Although a husband and wife, who form a joint family life, share and cooperate in running the affairs of their house, they may have different opinions over certain matters.
A man might feel that it should be he who should decide about family affairs, with his wife’s indisputable agreement. At the same time his wife may object to her role as the obedient party.
The below is continuation of part one of husbands’ duties toward their wives:
Overlook Her Mistakes
Other than the Infallible ones (whom Allah has vowed to keep away from sins), no human being is perfect and all of us make many mistakes. Of course this is true for both men and women.
In the case of women, she may make mistakes by being impolite to her husband, do something against his wish, be harsh to him, or inflict an economic loss on him by being careless, etc.
Of course it is true that a couple should keep each other satisfied and should seriously avoid annoying each other; however, it rarely happens that one or both parties do not deviate from this line.
Some men think that they should be strict about their wives’ mistakes as they believe this to be the way to prevent the repetition of the same mistake again.
However, experience often shows exactly the reverse to be the case. A woman, whose husband is strict with her, may be able to cope with his strictness for a while, but would eventually decide to react against it as a result of frustration. She gradually gets used to his attitude until she becomes indifferent towards it.
A husband who would not practice forgiveness with regard to his wife’s mistakes, is practically encouraging her to become impudent and disobedient. He might wish to continue this attitude where he will surely have many rows with his wife. They both would have to live in a state of bitterness for the rest of their lives.
Or he might choose to leave his wife alone and not concern himself with her as much. In this case his wife, who feels she has won a fight, becomes indifferent to her husband’s will and wishes. It might reach a point that even when she commits major mistakes deliberately, he keeps silent. Their marriage then loses its warmth and they might resort to divorce.
Remember that a divorce is harmful to both parties because starting a new life is not so easy. Happiness cannot be guaranteed after divorce. Therefore, strictness is not always useful and often results in undesired events which one can read about in the media. The best way is to remain moderate and to act logically. Forgive all the trivial and non-deliberate mistakes of your wife. There is no need to shout at someone for a mistake which has happened erroneously. Of course, one can always advise others in order to help them not to repeat their mistakes.
People make many mistakes out of ignorance, so it is better to advise them patiently to correct their incorrect deeds or opinions.
Therefore, your wife cannot be forced into correcting her mistakes, but instead you should explain her mistake and its harmful effects logically so that she could choose herself not to repeat that action again. Thus not only your mutual respect remains as before, but it would also prevent the repetition of the same mistakes.
It is wise for a man to logically stop his wife from making mistakes, but if she persistently makes errors, then again he should forgive and overlook them. It is wrong for him to set about punishing her or trying to prove her guilt in order to make her apologetic. This is because women are stubborn by nature, and improper strictness makes them react more severely than before. This might be followed by unpleasant or even horrific events, such as divorce or murder.
Islam has recognized this sensitive point where men have been made responsible for their women.
“Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ‘Cope with women under all circumstances and speak to them well; (and by doing so) it may make their actions correct’.”
“Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: ‘It is a right of (your) wife that you treat her kindly, because she is under your surety, and you should feed and dress her, and forgive her ignorant deeds’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) was asked: ‘What rights a woman has on her husband, for which, if he acted accordingly, would be regarded as a good-doer?’ The Imam replied: ‘He must provide her with food and clothes and he should forgive her mistakes committed unknowingly’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) also stated: ‘Whoever punishes those who are subordinate to him, should not expect to be honoured or to attain high ranks’.”
One of the causes of rows among men and women is because men mothers-in-law butt into their family affairs.
A mother, before marrying her daughter off to a man, imagines her son-in-law to be perfect and approves for her daughter one who could make her happy. She would respect him and would treat him kindly in the hope of being able to correct his trivial faults at a later stage.
Sometimes she finds her son-in-law conforms to her expectation, and sometimes he does not. In the latter case, she intends to shape him until he can be accepted by her and for this she uses every possible means such as her own and others’ experiences, and starts to plan her approach.
She sometimes pretends to be sympathetic and sometimes strict. She might act as a guide and a supervisor, or might complain. However, the best option is to achieve her goal by influencing her daughter by making her not conform to her husband.
She uses her daughter and thus orders her to act differently at various times. Consequently, the man finds his wife to be critical of him one day and begging him to do something the next day.
An inexperienced woman would think that her mother would be sympathetic to her marriage and would conform to her advice!
Thus if her husband still does not conform to his mother- in-law’s ideal man, rows may break out between the couple which could result in divorce and even murder. That is why most men are not on good terms with their mothers-in-law. They blame them for their wives’ disobedience and believe that their mothers put words in their daughters’ mouths.
It would not be a bad idea if one learns about complaints of a few sons-in-law.
“Mr. M. Javad writes: ‘My mother-in-law is a demon, a dragon, a two-headed serpent. May God save the wolves from her. She has made my life so bitter that I am going crazy and feel like running away to the mountains and deserts… It is not only me who is fed up with this situation. This is a general case and I think ninety-five percent of men are affected by them and the other five percent probably do not have a mother-in-law’.
Mr. F. Muhammad writes: ‘My mother-in-law is always butting into my life. She causes our annoyance for no good reason. She is always speaking defamatory words about my family. Whenever I buy anything for my wife, she (the mother-in-law) starts picking up fault with it. She criticizes its colour, or model and tries to prove it worthless to my wife.’Mr. K Parviz writes: ‘My mother-in-law has treated me in such a way that I have almost divorced my wife three times. She stings like a scorpion. She teaches my wife to be rude to me, to leave the housework, or to expect the impossible from me. Whenever she comes to us, our house turns into hell. I truly hate the sight of her’.”
Most men try to counter their mothers-in-law’s influences on their wives by restricting their relationship with them. They stop their wives from going to their parents’ houses. In brief, men do not get along with their mothers-in- law and show their dislike for them by all possible means.
However, this approach, although usual, is not logical and wise. This is because a mother daughter relationship is very strong and is a natural bond which cannot be broken easily.
How can a man expect his wife to abandon her parents who have spent years trying to bring her up?
This expectation is not practical and even if it happens, it would not be permanent, as any unnatural act is temporary.
Besides if a woman feels that her husband is against her parents, she might take up a similar stance with regard to his family. She may become disobedient, disrespectful, etc.
Moreover, this attitude of the man gives an excuse to his mother-in-law to interfere more severely in their marriage. In brief this approach could have a negative result and might lead to divorce.
Anyway why should a man, who can benefit from associating with his in-laws, resort to such measures which could harm him and his family?
Here it is perhaps worth mentioning two points:
(a) Obviously a mother-in-law, not only is not an enemy to her son-in-law, but it is natural for her to like him as is evident at the beginning of a marriage. Besides she finds herself close to him because of the interest that she has in her daughter’s happiness. Therefore, when a mother-in-law interferes in her daughter’s life, it cannot be meant to be anything but with good intentions.
She means to be sympathetic, but sometimes out of ignorance, she takes the wrong steps or makes harmful suggestions. Thus one should not be too critical of such women.
(b) A mother and child relationship is a natural bond which cannot be easily broken, and whoever makes efforts in this direction. Would surely fail. Such effort is contrary to the laws of nature and cannot be justified in any way.
Just as a man is interested in his parents, so is a woman. Consequently it is best to have a kind of relationship with one’s in-laws that is beneficial to both parties. This is only possible if one exercises respect and kindness. A man can, through wisdom, respect, obedience, etc have a good relationship with his mother-and father-in-law.
He should show his love for their daughter. He should not criticize her in front of them. He should seek advice and spiritual help from them. In the event of their suggesting or doing something wrong. He should kindly and logically point out to them that they are not right. He should not speak harshly to them.
A married man should regard a good relationship with his in-laws, as his duty and a secret to a successful marriage. As a result many family problems are prevented while many more can be resolved.
In brief, it is not always the mother-in-law who is guilty but men should be wise enough to be friend them.
There are many men who enjoy a good relationship with their mothers-in-law.
“Mr. Manuchehr writes: ‘My mother-in-law is an angel or even better. I love her more than my own mother, because she is kind and understanding. She always helps us with our problems. Her existence is a guarantee of my family’s happiness and prosperity’.”
Even if a man has a mother-in-law who is stubborn, ignorant and impossible to reconcile with, he should not treat her harshly. This kind of women may make one’s life difficult, but it is always better to react softly towards their improper behaviour. This is because, by treating them kindly, one could minimize the danger to one’s marriage.
Meanwhile, the man should get closer to his wife and should make her trust him. He must discuss her mother’s wrong deeds with her, and logically prove to her, their undesirable consequences.
If a man is able to create a deep understanding with his wife, then many problems, including the one with his mother- in-law would be solved.
So do not forget good manners, be wise and treat your family kindly in order to have a successful marriage.
“Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ‘Developing friendship is half of wisdom’.”
“Imam ‘Ali (a.s) also stated: ‘Associating with people and treating them with good manners would prevent one from committing bad deeds and mischievous acts’.”
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘Associate with each other and do good. Keep away from sulking and separation’.”
Woman is an emotional being whose emotions are dominant over her logic. She is more naive and sensitive than a man. She can be deceived more easily and has less control over her emotional desires. She cannot decide wisely once she is upset. She can be amused or made upset with little effort. Thus if the man has supervision over the behaviour and actions of his wife, most of the possible risks would be averted.
This is why the holy religion of Islam appoints men to act as guardians of their families and makes them responsible for their family affairs. Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ
“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded.” (4:34)
Therefore a man, who is regarded as the protector of his family, should not practise carelessness with regard to his wife’s deeds, He must always supervise her affairs and monitor her actions, He must see to it that she does not deviate or associate with the wrong kind of people. He must logically explain to her the harms of keeping bad company. He must not allow her to leave the house with indecent clothing or which arouse sexual feelings, He must not permit her to participate in corrupt activities or to attend unworthy gatherings,
It is a fact that if a woman is left alone in her deeds and associations, she would possibly fall into the traps of evil- minded people who live in a corrupt life.
Men are recommended to take a look at the number of women who, as a result of their husbands’ negligence, have fallen prey to corruption; there are many women who have been deceived at night parties. Many families have broken down and many children have lost their families as a result of such get-togethers.
A man who allows his wife to leave the house with indecent clothes, permits her to befriend all kinds of people, and does not stop her from attending corrupt gatherings, is in fact committing the greatest perfidious act to himself, his wife, and children.
This attitude would lead his wife towards hundreds of danger zones from which she cannot easily escape. Petrol is inflammable and fire can burn it, thus it is foolish to think that leaving petrol next to fire would not set it ablaze.
How ignorant and simple minded are those men who allow their wives or daughters, by being indecently dressed, to expose themselves in the streets, while at the same time disliking the attention or notice given to them by the youth.
Wrong freedoms of this kind have grave consequences. If a woman is successful in taming her husband with regard to her unlawful desires, she would then increase the extension of her wishes up to a level where she would act independently of her husband altogether. This will result in mischievous events in the family.
“That is why the Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘A man is the guardian of his family and any guardian is responsible to his subordinates to take care of their needs ‘.”
“The Prophet (S) also stated: ‘Order women to do good deeds before they make you commit wrong ones’.”
“In addition the Prophet (S) stated: ‘Whoever obeys his wife, Allah would cast him into the fire on his face’.”
“The Prophet (S) was asked: ‘What sort of obedience is meant here’? The Prophet of Allah (S) replied: ‘It is when the husband permits a woman who asks her husband to allow her to go to the public bath, weddings, celebrations, and condolence gatherings while wearing delicate and thin clothes’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘The bliss of a man is that he becomes supervisor and guardian of his family’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘ Any man who permits his wife, who has adorned herself, to leave the house, is a mean-spirited person, and whoever calls him as such, would not have committed any sin. And any woman whose husband permits her to leave the house adorned and perfumed, with each step that she takes, Allah would build a house for her husband in hell’.”
Finally, I remind you of two points:
(a) It is correct that a man should be watchful of his wife but this should be done carefully and wisely. He must not resort to anger or violence. He must not make his wife feel that she is being ordered about or else she would react unpleasantly.
The best way is, for the man, to be kind and understanding. He must act like a sympathetic partner and explain to his wife about the harms of wrong deeds. She must be made to choose the right path herself with enthusiasm and eagerness.
(b) A man should be moderate, that is, he should neither be too strict and fussy, nor should be care-free.
A woman, like a man, needs freedom and should be at liberty in her rightful associations. She must be free to communicate with her parents, brothers, and sisters and must be allowed to keep the appropriate type of company.
In brief, there are exceptional cases where a woman should be deprived of her desires. But even in such cases one should not step beyond the limits and become too strict. Too much strictness is harmful. It destroys a friendly atmosphere and causes annoyance. A woman might react severely as a result of her husband’s strictness. She might even ask for a divorce.
Men such as this woman’s husband are, unfortunately, so strict and abnormal that their wives, despite their wish to live together, apply for divorce. Their wives become so annoyed with them that, despite having children, they are prepared to separate from them.
Why should a man forbid his wife from associating with her near-relatives? Does he not know that too much strictness prepares the grounds for some women to deviate from modesty? Has he not heard of or seen any shattered families as a result of such behaviour?
Even if one’s wife copes with one’s strictness, there would be a lack of warm family atmosphere in the house. How can one expect an imprisoned housewife to be kind to her husband and children or to eagerly pursue the housework?
The Disciplinary Rights of the Husband
Although a husband and wife, who form a joint family life, share and cooperate in running the affairs of their house, they may have different opinions over certain matters. A man might feel that it should be he who should decide about family affairs, with his wife’s indisputable agreement. At the same time his wife may object to her role as the obedient party.
Arguments and rows may then start because both parties attempt to establish their authority over the other. The best solution to such a problem is that both should try to refrain from acting as superior to the other, and try to resolve their problems through dialogue and deep understanding. This would only be feasible if both of them stop being stubborn.
Some men order their wives to do many things and if are confronted with resistance, they think it right to become annoyed, to punish or even to physically hurt their wives. This approach is not correct at all. The men of the ‘Age of Ignorance’, who lacked humanity, used to hurt and beat their wives.
“The revered Prophet (S) banned the beating of women, unless in special circumstances when punishment becomes wajib (obligatory)’.”
“The Prophet (S) also stated: ‘I am astonished at a man who beats his wife, whereas it is he himself, more than his wife, who deserves a beating. O people, do not beat your women with sticks because such an act has Qisas (reprisal)’.”
Oppressing a woman who has wishfully married her husband, who seeks comfort and tranquility with him, and who expects her husband to share with her problems, is not right. In fact Allah entrusts a woman to her husband through marriage and a man’s mistreatment with his wife would be unfaithfulness towards Allah’s trust in him.
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘Women are entrusted to men, and as such are not owners of their fortunes and misfortunes. They are with you like a trust of Allah; so do not hurt them and do not make (the life) difficult for them’.”
A man who hits his wife, inflicts such damage on her soul that she might suffer from a complex; and the family love and warmth would almost definitely fade away. How can a man maintain a sound marital relationship with his battered and degraded wife? This is really shameful.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘O you (men)! How can any of you beat his wife and there- after embrace her’?”
A man, unless having a particular right over his wife, similar to those to be mentioned in this chapter is not lawfully permitted to force his wife into doing anything or to resort to physical punishment upon her disobedience. For instance a woman, lawfully is not duty-bound to carry out housework such as cleaning, cooking, washing up, childcare, knitting, sewing, etc.
Although the majority of women do carry out these works of a housewife on their own, these are not mandatory. Men should be grateful to their wives for their work in the house. Therefore, no man has the right to question or punish his wife when faced with her refusal to carry out the house- keeping chores.
Islam recommends physical punishment of one’s wife only in two cases where his rights are violated:
Case 1: A man is Islamically and lawfully allowed to seek sexual satisfaction and pleasure from his wife and to derive all sorts of enjoyment from this relationship. His wife is lawfully duty-bound to yield to her husband’s sexual desires. If a woman refuses to satisfy her husband, the husband should initially persuade her in an orderly manner. However, if a man feels that his wife is trying to be malicious to him, and if he cannot tolerate the situation, then by observing the prescribed stages can punish her.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
“…And (as to} those on whose part you fear desertion admonish them. and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them; then if they obey you do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High Great (4:34).”
Therefore, the Qur’an allows beating one’s wife as the final stage of punishment, in the event of unreasonable behaviour of a woman with regard to the sexual desires of her husband.
The first stage is giving advice. Secondly, the man should avoid sharing her bed or turn his back towards her, and in this way he should show his anger. If nothing positive happens at the end of the second stage and still the woman continues to refuse her husband, he is permitted to beat her (lightly).
A man, however, is not permitted to surpass the prescribed limit and resort to oppression. Men are reminded of the following:
(a) The aim of physical punishment of one’s wife should be a way of education and not that of taking revenge.
(b) Hitting should be done by hand or by using a thin and light wooden stick.
(c) Hitting to the extent that results in changing the color of the skin (to blue or red) is not permitted and is punishable by the payment of a Diyah (fine).
(d) Hitting of sensitive parts of the body such as the eyes, head, stomach, etc is not permitted.
(e) Physical punishment should not be so hard as to create hatred and ill-feeling between the couple, or to drive the wife towards more disobedience.
(f) A man (who intends to punish his wife in this manner) should remember that he is to live with his wife and that the family love should not be destroyed.
(g) A man is not allowed to hit his wife if there are legitimate reasons for her non-compliance with his wishes. For instance, if she is in the state of menstruation, fasting in the month of Ramadan being in ihram (garb for Hajj pilgrimage), or if she is sick. These are acceptable reasons and a man cannot punish his wife for not complying with his wishes on these occasions.
Case 2: A woman can go out of the house only after obtaining her husband’s permission. Going out without permission is lawfully not allowed and committing it is a sin.
A tradition has been reported that the Prophet (S) did not allow any woman to go out of her house without her husband’s permission. “He stated: ‘Any woman who goes out of her house without her husband’s permission, would be subjected to the curse of all the angels in the heavens and all those who see her, be they jinn or human, until the time she returns (to her home)’.”
This is the right of any husband which must be observed by their wives.
But men should not be too strict with their wives on this account. It is better for them to allow their wives to go out whenever possible.
This right of men is not meant to be a show of strength or an attempt at putting pressure on their wives, but a means of preventing women from going to undesirable and unsuitable places.
Being too strict, not only is not useful, but may affect the family relationship, or even drive a woman towards disobedience and corruption.
A man must stop his wife from going to corrupt and unsuitable places and gatherings. It is a religious obligation for women to obey their husbands. A disobedient woman can be punished by her husband. Here again the punishment should be carried out in stages.
A woman, however, can go out of the house on specific occasions without her husband’s permission and men are not permitted to hurt their wives in such cases:
(a) Going out of the house for learning the necessary commandments of religion.
(b) Going out of the house for Hajj when she possesses the necessary financial means and ability to perform Hajj.
(c) Going out of the house to repay a debt provided it is not possible to repay without going out of the house.
It is rightful for men to be watchful of their wives but not to an extent of suspicion and distrust. Some men are suspicious and doubt their wives’ faithfulness. This is dangerous and makes life very difficult for all the family.
A man who is suffering, from this behavior, constantly picks up fault with his wife. He monitors her closely and follows her everywhere. He finds supporting evidence for his cause of suspicion from everything. If he sees his wife talking to a man, or finds a photograph of a man among her belongings, or finds a letter written to her by a man, or finds a man looking at her, he would reach certainty with respect to her unfaithfulness. If his wife hides a letter from him, he would think that it is a love letter. If she expresses her love less than before, he would doubt her sincerity.
He might even think that since his daughter does not look like him, his wife must have committed adultery.
All such examples can be regarded as a firm proof of a woman’s infidelity by the suspicious husband. The situation becomes worse if a relative or friend agrees with his suspicion.
Families, who are affected by this illness, suffer a great deal. The man would act like a detective around the house, and his wife would feel as if she was being kept in custody. They would both suffer mentally and their marriage would become endangered. They might even resort to divorce or murder.
There are many cases of homicide and suicide which have occurred as a result of suspicion.
Under these conditions a man and his wife should be aware of the possible grave consequences and, through wisdom and understanding, repel any danger which could threaten their marriage or even their lives. They only need to be aware of the potential danger and be able to think clearly in order to overcome their problems.
A man should give up his fanaticism and extreme jealousy. He must act logically. He must be aware that convicting his wife of adultery is not a trivial matter, and that such an allegation needs definite proof.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ
” O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin…” (49:12)
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘whoever, falsely, accuses his wife of committing adultery would lose all the benefits from his good deeds just as a snake sheds its skin. And for each hair on his body, one thousand sins would be written down in his record (for the Day of Judgment)’.”
“The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: ‘Whoever falsely accuses a faithful man or woman, Allah would, on the Day of Judgment, hold him on a heap of fire so that he receives the punishment for his sin’.”
As long as a woman’s unfaithfulness is not proved through firm evidence, a man does not have any right to accuse her, otherwise he would be committing a sin for which, as per Islam, he is to be punished with eighty lashes.
Evidence based on purely imaginative grounds are not indicative of anything. Old letters, pictures, etc do not prove anything.
Keeping such things is not right, but this is a mistake that most young people commit and it is not a thing to be seriously concerned with.
If a woman is seen conversing with a stranger, although she is not right in doing so, this isolated event cannot be held against her as a proof of her unfaithfulness. This is because she might have thought it rude not to pay heed to that man, or he might have not been a stranger but a friend of her father or brother.
If a woman makes a compliment to a man, although she should not, it may be out of simplicity and therefore cannot be indicative of her unfaithfulness.
If a woman tells a lie about a relationship, or hides her letters, it may be that there is a good reason for it or she may fear her husband’s groundless accusations.
If a woman has grown cold towards her husband, it may be that she is upset with him, that she may be ill, or may have other problems.
In brief, for all situations which may indicate symptoms of unfaithfulness, one can find tens of good reasons which render the possibility of any wrong doing as void.
Dear Sir! For the sake of Allah stop being suspicious. Consider yourself a fair judge and view the problem with logic. Measure the degree of the possibility of your wife’s unfaithfulness and find out whether it is definite, just a suspicion, or even feasible?
I am not saying that you should be indifferent or careless but that you should act upon the amount of evidence you possess and not more. Why should you exaggerate the problem with baseless suspicion and make life difficult for yourself and your family? How would you feel if anybody accused you in a similar manner? Why do you think in an unfair manner? Why should you disgrace yourself and your wife? Why can you not have mercy upon your wife? Have you ever thought that she might eventually deviate from the right path through your mistrust and false accusations?
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated to his son, Imam Hasan (a.s.): ‘Be careful not to act possessively when you should not. Because this would incline the right people towards corruption and the chaste people towards committing sin’.”
If you are suspicious of your wife, do not discuss it with just anyone whom you see, because they might approve of your suspicion out of enmity, simplicity or carelessness. They might approve of your suspicion out of enmity, simplicity or carelessness. They might even strengthen your suspicion and cause you unhappiness in this world and the life after. You should not, specifically inform your mother or sister because they would naturally be in agreement with you and thus increase your suspicion. You must seek advice from wise and experienced friends or relatives.
The best approach, however, is for you to talk to your wife and ask her for an explanation. But you should not seek to prove her guilt. Listen to what she has to tell you and decide like a fair judge who is free from any prejudice.
At least try to believe her and imagine your brother-in-law is presenting you with evidence of your sister’s unfaithfulness. Why should you act mercilessly and regard her as a proven criminal’?
Be wise and patient, lest you divorce her on baseless grounds. Suppose you endure the sufferings of a divorce, but how certain are you about the next wife? You would still be suspicious. What is their fault if it is you that is suffering with this illness? Be wise and try to understand your own problem.
Be careful not to resort to commit suicide or murder your wife. Because you would destroy your life here in this world and the Almighty Allah would punish you in the life Hereafter.
You must know that spilling blood would one day be revealed and then you would either be executed or would spend your life in prison.
If you do not agree with this point, then just take a look at the statistics of convicts.
Wives of suspicious men also have a great responsibility with respect to their families. These women must sacrifice and prove their ability in such difficult situations.
Dear Madam! First of all your husband is infected with a dangerous illness where he, unwillingly, takes the wrong steps which would endanger your family.
You must express your love for him as much as possible. He must be certain that he is the only man in your life. Be patient with him, do not shout at him, do not refuse to talk to him and do not be stubborn with him.
If you feel that he is monitoring your letters or controlling your comings and goings, do not protest. Tell him everything, tell the truth. A void lies or denials of the events which have happened. If he ever finds out that you have been lying about anything, he would regard it as a proof of your infidelity, the damage of which cannot easily be repaired.
If your suspicious husband ever asks you not to associate with a certain person or wants you to do a certain task, then accept his word, otherwise the cause of his doubt in you would strengthen. In brief, avoid all deeds which could make him suspicious of you.
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘Whoever exposes himself to accusation, must not blame those who become suspicious of him’.”
If your husband shows animosity towards any one, then you should break your contact with that person altogether.
Dear Madam! It is better for you to keep your family together than keeping your friendship with others. Do not think that you are a slave in the chains of your husband, but realize that you are an ill man’s wife.
Remember when you made a marital covenant with your husband; you undertook to share all the happy and the sad occasions of life. Is it now fair for you to mistreat your husband who is suffering from an illness? Put away immature thoughts and be provident. By Allah, however much your sacrifice for your family, it is worth it. A good woman is one who can cope with in difficult situations.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘Jihad of woman is in her patience towards her husband’s malicious acts and fervour’.”
Do not do anything which would make your husband suspicious. Do not look at other men.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘ Allah would be greatly angry with a married woman who fills her eyes with the looks of strangers’.”
Do not associate with strange men. Do not leave the house without your husband’s permission. Do not get in strangers’ cars. Only your chastity is not enough: but you should seriously avoid anything which would arouse your husband’s suspicion. He might become suspicious of the most trivial points of your behaviour.
“A 27-year old woman said in the court: ‘It was the winter of 1963, when on a snowy day, I got in a car which belonged to my friend’s uncle. She offered that her uncle would give me a lift home. I accepted and got in his car.
When we reached home, my husband was standing by the door of the house and since I did not want him to see me in another man’s car, I asked my friend’s uncle to drive on, which he did. Later, my husband who had seen me in that car, asked about it, but I denied everything. He became more suspicious and it reached a stage where he did not even believe my friend’s witness. Now it is eight years that he has neither lived with me nor divorced me. I do not know what to do’.”
Who do you think is to blame in this story?
I would say that the woman is guiltier than her husband. It is she who, out of carelessness and simplicity, had placed herself and her husband in this situation.
First of all she should not have accepted a lift from a stranger as this is not a correct thing to do for any woman. It is not proper and it may be dangerous.
Secondly, she should not have acted the way she did when she saw her husband. She should have stopped the car and should have explained to her husband.
Thirdly, one of her mistakes was to tell the driver to drive on.
Fourthly, she should not have denied it later. She could have explained everything even at this late stage and it could have helped to solve the problem.
Of course the man is not right either. He must not regard this event as a conclusive evidence of his wife’s guilt. He must consider the possibility that his wife might have carelessly got in a stranger’s car and then she might have, fearfully, asked the driver not to stop and naturally denied the whole affair.
He must investigate the matter and once he is certain that she is not guilty, he must be forgiving.
Do not Go After Other Women
A man must do his utmost to choose a woman that is suitable for him. He is in a position where he can exercise care and caution in finding a partner whom he is going to live with for the rest of his life. He, however, after marriage, should not go after other women. He must not think of any woman except his wife.
He must realize that a girl has left her family to live with him and it is not right for him to pursue childish desires. He must make efforts in bringing his new family together and must try to create a friendly atmosphere at home.
A man who is interested in his own happiness, must, after marriage, give up naive thoughts and must adapt himself to a new life.
It is senseless for a married man to joke with other women or express his affection for them. A man would also not like his wife to joke with men, a woman would not like this type of attitude of her husband towards other women.
A woman who sees her husband close to other women would feel jealous and would be disheartened. She would lose interest in her house and family. She might retaliate with a similar action or seek divorce.
It is not proper for a married man to have an eye on other women. Ogling and having eyes at other women results in internal anxiety, nervousness and indifference towards one’s family.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ
“Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts…” (24:30).
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘A lewd look is a poisonous arrow thrown by Satan. It is likely that such a glance would be the cause of sorrow and grief for some time’.”
Flirting is regarded as an illness by psychiatrists. An eye which has become used to this habit, would never be satisfied. Looking in this manner becomes a cause of many corruptions, where the youth can deviate from the right path. What the eyes do not see the heart would not desire.
One might initially resist the grave consequences of forbidden glances, but finally he may break down, and become influenced by what he has seen.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: ‘Frequent (forbidden) looks create lust in one’s heart, and this is sufficient for deviating the looker’.”
Islam, knowing the harm of such lewd looks, has forbidden it altogether.
A man who suddenly sees a woman in the streets or elsewhere, should at once direct his look somewhere else or close his eyes. He should not persist in staring at women. This may be difficult at first, but with a little practice he can do it.
Wise people know that preventing oneself from forbidden looks would remove many potential dangers such as murder, crime, suicide, divorce, nervous breakdown, mental disorders, weakness or heart, anxiety, family rows, etc.
I am aware of the difficulties that the youth are confronted with at this age, and I know that closing one’s eyes to obscene scenes in the streets and elsewhere is not easy, but there is not any way other than to ignore them.
A man who can close his eyes to other women, would be protected from many corruptions. Instead he would enjoy his family and peace of mind.
Dear Sir! If you are after happiness, once married, do not take notice of other women. Do not make compliments to other women in front of your wife. Do not say: “I wish I had married Miss…; missed many good opportunities…”
Such statements would hurt your wife and she would grow cold towards you and life. She might even try to do the same and talk similarly.
As a result your life would lack happiness. Pitiful are those men, who for a few moments of lust, chase after corrupt women and leave their own chaste wives, as if they have never known family love and sincerity. Such men are like animals who have only concentrated on eating, sleeping, and lust. They seem to be strangers to humanity and affection.
Housework may possibly seem an easy job to some men, but it is only fair to acknowledge it as a hard and tedious job.
A housewife, even if she works all day and night, would not be able to finish all her work. Cooking, cleaning, washing the clothes and ironing, washing the dishes and arranging them, making the beds, and arranging the furniture and above all taking care of children, not one day, but everyday is very difficult.
A man might think that his wife is just cooking food three times a day and forgets about the rest of her work.
Only a man who is prepared to stay in the house for a month and do the housework would know the pressures involved. He would then appreciate his wife’s efforts.
A housewife does all this work happily but she expects her husband to appreciate her and to show his gratitude.
Dear Sir! What is wrong with thanking your wife for her housekeeping? Why should you not express your fondness for the food she cooks? What is wrong with thanking her with regard to her efforts in taking care of your children? Are you not aware that your appreciation for her would encourage and refresh her?
If you remain indifferent to her efforts, or do not show your gratitude, she would lose interest in the housework and then you would complain about her. You should know that you could be the cause of your wife’s indolence.
If a stranger does you a small favour, you would thank him many times, but upon your wife’s many favours you are not even thanking her once! You are not prepared to even make her happy by showing your appreciation for all her efforts.
“A twenty-nine year old housewife wrote from Tehran: ‘I am married to an ungrateful and an inappreciative man who ignores my housework altogether. I wash, clean, cook, decorate the house, knit jumpers for the family, polish his shoes, iron his clothes, etc and he has not even once thanked me. Whenever I talk to him about the work in the house, he interrupts me and says that I should not praise it before him. He belittles my efforts, whereas his success is mostly due to my hard work’.”
Some men regard it as a manly act to ignore their wives’ housework. They think if they make compliments to their wives for their work, the women would be spoiled. They might even believe that a man and wife do not need to thank each other.
This belief is not right, because any good-doer from a psychological point of view, needs appreciation and gratitude. Appreciation encourages one to do good, and this is especially true for a housewife who is doing a tedious job everyday over and over again.
Thus Islam regards being thankful as a good quality in one’s behaviour.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘Whoever praises a Muslim, Allah would write many praises for him until the Day of .Judgment’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘Whoever respects a Muslim, and speaks affably to him, and removes his sorrow, would always be under the blessings of Allah’.”
Be Clean at Home Also
Observing cleanliness is necessary for everyone everywhere. One must always keep his body and clothes clean. He must bathe himself at least once a week and must wash his face and hands with soap and water every morning. He must brush his teeth, comb his hair, trim his hair, wash his feet wear clean socks every day and must also wear pure clothes. The holy religion of Islam emphasizes greatly about cleanliness and being well-dressed.
The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘Cleanliness is a part of the faith (of Islam)’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) saw a man who was dirty, had messy hair and looked unattractive. The Prophet (S) stated: ‘Using the blessings of Allah is a part of the faith (of Islam)’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam also stated: ‘A dirty person would be a bad worshipper of Allah’.”
“In addition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘Jibra’il (Gabriel) laid so much stress on brushing the teeth that I feared for them’.”
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘Allah is beautiful and he likes beauty. And he also likes to see the effect of his blessings on his servants’.”
Cleanliness and beauty is not only for women, but men should, also be clean and well-dressed. Some men are not bothered about their cleanliness and take a bath only once in a while. They do not care for the state of their clothes and do not bother about trimming their beards. They smell badly and thus make others keep away from them.
Those men who are careful about cleanliness and do lay importance on their clothing, mostly do so outside their own houses. That is they look clean and well-dressed outside the house for the people, not inside their homes for their families. They appear very smart in the streets, gatherings, etc but as soon as they return home, they change into worn out clothes. They rarely attend to the state of their hair and faces at home for the sake of their families.
They might not even bother to wash their faces before eating breakfast. Men of this kind make their families not bother to look at them.
Dear Sir! If you cannot tolerate a dirty and shabby dressed wife, and you expect her to look clean and beautiful at home, then be sure that she expects the same from you. She, too, hates the sight of a dirty, smelly and untidy husband. She also likes to see you clean and smart.
If you do not satisfy her expectations with regard to smartness, then she would notice other men who are clean and smart and she might even think they are from another world. She compares you with them and might lose interest in you. Therefore, try to look good at home as well as outside.
Your wife would not notice other men if you were successful in drawing her attention toward yourself. Why should you look good for strangers in the streets but look messy before your wife and children?
Therefore, the holy religion of Islam orders men to adorn themselves for their wives.
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘It is obligatory for a man to provide his wife with food and clothing, and not to appear before her with an unpleasant appearance. If he did (the above mentioned), then he would take care of her rights’.”
“The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: ‘You (men) must make yourselves tidy and be prepared for your wives, as you would like them (your women) to be prepared for you’.”
“Hasan ibn Jiham says: ‘I saw Hadrat Abu al-Hasan (a.s.) who had dyed his hair. I asked if indeed he had dyed his hair’. He stated: ‘Yes, adornment of man (for the sake of his wife) helps her keep her chastity. Women who deviate from the path of chastity do so due to the carelessness and faults of their husbands.’ Hadrat Abu al-Hasan then stated: ‘Do you like to see your wife untidy?’ I replied: ‘.No.’ He then added: ‘She thinks just as you do’.”
“Imam Rida (a.s.) stated: ‘Women of the Bani Israel deviated from the path of chastity because their men were not bothered about cleanliness and their good looks.’ The Imam then added: ‘What you expect of your wife, she expects the same from you’.”
Nurse Your Wife
The husband and wife always need each other’s cooperation and expression of love. However, this need becomes more intense at times of illness and on other similar occasions. An ill person, just as he needs a doctor and medicine, requires nursing and loving care. A good nurse would be able to help a patient recover better and faster.
A woman also expects her husband to nurse her when she is bed-ridden. She expects him to care for her more than her parents.
A woman who works at home like a maid, deserves such loving care from her husband. She rightly expects her husband to take care of her.
Paying for treatment and medicine is one of the usual expenditures of life and a man is duty-bound to provide her with the necessary money. A woman who is working at home without any wages, certainly has a right to expect her husband to pay for her treatment.
There are men who are shamelessly unfair. They use their wives when they are healthy and able, but refuse to pay money when they are ill. Any little money men spend for their wives’ treatment is accompanied by many complaints. Some men, if they feel the cost of treatment is high, might even lose their wives. Is this behaviour really fair?
Dear Sir! If you are interested in your happiness and your family’s prosperity, you must take your wife to a doctor when she becomes ill. You must pay for her treatment. Moreover, you must nurse her kindly. Now that she has left her parents to live with you, she expects you to be more loving to her than her parents. She is your partner and the mother of your children. Sympathize with her and make her hopeful of a speedy recovery. Cook for her. Prepare suitable food and buy the prescribed items. Feed her. All this will make her happy.
Keep the children quiet. Be watchful of her at night. Whenever she is awake ask how she is. If she cannot sleep because of pain, then stay up with her. You can even ask your children to help you look after their mother. Do not ever leave your wife unattended, especially when she is in pain.
At such times, your wife would notice your love and would in turn love you more. She would be proud of you and would attend to you and the children more, once she is healthy again.
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘The best of you is the one who is better towards his family, and I am to my family the best among all’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam also stated: ‘Whoever makes efforts to realize a wish of an ill person, would be purified from his sins, just as the day he was born’. One of the Ansars (helpers who helped the Prophet (S) settle in Madinah) asked: ‘O Prophet (S) of Allah! May my parents be sacrificed for you, what if the ill person is from amongst your family (Ahl al-Bayt)? Is there not more reward in this case?’ The Prophet of Allah (S) replied: ‘Yes’.”
To arrange for alimony of wife is wajib (obligatory) for husband. That is a man is duty-bound to pay for the expenses of his wife such as food, clothes, house, doctor, and medicine. He would be wrong not to maintain his wife and could be prosecuted by law.
One cannot expect a family to live without any expense. They all need food, medicine, clothes, and a place to live in. However, they might ask for unnecessary items in which case one can disobey them and not conform with their various desires.
A wise man would spend according to his earnings. He must classify the necessary commodities and purchase them in the order of priority whenever he can. He must also save some money for a rainy day. Some money must be put away for the house rent or purchasing a new place. He must not forget the electricity, water, gas, and telephone bills. Taxes have to be paid and school fees must be kept in mind. He must seriously avoid overspending and not pay for unimportant items. A calculated manner of spending would never confront one with bankruptcy or debt.
Allah regards balanced spending as a sign of faith and states in the Holy Qur’an: “And they who when they spend are neither extravagant nor parsimonious and (keep) between these the just mean (25:67).”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘I guarantee a person. Who spends moderately, would never become poor’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) also stated: ‘There are four groups of people whose prayers would not reach the level of acceptance; one group of persons is that which wastes his wealth and then asks the Almighty Allah, O Allah! give me my sustenance. Then Allah replies, had I not ordered you to observe moderation (in your expenditure)’.”
“Abdullah ibn Aban says: ‘I asked Musa ibn J’afar (a.s) about maintaining one’s family and he stated: ‘Extravagance and niggardliness are both abominable. One must not lose moderation’.”
A wise man would avoid borrowing money and would not take a loan for unessential purposes. An economy which is based on loans (with interests), received from banks and other establishments is Islamically and logically wrong and is not praiseworthy.
Buying goods on hire-purchase system, although makes your house look good, but takes away your comfort and peace of mind.
Why should one buy unnecessary goods more expensively and fill the pockets of bankers by installments? What kind of a life is it when everything is acquired at a hire- purchase price? Is it not better for one to wait and save his money in order to buy goods at cheaper prices?
It is true that earning money is difficult and it affects one’s life a great deal, however, more important is the way in which one spends his money. There are families with good earnings who are always under debts of others. There are also many families with low earnings who live comfortably. The difference between the two is the way they spend their earnings. Therefore, it is advantageous to a family that the man either takes control of expenditures or supervises the one who is responsible for it.
Finally, it is reminded that meanness is just as bad as overspending. If a man has more earnings he must make his family more comfortable and provide their essential requirements as much as possible.
Wealth and money are all for spending and providing the necessities of life, and not for piling up and leaving them behind in this world.
The signs of wealth must be apparent in one’s family and house. What is the use of working hard and not spending?
One must use his wealth with regard to his family and his own comfort. It is hateful to see someone who is able money wise but his children long for good food and clothes. Children of a stingy person would wait for his death to share his wealth.
If the Almighty Allah bestows his blessings onto someone, this blessing must be apparent in that person’s life.
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘He is not one of us (followers of Prophet (S) who possesses money but keeps his family away from his wealth’.”
“Musa ibn J’afar (a.s) stated: ‘A man’s family members are his dependents. Thus whoever is bestowed with the blessings of Allah, should expand on his dependents’ comfort, or else such blessings may be taken away from him’.”
Imam Rida (a.s) stated: ‘It is worthy of a man to grant his family-members with comfort by his spending, so that they do not await his death’.”
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘Arrange fruits for your dependents every Friday so that they may be pleased with the coming of Friday’.”
Extend Your Help in the Household Works
Although housekeeping is a duty of women, it must be realized that running the affairs of a house is not an easy task
A housewife, however much time she spends on housekeeping, would not be able to do it all This is especially true when one has to entertain one’s guests or when one becomes ill, etc Housekeeping is tiresome for a housewife and thus husbands are expected to assist their wives in this respect
It is not fair that a man sits around the house idly while his wife remains busy in so much works It is only proper for him to help his wife as much as possible whenever he can. This help is a sign of affection which attracts one’s wife to her husband and family
It is not at all a manly act that a man should not touch anything around the house, or orders his wife around A house is not a command headquarters, but a place of love, kindness, and cooperation
Dear Sir! Do not think that working at home is degrading On the contrary, through your assistance, your wife would appreciate you more
The Prophet (S) of Islam. Who is the most revered person in history, used to help in the housework’.”
Ayeshah, the wife of the Prophet (S) said: ‘Whenever the Prophet (S) was free from his work, he used to sew his clothes, repair his shoes and used to work at home like other men’.”
Return Home Soon
An unmarried man is free to spend his time. But once married, he must alter his program. He cannot stay out for any length of time that he desires He should inform his wife of his whereabouts, etc. He must not forget that his wife stays at home all the day, cleans the house, washes the dishes, and cooks. She waits for him to return home as soon as his work is finished, to see him, talk to him, and to enjoy his company. The children look forward to seeing their father too. It is not fair that a man should leave his family at home and pursue his enjoyment somewhere else.
Marriage is not only providing food and clothes for one’s family. A woman is her husband’s partner and not a servant. She is not there to work all the day and get fed in return, but rather she hopes to have a permanent friend and partner.
Some men are truly unfair, unjust, and foolish. They leave their wives and children at home and spend their nights somewhere else. The money that they should spend at home for the family, they waste at other places. Such men have not yet understood the meaning of love and affection and regard their cheap and filthy enjoyments as a way of good living. They overlook the fact that they would degrade themselves through such deeds. Others would recognize them as silly and impudent.
These men are the causes of the unhappiness of themselves and their families. Their acts drive their wives to seek a divorce from them.
Dear sir! you are now married. You should not act like a bachelor. You are responsible for your wife and the children. Do not associate with unworthy friends. Return home as soon as you finish your work. Enjoy a family life and be a good company for your wife and the children. Even if your nightly amusements are not wrong they can be nevertheless harmful to you and your married life.
Education and Training
A young newly married woman has the responsibility of running the affairs of her husband and as such she would need knowledge of cooking, cleaning, ironing, sewing, arranging the furniture, entertaining her guests, socializing with others, taking care of her child, etc.
Her husband would expect her to know all of this. However, his expectations may not be realized most of the time because his young wife’s knowledge about housekeeping is either non-existent or very little indeed.
What can one do? This is a problem in our societies. Neither the parents are bothered, nor the educational system contains enough programs to meet this need. Nevertheless one should find a solution to this problem.
A man, since intending to live with his wife for the rest of his life, must help educate her, because usually men are older than their wives and thus more experienced.
A man, through patience, can educate his wife and teach her things that he knows. He can even ask his mother, sister or aunts about things that he does not know or can even buy books on the related subjects like cooking, tailoring, housekeeping, etc.
A man must also encourage his wife to read the books which may prove to be morally helpful. He must correct her moral shortcomings with good manners and not by protesting, or else she would react against him.
A man, through patience, can educate his wife according to his own way of living within the first two years of their marriage. He may not be successful one hundred percent but undoubtedly would be near satisfaction.
Such education needs patience, time, and wisdom, but a man should try to achieve it. This is because a good partner and a good mother for his children is a blessing for a man.
One of the important points that a Muslim married man should remember is the fact that his wife is also a Muslim and may be unaware of the Islamic code of life and laws. She may not even know about having wuzu (ablution), praying, etc.
As a matter of fact it is a duty of parents to teach their children all the necessary Islamic matters and precepts, unfortunately; however, parents are mostly ignorant of this fact and without teaching their daughters any thing about Islam, marry them off. Thus their responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the men they marry.
Dear Sir! It is your responsibility to familiarize your wife with Islamic precepts and to teach her the dos and don’ts of the religion. Make her learn about Islamic behaviour. If you cannot do this then seek help from others or arrange for books and articles on Islam and make her read and practice them. You can even arrange her education and training through an honest and learned person.
In brief, it is a responsibility of a man to encourage his wife to do good and to forbid her from committing any wrong. If he conforms with this responsibility then he would enjoy the company of a well-behaved, kind, moral, and wise wife.
If he, however, neglects his duty, he would suffer by having an ignorant wife whose faith is weak and who is not immune from immorality. He would also be questioned by Allah in the next world regarding his negligence.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones…” (66:6).
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘When the above Ayah (verse) was revealed, one of the Muslims was crying and said: ‘I am unable to save even myself from the Hellfire and I am supposed to be responsible to save my family from Hell as well’! The Prophet (S) stated to this man: ‘It would suffice you only to order them to do those things that you have to do yourself and to forbid them from those deeds that you yourself should abstain from’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘Men have been made guardians and responsible for their families and as such they are responsible for their dependents’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) has also reminded women: ‘Invite your husbands to do good before they persuade you to commit wrong deeds’.”
Having A Child
One of the possible sore points for a couple is having a child. That is a woman may want to have a child but her husband disagrees or vice versa. This problem sometimes becomes very serious as a result of which a couple may resort to divorce.
Love for children and reproduction is a natural desire of human beings and even of animals. Children are the fruit of life and the best legacy of mankind.
The life of one who has children would not be ended by his death but rather would be continued as if with an extended life. A person without a child or children would feel lonely and forlorn and would feel even worse in old age.
A house without children is a place of boredom, and would lack warmth and love. A marriage would always be in danger of breaking down if there were no children. Thus children are the source of family warmth and survival.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: ‘One’s happiness is in having children’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘Give birth to many children because on the Day of Judgment I will take pride in your numbers over the other Ummahs (nations)’.”
Love for a child is a natural desire, but some people are deviated from their natural ‘self’ and are affected by an illness where they bring up different excuses, such as the lack of money, for not having children. However, Allah guarantees that He would give sustenance to all His creatures.
“Bakr ibn Saleh said: ‘I wrote a letter to Hadrat Abu al- Hasan (a.s.) saying that I had been taking preventive measures against having a child for five years, because my wife had been reluctant to have one, and that she was saying, lack of money would make it difficult for us to bring up a child.’ I asked Hadrat Abu al-Hasan his opinion on this matter. He replied: ‘Do not prevent having a child, because the Almighty Allah would provide him sustenance’.”
Allah would even increase a family’s sustenance due to the blessings of children. There are many people who were in difficulty before having their children, but found a comfortable life afterwards.
Some people regard children as inconvenient. This is not true and as a matter of fact children are the best source of enjoyment and amusement for the parents.
Of course taking care of children is not without difficulty and trouble, but since it conforms with the law of nature, one can cope with all the difficulties and as such it is worth taking the trouble involved.
How narrow-minded are those men and women who for the sake of not having children resort to divorce!
Is it not really surprising that a man, and that too an educated one for that matter, should disagree with the laws of nature so persistently that he would even be prepared to divorce his wife?
Some couples do not disagree on having a child but argue over the time of having one. A woman or a man of this kind would say: “One must be free at a young age as a child would deprive one from being at liberty to enjoy oneself. It is better to wait until later to have one or two children”. If both husband and wife are not of the same opinion, then arguments would start which may end in a divorce.
Let us remember that if one wants children, then this should be achieved at the earliest possible age. This is because children born from young parents are in some respects better off than those born from older parents. Firstly, these children are healthier and stronger. Secondly, since they are from younger parents, they can live for more time with their parents.
They can be better educated and brought up. But children from older parents might become deprived of their parents’ guidance and teachings due to their death or disability. Thirdly, children of younger parents would reach an age of forming their own family and taking up jobs, while their parents are still alive. Thus they can be a great deal of help to their parents when they are old.
In brief, having children at a young age is better than at an older age. But this is not so important that it should cause rows or divorce. It is better for the husband or wife to agree mutually and not let it create a rift in their marriage. Some couples disagree on the number of children they would like.
It is right that providing for education and training of many children is difficult and this is especially true in the case of those whose earnings are not high.
Therefore, it is better that couples decide on the number of children according to their moral and financial abilities. They must have understanding and be able to solve their problems through wisdom and kindness. It is not correct for either of them to insist on something illogical.
This problem is not so serious and should not lead a couple to have quarrels or resort to a divorce. There are many families who either have many children or are satisfied with only one or two.
Some couples have differences about the sex of their proposed children. Some couples, men and women prefer having a son and do not take too kindly to having girls. The birth of a daughter would make a woman feel guilty and therefore she would keep silence because she was the one who has given birth. But the man might express his dissatisfaction.
Men are different. Some do not express their dissatisfaction openly and just show a grim face. They do not particularly attend to their wives during the post-natal days. They look sad. Some men, however, react severely to the news of having a daughter. They become angry with their wives and pick up fault with them. They protest and create a row. Some men go further and might even beat them up or even divorce them.
“A woman said in the court: ‘I got married fifteen months ago and became pregnant six months later. Recently, when the time for delivery was near, my husband said to me that I had to give birth to a son. But I felt that I might have twins or even triplets. A few days ago I gave birth to twin girls. I was very happy about it. When my husband came to know about the birth, he was upset and left the room. Later, when I asked him to take the girls home he shouted at me and blamed me for delivering twin girls. He asked me to leave him. so I went to my parents and now I am applying for divorce.”
Unfortunately, this quality has remained with some people from the time of Jahiliyyah (age of ignorance) that they doubt the human nature of the female sex. They are ashamed of having daughters and feel belittled. In the age of ignorance, people used to bury their baby daughters alive. The Holy Qur’an mentions their deeds and states:
وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُمْ بِالْأُنْثَىٰ ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
“And when a daughter is announced to one of them, his face becomes black and he is full of wrath.” ( 16:58).
يَتَوَارَىٰ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ مِنْ سُوءِ مَا بُشِّرَ بِهِ ۚ أَيُمْسِكُهُ عَلَىٰ هُونٍ أَمْ يَدُسُّهُ فِي التُّرَابِ ۗ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
“He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that which is announced to him. Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge” (16:59).
But Islam denounces this wrong idea and regards men and women as equal.
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘The best of your children are your daughters’.”
“The Prophet (S) of Islam also stated: ‘The sign of a lucky woman is that her first child is a girl’.”
“In addition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘Whoever looks after three daughters or three sisters, Paradise would become incumbent upon him’.”
If a girl was inferior, Allah would not have made his (Prophet’s (SA)) descendants line continue through Hadrat Zahra (a.s).
Dear Sir: you are claiming to be a civilized and modern human being, so abstain from having such evil thoughts. What difference does it make if you have a girl or a boy? They are both your offspring and both can advance towards perfection. A girl also can become a prominent personality through your correct care and education.
A girl is in some respects better than a boy
Firstly, a girl is more sympathetic to their parents. Boys usually do not benefit their parents when they grow up and become independent. Girls, if parents do not place any preference on their sons, would be more loving towards them.
Secondly, a girl requires less expense as compared to a boy, because she generally spends less time in her parents’ house since she gets married at an earlier age and leaves her parents with only a few items for her new life. But boys become young men who may stay with their parents for a long time. The parents would have to pay for his education, find him a job, may have to pay his expenses during his two years of military service, wherever necessary, and then marry him off to a young woman, after which he would need to be provided with a house, carpets, furniture, and so on. He would even seek financial help from his parents after his marriage.
Thirdly, if parents do not discriminate between their son and daughter, and if they treat their son-in-law kindly, the son-in-law would often be more helpful to them at times of difficulties and is usually more faithful to them in comparison to their own son.
Anyway, is it a woman’s fault if she gives birth to a girl? The man and wife are both involved in the action of procreation and a man has no right to blame his wife for this matter. Otherwise it is just as reasonable for a woman to blame her husband in this regard. However, neither are to be blamed, as it is only the will of Allah to determine the sex of a baby.
There are some experts who believe that the sex of a child can be determined from the fact as to how the mother is fed during the first two months of pregnancy. So if there are people who prefer a particular sex of a baby, they should get in contact with the experts and thus prevent a situation of blaming their wives.
An intellectual man, not only should not upset at having a baby daughter, but must be very happy too. He should show his happiness, should express his affection towards his wife and should even give her a present.
He could celebrate the new birth and even take logical steps in convincing his wife that a baby daughter is just as good as a baby boy, should she be upset with having a daughter.
A wise father would not discriminate between his son and daughter, would not condemn anybody for having a daughter, and thus would fight the ignorant concepts of the ‘Age of Ignorance’.
“A man heard the news of having a newly born baby daughter, while he was in the presence of the Holy Prophet (S) of Islam. He became upset. The Prophet (S) stated:
‘Why are you upset?’ He said: ‘When I was coming out of my house, my wife was having labour pain, and now they have brought the news to me that I have had a daughter’. The Prophet (S) stated: ‘The earth has enough room for her, and the sky provides her with shelter, and Allah will provide her with sustenance. She is a sweet smelling flower from which you will get much enjoyment’.”
Pregnancy and Childbirth
The duration of pregnancy is a very sensitive and fateful period in a baby’s life. The mother’s nutritional habits together with her physical movements and psychological behavior are vital both to herself and the life of the baby in her womb.
The baby’s health or illness, strength or weakness, ugliness and beauty, and its good or bad behavior and a part of intellect and prudence, are established in the mother’s womb. One of the experts writes: “The baby’s parents are able to either grow in a fortress of health or in the ruins of sickness. It is obvious that the latter is not a suitable place in which the eternal soul or a human being should live. This is the reason that-parents are believed to shoulder the greatest responsibility compared to the whole of creation’.”
Therefore, the period of pregnancy cannot be regarded or be treated as an ordinary one. Once the pregnancy starts, the parents are given a great responsibility.
Parents may unwittingly create a variety of difficulties, many of which may be extremely difficult to remedy, because of slight carelessness when performing their duties.
Below are a few points that should be noted:
(a) Food: A foetus in its mother’s womb feeds and grows on the nourishment in her blood. Therefore, the mother’s food should be nutritive enough to provide the elements needed by the baby as well as for the welfare of the mother. Therefore any lack of vitamins, proteins, fat, sugar or carbohydrates in the mother’s intake of food would inflict harm on the baby’s health.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘The food of a foetus, is provided by the nourishment that the mother receives’.”
A major problem which confronts most of the pregnant women is that during either the whole or the majority of the pregnancy period, they lack a well-balanced appetite for food, as they develop craving for certain foods while being repulsed by others. Because they generally eat less, during this period, they should make sure that their food is not stodgy and at the same time nutritious enough to provide the essentials for the baby.
Following up a food program in this phase of pregnancy is extremely difficult, particularly for those of low income and those who are unaware of the nutritional values of different foods.
A great responsibility rests with the father who should do his utmost to provide essential foods for his wife. Carelessness on the part of the father would be harmful to the growing baby, for which he would be held responsible in both this world and in the world Hereafter.
(b) Mental State: A mother, in her pregnancy, needs serenity and should experience a sense of love towards life. This is beneficial to both the mother and her baby. The father, being responsible for providing his wife with a peaceful and lively atmosphere, should try even harder during the period of her pregnancy. The husband, through kindness and love, should behave in such a manner that his wife can feel proud and happy about being pregnant; she should feel proud that another life depends on her and that she is responsible for its welfare.
(c) Refrain from Jerky Movements: A pregnant woman should avoid strenuous activities and should rest a great deal. The lifting of heavy objects or fast body movements could result in irreparable harm to her, the baby or both. Pregnant women should refrain from doing any heavy work, and their husbands should volunteer to carry out such activities.
(d) The Fear of Labour: Delivering a baby is not always an easy event. Labour pains can sometimes be severe. Pregnant women often worry about the pain involved and the possible risks associated with child birth, followed by the period of convalescence after giving birth. Although women should be able to cope with pregnancy, labour and feeding their babies, men should also share in the responsibility of bringing up their children.
Although an embryo is conceived in women’s womb, there is also the father of the baby who has played an important role in its conception. So men should make certain for their wives’ comfort during child birth and be handy if anything should be urgently required.
It is both an Islamic and a human duty of husbands to do their utmost for their pregnant wives to provide medical care and facilities for an easy delivery. A man should try to be with his wife after the birth of their child; but if unable to do so, he should phone her or send a relative to stay with her. He should try to bring her back home himself and help her with the housework so that she can get sufficient rest to regain her lost energy. A man, who treats his wife well, will be rewarded by Allah.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘The best of men is one who treats his wife well and I, amongst you, am the best man with regard to the good treatment of my wife’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘May Allah bless a man who creates a good relationship with his wife, because Allah has appointed man to be the guardian of his wife’.”
A man, who treats his wife well, will make the atmosphere of his family life warmer and will strengthen its foundations.
His wife, in turn, would never forget her husband’s love and affection. As a result the bonds of matrimony become stronger.
Assistance in Bringing up Children
A child is the fruit of a marriage. Both man and woman have played a part in his creation and must share in all the difficulties and happiness involved. Bringing up a child is a duty for both parents and not only the mother. Although mothers most often take care of their children and attend to their feeding, cleanliness, etc, the fathers should not take their efforts granted. It is not proper for a man to assume that looking after children is a duty for women only and that men have no responsibilities in this matter. It is not fair that a father should leave his wife with their crying baby and go to rest in a separate room.
Dear brother! Your child is your responsibility too. Do you think it is fair to leave your wife with a crying baby while you rest in a separate room? Is this the proper way of doing things in your house? Just as you work hard outside the house, your wife works hard inside it, and she needs her sleep just as much as you do yours. She, too, does not enjoy from a screaming baby but she perseveres.
My brother! Humanity as well as Islam demands you to help your wife in bringing up your child. You should either help each other simultaneously or take it in turns.
If your wife experiences a sleepless night and falls asleep after the Morning Prayer, then you should not expect her to prepare your breakfast like on other days. In fact you should prepare your own and even leave hers ready and waiting for her when she wakes up.
Your wife is not duty-bound to look after your child all the time that you are out of the house or on a trip. In brief, you should assist your wife and share in looking after the child. In this way your family life would be strengthened.
Finally women should also remember that their husbands work hard to earn their living and should not expect them to offer assistance beyond their capacity. Women should not expect their tired, work-weary husbands to begin looking after the children as soon as they return home from work.
The Major Obstacle in Settling down Disagreements
The biggest obstacle in solving family rows are self- centeredness and self-conceit. Unfortunately, many people are affected by these characteristics. Such people lack a certain intelligence whereby they only acknowledge their own virtues while dismissing those of others and never own their failures. It is especially disastrous when this disorder of character is accomplished by another. Namely picking up faults with others. Sometimes both husband and wife suffer with the latter in which case they may have a row day and night. Each criticizes the other while tracing themselves totally from all faults.
Sometimes if only one side suffers from this defect of fault-finding, they would pick up fault with the other and by so doing liberate themselves completely from all criticisms.
Where both husband and wife suffer with this disorder, it is particularly difficult to reconcile them, because they would not he prepared to take anyone’s advice. When each no listens to the radio or watches a program on television pertaining to family affairs, they would notice a particular flow of character which existed in their partner and would throw it in their faces. But any talked about fault pertaining to themselves would evade their attention. They would buy a book on family morals and hand it over to their partner, without feeling any need for themselves to read it.
Selfishness can become so severe that the affected person may not even be aware of it. In such a situation, the relationship between the couple becomes strained and even impossible to continue. Consequently, either life would go on in the form of rows, distress and unhappiness, or may even lead to a divorce.
It is, therefore, recommended to all couples to abstain from selfishness and self-conceit. A couple, who are troubled with this situation, should find time to sit together and like two honest judges talk about their problem(s). They should listen to each other without prejudice. Each one should take a note of his own shortcomings without overlooking even the smallest issue, and with the intention of correcting them. Then they should both decide to correct themselves; but only if they feel the necessity for deep understanding and where they both long to revive their love and tranquility which once existed between them.
However, in the case of an inability to achieve reconciliation, they should refer their problem(s) to an experienced, faithful, aware, trustworthy, and benevolent person. If such a person is a friend or a relative, it may be to their advantage because they can tell them everything and await their verdict. They should listen to him and take note of his advice given and intend to put it into practice.
Of course being faithful to the recommendations of a judge is not easy, but a person, who is concerned about his family and its stability, peace, and survival, should persevere and later enjoy its valuable results.
Parents of such couples, if aware of their children’s family problem(s), should advise them to call on an experienced, faithful, and good intentioned judge. Parents should not take sides with either husband or wife. In this way, with the help of Allah their problems would be resolved.
Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا
“And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint a judge from his people and a judge from her people; if they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.” (4:35)
The selection taken from “Principles Of Marriage & Family Ethics” by Ibrahim Amini.