقُ عَلَى عِيَالِهٖ إِلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ دِرْهَمٍ يُنْفِقُهُ عَلَى عِيَالِهٖ سَبْعَمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ