Healthy communities come from healthy families, and healthy families come from healthy marriages. Islam gives the blueprint to healthy marriages by setting rules, duties and responsibilities.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel!
Many parents think that by being “good parents” their kids will be raised well. Being good parents is only half way in being an actual good parent. The other half of being a good parent is being a good spouse.
Now what on earth does that mean? Well, there are two levels to this.
The most important grounds for your child’s success in the future is not what kind of job or degree he or she gets. As a believing and practicing Muslim, the most important sign of success is how good of a spouse they will be for this will partly determine the future health of the Muslim community.
A great deal of where kids learn marriage behaviors are from their own parents. Often enough, people who are bad spouses often had parents who were bad spouses as well. So being a good spouse and meeting your Islamic responsibilities will be something that your kids will inherit.
There’s big misunderstanding that is super prevalent among people today. It is the belief that marriage and attention to one’s spouse must be sacrificed or reduced for the sake of children.
In other words, more love and attention must be given to one’s kids. The kids are first. The spouse is secondary. The attitude is that spouses are adults so they should understand that kids require most the love and attention. In short, this is what it takes to raise emotionally and religiously healthy children.
This is a myth. Plenty of studies have shown that the primary source from which kids take their emotional security needs are from the love that parents show each other. The closer and more love parents show each other, the more the kids will grow up emotionally healthy.
What this means is that the love and priority that parents show each other is more important for the mental and emotional wellbeing of kids than then love that parents show to their kids. So if a parent wants to put their kids first, they need to learn to put their spouse first. Ironic isn’t it?
In this lesson, we’re going to go over some of the basic rules, rights and responsibilities in Islamic marriages. Abiding by these rules will, inshallah, help strengthen your marriage and the well being of your children.
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Responsibilities of Husbands in Islam
Husbands have many responsibilities in Islam. In terms of numbers, men have more responsibilities towards their wives than the other way around. Here we will go over the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as).
The primary responsibility of a husband is to provide his wife with maintenance. In Islam, this is called nafaqa. This means that it is his sole responsibility to be the financial provider at home. The wife has no obligation to go out and work. If the husband goes away and the wife has to work in order to provide for herself, the husband must pay her back the money she earned while he was away.
The amount that must be paid back is the amount that was spent in covering the necessities which the husband should have provided for.
These necessities include the following:
- Food that satiates
- Adequate clothing
- Creams, perfumes, cosmetics
- Things which she was used to under her father’s house
If a wife requests it, a husband must provide his wife with a maid to help around in the house. If the husband cannot afford to do so, then he must become the maid himself. Yah, that’s what the fiqh of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) teaches us.
According to Islam, the act of serving one’s wife in household or domestic affairs brings about the grace of God and also great spiritual reward. So it is in the husband’s interests that he helps his wife.
In one hadith, the Messenger of Allah (s) said:
“O Ali, I do not speak except what is revealed to me. Anyone who helps his wife in her domestic affairs obtains a reward of one year of worship equal to the amount of hair on his body. This year of worship will be as if he has fasted during its days and prayed during its nights. Allah will reward him equal to the reward of all the patient ones, that is, the Prophets David (as) and Jesus (as).
Another responsibility of the husband is for him to be available for his wife. This means that Islam is against men who constantly ditch their wives, even for religious practices. What do we mean here?
Some Muslim men are zealous about their religion. This is good. But sometimes this gets in the way of their primary responsibilities. For example, husbands are highly encouraged to give precedence to spending time with their wives over spending time in the Mosque.
Unfortunately, some men, especially during the month of Ramadan or Muharram, tend to disappear from their homes to spend time in Masjids. Although this is good in Islam, it is not good when it comes at the expense of spending quality time with one’s family.
Responsibilities of Wives in Islam
Compared to husbands, wives have less responsibilities in marriage. Like husbands, wives are to encourage their husbands in leading the morally and religiously good life. If the husband falters in his religious and moral duties, wives, like husbands, must remind their spouses of their responsibilities on this earth.
Like husbands, wives are also to be the gate keepers of their husbands’ secrets. A problem that is not too rare is that some women (just like some men) tend to expose their husbands’ flaws to their friends. Even worse, sometimes women speak about their sex lives to their friends.
Unless there is an immediate and urgent manner for advice, Islam frowns upon such behavior and according to the religion, God’s wrath descends upon people who humiliate their spouses in matters of intimacy.
Women have no financial obligations to their husbands. Contrary to cultural practice, women have no obligation to cook or clean the house. In fact, they can even charge their husbands a fee for breastfeeding children.
The only responsibility and obligation that women have towards their husbands is being available for sexual relations. It is not allowed for a wife to refuse or deny her husband unless she is in her monthly cycle, making an obligatory fast or suffering from some form of serious sickness.
This may sound a bit weird or even offensive to some, but we need to understand where Islam is coming from with this ruling. According to Islam, the greatest sin that humans, especially men are prone to are sexual sins and sins of immodesty. This means that men in particular are susceptible to gazing at the haram or engaging in zina, that is, fornication.
As Islam sees it, and as people can often observe, many men are prone to compulsive sexual behavior. So just like the husband is obligated to work and provide for his wife and fulfill her intrinsic need for security, a wife must also make sure to protect her husband from sin and spiritually damaging behavior.
In the end though, this ruling is in benefit to women. Sex with permanent partners is usually the primary means where men can be fulfilled emotionally. Sexually available spouses usually create an environment where husbands are kinder, emotionally more attached and committed to their wives.
When women consistently deny their husbands, we often find the opposite behavior. Men become emotionally unfulfilled, withdrawn, unloved which then erodes their commitment to their marriage. Unfortunately, as women do not have the same kinds of desires as men, it isn’t rare to see a lack of sympathy.
As such, Islam asks women to understand the nature of men and be patient with them. Overtime, their sacrifice and patience will lead to reciprocity and create an environment where the wife herself is also emotionally fulfilled.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the husband should be passive. No, absolutely not. But as we’re talking about the wife’s responsibilities here, our primary audience is obviously women now.
Before we end this, a final note is necessary to make. Yes of course, we do have aberrations where some men no matter what, they will be cruel. But remember that here we are talking about a certain range of disposition that exists in “normal” men.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Fornication or illicit sex
Maintenance that the husband provides his wife with
What is the primary legal responsibility of a husband?
To provide his wife with maintenance, that is, among other things, food, shelter and clothing. This is in addition to his responsibility of providing intimacy for his wife.
Is the husband responsible for encouraging Islam in his family?
Yes, he is the person who is primarily responsible for the health of Islamic practice in his family.
What is the wife’s primary responsibility to her husband according to Islam?
Providing intimacy to her husband.
Does a wife have to cook and clean the house according to Islam?
No, she is under no such obligation.
If a wife wants a maid and her husband can afford one, is the husband obligated to provide his wife with one?
If a husband cannot afford to hire a maid for his wife when she wants one, what is the ruling in Islam?
The husband must become the housemaid himself for his wife.
Messenger of Allah