Islamic Laws

Rights of spouses are reciprocal

By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
We have said earlier that in the holy code of conduct or Shariah of Islam, while making laws, attention has been paid towards bilateral relations (rights and duties) even in the matter of husband and wife. It is said: “Men are the maintainers of women.” It is obligatory for women to obey their husbands in conjugal affairs so much so that if the wife goes asleep while her husband is angry with her, angels continue to curse her so long as the husband is angry. Her prayer is not acceptable nor her other deeds. She cannot keep unobligatory fasts without the husband’s permission. Recommended charities and similar other good deeds must also be done with the permission of the husband, and after ascertaining what he wants.
As against this, the Holy Qur’an and traditions have also fixed responsibilities and duties upon men regarding their wives. Besides food, clothing and shelter, other serious responsibilities too are on the husbands.
Once people insisted upon a man to take a wife. He did not agree and began to weep much. They said, “Why should you weep? If you do not want a wife, just say so? He replied, “What made me weep is another thing. I have not yet taken a wife. I must first carry my own load to destination to make myself worthy of Paradise. If I take a wife then it will be upon me to save that lady also from hell. I am myself yet not fortunate enough to pass through the Sirat Bridge how shall I make my wife worthy of Paradise!” Everyone who takes a wife takes upon himself a huge responsibility as the Holy Qur’an says: O men! Save yourself and your family from hellfire.
You cannot talk only about yourself. If you have a wife, it is obligatory for you to hold her hand to take her away from hell as you are the head of the family. Another responsibility imposed by Qur’an is to live nicely with her. Whatever excessive faultfinding, you are doing with your wives is all against the Shariat of Islam. The load of responsibilities on man is indeed heavy.
Woe unto those who resort to unfair fault finding with their wives, who behave badly with their women and even, God forbid, beat them. Man has no right to beat his wife. On the other side, it is said reciprocally that O woman! You must obey your husband. Likewise man is also told: You have no right to issue orders to her as you wish. You cannot ask her as to why did you not sweep the room. Islam tells the woman: O women! Your jihad in the path of God is to serve your husbands nicely. Your jihad is your good housekeeping, husband caring. Make yourself pure, clean and beautiful. As far as you can, adorn yourself for your husband, serve him and nourish his children. Give your milk (breastfeeding) to your children and know that with every drop of the milk sucked by your child from your breast you earn the reward of freeing a slave.
Islam tells the men: You have no right to compel your wives to breastfeed your child: Feeding and clothing of the child is a responsibility of the father. You have no right to command her if she demands compensation for breastfeeding your child. She has a right to it. Nourishment of a child is a father’s duty. But Islam also tells mothers: You also, for the sake of God, without having an eye on money, lovingly and thanking God for granting you a baby, feed it, breastfeed your own child.
It is also recommended to men: Caring for the women is among the bequests of the holy Imams. It is also a part of the will made by Amirul Momineen. A woman is weaker. Man must control himself. He should not become angry towards her. He must be considerate and sympathetic towards his wife and he should be tolerant. If the wife loses her temper and begins to make an uproar, you must keep cool. Do not say what she says. If you repeat what she says the matter will worsen. This is against your responsibility. You have to forgive your wife as her might is less. Man must be different from woman in their behavior.
I feel better among women
May God be pleased with this honorable man. There is a humorous story about him. I relate this so that men must remember it and dispel the restlessness of the women in a light way. Once, in the house of the said gentleman, there was some dispute. It rose so much that the woman cursed his husband saying, “O God! Make him missing among men.” When her husband heard this he retorted, “I am happier among women.” What the woman meant was: Be dead. The husband returned her word saying: I feel better among women. This single word made all laugh and the quarrel came to end.
The rights of parents and children too are reciprocal
Among the rights of the father is that the child must honor and obey the father. The father is also recommended to be kind towards the little ones. They are told: Do not do anything that may put the child to trouble. Parents have the responsibility to nourish them, train them and fulfill their needs; and even to marry them off. The rights of parents over their children are in no way lesser than the rights of children over their parents. Just as a right of the wife over her husband is not lighter than his right over her.
Both sides must fulfill their responsibilities and duties. If one does not do so one will have to answer before God Almighty. Beware of the Day of Judgment when those whose rights were trampled upon will gather around the responsible persons. All will be told (by God): Get back your rights and establish justice by removal of injustices. Imam Sajjad yearns in Dua Abu Hamzah: On the Day of Judgment, who will release me from the hands of the claimants of rights! The Holy Qur’an says: The Day when man will flee from his brother and mother and father and wife and sons.
On the Day of Judgment, a man will run away from his wife. O Muslims! Judgment Day is such when father runs away from his child and child from his parents. Why? For what are they fleeing? Because of the rights upon them. On seeing his father, the child will run away fearing that he will catch hold of him saying: Do you remember how many rights of mine you trampled upon in the world. A wife will run away from her husband fearing that he will claim his rights which she did not take care off. But fleeing is impossible. This is the first stage. The second stage will bring blowings of the bugle. This is the beginning of the Grand Gathering (Mahshar) when people will run away from those whose rights had been trampled upon. The next stage has been mentioned in other verses of Qur’an
O you who believe! If an evildoer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done. (49:6)
Do not react to the words of a Transgressor
As mentioned before, the first part of Surah Hujurat describes how to maintain respect and honor of God and His Prophet. We have discussed about it in detail.
From today we begin to study the common responsibilities and important orders about social dealings by Muslims with one another. If people act according to these commands it will guarantee success both in this world and the Hereafter. If they disregard these orders their worldly life will be destroyed, their social life will become troublesome and their Hereafter will also be a failure.
The first order, which makes all of us responsible in this verse and on which much emphasis is laid is: O Muslims! If a liar brings you any news then be careful. It should be not so that you may make haste; that you may become affected by it instantly and believing it to be true, light up fire of quarrel only to be ashamed afterwards without any benefit. Here is an example: Suppose he says: I saw a man approaching your wife in your house when you were not there. Now, O wise man! You have no right to get exited at once believing in his word and begin to quarrel in your family with complaints resulting in approach to court and even a divorce. Then in the end it is learnt that the man who had gone to your house was your wife’s brother. The mischievous man did not know this. He though he was a stranger. He did not know that he was your wife’s brother.
You also did not make any inquiry. You believed the troublemaker’s word. You became ashamed after giving divorce to your wife. What a bad luck. One of the troubles harassing this society is that everyone who hears anything from others believes in it instantly. Such acceptance of words worsens matters. How wrong that you become exited so soon, become angry and do not look at the other side. This results in separation, deprivation, and enmity.

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