May 14, 2012

Rights of the Wife Over the Husband

Rights of the Wife Over the HusbandDowry (Mahr) This right of the wife has been discussed in some detail.  Allah said in the Qur'an:{Wa aatoo an-nisaa'a saduqaatihinna nihlatan.  Fa in tibna lakum 'an shai'in minhu nafsan fa kuloohu hanee'an maree'an.} {And give women their dowries as a gift.  Then, if they are pleased to give some of it to you, consume it with good health and enjoyment.}  An-Nisaa:4 The payment of the dowry to the wife is an obligation and a debt upon the husband until he pays it and there is no escaping it unless the wife freely and willingly gives up her right to it.  In the past, and in many cases today, the father tries to take the mahr away from his daughter.  In the jahiliya, this was justified by saying that the father was merely recouping all the expenses he put forth for his daughter who is now a member of another family and benefits them. Nowadays, it occurs often in this country that the husband tries to take back the dowry (if it is even paid in the first place) or make use of it in forms of spending which were obligatory upon HIM in the first place.  This is a lowly practice and is completely forbidden unless she explicitly allows it without any coercion or pressure.  Otherwise, it is HER property and she may dispose of it (or not) as she alone sees fit.Support (Nafaqah) Allah says:{...Wa 'alaa al-mauloodi lahu rizquhunna wa kiswatuhunna bi al-ma'roofi laa tukallafu nafsun illa wus'ahaa...} {...And upon the father is the mother's sustenance and her clothing according to what is reasonable.  No person shall have a burden on him greater than he can bear...}  Al-Baqara:233 Her support is one of the most important rights of the wife over her husband.  Ibn Katheer commented that the above verse implies that he must provide for her without extravagance nor the opposite, according to his ability and the standards set by his society at his time.  When the Prophet (sas) was asked by a man, "What is the right of our wives upon us?", he (sas) answered:"An yut'imahaa idha ta'ima wa an yaksoohaa idhaa iktasaa wa laa yadhribi al-wajhi wa laa yuqabbih wa laa yahjur illa fiy al-baiti." "That he should feed her whenever he eats and cloth her whenever he clothes himself, that he not hit her face, that he not call her ugly and that he not boycott her except within the house."  Ibn Majah A woman is even allowed to take from her husband's property without his knowledge if he falls below this basic level of supporting her.  In a hadith recorded in Muslim and Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) told Hind bint Utbah, after she complained that her husband, Abu Sufyan, was stingy and was not maintaining her and she asked if she could take from his property without his knowledge:"Khudhiy maa yakfeeka wa waladaki bi al-ma'roofi" "Take was is sufficient for you and your child according to what is customary."  Muslim & Bukhari Support of one's wife is one of the most important obligations of the husband.  It is one of the distinguishing aspects of "husbandhood".  Allah said in the Qur'an:{Ar-rijaalu qawwaamoona 'alaa an-nisaa'i bimaa fadh-dhala Allahu ba'dhahum 'alaa ba'dhin wa bimaa anfaqoo min amwaalihim...} {Men are in charge of women because of what Allah has given to some more than others and because they support them from their property.}  An-Nisaa:34 If a husband does not support his wife, she has no obligation to fulfill her obligations to him.  If a woman goes to a judge and shows that her husband will not support her, the judge may immediately separate them according to numerous scholars.  The verse makes clear that the man being "in charge" goes back to the two causes mentioned.  This means two things:  1) both men and women need to be aware of this right and this obligation and that the woman is under no obligation to stay in the marriage if she is not supported - regardless of his wealth and hers and 2) Muslim society must be organized in such a way that Muslim men are able to get the means to support a wife.  This second point is critical.  If society reaches a state where women are more able to earn a living than men, this will undermine the "in charge" status of many men in their households.  It wil in fact undermine the Islamic household altogether.  This is what is happening in virtually every Muslim land today with U.N. and other organizations giving primary attention to helping women to be economically viable and independent even when a large percentage of the men still cannot find the means to support a family.  (It is the same destruction they inflicted on families in the U.S. in the 50's 60's with the welfare system.)  The corrupting influence this will have on society as a whole cannot even begin to be described.  Women are absolutely ALLOWED in Islam to pursue business ventures (the Prophet's first wife Khadija was a major business woman in Makka), employment and other means of earning money.  They are, in fact, needed in various sectors such as women doctors and women teachers.  However, facilitating the ability of men to earn a living and support a family is the FIRST priority in an Islamic society.  All economic planning and social/economic programs must be in line with this principal.Kind and Proper Treatment Allah says:{...Wa 'aashiroohunna bi al-ma'roofi fa in karihtumoohunna ta 'asaa an takrahoo shai'an wa yaj'ala Allahu feehi khairan katheeran.} {...And consort with your wives in a goodly manner for, if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something  which Allah makes a source of abundant good.} An-Nisaa:19 Commenting on this verse, Ibn Katheer wrote:"That is, have kind speech for them, deal with them with kind deeds and in a beautiful manner to the best of your ability.  In the way that you love that from them, behave in that way towards them.  As Allah has said, "They have rights similar to those upon them according to what is right" (Al-Baqarah:228).  The Messenger of Allah (sas) said: "The best of you is the best of you to his wives and I am the best of you to my wife."  It was from his behavior that he would treat them in a beautiful fashion, with a smiling face.  He would sport with his wives, be gentle with them and spend generously upon them.  He would laugh with his wives and he even raced Aisha... Every night, he would gather his wives together in the house of the one with whom he (sas) was going to spend the night and eat dinner with them on occasion... After he prayed the night prayer, he would enter his house and talk to his wife a little bit before sleeping, making them comforted thereby.  And Allah has said: {You have in the Messenger of Allah the best example.}" Part of the problem is Muslims buying into the fantasy world being propagated in television, movies and other media.  The hadith about the rib makes it clear that it is rare to find a "perfect wife" and in the same manner, no woman should expect to find the "perfect husband".  If one is living in some fantasy world, they are apt to be greatly disappointed with real life.Physical Relations In Sahih Ibn Hibban, the following was narrated:"The wife of 'Uthman ibn Madh'oon complained to the Messenger of Allah (sas) that her husband had no need for women.  During the days he would fast and at night he would pray.  The Prophet (sas) asked him: "Am I not the best example for you to follow?"  He answered: "Certainly, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you."  The Prophet (sas) then told him:  "As for you, you pray during the night and you fast during the day.  Certainly, your wife has a right upon you and your body has a right upon you so pray and sleep and fast and break your fast." There are several similar incidents narrated where Companions of the Prophet (sas) gave similar decisions in similar situations.  In one story which took place in the presence of Umar, the Companion who was judging told the husband that since Allah had given him the right to four wives and he had only one that he could practice his praying and fasting three o

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