The Muslim Woman and Her Husband. (Part Four).

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. This is a series on the roles and duties of the Muslim woman with examples of stories from the time of the Messenger of Allâh (ﷺ), his companions, and the later generations who followed them in faith. This is a series titled “THE MUSLIM WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND”.
This is the fourth in the series. Please read and benefit from it in’shaa’Allaah Ta’ala.

SHE ENCOURAGES HER HUSBAND TO SPEND FOR THE SAKE OF ALLÂH (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى).

Another way in which the true Muslim woman supports her husband is by encouraging him to spend and give charity for the sake of Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى), and not to waste money in extravagance and ostentatious purchases, as we see so many ignorant and misguided women doing.

The alert Muslim woman always wants goodness and success for her husband, so she urges him to do good deeds, and to do more of them, because she believes that by doing this, she will increase her honor in this world and her reward in the next.

One of the beautiful stories narrated about a woman’s encouraging her husband to spend for the sake of Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) is the story of Umm al-Dahdah. When her husband came to her and told her that he had given in charity the garden in which she and her children used to live, in hopes of receiving a bunch of dates (Sahīh Muslim, 8/33) in Paradise, she said, “You have got a good deal, you have got a good deal.” The Prophet (ﷺ) commented, “How many bunches of dates Abu’l-Dahdah will have in Paradise!” and he repeated this several times. (Reported by Ahmad and al-Tabarani; its narrators are rijal al-sahīh. See also Majma’ alZawa’id, 9/324).

SHE HELPS HIM TO OBEY ALLÂH (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى).

One of the qualities of the good Muslim wife is that she helps her husband to obey Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) in different ways, especially to stay up and pray at night (qiyaam al-layl). By doing this, she does him an immense favor, because she reminds him to do something he might otherwise forget or neglect. Thus she causes him, and herself, to be covered by the mercy of Allah.

What a beautiful picture the Prophet (ﷺ) drew of the married couple helping one another to obey Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) and do good deeds, and entering into the mercy of Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) together. This comes in the hadîth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه), who said:

“The Messenger of Allâh said: ‘May Allâh have mercy on the man who gets up at night to pray and wakes up his wife to pray, and if she refuses, he sprinkles water in her face. And may Allâh have mercy on the woman who gets up at night to pray, and wakes her husband up to pray, and if he refuses, she sprinkles water in his face.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, 2/45, and by al-Hakim 1/309; he said that it is sahīh according to the conditions of Muslim)

SHE FILLS HIS HEART WITH JOY.

The clever and sensitive Muslim woman does not forget that one of the greatest deeds she can do in life, after worshipping Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى), is to be successful in endearing herself to her husband and filling his heart with joy, so that he will feel in the depths of his heart that he is happy to be married to her, and enjoys living with her and being in her company. So she uses her intelligence to find ways and means of opening his heart and filling it with joy and happiness, so that she may become the queen of his heart. She understands that she is the greatest joy of a man in this world, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (رضي الله عنه), in which the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman.” (Sahīh Muslim, 10/56).

She does not forget that she is the greatest joy in this life for a man, if she knows how to endear herself to him. If she does not know how to endear herself to him then in most cases she will be a source of unhappiness and misery to her husband, as was confirmed by the Prophet (ﷺ):

“Three things make the son of Adam happy, and three make him miserable. Among the things that make the son of Adam happy are a good wife, a good home and a good means of transport; the things that make him miserable are a bad wife, a bad home and a bad means of transport.” (Reported by Ahmad, 1/168; its narrators are rijal al-sahīh)

Hence being a good wife, and endearing oneself to one’s husband, are a part of religion, because this offers protection to a man by helping him to remain chaste, and strengthens the foundations of the family, thus bringing happiness to her husband and children.

The Muslim woman by nature likes to endear herself to her husband; in doing so she finds a way of fulfilling her femininity and her inclinations to make herself attractive. But for the Muslim woman, the matter goes even further: in seeking to win her husband’s heart, she is also seeking to earn the pleasure of Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى), Who has made being a good wife a part of religion, about which she will be questioned in the Hereafter. So she does not spare any effort in her loving treatment of her husband: she presents a pleasing appearance, speaks pleasantly and kindly, and is a clever and likeable companion.

SHE MAKES HERSELF BEAUTIFUL FOR HIM.

She makes herself beautiful for her husband by means of make-up (within the home), clothing, etc., so that she will appear more beautiful and attractive, and thus make her husband happy. This was the practice of the righteous women of the salaf, who used to devote their time to worshipping Allâh and reading Qur’an. Foremost among them were ‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنه) and others; they used to wear fine clothes and jewelry at home and when they were traveling with proper covering on their bodies, in order to make themselves look beautiful for their husbands.

Bakrah bint ‘Uqbah came to ‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنه) and asked her about henna. ‘A’ishah said, “It comes from a good tree and pure water.” She asked her about removing body hair, and she said, “If you have a husband, and you could remove your eyes and replace them with something better, then do it.” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Ahkam al-Nisa’, 343).

Let those careless women who neglect their appearance in front of their husbands listen to the advice of ‘A’ishah, and realize that their beauty should be primarily for their husbands, not for their friends and peers. Those women who are failing to make themselves beautiful for their husbands are sinners, because they are falling short in one of the greatest duties of marriage. Their negligence may be the cause of their husbands staying away from them and looking at other women.

The wife whose husband only ever sees her with unkempt hair, looking pale and wan and wearing shabby old clothes, is a foolish and disobedient wife. It will be of no help to her if she rushes to beautify herself only when receiving guests, or going to a women’s party, but remains looking shabby most of the time in front of her husband. I think that the Muslim woman who is truly guided by the teachings of Islam will be safe from such shortcomings, because she treats her husband properly, and a woman who treats her husband properly is most unlikely to fail in fulfilling her duty towards him.

It is one of the teachings of Islam that a woman should make herself look beautiful for her husband, so that her husband should only ever see of her that which he likes. So it is forbidden for a woman to dress in mourning for more than three days, except in the case of her husband’s death, when she is permitted to mourn for four months and ten days. We find proof of this in the hadeeth narrated by Al-Bukhaari from Zaynab the daughter of Umm Salamah, who said, “I came to Zaynab bint Jahsh, the wife of the Prophet (ﷺ) when her brother died. She called for perfume and applied it to herself, then said, “I am not wearing perfume because I need to, but because I heard the Messenger of Allâh (ﷺ) say from the minbar:

It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) and the Last Day to grieve for more than three days, except for her husband, (for whom she may grieve) four months and ten days.” (Fath al-Bari, 9/484).

SHE IS CHEERFUL AND GRATEFUL WHEN SHE MEETS HIM.

One of the ways in which the Muslim woman makes herself attractive to her husband is by being happy, cheerful, friendly and gentle, thus flooding her husband’s life with joy. When he comes home exhausted from his work, she greets him with a smiling face and kind words. She puts her own concerns to one side for a while, and helps him to forget some of his worries. She appears as cheerful and serene as she can, and expresses her gratitude to him every time he does something good for her.

The true Muslim woman is fair-minded, and is never ungrateful to any person, because the teachings of her religion protect her from falling into the error of bad behavior and ingratitude for favors. How then could she be ungrateful to her husband, her beloved lifelong companion? She knows well the teaching of the Prophet (ﷺ):

“He does not thank Allâh who does not thank people.” (Reported by Al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/310).

She understands from this that every person who does good deeds and favors deserves thanks and recognition, so how could she hesitate or fail to show gratitude to her husband, especially when she hears the words of the Prophet (ﷺ): 

“Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى) will not look at the woman who does not thank her husband at the time when she cannot do without him.” (Reported by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, 2/190; he said it is a hadîth whose isnad is sahīh).

SHE SHARES HIS JOYS AND SORROWS.

Another of the ways in which a woman may endear herself to her husband is by sharing his joys and sorrows. So she joins him in some of his pastimes, and his daily work, such as reading, exercise, and attending useful talks and gatherings, and so on, so that her husband will feel that he is not alone in his enjoyment of the good things in life, but that he is sharing these pleasures with a loving, intelligent and loyal wife.

The fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) raced with ‘A’ishah more than once indicates the fact that Islam urges both spouses to share their partner’s joy and happiness in life, because this sharing will have a powerful effect in deepening their feelings for one another and strengthening the bonds between them.

Just as she shares his joys, so she also shares his worries and concerns, and comes to him with kind words of consolation, mature and sensible advice and sincere emotional support.

SHE DOES NOT LOOK AT OTHER MEN.

The true Muslim woman avoids looking at men other than her husband; she does not stare at men who are not related to her (i.e. who are not her mahrams), in obedience to the command of Allâh (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالٰى):

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze . . .” (24:31).

By refraining from looking at other men, she will be one of those chaste women who restrain their glances, which is a quality men like in women, because it is indicative of their purity, decency and fidelity. This is one of the most beautiful characteristics of the chaste, decent, pure Muslim woman, and this was referred to in the Qur’an when it speaks of the women of Paradise and their qualities that are loved by men:

“In them will be [Maidens] chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched.” (55:56).

SHE DOES NOT DESCRIBE OTHER WOMEN TO HIM.

Another of the characteristics of the intelligent Muslim woman is that she does not describe any of her (female) friends or acquaintances to him, because this is forbidden according to the words of the Prophet (ﷺ):

“No woman should talk about another woman, or describe her to her husband (so that it is) as if he sees her.” (Fath al-Bari, 9/338).

Islam wants people’s hearts to be at peace, and to put a stop to provocative thoughts and overactive imaginations, so that people may live their lives in a decent and calm fashion, free from such thoughts and able to go about the tasks and duties for which they were created. No man should let his mind be occupied with cheap thoughts of the contrast between his wife and the woman she describes, or let himself become crazy with the embellishments his own imagination may add to the woman’s supposed beauty. He should not let such foolish talk stop him from going about his work and usual pastimes, or lead him to temptation and make him go astray.

In’shaa’Allaah this series will continue in the next post. Subhanaka Allaahumma wabihamdika, asha’adu an ‘lailla ila anta, astaghifiruka wa atooybu ilayka.

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