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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Mutual Rights, Obligations and Sex Etiquette


In order to ensure an atmosphere of harmony and to promote a cheerful and successful life in the newly established nest of the newlyweds, Islaam has provided guidance in defining the relationship between husband and wife and in distributing the rights and obligations arising from this relationship.

In Islaam the husband is the head of the household. This is not male chauvenism. It derives from the natural psychological and physical makeup of the male. Man does not suffer from a regular monthly indisposition with its attendant adverse psychological effects. He does not have to be confined by pregnancy or for delivery; nor can he feed children from his breasts. He is therefore always ready to go out and search for sustenance for himself and his dependents. In fact it was Islaam which delivered woman from her plight. It established her equality with man both theoretically and practically. It restored her dignity and recovered her freedom. The Qur'an stresses her right to benefit from the fruits of her efforts as much as man is entitled to benefit from his (IV, 7). It severely condemned the old customs of ill-treating women (XVI, 58/59,and LXXXI 8/9), and protected their rights in one of the longest chapters, IV, which is given the title "Women." We have already noticed that in the process of the marriage contract, the bride initiates the offer of marriage, a significant detail which emphasizes her spontaneous free action in making this most important decision.

Let us now set out to consider the obligations imposed by Islaam upon the husband toward his wife, and then proceed to discuss those of the wife toward her husband.

THE HUSBAND'S DUTIES

1. A husband is responsible for the protection, happiness and maintenance of his wife. He is responsible for the cost of her food, clothes and accommodation. Although she may have to cook, he has to buy her the raw materials and cooking and kitchen facilities, as may be required and applicable. He may also have to buy her two sets of clothes or more each year, providing the types of clothing suitable for the seasons. However, the number of sets of clothes and their quality depend on the husbands means and social requirements. A wife is also entitled to a comfortable, independent accomodation, suitably furnished and provided with basiic sanitation facilities. She is not obliged to stay with the husband's parents or relatives as he is not obliged to live with hers. She is also entitled to enjoy herslef with her husband in a relaxed atmophere, free from the embarrassment caused by the presence of another adult in the household The cost of smoking or of a forbidden fruit or drink is not to be provided by the husband.

2. In addition to providing these material needs, a husband has to be kind, understanding and forgiving, and must treat his wife in a tender and loving manner. He not only should avoid hurting her but should bear with her if she ever does something disagreeable, so long as this clemency does not spoil her and she does not habitually behave out of bounds. The Qur'an reads:

...and treat them [women] kindly. [IV,19}
And the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, says:
[Fear] Allaah, [fear] Allaah in the matter of women. They are weak partners, a trust from Allaah with you; and they are made by the divine word permissible for you.
He also says:

Whoever of you whose wife behaves in a disagreeable manner and he responds by kindness and patience, Allaah will give him rewards as much as Job will be given for his patience. Patient behavior was the practice of the Prophet, even when his wife dared to address him harshly. Once his mother-in-law- saw her daugher strike him with her fist on his noble chest. When the enraged mother -in-law began to reproach her daugher, the Prophet smilingly said, "Leave her alone; they do worse than that." And once Abu Bakr, his father-in-law, was invited to settle some misunderstanding between him and Aishah. The Prophet said to her, "Will you speak, or shall I speak?" Aisha said, "You speak, but do not say except the truth." Abu Bakr was so outraged that he immediately struck her severely, forcing her to run and seek protection behind the back of the Prophet. Abu Bakr said, "O you the enemy of herself! Does the Messenger of Allaah say but the truth?" The Propeht said, "O Abu Bakr, we did not invite you for this [harsh dealing with Aishah], nor did we anticipate it."

3. It is further recommended that a husband be relaxed with his wife, and cheer her up with his humor or by making agreeable jokes. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, in spite of his lofty status, used to play with his wife. He ran in competition with Aishah. Sometimes she won, and other times he won. And once, hearing an Abyssinian entertainment team playing outside the home, the Prophet said to Aisha, "Would you like to see them?" When she agreed, he sent for them and they came and performed in front of his door. The Prophet stretched his hand, putting his palm on the open door and letting Aisha's chin rest on his arm so that she culd see comfortably. A while later the Propeht asked Aishah, "Enough?" She said, "Silence!" Another while later he asked, "Enough?" and the answer was again, "Silence!" But when he asked her for the third time, "Enough? she agreed, "Yes," and the team went away on a gesture from the Prophet. He then said, "The most perfect belief is that of those who are best-mannered and most tender with their wives. " The Propeht also used to say, "Surely Allaah does not love a rough person who is boastful, and rude to his wife." A Bedouin widow once described her husband: "He came always with a smile and left with a greeting. When he was hungry he ate whatever was found, and did not bother when something was missing!"

4. It is of supreme importance that the husband endeavor to handle the matter of sex relations with skill, care and understanding. He should not regard his wife as an object for his own enjoyment alone but as a partner with whom he should always seek mutual bliss, satisfaction and fulfillment. He should always approach her with love and tenderness. In the early stages of marriage, especially in their first expereince on the wedding day, he has to be particulary gentle. The husband should always have due regard for his wife's feelings and should endeavor to let her reach the degree of full satisfaction in this respect. Because of the importance of this element, early Muslim authorities discussed such details as love play, the techniques that arouse excitement, and the question of orgasm. The right Islaamic literature treating this subject far exceeds and is more original and stimulatiing than- but not so obscene as-the crude and vulgar material now in wide circulation in the West. We may discuss here some of the remarks made by these early authorities. They stress the importance of premliminary love play-caresses, fondling, kissing, endearing words- in order to arouse the wife's sexual passion and prepare for a deeper sensation and a successful conclusion. At the beginning of actual coitus, it is recommended that the following prayer be said: In the name of Almighty Allaah, the Most High, Please, Allaah, ward off the evil forces away from us and from the blessings You bestow upon us. The authorities also recommend that in the process of coitus, especially before full penetration, the excitable areas of the male genitals be gently provoked to contribute to completl fulfillment. We have to remind the reader, however, that even at this moment of absorption and ecstasy, propriety and cleanliness have to be maintained. On the one hand, both partners may utter exclamations or ejaculations venting or expressing the intensity of their pleasure, which also may increase the degree of their excitation; but neither may scream to the degree of disrupting the natural privacy of the act. Some Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, recommend the repetition of the words: Allaahu Akbar, "Allaah is Great."

On the other hand, it is to be remembered that the liquid (lubricating) material discharged by the sex organs on excitement is counted as a pollution and a polluting element in Islaam and that a Muslim is forbidden to smear a part of his or her body with a polluting stuff unnecessarily. Therefore the custom of licking the excitable areas with the tongue said to prevail in the West may not only be unhealthy; it is also forbidden on that account. We also feel that it is indeed disgusting; and this disgust might in the long run plant the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the couple and ultimately break their rellationship.

The position to be assumed by male and female in relation to each other during coitus occupied a great deal of the attention of Muslim authors who treated the subject. They compiled some fifteen basic different positions; and within each choice they suggest varieties of details.

We do not need to discuss this matter here at length, since husband and wife, in their search for their own fulfillment, can easily discover these varieties and select what they find to be most suitable and comfortable for themselves. Muslim writers also emphasize that the husband should endeavor to achieve mutual orgasm. If he should fail to hold out sufficiently for his partner, they say he should continue his efforts to have her reach a climax. To rush away from her too soon might be injurious.

They also recommend that parting at the end of the act should be slow, pleasant and cordial, not abrupt or indifferent.

After some rest both parties have to have the full ablution (a bath). This duty does not need to be rushed; but when the time of the next prayer comes, it has to be performed to remove the ceremonial pollution arising from coitus. Prior to having this bath, the parties, like a woman during her priod of menstrual dischage, are forbidden to perform prayers or to touch or read the Qur'an. Moreover, it is better to delay hair cutting and fingernail-clipping until after the ablution.

It is also recommended that the husband seek to introduce changes and variations in his approach and in the performance, even in little details, in order to avoid boredom. Variations also create a sense of novelty, and novelty stimulates interest and curiosity; and this intensifies the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. These Muslim etiquettes are probably best summed up in the following words attributed to the Prophet:

Let not one of you fall upon his woman in the manner a male animal suddenly jumps over its female victim. Let there be a messenger [to go] between them." He was asked, "What is the messenger, O Messenger of Allaah?" He said, "Kissing and endearing speech. Another tradition reads:

Three practices are shortcomings in a man; namely, to fail to enquire about the name of a man he has just encountered, but was worty of friendship; to refuse a favor extended to him in good faith; and to assault his woman without introductory entertainment [to stimulate her] and so he satisfies his own desire before she can achieve her own fulfillment. When one of you retires with his wife, let them not strip off their clothes completely in an animal-like manner; and let him begin by [stimulating her by the use of] fine exciting speech and by kissing. In the course of their game of pleasure a husband and his wife may enjoy and fondle any part of the body of each other; and their engagement in this kind of activity is regarded as a type of divine devotion. However, a husband is discouraged from looking at his wife's gentials, perhaps for its adverse psychological effect. Moreover, coitus is strictly forbidden during the menstrual period; and penertration in the back passage is always forbidden. If the femal genitals are to be avoided during the menstrual period, presumably because of their temporary blood pollution, a filthier pollution is an enternal factor in the case of the back passage. Prohibition also applies to all types of unnatural and unproductive activities, whether committed between two persons of the same sex or otherwise.

Early Muslim authorities also discussed the advisable frequency of coitus. Some advised that the experience should be repeated at least once every four days. It seems, however, that the matter of frequency should be left to the mood and the personal inclination of the parties concerned, which indeed depend on many factors, including their age and the condtion of their health.

5. A husband should also see to it that his wife has sufficient knowledge of her religious obligations and encourage her in observing her devotional duties. Of special importance are the rules pertaining to the menstrual period. During this period, as well as during the period of postnatal dischange, the oblgation of mandatory prayer is lifted; and coitus is forbidden. The prohibition of coitus is lifted when the blood discharge has stopped and the woman has had the ablution of a full bath.

6. A husband should not harbor doubts or suspicion about his wife unduly. Jealousy is indeed a natural element; and a husband is not to be too indulgent or to remain indifferent in reasonably provocative situations, and surely must guard his wife against all corruptive influences. Yet he should not allow fanciful thoughts to engage his mind and should not behave in a spying manner toward his wife. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

There is a type of jealousy which Allaah loves and there is another type which Allaah hates. As for that which Allaah loves, it is the jealousy which is provoked by a legitimate cause of suspicion; and that which Allaah hates is the jealousy which is unduly aroused. The Prophet once asked Fatimah, his own daugher, "What is best for a woman?" She replied, "That she should not mix with men and men should not mix with her." The Prophet, who was pleased with her answer, hugged her and said, "An offspring resembling its roots." Thus a happy life depends on mutual trust between the partners; and all that has to be done is to keep away from situations that are likely to incite evil or arouse suspicion.

[...]

8. If the wife becomes pregnant, her husband should display greater consideration for her and should do all he can to alleviate her discomfort. When she is delivered, he should be grateful to Allaah for her safety and for what Allaah has beneficently graced them with. If his wife has been delivered of a male child, he should not go out of his way to show his pleasure; and if it is a female, he should not at all feel disheartened. After all, he does not know which is better for him. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, says:

Whoever is graced with a daughter and treats her well and lavished upon her some of the favors Allaah has bestowed upon him, she will be a protection for him against the punishment of the Hell Fire. Whoever brings home some good things to his children, it will be counted as a divine charity for him. Let him begin by giving the female ones. Whoever cheers up a female child shall have the merit of him who weeps out of divine fear of Allaah; and whoever so intensely fears Allaah, Allaah will protect him from the Hell Fire.
Whoever has two daughers or two sisters under his care and treats them well, he will be my companion in Paradise. A child, however, should be given a good name, evein if it is delivered in a miscarriage. And shortly after a child's safe birth, the full text of the call to prayer should be recited in its right ear, and the short one in its left ear. It is recommended that a boy be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth, excluding the day of birth itself. Whether it is a boy or a girl, it is recommended that the family then hold a feast for which a lamb or larger animal should be sacrificed. Some of the meat should be distributed to the poor, as well as the value of gold whose weight is the weight of the baby's hair. The sacrifice offered on the seventh day of birth is known as 'aqiqah.

THE WIFE'S DUTIES

1. The first task of the wife is to create a home a soft relaxing atmosphere in which she and her husband can live together smoothly, happily and enjoyably. The way in which this is to be acheived depends on her taste and their means and upon prevaling values and conditions.

2. A wife must be faithful and devoted to her husband. Her loyalty is due to him first, even before her kin. She should avoid associating with undesirable or suspicous elements and should not entertain alone any male friends.

3. The management of the household is the wife's primary responsibility. She has to take care of meal preparation, house-cleaning and laundry. Whether she undertakes these tasks herself or has them done under her careful supervision, it is her task to manage them in the best interests of the family. She may expect some cooperation from her husband, but this should depend on what he can afford to do. What is important is the mutual goodwill and love which will no doubt stimulate each party to alleviate the burden of the other as much as possible.

4. The wife should not be too demanding; she must be contented, and appreciative of any kind gesture her husband may extend to her. She should not insist on buying expensive clothes or luxurious peices of furniture beyond her husband's means.

5. The wife should take care of herself in order to appear always cheerful, charming and attractive to her husband. She should always smell good and may reasonably apply cosmetics but should avoid excessive use of it. Such excess is not only financially unwise but also psychologically harmful. It makes her beauty appear to be merely artificial. An ancient Arab women advised her daugher on her wedding day:

O my daughter! you are leaving the home in which you were brought up to a house unknown to you and to a companion unfamilar to you. Be a floor to him, he will be a roof to you; be a soft seat to him, he will be a pillar for you; and be like a slave girl to him, he will be like a slave boy to you. Avoid inopportune behavior, lest he should be bored with you; and be not aloof lest he should become indifferent to you. If he approaches you, come running to him; and if he turns away, do not impose yourself upon him. Take care of his nose, his eye and his ear. Let him not smell except a good odor from you; let his eye not see you except in an agreeable appearance; and let him hear nothing from you except nice, fine words.

6. In managing the household, the wife should economize and avoid extravagance. She is not to give of her husband's wealth except within the degreee he approves of. Whatever she gives within this degree, she will share in its divine reward; and what she gives away beyond it will be to the advantage of her husband and to her own disadvantage on the Day of Judgment.

[...]

An objective analysis of the above outline of the mutual rights and obligations of a husband and wife as set out and stipulated by Islam for the guidance of its adherents reveals the following facts:

1. The husband-wife relationship is to be based not on dry legal rules or decisions of the court but on mutal respect, love and regard.

2. The husband is alone responsible for the entire cost of, and the wife is the misstress of, the household. The objective of each is to serve the other and to provide to the other means of comfort, enjoyment and happiness; and the aim of both is to acheive optimum bliss for themselves and to contribute through their offspring to the perpetuation of the human race.
Marriage, Casts and Compatibility


By Shaykh `Abdul-`Azeez Ibn `Abdullaah Ibn Baaz [al-Istiqaamah] [1]


COMPATIBILITY IS ONLY BASED UPON RELIGION AND PIETY:

From the evil and reprehensible matters is that some who claim to be from the tribe of Haashim (i.e. claim to be a Sayyid; someone related to the Prophet’s (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) family) say that there is no kafaa`ah (marriage compatibility) between them and someone from outside of their own clan. So they do not get married outside of their clan, nor allow anyone from outside of their clan to marry them. This is a great error, a monstrous ignorance, oppression against the woman, and it is a legislation which neither Allaah nor His Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) legislated or prescribed. Rather, Allaah - the Most High - said:

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and have made you into nations and tribes; that you may know one another, Indeed the most noblest of you with Allaah is the one who has the most taqwaa (piety, fear, and obedience of Allaah).” [Sooratul-Hujuraat 49:13]

“Indeed the Believers are but brothers.” [Sooratul-Hujuraat 49:10]

“The Believers - men and women - are allies and protectors, one to another.” [Sooratut-Tawbah 9:71]

“So their Lord accepted from them their supplication, and responded: Never will I allow to be lost the actions of any of you, be they male or female. You are one to another.” [Soorah Aali-’Imraan 3:195]

Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed there is no excellence for an arab over a non-arab, nor for a non-arab over on arab, nor for a white person over a black one, nor for a black person over a white one, except through taqwaa (piety and obedience to Allaah). The people are from Aadam, and Aadam was from earth.” [2]

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Indeed my awliyaa` (friends and allies) are not the tribe of so and so. Rather my friends and allies are the muttaqoon (those who possess taqwaa) - wherever they may be.” [3]

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “If there comes to you a person whose Religion and character are pleasing to you, then marry him (i.e. give the girl in marriage to him). If you do not do this, there will be fitnah (trial and discord) and great fasaad (corruption) upon the earth.” This was related by at-Tirmidhee and others, with a hasan isnaad (good chain of narration). [4]

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) married Zaynab bint Jahsh of the Quraysh (i.e. the Prophet’s clan) to Zayd Ibn Haarithah, his freed slave. He married Faatimah bint Qays from the Quraysh clan, to Usaamah, the son of Zayd. Bilaal ibn Rabaah, the Ethiopian married the sister of `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn `Awf of the Quraysh. So the purpose here is to explain the falsehood of those who claim that it is forbidden, or detested, for someone from the Prophet's (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) clan to marry outside of that clan or tribe. Rather, what it is obligatory in this matter is to consider only Religion as the compatibility factor. So the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) distanced Aboo Taalib and Aboo Lahab (his uncles) - because they were not Muslims and drew near Salmaan the Persian, Suhayb the Roman, and Bilaal the Ethiopian. This is because they possessed eemaan (faith) and piety, and they followed the Prescribed Laws and traversed the Straight Path. Thus, whosoever adopts this false and ignorant practice of barring Haashimee women from marrying from outside of their clan or tribe, will only achieve blameworthy results; such as corruption of the people, or adversely affecting the birth-rates, even though Allaah - the Most High - said:

“And marry those amongst you who are single, and the righteous from your slaves. If they be poor, Allaah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allaah is all-Sufficient for His creation, the all-Knowing about their state.” [Sooratun-Noor 24:32]

So He commanded to marry those that are single, and to marry all other categories of Muslims - irrespective of whether they be rich or poor. Thus, since the Islaamic Sharee`ah urges and encourages the institution of marriage. So the Muslims should hasten to fulfill this command of Allaah and of His Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) when he said: “O youths! Whosoever amongst you has the ability to marry, then let him do so; for it lowers the gaze and restrains the private parts. But whosoever does not have the ability then let him take to fasting; for indeed it is a shield for him.” Its authenticity has been agreed upon. [5] Thus, it is incumbent upon the guardians to fear Allaah concerning their guardianship, since it is an amaanah (trust and responsibility) around their necks, and Allaah will question them concerning this trust. So it is upon them to hasten in getting their daughters, sons, and sisters married, to the extent that this task has taken full effect in life, and the corruption and harms of not doing so have been minimized. And it is known that when women are prevented from getting married, or if their marriage is delayed and deferred, then this is a cause for calamities to occur, a cause for shameful moral crimes to take place, and a cause for a decline in standards of behaviour. So - O worshippers of Allaah - it is upon you to fear Allaah regarding your own selves, and with regards to the daughters, sisters, and other women whom Allaah has been placed under your charge and authority, and that the Muslims should come in order to realise the good and the happiness for the society, and to follow the path that will increase the good and lessen the crimes. And you should know that you will all be questioned and held to account about your actions, as Allaah - the Most High - said:

“By your Lord! We shall call them all to account for all that they used to do.” [Sooratul-Hijr 15:92]

And Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - said:

“And to Allaah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth, that He may punish those who do evil with that which they have done; and reward those who do good with Paradise which is best.” [Sooratun-Najm 53:31]

So hasten in getting your sons and daughters married, following in the footsteps of your Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), and the footsteps of the noble Sahaabah (Companions) (radiyallaahu `anhum), and all those who follow their path and guidance. I also advise you all not to seek excessive sums for the mahr (dowry), but rather be moderate in this, and that you strive to select pious and righteous people for marriage.

We ask Allaah to grant us the understanding of the Religion; grant us firmness upon it; and that He protects us and all the Muslims from the evil promptings of our own souls, and our evil resultant actions; and that He keeps away from us the deviating trials and discords, whether open or hidden. And we ask Allaah also to correct all those who have a position of authority over the affairs of the Muslims, and that He rectifies them. Indeed he is the One having the power to do so. And may Allaah extol and send blessings of peace upon Muhammad, and upon his Family, Companions and all those who follow them.

Footnotes:

[1] Majmoo`ul-Fataawaa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi`ah (3/100- 103)

[2] Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (5/411). It was authenticated by Ibn Taymiyyah in Kitaabul-Iqtidaa` (p. 69)

[3] Related by al-Bukhaaree (10/351) and Muslim (no.215), from `Amr Ibnul-`Aas (radiyallaahu `anhu)

[4] Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 1085), from Aboo Haatim al-Muzanee and Aboo Hurayrah

(radiyallaahu `anhumaa). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Irwaa‘ul-Ghaleel (no. 1868).

[5] Related by al-Bukhaaree (4/106) and Muslim (no. 1400), from Ibn Mas`ood (radiyallaahu `anhu)


Some Authentic Ahaadeeth on Marriage

The Following are authentic proofs. I have taken most of them from the book 'Saheeh Al Jaami' As Sagheer wa Ziyaadatuhu` by the scholar, the Muhadeeth of our age, Muhammad Naasir ud Deen Al Albaanee. Two of the proofs were taken from It`haaf Al Karaam Ta`leeq Alaa Buloogh Al Maraam by Shaikh Safee Ar-Rahmaan Al Mubaarakfooree.{The one who wrote Raheeq Al Makhtoom} Note that I am using the new edition of Saheeh Al Jaami`, so the numbering of the Ahaadeeth is not the same as those from the old version. You can refer to the Tarteeb of Shaikh Zuhayr Shaaweesh to the new edition Inshaa Allaah.

Here is what was easy for me to compile as proofs for the points I mentioned earlier:

1. THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT

"A Woman is not married until she is consulted, and a virgin is not married until you have her permission." They said, "O messenger of Allaah! And how do obtain her permission? He (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "If she is silent." (An taskuta)

[reported by Aboo Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu)] [Bukhaaree, Muslim, Aboo Daawood, and an-Nisaa`ee]

Shaikh Al Albaanee reports it in Mukhtasar Saheeh Muslim no. 602

He makes the takhreej of it in Irwaa Al Ghaleel no. 1727

He declares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' vol. 2, no. 7470

2. THE WALEE

"There is no nikaah, except with a Walee." (Laa nikaah illaa bi walee)

[reported by Ibn Abbas (radiyallaahu `anhu)] [Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nisaa`ee, At-Tirmidthi, it was authenticated by Imaam Al Haakim - this particular chain is from Abi Moosaa] [It comes from another authentic chain in Ibn Maajah from Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu `anhu)]

Shaikh Al Albaanee makes the takhreej of it in Irwaa Al Ghaleel no. 1839

He decalares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' vol. 2, no. 7555

NOTE: So both chains are authentic.

b. "There is no marriage except with a Walee, and the Sultaan is the Walee for whomever there is no Walee."

[reported by Aa`ishah (radiyallaahu `anha)] [Ahmad, Ibn Maajah]

Shaykh Al Albaanee declares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' vol. 2, no. 7556.

3. THE WITNESSES

"There is no marriage except with a Walee, and trustworthy witnesses." (Wa Shaahidee 'Adl)

[reported by Umraan, and Aa'ishah(radiyallaahu 1anha)] [Bayhaqee]

Shaikh Al Albaanee makes the takhreej of it in Irwaa Al Ghaleel no.'s 1839, 1858, 1860

He declares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' vol. 2, no. 7557

b. "There is no marriage except with a Walee, and two witnesses."

[reported by Abee Moosaa] [At-Tabaraani in Al Kabeer]

Shaikh Al Albaanee makes the takhreej for it in Irwaa Al Ghaleel no. 1839, 1858.

He declares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' vol. 2, no. 7558.

4. THE CONTRACT

In It`haaf Al Karaam, I found the following:

(1018) And from Mu`aawiyah ibn Hakeem from his father that he said, "I said, 'O Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), What is the right that one of our wives has over us?' So he said, 'Feed her when you eat, clothe her when you wear clothes, and do not strike her on the face, and do not revile her or make hijrah from her, except in the house.'

[recorded by Ahmad, and Aboo Daawood, and Nisaa`ee, and Ibn Maajah, and Bukhaaree with some parts of it being Mu`allaq, and it was authenticated by Ibn Hibbaan, and Imaam Al Haakim] Shaikh Mubaarakfooree also considers it to be Saheeh. It can be found on p. 304 of It`haaf Al Karaam.

5. THE DOWRY

"The best dowry is the most easy."

[reported by `Uqbah Ibn Aamir] [Aboo Daawood, Ibn Maajah, it was authenticated by Imaam Al Haakim]

Shaikh Al Albaanee makes the Takhreej for it in Irwaa Al Ghaleel no. 1923

He declares it authentic in Saheeh Al Jaami' Vol. 2, 3279

The following is taken from It`haaf Al Karaam p. 307:

Chapter: The Dowry

(1027) From Anas (radiyallaahu `anhu) from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) that he freed Safiyyah, and made her manumittance, her dowry. [Agreed Upon] Shaikh Mubaarakfooree mentions that there are some Fiqh differences among the scholars regarding manumittance as a dowry, but the overall presence of a dowry in marriage can be established from this authentic Hadeeth in general. And Verily Our Lord The Most High Knows Best.


Choosing the Desired Wife


All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds, the Merciful, the Hearer of supplications, and peace and blessings upon our beloved and humble Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions. When marriage is spoken of during these "modern" times, Muslims become horrified, conjuring images of an arranged marriage, trying to find that "perfect" companion, how much of a financial burden it will become, and so on. The reality is that Islaam came to solve these problems, not exacerbate them, yet unfortunately we have integrated our local traditions and customs with Islaam so that marriage has become a major concern for a man rather than a delightful experience.

When living in a free, perverted and corrupt Western society, the Muslim male youth finds many temptations and tests, as a result of mixing with females, which he must face and overcome. He must constantly resist these temptations, which are thrown at him in the streets, on the media, and at work. And so the wisdom of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) echoes on,when he said: "O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains the eyes from casting (evil glances), and preserves one from immorality..."

When seriously considering marriage, you must pose the question to yourself as to just what kind of wife you want, what her qualities should be in order to establish an Islaamic and peaceful household, and how you will know who she is. As Muslims, we believe that Allaah wants the best for us, and that His Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) illustrated this through his own life. So note that by following the advise of our own Creator, and that of His beloved servant, we can only be successful.

WHO TO MARRY

Islaam is clear on the kind of wife you should be seeking. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion; so try to get one who is religious, may you be blessed." This specifically defines just what kind of a companion we are seeking, for if we marry her for anything other than her religious piety, our marriage is bound to fall into misery. True, beauty and charm is hard to resist, yet beauty does not last forever and does not guarantee you her obedience and religiousness. Financial status is dynamic, and so is worldly status, yet religion strongly establishes a household, and it may be that through your intention of marrying her for her religion, the rest is given to you anyway.

In another hadeeth, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman." Imagine! Nothing in this world is as valuable as a pious woman! This point has been stressed many times by RasoolAllaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), who himself, when asked what three things he loved the most, mentioned a pious woman. Once the following ayah was revealed: "They who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allaah, unto them give tidings of a painful doom. On that day when it will (all) be heated in the fire of Jahannam, and their foreheads and flanks and their backs will be branded therewith (and it will be said to them): 'Here is what you hoarded for yourselves, now taste of what you used to hoard' " [al-Taubah: 34-35]. Umar (radiyallaahu `anhu) has been quoted to say that, when this ayah was revealed, he approached the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), submitting that the aayaat weighed heavily on the minds of the Sahaba. RasoolAllaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) replied that the best thing to be treasured is the devoted wife who causes pleasure when seen, obeys orders instantly and takes full care of herself and her husbands property when he is away.

Abu Bakr once asked RasoolAllaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) what was the best thing to be treasured, and he (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) replied: "the tongue in remembrance of Allaah, the heart filled with thanks to Allaah, and a pious wife who helps in virtuous deeds". Look at how valuable such a woman is in the sight of Allaah! How can a man live unhappily with such a person.

QUALITIES OF THE PIOUS WOMAN

Alright, you say, you've convinced me, but what actually makes her a pious woman? The answer is simple: Allaah himself has described those qualities most loved by Him in the Qur`aan, and in the ahadeeth there are numerous accounts of the virtuous attributes of a pious woman. The following are some ayahs on the attributes of the wife you should be seeking, so note those fine and appreciative qualities. The following are some aayaahs on the attributes of the wife you should be seeking, so note those fine and appreciative qualities. "And women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity" [s. 24; v. 26]

"Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husbands) absence what Allaah would have them guard" [s. 4; v. 34]

"It may be, if he divorced you (all), that Allaah will give him in exchange consorts better than you, who submit (Muslims), who believe, who are devout, who turn to Allaah in repentance, who worship (in humility), who travel (for faith) and fast..." [s. 66; v. 5].

And then, in soorah Ahzab, is a full list of those qualities loved by Allaah, qualities which by the way should be evident in both males and females. So, my dear brother, choose her for the following attributes:

-a Muslim woman
-a believing woman
-a devout woman
-a true woman
-a woman who is patient and constant
-a woman who humbles herself
-a woman who gives charity
-a woman who fasts and denies herself
-a woman who guards her chastity
-a woman who engages much in Allaah's praise. Among the four known perfect women was Maryam. She was loved by Allaah because of her religious qualities: "O Maryam! Worship your Lord: prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down" [s. 3; v. 43]. Another was the wife of Pharaoh: "And Allaah sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh: behold she said: 'O my Lord, build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden' " [s. 66; v.11].

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) loved his wives because of their religious qualities. Aisha once related the fine qualities of Zainab: "(Zainab) was the one who was somewhat equal in rank with me in the eyes of Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam), and I have never seen a woman more advanced in religious piety than Zainab, more Allaah-conscious, more truthful, more alive to the ties of blood, more generous and having more sense of self-sacrifice in practical life and having more charitable disposition and thus more closer to Allaah, the Exalted, than her."

Ah, you think, but you'll never find such a woman! Well, if that was true, Allaah would not have described her in the first place, and furthermore those qualities were emanating from the women described above. Islaam deals with reality, not fiction. Sure, the perfect woman doesn't exist, yet "if you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allaah brings about through it a great deal of good" [s. 4; v.19]. Remember also that you are not perfect either.

KNOWING WHO SHE IS

To find that pious woman, there are two steps to be taken, and that first one relies on your personal observation. In soorah Nisaa`, Allaah asks the believing women that they should "lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments," and also that they "should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments"[s. 24; v.31]. If you notice a woman acting modestly, being not too obvious through her actions (by lowering her voice when around men), one who attempts to hide her attractions (which includes her external beauty as well as her internal charms), then you know she has some of those precious qualities. When you see a woman unashamedly flirting, unconcerned about her revealing clothes, and freely converses with males- keep far, far away. I'm sure when you get married you want your wife to devote her love to you, not to twenty other "just good friends".

Through simple observation, you can get a glimpse of her nature; for example, the way she stands when conversing, how she maintains eye-contact, her clothes, where she spends her time etc. Look for her strong points, and don't stress on her weak ones.

Yet, after all this, we still have to come to the most important topic. You can look all you want at her, set a private investigator to track her. Yet, after all this, we still have to come to the most important topic. You can look all you want at her, set a private investigator to track her movements, read her diaries (all of which I consider extreme and unIslaamic), yet, my dear brother, no-one knows her heart and intentions, no-one knows whether she will turn sour or more religious, or whether you are suitable for each other, except for Allaah.

TRUST IN ALLAAH

We are choosing our wife for her permanent values; namely her religious devotions, moral integrity, character etc. But believe me, if we try ourselves to combine a marriage, we are almost sure to fail, because we have no knowledge.

Allaah loves a servant when he puts his trust in Him. When we do so, it is illustrating how we rely upon Him for help, and proving our sincerity to Him, establishing that we recognize His infinite knowledge and wisdom. illustrating how we rely upon Him for help, and proving our sincerity to Him, establishing that we recognize His infinite knowledge and wisdom. Islaam is likened to being as a house, and in my estimation nothing cements that house together as well as putting our trust in Allaah. It is related on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) used to teach his companions to seek, through a special du`aa (known as an istikharah), the guidance of Allaah in all matters which affected them. RasoolAllaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "When you are confused about what you should do in a certain situation, then pray two rak`aat of nafl salaat and read the following du`aa (du`aa of istikharah)."

I am surprised at the criticisms thrown at this du`aa, and of its negligence. We are humans, powerless in this sphere of life, knowledgeable only enough to survive. So why shouldn't we turn to Allaah and seek His perfect help whenever we require it? Allaah responds to the call of His servant when he asks for guidance, and we are after all seeking to do something in order to please Him.

Many wrong notions exist concerning istikharah. Many Muslims will pray, read the du`aa, and run to bed expecting to see a dream showing them their future wife, what her favorite color is, and some other weird fantasy. That is not the purpose of this salaat.

The results of an istikharah can take many forms. Basically, you go by your feelings, (i.e. you think about everything carefully and then make a decision ) . Also, you may notice events have changed, either for or against you - so you re-evaluate your situation again - and perhaps your decision might change. Finally, as a wonderful gift from Allaah, you may be blessed with a dream.

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) once sent Zainab a proposal of marriage. She refused to accept the proposal straight away, expressing her intention to refer the matter to Allaah: "I do not do anything until I solicit the will of my Lord." Allaah, the Responsive, answered her plea for help and revealed an aayaah approving of the marriage. We may seem shocked at her refusal to accept a proposal from what is the best husband any woman can have, yet she was just recognizing that it is Allaah who knows how successful such a marriage will be, and as a sign of appreciation, that reply is now preserved in our Holy Book: al-Qur`aan.

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) once said to `Aisha: "I saw you in a dream for three nights when an angel brought you to me in a silk cloth and he said: 'Here is your wife', and when I removed (the cloth) from your face, lo, it was yourself, so I said: 'if this is from Allaah, let Him carry it out' ".

Marriage is a serious step, and requires the right attitude. If marriage completes half our faith, shouldn't that half be the best half? A woman married for the wrong reasons can only weaken the Muslim household. Consider that she will be your life-long companion, the rarer of your children. Don't marry her for her worldly wealth, but for her wealth in Islaamic wisdom and knowledge. Her status in this life is but illusionary, so choose her for her status in the sight of Allaah. Beauty is but superficial, but the beauty of Iman is transcendent. When asking Allaah for a wife, call upon Him by His beautiful names, as He has commanded us: "For Allaah are certain and dignified names: therefore call upon Him by them" [s. 7; v. 189].

Ask for a companion who is devout, pious, patient and so on. Be among those who say: "Our Lord, may our spouses and our offspring be a joy to our eyes and make us leaders of the righteous" [al-Furqaan, 74].

I cannot provide a better conclusion than saying that you must put your trust in Allaah. You must have trust in His concern for us, and His ability to help us. Allaah says: "Put your trust in Allaah, for Allaah loves those who put their trust in Him" [s. 3; v.159].

May Allaah help us in our sincere efforts in following His commandments and the way of His beloved servant, and provide us with wives whom He loves.

"When my servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I respond to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to my call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way" [al-Baqarah, v. 186]


Etiquettes of Seeking a Spouse


Muslim conferences and conventions are just one of the many places Muslims in North America often meet potential spouses either to make a decision or to initiate the marriage communication process. Other places include fundraising dinners, regional seminars, lectures, at the home of a relative or friend, and the local mosque.

Sadly though, Islaamic guidelines pertaining to proper conduct between the sexes are not always respected at these meetings. It is not uncommon to see or hear about potential candidates meeting in private, brothers and sisters “scoping the territory” for a spouse that looks good at Muslim events like conferences or lectures, or starting up a flirtatious conversation with someone they are interested in. None of these things fall within the guidelines of Islaam.

Below are some Islaamic principles, both general and specific, to consider if you will be be meeting or seeking a potential spouse for yourself or someone else at a conference, lecture, the mosque or another event:

1. Ask yourself: Why am I getting married?

‘Because all of my friends are' is not a legitimate reason. This is a good question to ask even if you are meeting the person to make a final decision because it will be a reminder about the real purpose of marriage from an Islaamic perspective. Marriage, from an Islaamic perspective, is part of faith and it is part of the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam).

As well, “my intention should be I am looking for someone with whom I will build a family,” says Imam Muhammad Nur Abdullah of St. Louis, Missouri, a member of the North American Fiqh Council. He has conducted pre-marriage counseling in the U.S. for the last 20 years. “Marriage is a commitment and relationship that starts in this Dunya (world) and will continue Inshaa Allaah in Paradise together,” he adds.

2. Ask yourself: What am I looking for in a spouse?

Aboo Hurairah related that the Prophet Muhammad said: “Men choose women for four reasons: for their money, for their rank, for their beauty and for their religion, but marry one who is religious and you will succeed” (Bukhari, Muslim). This of course, applies to women as well. However, religion it seems, is not always foremost in the minds of many people. In fact, it's probably the last factor on too many Muslims' list.

According to Tasneem Qadeer, one of the seven volunteers who runs the Islaamic Society of North America's matrimonial service, being a doctor or a lawyer is much more important to many Muslim women than piety. And the men are not any better. Many matrimonial advertisements for instance, demonstrate a key demand for a wife who is “fair, slim and beautiful”. “If we want to have healthy Muslim families then Deen has to be first,” says Aneesah Nadir, Director of Social Services for the Arizona Muslim Family Health and Social Services in Tempe. She is one of the co-developers of the program “Marriage the Islaamic way”, which teaches various aspects of marriage such as how to find a spouse, the wedding and the post-wedding marriage relationship with your spouse.

3. If you're looking for a spouse lower your gaze.

This may seem like a contradiction, but it's not. Looking for a spouse who has the right qualities and whom you are physically attracted to does not mean throwing out the obligation to lower the gaze for both sexes and leering or ogling the person.

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allaah is aware of what they do” (Qur`aan 24:30).

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms...” (Qur`aan 24:31).

“Scoping the territory”, from this perspective, would not be Islamically acceptable. Imam Nur Abdullah notes that looking at a potential mate is recommended according to the Hadeeth:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: The Prophet said: “When one of you asked a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so. ...” (Aboo Dawood).

This means the two potential spouses can look at each other but not ogle or stare. Abdullah also notes there is no limit on the number of times the two people can look at each other.

However, both should fear Allaah and remember the purpose of this is to satisfy the need for physical attraction to the person you are marrying. He also notes it is not permissible for a man to see a potential wife without Hijab, since he is not her Mahram (a relative with whom marriage is not possible, or legally her husband). Abdullah says seeing her face and hands are enough to determine attraction.

4. Get someone to help.

Marriage is not something to throw yourself into all by yourself. Getting the help of someone, especially parents, relatives, an Imam, and/or respected and trustworthy members of the Muslim community to either look for the right spouse and initiate and participate in a communication process is very important. In fact, even some non-Muslims have come to see this as a more viable way of meeting someone instead of getting involved in the disappointing dating game or picking someone up in a nightclub or bar.

Involving others, by the way, does not mean signing over your right to say yes or no to a marriage proposal. It simply increases the likelihood of finding out important information about a prospective partner in a way that maintains rules of Islaamic modesty (i.e. not meeting alone, see next point). Getting that third party involved also helps verify if the person you are interested in is decent, honest and respectful. This person(s) often checks out references, asks about the individual's character and behavior, and looks out for your best interest in general. This person should be a trustworthy Muslim, since you are seeking a Muslim in marriage, and would want someone familiar with the Islaamic way of doing things.

For those blessed with Muslim parents, remember that they are probably your best allies and helpers in seeking the right husband or wife. They have known you all of your life, and have your best interest at heart. However, parents must be open and attentive to what their children are looking for, and never forget the element of choice. Ultimately, it is their son or daughter who is going to make the final decision. They must never become too pushy or aggressive, whether this pressure is being applied on their own son or daughter, or on the person she/he is interested in. If parents, other family members, an Imam or members of the community are not available, you can also try seeking a husband or wife through the matrimonial services offered by a number of different Muslim organizations.

Always ask for references.

This is also where your “third party” comes in handy. Not only will they be able to be your reference. They can also check out a prospective mate's references. A reference can include an Imam who knows the brother who proposed to you, a sister who knows the woman you may want to marry well, a family friend, a boss, a co-worker, and/or business partner.

A note about honesty and references: the people you ask may know something not very nice about your prospective spouse. Remind them that if they reveal this information, they would not be backbiting from the Islaamic perspective. In fact, in the case of seeking marriage, complete information should be given about an individual, both good and bad. The advice of one of the companions of the Prophet, Umar Ibn al-Khattab can help in this regard:

A man came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and spoke in praise of another. Umar asked him: “Are you his nearest neighbor such that you know his goings and his comings?”

“No.”

“Have you been his companion on a journey so that you could see evidence of his good character?”

“No.”

“Have you had dealings with him involving dinars and dirhams [money] which would indicate the piety of the man?”

“No.”

“I think you saw him standing in the mosque muttering the Qur`aan and moving his head up and down?”

“Yes.”

“Go, for you do not know him...”

And to the man in question, Umar said, “Go and bring me someone who knows you.”

(quoted from Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Waheed Hameed, p. 66)

This gives you three types of people you can ask about a prospective mate's character: a neighbor, business colleague or someone who has traveled with them.

5. When you meet, don't be alone.

Umar related that Rasoolullah said: “Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Shaitan makes a third” (Tirmidhi). Also, Ibn Abbas related that Rasoolullah said: “Not one of you should meet a woman alone unless she is accompanied by a relative within the prohibited degrees” (Bukhari, Muslim).

Meeting alone, in the hotel room of one or the other potential spouse for example, is forbidden. The two cannot be in a situation where no one else can see or hear them. Instead, a discreet, chaperoned meeting should be set up. The chaperone, while allowing the two to talk, is in the same room, for example. As well, parents or guardians should set a time limit, recommends Winnipeg-based social worker Shahina Siddiqui. A whole day, for example, is too long for this kind of a meeting.

6. When you speak, be businesslike and to the point.

The purpose of meeting and talking to each other must also remain within Islaamic guidelines. That means no flirtatious speech of a sexual nature on either side. Imam Nur Abdullah says some of the topics discussed can include each other's interests, financial situation of the man, who is Islaamically responsible for providing for his wife and children, and the two potential spouses relationship with their parents. He notes that conversations between potential mates cannot be talking just for the sake of talking. There should be a firm and clear intention of either pursuing engagement and marriage, or, if one of the two or both the man and woman feel they are not compatible, a quick end to the relationship. This ensures both sides are safe from getting hurt more than they could in this kind of a situation and remain within the bounds of Islaam, Inshaa Allaah.

With regards to questions pertaining to a person's sexual history (for example, has she/he had a boy/girlfriend, does she/he have any type of sexually transmitted diseases), Imam Nur Abdullah says these things have to be investigated at the very beginning, when the communication for marriage begins. This is not something that should be brought up at the last stage. Other topics that should also be discussed at the early stages include level of Islaamic knowledge and practice, future career and education plans, home making skills and where the couple will live right after marriage and in the future (state and/or country).

The Imam also says the couple can even get a blood test to ensure both are healthy. Some states even require this before marriage. Seeking marriage is something highly recommended in Islaam. While looking for a potential mate should be something Muslims help each other with, this cannot be done at the expense of Islaamic rules pertaining to modesty and respect between the sexes.


The First Two Years: A Marriage Survival Guide


More Muslim marriages in North America are breaking up in their first year than ever before, according to Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Islaamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada (ISSA).

The first 5 to 7 years are the most challenging of any marriage. They are a time a couple spends getting to know each other better and adjusting to each other's habits and personalities. Below are some of the main problems couples face in the early years and some possible solutions:

1. Lack of proper information before marriage

A number of problems are caused simply by the fact that the couple and their families have not discussed crucial issues beforehand. Some of these include:

whether or not the wife will work outside the home
will the couple wait to have children
which city and country the couple will live in after marriage
will they live with his parents or have their own apartment

These and other relevant issues need to be discussed and decided in the beginning stages of the marriage process.

2. Who's in charge?

One of the biggest problems is the tug-of-war between couples over who is in control in the relationship. This has led to a stalemate in disagreements, as well as bitter feelings. Many couples today are refusing to compromise within moderation when differences arise.

While from an Islaamic perspective, the husband is given the leadership role in the marriage relationship, this does not mean he runs the couple's family life like a dictatorship. It must be remembered that Islaamically, a leader is one who serves, manages, provides and nourishes. A leader must also have humbleness and humility. A husband exercises the right kind of leadership by being listening to and consulting (doing Shura) with his wife.

Also, a husband is bound to follow the rules of the Qur'an and Sunnah. So differences in opinion should be referred back to these sources, instead of becoming a source of tension and problems.

3. The divorce option

Once upon a time, "divorce" was the 7-letter word most Muslim couples avoided using. Today, amongst many Muslim couples in North America, it is one of the first recourses turned to when conflicts occur in marriage. It should be remembered that out of all of the things Allaah has made Halal, divorce is the one He hates the most. Couples need to look at several other alternatives before turning to this drastic measure.

They should seek the help of older, wiser and trustworthy elders who will try to help them resolve their differences. Generally, they need to make a sincere, concerted effort to try to work things out before divorce is seriously considered.

4. Sexual problems

It is unrealistic to expect the issue of sex and sex-related problems to mysteriously disappear once a couple gets married. In the sex-saturated culture of North America, couples tend to place very high expectations of each other in this area. They also expect instant results. In reality, it takes time, commitment, disappointment and investment to establish a sexual relationship in marriage which is in tune with the needs of each partner.

It's important for Muslim couples to walk into marriage with proper information about sex and sexual etiquette from an Islaamic perspective. They need to know what is Haram (permissible) and what is Haram (forbidden). They should also keep in mind that spouses must never discuss their sexual relationship with others, unless it is to get help for a specific problem with the right person or authority figure.

On a similar note, it's important for both the husband and wife to remember that they need to make themselves physically attractive to each other. Too many couples take marriage to mean an excuse to now let themselves go. The couple or one of the partners may gain too much weight, or may not care about hygiene and their looks in general. The reverse should be true: spouses should take the time out for these things and give them even more attention after marriage. Our beloved Prophet has recommended husband and wife both to do that, May Allaah's peace and blessings be upon him.

5. In-laws

The first few years of marriage are not just a period of adjustment for the married couple. It's one of getting used to in-laws and vice-versa. Husbands, wives and in-laws need to practice the Islaamic rules of social relations with each other. These include: avoiding sarcasm, backbiting, calling each other by offensive nicknames, and making a special effort to respect each other as family members.

As well, comparisons need to be avoided, since every individual and every couple is different. So wives should not be compared to mothers and sisters. Husbands should not be compared to fathers and brothers. In-laws should not be compared to parents, etc. In addition, there should be regular, healthy contact between spouses and in-laws. This can mean visiting each other at least once or twice a month, or calling if distance makes it difficult to get together.

6. Realism

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after. This is the plot of many a Hollywood and Bollywood movie, where everyone is "perfect". Real life is very different. Couples may enter marriage with high-flying romantic ideas and expecting their partner to be the ideal human. But all humans have good and bad points. Husbands and wives have to learn to accept each other, warts and all.

6. Making a schedule and establishing rituals

Making a schedule may seem like an end to spontaneity but it's not. This allows you to establish your own lifestyle and rituals as a couple. It's especially important if both the husband and wife are going to school and/or working. In this scenario, a schedule helps in setting time aside for each other during a fast-paced week of work and studies.

Some rituals couples can establish may include:

praying at least one prayer together
attending a study circle together once a week
deciding on a weekly menu
having a pancake breakfast every Saturday morning
setting aside one day on which no work or studying will be done
setting a day when both the husband and wife will clean up the house
setting a time to discuss finances and a budget
making a phone contacting during the day
deciding on a particular day and time once a month at least to visit each other's parents

By discussing and setting up these rituals, couples learn how to talk to and feel responsible for each other. They also learn to become a team instead of two people living in the same with separate lives.

7. Marriage as a restriction

Muslim men who have grown up in North America may find marriage restricting. After all, before, they could hang out with their buddies and get home by 11:00 p.m. and no one would say a word. After marriage though, they have to be home by 7:00 p.m if not earlier. While marriage comes with responsibilities and a tighter schedule, the benefits are also there. It takes time and patience to realize that in the end the benefits (i.e. a life partner, kids, etc.) are greater than the restrictions.

8. Friends and Islaamic activities

Friends are a joy and a good friend is someone you want to be close to for the rest of your life. But friends are often the source of many marriage conflicts. Too much time spent with friends, either hanging out or on the phone, means time lost with a husband/wife. Also, friends, especially if they are of the same age group, may give the wrong advice on marriage, due to their own inexperience in the area.

Some possible solutions to the friends dilemma could be:

working out a "friends time" at least once a week where the husband and the wife meet and/or talk with friends privately
developing friendships with other married couples so spouses can befriend spouses
Islaamic activities fall in a similar category. Young Muslim activists may think they can keep attending those three-hour Muslim Students' Association meetings as they did before marriage. Not so. Too much focus on outside Islaamic activities takes away from spouse time. Give Islaamic activities their due but within a balance of everyone's rights, including those of your spouse.

9. Not keeping secrets

A number of young married couples are notorious for not keeping secrets, especially related to sexual matters, and exposing their spouse's faults. This is not only unacceptable. It's unIslaamic. Couples should seek to hide each other's faults. They should seek advice on marriage problems from a "marriage mentor", someone who is older, wiser, trustworthy and has the best interests of both parties at heart.

10. Finances

How much should be spent on furniture, the house, food, etc. These are staple issues of any household and can lead to a tug-of-war between husband and wife. To keep spending in check, husbands and wives need to draft a budget then stick to it. The household will run more efficiently and that's one less source of conflict in the marriage.

A special note to husbands: in the beginning of marriage, husbands tend to shower their wives with gifts. They do this as an expression of love and because they want to provide for their wives. However, as time passes and they keep giving, they go into debt or experience financial difficulty. As well, wives get used to a certain level of comfort which husbands can no longer afford.

Providing for a wife (and later on, a family) is not just reserved to material things. It includes spending time with her, and treating her with equity and kindness. In fact, most wives would prefer this kind of provision over expensive gifts.

11. Give each other space

A number of couples think being married means always being together and serving each other hand and foot.

Wives may initially take over all household chores, not letting the husband help or even do his own things (i.e. ironing his own clothes). They later regret this as household responsibilities increase and their husbands become dependent on them for the smallest things.

Husbands may think getting married means being with their wives all the time. This later may lead them to becoming irritable and cranky.

The key is to focus on being caring, fond of and accepting each other and giving each other sufficient space. Doing this provides a necessary balance in a relationship which is so close physically and emotionally.


How to make your WIFE happy


1. Beautiful Reception

After returning from work, school, travel, or whatever has separated you:

* Begin with a good greeting.
* Start with As-Salaamun `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah and a smile. Salaam is a Sunna and a du`aa for her as well.
* Shake her hand and leave bad news for later!

2. Sweet Speech and Enchanting Invitations

* Choose words that are positive and avoid negative ones.
* Give her your attention when you speak of she speaks.
* Speak with clarity and repeat words if necessary until she understands.
* Call her with the nice names that she likes, e.g. my sweet-heart, honey, saaliha, etc.

3. Friendliness and Recreation

* Spend time talking together.
* Spread to her goods news.
* Remember your good memories together.

4. Games and Distractions

* Joking around & having a sense of humor.
* Playing and competing with each other in games or whatever.
* Taking her to watch permissible (halal) types of entertainment.
* Avoiding prohibited (haram) things in your choices of entertainment.

5. Assistance in the Household

* Doing what you as an individual can/like to do that helps out, especially if she is sick or tired.
* The most important thing is making it obvious that he appreciates her hard work.

6. Consultation (Shurah)

* Specifically in family matters.
* Giving her the feeling that her opinion is important to you.
* Studying her opinion carefully.
* Be willing to change an opinion for hers if it is better.
* Thanking her for helping him with her opinions.

7. Visiting Others

* Choosing well raised people to build relations with. There is a great reward in visiting relatives and pious people. (Not in wasting time while visiting!)
* Pay attention to ensure Islaamic manners during visits.
* Not forcing her to visit whom she does not feel comfortable with.

8. Conduct During Travel

* Offer a warm farewell and good advice.
* Ask her to pray for him.
* Ask pious relatives and friends to take care of the family in your absence.
* Give her enough money for what she might need.
* Try to stay in touch with her whether by phone, e-mail, letters, etc..
* Return as soon as possible.
* Bring her a gift!
* Avoid returning at an unexpected time or at night.
* Take her with you if possible.

9. Financial Support

* The husband needs to be generous within his financial capabilities. He should not be a miser with his money (nor wasteful).
* He gets rewards for all what he spends on her sustenance even for a small piece of bread that he feeds her by his hand (hadeeth).
* He is strongly encouraged to give to her before she asks him.

10. Smelling Good and Physical Beautification

* Following the Sunna in removing hair from the groin and underarms.
* Always being clean and neat.
* Put on perfume for her.

11. Intercourse

* It is obligatory to do it habitually if you have no excuse (sickness, etc.)
* Start with "Bismillah" and the authentic du`aa.
* Enter into her in the proper place only (not the anus).
* Begin with foreplay including words of love.
* Continue until you have satisfied her desire.
* Relax and joke around afterwards.
* Avoid intercourse during the monthly period because it haram
* Do what you can to avoid damaging her level of Hayaa (shyness and modesty) such as taking your clothes together instead of asking her to do it first while he is looking on.
* Avoid positions during intercourse that may harm her such as putting pressure on her chest and blocking her breath, especially if you are heavy.
* Choose suitable times for intercourse and be considerate as sometimes she maybe sick or exhausted.

12. Guarding Privacy

* Avoid disclosing private information such as bedroom secrets, her personal problems and other private matters.

13. Aiding in the Obedience to Allaah

* Wake her up in the last third of the night to pray "Qiam-ul-Layl" (extra prayer done at night with long sujood and ruku`ua).
* Teach her what you know of the Qur`aan and its tafseer.
* Teach her "Dhikr" (ways to remember Allaah by the example of the Prophet) in the morning and evening.
* Encourage her to spend money for the sake of Allaah such as in a charity sale.
* Take her to Hajj and Umrah when you can afford to do so.

14. Showing Respect for her Family and Friends

* Take her to visit her family and relatives, especially her parents.
* Invite them to visit her and welcome them.
* Give them presents on special occasions.
* Help them when needed with money, effort, etc..
* Keep good relations with her family after her death if she dies first. Also in this case the husband is encouraged to follow the sunnah and keep giving what she used to give in her life to her friends and family.

15. (Islaamic) Training & Admonition

This includes:

* The basics of Islaam
* Her duties and rights
* Reading and writing
* Encouraging her to attend lessons and halaqahs
* Islaamic rules (ahkam) related to women
* Buying Islaamic books and tapes for the home library

16. Admirable Jealousy

* Ensure she is wearing proper hijab before leaving house.
* Restrict free mixing with non-mahram men.
* Avoiding excess jealousy. Examples of this are:
1- Analyzing every word and sentence she says and overloading her speech by meanings that she did not mean
2- Preventing her from going out of the house when the reasons are just.
3- Preventing her from answering the phone.

17. Patience and Mildness

* Problems are expected in every marriage so this is normal. What is wrong is excessive responses and magnifying problems until a marital breakdown.
* Anger should be shown when she exceeds the boundaries of Allaah subhaana wa ta`alaa, by delaying prayers, backbiting, watching prohibited scenes on TV, etc..
* Forgive the mistakes she does to you (See item 18).
* How can you best correct her mistakes?
1- First, implicit and explicit advice several times.
2- Then by turning your back to her in bed (displaying your feelings).
Note that this does not include leaving the bedroom to another room, leaving the house to another place, or not talking with her.
3- The last solution is (when allowable) lightly hitting her. In this case, the husband should consider the following:
- He should know that Sunna is to avoid beating as the Prophet sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam never beat a woman or a servant.
- He should do it only in extreme cases of disobedience, e.g. refusing intercourse without cause frequently, constantly not praying on time, leaving the house for long periods of time without permission nor refusing to tell him where she had been, etc..
- It should not be done except after having turned from her bed and discussing the matter with her as mentioned in Qur`aan .
- He should not hit her hard injuring her, or hit her on her face or on sensitive parts of her body.
- He should avoid shaming her such as by hitting her with a shoe, etc.

18. Pardoning and Appropriate Censure

* Accounting her only for larger mistakes.
* Forgive mistakes done to him but account her for mistakes done in Allaah's rights, e.g. delaying prayers, etc..
* Remember all the good she does whenever she makes a mistake.
* Remember that all humans err so try to find excuses for her such as maybe she is tired, sad, having her monthly cycle or that her commitment to Islaam is growing.
* Avoid attacking her for the bad cooking of the food as the Prophet sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam never blamed any of his wives for this. If he likes the food, he eats and if he doesn't then he does not eat and does not comment.
* Before declaring her to be in error, try other indirect approaches that are more subtle than direct accusations
* Escape from using insults and words that may hurt her feelings.
* When it becomes necessary to discuss a problem wait until you have privacy from others.
* Waiting until the anger has subsided a bit can help to keep a control on your words.


Polygamy

According to Qur`aan and Sunna


Islaam permits the Muslim man to have up to, but no more than four wives. If he does not feel that he can be just and fair between several women, he is instructed to have only one. He must consider his ability to

divide his time evenly,

to provide separate living quarters for each woman in a way that matches the general standards of the surrounding community, and

to financially provide food and clothing and shelter for all women (and children produced as a result).

"...Fear Allaah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allaah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allaah. You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their right upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. ..." [Muslim 2803.1, Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah]
He should also be aware of and prepared for the natural jealousies in women (`Aisha said she was "most jealous of all").

Punishment for not being Fair between Wives


The Noble Qur`aan - Al-Ma`idah 5:5

And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan­girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (the captives and the slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.

Hadeeth - Sunan of Aboo Dawood #2128, Narrated Aboo Hurairah, radiyallaahu `anhu.

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: When a man has two wives and he is inclined to one of them, he will come on the Day of resurrection with a side hanging down [i.e. paralyzed].

Hadeeth - Sahih Bukhaaree 3.130, Narrated `Aisha, radiyallaahu `anha.

Whenever the Prophet intended to proceed on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives and would take the one upon whom the lot fell. Once, before setting out for Jihaad, he drew lots amongst us and the lot came to me; so I went with the Prophet; and that happened after the revelation of the Verse Hijab (i.e. veiling).

Hadeeth - Sahih Bukhaaree 7.157, Narrated Al Miswar bin Makhrama

I heard Allaah's Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, "Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Aboo Talib, but I don't give permission, and will not give permission unless 'Ali bin Aboo Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me."

Hadeeth - Sunan of Aboo Dawood, #219, Narrated Aboo Rafi`, radiyallaahu `anhu.

One day the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) had intercourse with all his wives. He took a bath after each intercourse. I asked him: Apostle of Allaah, why don't you make it a single bath? He replied: This is more purifying, better and cleaning.

Hadeeth - Sahih Bukhaaree 9.102, Narrated 'Aisha, radiyallaahu `anha.

Allaah's Apostle used to like sweets and also used to like honey, and whenever he finished the `Asr prayer, he used to visit his wives and stay with them. ...


How NOT to Seek an Additional Wife

It is not permissible in the Islaamic religion for the establishment of a relationship between a man and a woman who is ajanabiyya to him (lit. foreign, i.e., marriagable) before marriage. If he is going to have more than one wife, he still must do it the proper Islaamic way - by sitting down to discuss a marriage contract with the woman in the presence of another person; being alone leads to too many physical and emotional temptations. We should fear Allaah, subhaana wa ta`alaa, who knows what is best for the man seeking a wife. It is best to seek a pious woman, and it is extremely unwise to base a marriage on lust.

The Noble Qur`aan - Al-Ma`idah 5:5

...(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time, when you have given their due Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends. ...

The Noble Qur`aan - Al-Ahzab 33:53

...And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. ...

Hadeeth - Al-Tirmidhi 3118, Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab , Tirmidhi transmitted it.

The Prophet said, "Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third."

The noted scholar Ibn `Uthaimeen has stated: It is the right of the woman to make stipulations at the writing of the marriage contract as she wishes and if these stipulations do not contradict Islaamic law then the husband must fulfill them. For example, that he not marry a second wife and that if he does to dissolve the first marriage. This is not a problem. However, a new prospective wife cannot stipulate that the first wife be divorced before he marries her. I must say however that a first wife should not make such a stipulation that her husband not marry a second wife. I fear that if a woman makes this stipulation that the husband will, if he desires to marry a second woman, simply divorce the first one straight away [i.e. not even give her consideration] and it would no be to her benefit. Therefore I advise the woman not to make such a stipulation because this may be a manner by which the husband is able to follow a good Sunna.

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: When a man has two wives and he is inclined to one of them, he will come on the Day of resurrection with a side hanging down.


Rights of the Wife Over the Husband


Dowry (Mahr)

This right of the wife has been discussed in some detail. Allaah said in the Qur`aan:

{Wa aatoo an-nisaa`a saduqaatihinna nihlatan. Fa in tibna lakum `an shai`in minhu nafsan fa kuloohu hanee`an maree`an.}
{And give women their dowries as a gift. Then, if they are pleased to give some of it to you, consume it with good health and enjoyment.} An-Nisaa`:4
The payment of the dowry to the wife is an obligation and a debt upon the husband until he pays it and there is no escaping it unless the wife freely and willingly gives up her right to it. In the past, and in many cases today, the father tries to take the mahr away from his daughter. In the jahiliya, this was justified by saying that the father was merely recouping all the expenses he put forth for his daughter who is now a member of another family and benefits them.

Nowadays, it occurs often in this country that the husband tries to take back the dowry (if it is even paid in the first place) or make use of it in forms of spending which were obligatory upon HIM in the first place. This is a lowly practice and is completely forbidden unless she explicitly allows it without any coercion or pressure. Otherwise, it is HER property and she may dispose of it (or not) as she alone sees fit.

Support (Nafaqah)

Allaah says:

{...Wa `alaa al-mauloodi lahu rizquhunna wa kiswatuhunna bi al-ma'roofi laa tukallafu nafsun illa wus`ahaa...}
{...And upon the father is the mother's sustenance and her clothing according to what is reasonable. No person shall have a burden on him greater than he can bear...} Al-Baqarah:233
Her support is one of the most important rights of the wife over her husband. Ibn Katheer commented that the above verse implies that he must provide for her without extravagance nor the opposite, according to his ability and the standards set by his society at his time. When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) was asked by a man, "What is the right of our wives upon us?", he (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) answered:

"An yut`imahaa idha ta`ima wa an yaksoohaa idhaa iktasaa wa laa yadhribi al-wajhi wa laa yuqabbih wa laa yahjur illa fiy al-baiti."
"That he should feed her whenever he eats and cloth her whenever he clothes himself, that he not hit her face, that he not call her ugly and that he not boycott her except within the house." Ibn Majah
A woman is even allowed to take from her husband's property without his knowledge if he falls below this basic level of supporting her. In a hadith recorded in Muslim and Bukhari, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) told Hind bint Utbah, after she complained that her husband, Aboo Soofyan, was stingy and was not maintaining her and she asked if she could take from his property without his knowledge:

"Khudhiy maa yakfeeka wa waladaki bi al-ma`roofi"
"Take was is sufficient for you and your child according to what is customary." Muslim & Bukhaaree
Support of one's wife is one of the most important obligations of the husband. It is one of the distinguishing aspects of "husbandhood". Allaah said in the Qur`aan:

{Ar-rijaalu qawwaamoona `alaa an-nisaa`i bimaa fadh-dhala Allaahu ba`dhahum `alaa ba`dhin wa bimaa anfaqoo min amwaalihim...}
{Men are in charge of women because of what Allaah has given to some more than others and because they support them from their property.} An-Nisaa`:34
If a husband does not support his wife, she has no obligation to fulfill her obligations to him. If a woman goes to a judge and shows that her husband will not support her, the judge may immediately separate them according to numerous scholars. The verse makes clear that the man being "in charge" goes back to the two causes mentioned. This means two things:

1) Both men and women need to be aware of this right and this obligation and that the woman is under no obligation to stay in the marriage if she is not supported - regardless of his wealth and hers and

2) Muslim society must be organized in such a way that Muslim men are able to get the means to support a wife.

This second point is critical. If society reaches a state where women are more able to earn a living than men, this will undermine the "in charge" status of many men in their households. It wil in fact undermine the Islaamic household altogether. This is what is happening in virtually every Muslim land today with U.N. and other organizations giving primary attention to helping women to be economically viable and independent even when a large percentage of the men still cannot find the means to support a family. (It is the same destruction they inflicted on families in the U.S. in the 50's 60's with the welfare system.) The corrupting influence this will have on society as a whole cannot even begin to be described.

Women are absolutely ALLOWED in Islaam to pursue business ventures (the Prophet's first wife Khadija was a major business woman in Makka), employment and other means of earning money. They are, in fact, needed in various sectors such as women doctors and women teachers. However, facilitating the ability of men to earn a living and support a family is the FIRST priority in an Islaamic society. All economic planning and social/economic programs must be in line with this principal.

Kind and Proper Treatment

Allaah says:

{...Wa `aashiroohunna bi al-ma`roofi fa in karihtumoohunna ta `asaa an takrahoo shai`an wa yaj`ala Allaahu feehi khairan katheeran.}
{...And consort with your wives in a goodly manner for, if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which Allaah makes a source of abundant good.} An-Nisaa`:19
Commenting on this verse, Ibn Katheer wrote:

"That is, have kind speech for them, deal with them with kind deeds and in a beautiful manner to the best of your ability. In the way that you love that from them, behave in that way towards them. As Allaah has said, "They have rights similar to those upon them according to what is right" (Al-Baqarah:228). The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "The best of you is the best of you to his wives and I am the best of you to my wife." It was from his behavior that he would treat them in a beautiful fashion, with a smiling face. He would sport with his wives, be gentle with them and spend generously upon them. He would laugh with his wives and he even raced `Aisha... Every night, he would gather his wives together in the house of the one with whom he (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) was going to spend the night and eat dinner with them on occasion... After he prayed the night prayer, he would enter his house and talk to his wife a little bit before sleeping, making them comforted thereby. And Allaah has said: {You have in the Messenger of Allaah the best example.}"
Part of the problem is Muslims buying into the fantasy world being propagated in television, movies and other media. The hadeeth about the rib makes it clear that it is rare to find a "perfect wife" and in the same manner, no woman should expect to find the "perfect husband". If one is living in some fantasy world, they are apt to be greatly disappointed with real life.

Physical Relations

In Sahih Ibn Hibban, the following was narrated:

"The wife of `Uthman ibn Madh`oon complained to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) that her husband had no need for women. During the days he would fast and at night he would pray. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) asked him: "Am I not the best example for you to follow?" He answered: "Certainly, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you." The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) then told him: "As for you, you pray during the night and you fast during the day. Certainly, your wife has a right upon you and your body has a right upon you so pray and sleep and fast and break your fast."
There are several similar incidents narrated where Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) gave similar decisions in similar situations. In one story which took place in the presence of Umar, the Companion who was judging told the husband that since Allaah had given him the right to four wives and he had only one that he could practice his praying and fasting three out of four nights, but that at least one in four had to be reserved for his wife.

Not to be Beaten

It is the right of the Muslim wife that she is not to be struck except in the case of nushooz (rebellion against the husband's authority). Even in that case, the husband is only allowed to "strike" her, but in a way which does no harm, similar to the proper disciplining of a child. It is never lawful for him to strike her face or cause her any bruise or injury. Allaah says in the Qur`aan:

{...Wa allaatiy takhaafoona nushoozahunna fa`idhoohunna wahjuroohunna fiy al-madhaaji`i wadhriboohunna fa in ata`nakum falaa tabghoo `alaihinna sabeelan inna Allaha kaana `aliyyan kabeeran.}
{...And (as for) those (women) from whom you anticipate rebellion, admonish them, avoid them in the sleeping place and hit them. If they obey you, do not desire and further way to (harm) them. Surely, Allaah is Knowing, Great.} An-Nisaa`:34
It is incomprehensible how so many translators have translated the word "wadhriboohunna" in the above verse as "beat them" or, even more laughable: "beat them [lightly]". This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is an abomination which has caused much misunderstanding and opened the door to the enemies of Islaam. The word in Arabic means to "strike" or "hit". It inludes everything from a tap with a tooth-stick to what in English we call beating. If it is stated that so-and-so "hit" so-and-so without further description, it would be assumed to be a single blow and it could be of any magnitude.

When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) took a tiny stick and tapped one of the Muslims on the stomach to straighten the ranks in preparation for war, he "hit" him with this meaning. Contrast this to the English phrase: "beat them". The meaning is totally different. If you took a shoe lace and hit someone on the hand with it, you could properly say dharabtahu in Arabic but in English you could never say that you had "beaten" that person. Please get this straight and correct anyone you hear distorting the meaning of this verse in this way.

The verse mentions admonition, boycotting and hitting in the case of nushooz. This refers to a rebellion against the husband's authority within the marriage which amounts to a breach of the marriage contract on her part. Ibn Taimia said about this:

"Nushooz in the verse: {...And (as for) those (women) from whom you anticipate rebellion (nushooz)...} means that she is recalcritrant to her husband and she is estranged to him inasmuch as she does not obey him when he calls her to bed, or she leaves the house without his permission and other similar things in which she is required to obey him."
Many scholars have stated that the three steps must be taken sequentially, i.e, admonition then separation in sleeping and finally hitting, making hitting a last resort only in extreme situations. Thus the vast majority of whan men do to their wives in spontaneous fits of rage often over trivial issues is absolutely haraam and not sanctioned by Islam in any way. An-Nawawi said about his:

"At the first indication of disobedience to marital authority, a wife should be exhorted by her husband without his immediately breaking off relations with her. When she manifests her disobedience by an act which, although isolated, leaves no doubt to her intentions, he should repeat his exhortations and confine her to the house but without striking her... Only when there are repeated acts of disobedience may a husband strike his wife."
As we said, this can NEVER be a "beating". A husband is never allowed to strike his wife in any way which causes injury or leaves any kind of mark. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "Fattaqoo Allaaha fiy an-nisaa`i fa innakum akhadhtumoohunna bi amaani Allaahi wa istahlaltum furoojahunna bi kalimati Allaahi wa lakum `alaihinna an laa yooti`na furushakum ahadan takrahoonahu fa in fa`alna dhaalika fadhriboohunna dharban ghaira mubarrihin wa lahunna `alaikum rizquhunna wa kiswatuhunna bi al-ma`roofi."
"So beware of Allaah regarding women for you have taken them as a trust from Allaah and you have made their bodies lawful with the word of Allaah. You have the right over them that they should not allow anyone on your furnishings who you dislike. If they do that, hit them in a way which causes no injury. And, they have the right over you to provision and clothing according to custom." Bukhaaree & Muslim

Privacy

It is actually the right of both spouses that the other not discuss their private moments with anyone else. Note the following sahih hadeeth:

"Is there any man among you who goes to his wife, closes the door behind them, covers themselves and conceal themselves by Allaah's concealing?" They said: "Yes." He then said: "Then he sits after that [with others] and says, 'I did this and that.'" They were silent. He then turned to the women and said: "Do any of you talk about such things?" They, too, were silent. Then a young girl stood up on her toes so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) could see her and hear her and she said: "O Messenger of Allaah they [the men] certainly talk about that and they [the women] also talk about it." He (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: "Do you know what they are like? They are like a female devil who met a male devil in the street and they satisfied their desires with the people looking on." Aboo Daood (Sahih)
Justice
If a man has more than one wife, he is required to do justice between them in terms of physical things (housing, clothing, food, etc.) and nights spent with each. Allaah said:

{Wa lan tastatee`oo an ta`diloo baina an-nisaa`i wa lau harastum. Fa laa tameeloo kulla al-maili fa tadhharuhaa ka al-mu`allaqati. Wa in tuslihoo wa tattaqoo ta inna Allaaha kaana ghafooran raheeman.}
{And you will not be able to effect justice between the women no matter how hard you try. So do not incline [toward some] completely such that you leave [another] as if suspended. And if you reform and fear Allaah, surely Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.} An-Nisaa`:129
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) indicated that there are forms of justice which are required just as there are forms of justice which are beyond human ability. Those which are required are money, housing, cloting and the like as well as nights spent with her. Those beyond human ability are feelings of the heart and things like that. He (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:

"Allaahumma hadhaa qismiy feemaa amliku falaa talumniy feemaa tamliku wa laa amliku."
"O Allaah, this is my division in what I control, so do not blame me regarding that which You control and I do not." Aboo Daood (some graded it weak, others graded it hassan).
Also, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) warned of the dangers of not fulfilling justice where it is required between wives, saying:

"Man kana lahu imra`taan fa maala ilaa ihdaahumaa jaa`a yauma al-qiyamati wa shiqquhu maa`ilun."
"Whoever has two wives and favors one of them will be resurrected on Qiyama with one of his sides hanging down." Aboo Daood (Sahih)
To Be Taught Her Religion
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam):

"Kullukum raa`in wa kullukum mas`oolun `an ra`iyyatihi. Al-imaamu raa`in wa mas`oolun `an ra`iyyatihi wa ar-rajulu raa`in tiy ahlihi wa huwa mas`oolun `an ra`iyyatihi."
"All of you are shepherds and all of you will be asked about your wards. The ruler is a shepherd and shall be asked about his wards. The man is a shepherd of his family and will be asked about his ward." Bukhaaree
Knowledge in Islaam is of two types: 1) that which is obligatory upon each and every Muslim and 2) that which must be learned by some among the Ummah. Of the first type, it is obligatory for every Muslim woman to know her beliefs, how to pray, how to fast, as well as issues particular to woman such as how to purify herself from her monthly course, etc. She must also know her obligations toward parents, her husband (and his obligations toward him), her children, her neighbors, etc. as well as her rights over each of those.

It is the obligation of the husband to make sure that she acquires all the knowledge which it is obligatory for her to acquire. If this means that he has to spend money on books or tapes, then he must do so. The scholars have emphasized the importance of this right of women to the extent that many of them have given her permission to leave the house to attend a lecture at the masjid even without her husband's permission. It is well-known that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said that seeking knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim mail and female. Allaah said in the Qur`aaan:

{Yaa ayyuhaa alladhina aamanoo qoo anfusakum wa ahleekum naaran waqooduhaa an-naasu wa al-hijaaratu `alaihaa malaa'ikatun ghilaadhun shidaadun la ya`soona Allaaha maa amarahum wa yaf`aloona ma yu`maroona.}
{O you who believe guard yourselves and your family members from a fire whose fuel is people and stones. Over it are tough and fearsome angels. They do not disobey Allaah in any order they carry out that which they are ordered to do.} At-Tahreem:6
Part of the meaning of this verse is that the husband/father (the "shepherd" of the household) must take all necessary means to ensure that all those under his guardianship (wives and children) have the opportunity and the means to acquire all the knowledge they need to worship Allaah and live their lives as Allaah has prescribed that we live our lives. If he has fulfilled that, then he has fulfilled his obligation and will not be asked about the sins of his wife and children. If he fails to fulfill this, then he himself will be asked about their sins and their going astray based on HIS shortcomings in not fulfilling his obligations in this regard. In another version of the hadith about the "shepherds", the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) continues:

"...hattaa yus`ala ar-rajulu `an ahli baitihi: a aqaama feehim shar`a Allaahi am adhaa`a?"
"...until the man will be asked about the people in his household: did he establish among them the law of Allaah or did he allow it to become lost?"
To Defend Her Honor
A man should be "jealous" with regard to his wife's honor and standing. He should defend her whenever she is slandered or spoken ill of behind her back. Actually, this is a right of every Muslim in general but a right of the spouse specifically. He should also be jealous in now allowing other men to look at his wife or speak with her in a manner which is not appropriate. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) mentioned in a sahih hadith that "Three will never enter paradise... ad-dayyooth." Ad-dayyooth (sometimes translated "henpecked") is the weak husband who has no jealousy toward his wife and other men. "Jealousy" in this sense means fervor for the boundaries of Allaah and anger when they are transgressed. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:

"Inna Allaaha yughaaru wa inna al-mu`mina yughaaru wa ghairatu Allaahi an ya`tiya al-mu`minu maa harrama `alaihi."
"Verily, Allaah has jealousy and the believer has jealousy. Allaah's jealousy is due to a believer committing that which He has forbidden him." Muslim
This does not mean, however, that a Muslim should go overboard on this point suspecting his wife at every turn and trying to spy on her. This becomes Adh-dhann (suspicion) which the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) warned us about in the following hadeeth in Bukhaaree and Muslim:

"Iyyaakum wa adh-dhanna fa inna adh-dhanna akdhabu al-hadeeth."
"Stay away from suspicion for suspicion is the most lying of speech."

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