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982 What rights does a Muslim wife have in marriage?
To answer this question I am solely relying on the excellent work of Muftee Muhammed Khaleel Khan Qaadiree in his well circulated book, Sunnee Bahishtee Zewar, P282-285).


Allah Almighty says, "Wa-Lahumma Mislul Lazee 'Alaiehinna Bil-Ma'roofi Wa-Lir-Rijaali 'Alaiehinna Darajah".

The explanation of this Quranic verse is that women have also rights over men similar to those of what they have over women. In brief, it is publicised and clarified that not only men have rights over women and husbands over their wives but also women have rights over men and wives over their husbands. Women are not mere goods and chattels of men. Husband should not indulge in wishful thinking that they have rights over their wives without duties and responsibilities. They are also under obligation like their wives. Likewise, wives should also not indulge in modernism that "service to husbands" is not their responsibility but instead husbands should serve them.

But the explanation and guidelines of these rights should be obtained from the injunctions of the Shariah rather than self-desires and man-made laws particularly the one which is generally projected as code of women's rights.

The husbands should keep this point in their minds well that they are not masters of women and their wives are not their slave-girls. In respect of rights the both are equal but in terms of physique and intellect men transcend women.

The Holy Quran says, "Wa-'Aashiroohunna Bil-Ma'roofi Fa-in Kareh-Tumoohunna Fa'asaaa An-Takrahoo Shaie-aoon Yaj'alalLaahu Feehi Khaieran Kaseeraa".

The sum and substance of this Quranic verse is that men should live with women with kindness and treat them well whether they are married or widows. The Quranic verse has shut the doors of slander, fault finding, suspicion, backbiting and calumny permanently.

Sometimes, a man when displeased with his wife (on anything) begins enumerating her faults and considers it his right. The Holy Quran said that the woman who is associated with you might have some shortcomings and be careless but together with it she is also endowed with some qualities. If she is idle and remiss, she is also, for instance, obedient and chaste. Therefore, men are emphasised upon not to ignore their qualities in anger.

"Hunna Libaasul Lakum wa-Antum Libaasul Lahun”. (They [women] are your garment and you are their garment).

Men and Women are enjoined to be sincere and loyal to each other nay; be intimate companions. They should guard secrets of each other, be a means of honour, pride and perfection for each other and be all-helpful to each other economically and socially.

If a woman is obstinate and impertinent, man should not counter that with harshness and strictness.

The Holy Prophet said:

1). [O' men!] Treat women well, for, they have been created from a curve rib. She shall never straighten for you. If you want to use her, you can as she is. If you try to straighten her, you will have her broken and breaking her is "divorcing" her. [Muslim Shareef].

2). Muslim should harbour no malice towards his Muslim wife. If he dislikes one habit of her, he (definitely) likes her others. [Muslim Shareef]. It means that her all habits are not bad. She also has some good habits. Therefore, a man should not see her shortcomings only. He should overlook her bad habits and see her good habits.

Glory to Allah! What a beautiful method of being happy, content and conciliated with wives, the supreme teacher of wisdom has taught to men.

3). Good men of you are those who treat women well. [Tirmizee]. This identification for a man to be a good, well behaved and righteous expounded by the Hadees is, in fact, a mirror in which everyone can see his face. The one, who is malevolent and unjust to his own family members, cannot be expected of being benevolent and just to others since charity begins at home.

The Holy Prophet said in his famous sermon of Hajjatul Widaa':

4). O' people! I exhort you to do women good and favour. You accept (and act upon) my exhortation. Undoubtedly, women have a right over you. You be kind in clothing and feeding them. [Ibne Maajah].

5). On one occasion a person asked the Holy Prophet: O' Messenger of Allah! What right does a wife have over her husband? He (S.A.W) said, "When he himself eats, He should feed her too and when and what he himself wears, should also clothe her. He should neither slap her face nor bad-mouth her, nor separate her from himself as a punishment but within his home. [Ibne Maajah].

In brief, wife and husband in a Muslim family should be well-wisher, sympathiser and coverer of the faults and weaknesses of each other. They should be cordially and mutually accommodative and tolerant, for, they are sine qua non for each other. She is garment and bedding for him and he is garment and bedding for her.

The excellence of their manners lies in covering up the failings of each other as the dress covers up the defects of the body and enhances its beauty and should show restraint. They should keep in their views the goodness’s of each other and endeavour to maintain and demonstrate their mutual ties in the best possible way.

(Answered by: Hafiz Mohammed Akhtar)
Category (Marriage / Divorce)