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985 What rights does a Muslim man generally have in marriage?
To answer this question I am solely relying on the excellent work of Muftee Muhammed Khaleel Khaan Qaadiree in his well circulated book, Sunnee Bahishtee Zewar, P278-282).

Rights of Husband

Allah Almighty says "Wa-Min Aayaatiheee AnKhalaqa Lakum Min Anfusikum Azwaajal Li-taskunooo Ilaiehaa wa Ja'ala Baienakum Mawaddata-aon wa-Rahmah".

This Quranic verse expatiates three important points that have been described as foundation stone and genesis of married life, family system. Husband and wife have to regard the rights of each other equally:

1).The men-folk is told that their wives are also human species and have been created like them. They also have wishes, feelings and sentiments like them. They are not mere a lifeless creature and an inorganic object.

2). Another purpose of their creation is that they are a source of comfort, repose and happiness for you (men). They are equanimity of your hearts and solace to your distress and grief. They have been created for you as helpmates so that you might find rest and bliss in them.

3). Your bonds of relationship with them (women) should base on mutual love, sincerity, confidence and sympathy. It is an established fact that every human being seeks companionship of his/her own species as per the "nature" placed in mankind by the Almighty. Therefore, Allah Almighty has described the sincerity and love between wife and husband as one of His Signs.

The reality of the relationship of a wife with her husband has been revealed by the Holy Quran in a single word, "rest". The whole philosophy of the ties between wife and husband consists in it. Her closet should be a peaceful and blissful refuge for her husband from the stresses and distresses of the world. And their mutual relationship should be full of peace and happiness so that the purpose of the creation of woman i.e. sincerity and love, attachment and confidence, and peace and ease is served. If a couple fails to achieve these objectives then one of them or the both are at fault.

To sustain this mutual and reciprocal affinity, the wife is required to be sincere and loyal to her husband and the husband to console and please her.

Though the wife and husband are equal in terms of their rights yet the command of the Shariah in respect of a father and his son, who are equal in rights, is that the father should act like an officer and his son as his subordinate, the father should order and the son should obey. Likewise, a man enjoys superiority over woman in the family, administrative set up of Muslim family.

The Glorious Qur-aan says "Ar-Rijaalu Qawwaamoona 'Alan Nisaaa-i Bimaa Faddalal Laahu Ba'dahum 'Alaa Ba'dioon wa-Bimaaa Anfaqoo Min Amwaalihim Fas-Saalihaatu Qaanitaatun Haafizaatul Lil-ghaiebi Bimaa Hafizal Laah."

The exegesis of this Quranic verse is thus that men are in charge of women. They support and protect them and issue them orders in worldly matters. Women are subordinate to men in administrative and family affairs because men enjoy ascendancy over women in respect of physical strength and intelligence. Besides, women are dependent on men economically and men meet their due needs and demands. So, good women are those who guard the honour and property of their husbands in their absence and are always all-out to guard their own chastity and the honour and property of their husbands as well. Allah Almighty has made them "safe" by inculcating in them the sense of protecting their self-respect and chastity and the spirit of being sincere and loyal to their husbands.

In sum, the Holy Quran has imposed three duties on women:

1). They should be obedient and loyal to their husbands.
2). They should be discreet (good housekeepers) to conserve property and wealth of their husbands.
3). They should be chaste and virtuous and do not let their own chastity and the honour of their husbands be tarnished. The educated modern girls should analyse their manners in the light of the explanation of this Quranic verse to their good.

Now listen to some Prophetic sayings in this respect. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said:

1). The greatest right over a woman is of her husband and over a man is of his mother. [Haakim].

2). Had I commanded a person to prostrate before a creature, would have commanded woman to prostrate her husband, for, Allah Almighty has assigned the rights of men to women. By Him in whose Divine Authority the soul of Muhammad (S.A.W) is, woman cannot fulfil her duty towards her Creator until she fulfils the rights of her husband. [Abu Daood, Haakim].

3). Woman cannot attain the best of Eimaan (Islamic faith) until she fulfils her husband's rights. [Tibraanee].

4). The right of a husband over his wife is that she does not leave his bed (except with permission), proves his oath (Qasam) right, does not step out of his house without his permission and does not let a person whom her husband dislikes in the house. [Tibraanee].

5). The woman who offers prayers five times a day regularly, observes fasts of Ramadan, guards her chastity and honour and obeys her husband, will be allowed to enter into paradise by whichever gate she likes to. [Abu Naeem].

6). The woman who obeyed the commands of Allah, fulfilled the rights of her husband, reminded him of virtuous deeds and guarded her chastity and did not misappropriate his wealth/ property, would be accommodated in paradise one class lower than those of the martyrs. And then if her husband is a believer and good person she shall be his wife in paradise otherwise any of the martyrs will be her husband. [Tibraanee].

7). Prayers of the woman whose husband is angry with her are not accepted and her virtues do not rise [up to the heavens]. (Baheeqee).

8). If a husband invited his wife (to his bed) and she refused and her husband spent the night in anger, the Angels would continue cursing her till dawn. There is in another tradition that Allah Almighty remains displeased with her until her husband is pleased with her.

9). When a woman hurts her husband, the Houries curse her saying, "may Allah kill you. He is a guest to you. He will leave you soon and come to us". [Tirmizee].

10). O' women! Be afraid of Allah in respect of (the rights of) your husband and seek his pleasure. If you knew the importance of the right of your husband, you would remain standing before him while he kept eating with you. [Abu Na'eem]

11). Next to "Taqva" (piety) is nothing better than a pious wife who obeys her husband, pleases him when he sees her and fulfils his oath when he swears her something.
[Ibne Maajah]

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