According to Islam, family is a small society. And large societies come into existence from these small units. This small family comes into existence due to the unification of a man and a woman. It develops with the birth of children. There is a complete relation between the members of the family, and they have similar aims and benefits. The happiness of a member depends on the happiness and good fortune of other members. Previously the men and women were thinking about themselves; but after marriage they think about all the family members. The relation between a couple is not like that of two partners, two neighbors or two friends; but it is a combination of all these, and nearly a unification.
The Qur’an mentions this in a beautiful way:
Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you from among yourselves so that you may console yourselves with them. He has planted affection and mercy between you; in that are signs for people who things over.(1)
The words HE CREATED MATES FOR YOU FROM YOURSELVES proves the intensity of the relationship and companionship. Another verse about husband and wife says:
Wives are dress for you and you are also dress for them.(2)
۱- Qur’an 30:21
۲- Qur’an 2:187
The expression of husband and wife to be clothes of each other, shows the intensity of marital relations and nearness to each other. Dress is the nearest thing to the body of a person, and it is a necessity, so that it can protect one from heat and cold, cover his defects and impart beauty and comfort. The husband and wife are like this to each other.
Islam pays attention to the base of the family and good relations between husband and wife, and prescribes their duties and rights. The rights and duties of husband and wife can be divided into two parts, the common duties and the special ones. We discuss them in the following pages:
A) THE COMMON RIGHTS AND DUTIES
Rights and duties that both of them, husband and wife, should observe are:
۱٫ GOOD BEHAVIOR
There should be good behavior between husband and wife.
The holy Qur’an says: TREAT YOUR WIVES KINDLY. (1) Although the verse addresses men; however, women, have the same duty.
The husband and wife should behave each other with sympathy, good ethics, good behavior, humor, feelings for each other, helping, discipline, justice, truthfulness, and trustees of secrets, trustworthy, good willing, and kindness. Traditions also emphasize good behavior of husband and wife.
The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
A comprehensive person from the point of faith, is one whose behavior and ethics are good. Your gentle people are those who have good behavior with their wives.(2)
۱- Qur’an 4:19
۲- Bihar, Vol. 71, P. 389
۲٫ ATTRACTING THE ATTENTION OF THE PARTNER
It is the duty of husband and wife to be clean, wear proper clothes, proper haircut and face, and consider the desires of each other. Islam advises women that they should make up for their husbands at home, and wear the best clothes. They should remain clean and tidy and use perfume.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that once a woman came to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and asked: What are the rights of a man or woman? He said:
It is the duty of wife that she should use the best perfumes, wear the best of her clothes, wear the best jewelry, and in this way should present herself in morning and night in front of her husband. Nevertheless the man’s rights are more than this.(1)
The husband has also the same duties towards his wife. He should be clean and tidy, uses perfume and good clothes, maintains his face and head, and lives nicely at home.
Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) narrated from the Holy Prophet that he said; “Each of you should prepare yourself for your spouse, in the way woman keeps herself ready for her husband.” Then Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (a.s.) said: It means cleanliness and tidiness should be observed.(2)
The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) said: “The right of the wife on her husband is that he must arrange food and clothes for her, and should not enter with a dirty appearance. If he does all this he has fulfilled his duty. ” (3)
۱- Wasael, Vol. 14 P. 112
۲- Mustadrak, Vol. 2, P. 559
۳- Bihar, Vol. 103, P. 254
Hasan Ibn Jaham says that he saw Moosa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) had dyed his hair. I said: “May I am sacrificed for you, have you dyed your hair?”
He replied: “Yes, because preparation of man, increases the chastity of woman. Woman who lost her chastity did so due to her husband who had not prepared himself for his wife.”
Then he said:
Would you like to see your wife in a condition that you yourself don’t like?
“No”, I replied.
He said: “Your wife also desires the same. “(1)
۳٫ SEXUAL SATISFACTION
Although sexual satisfaction is not the only purpose of marriage, it is one of the important aims and the basic stimulus for marriage. Good relation of husband and wife is very important for a stable family. Sexual satisfaction is one of the duties of husband and wife. Husband and wife should be prepared for each other. Whenever, one of them has the desire for it; the other should also prepare him/herself and should not excuse.
The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to say to women:
“Don’t prolong your Prays so that your husbands’ desire for sex may not get over. “(2)
۱- Wasael, Vol. 14 P. 183
۲- Wasael, Vol. 14, P. 117
During intercourse the husband and wife should not think about their personal pleasure only. They should care about the satisfaction of their partners too. Because satisfying the sexual desires has good effect on the relations of the couple, and also makes the base of the family more stable.
Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) said:
“Whenever one of you goes towards your spouse, you should not do it in haste. “(1)
Imam Reza (a.s.) said:
Wife has the same expectation from you as you have from her.(2)
۴٫ LOOKING AFTER AND CHILDREN AND THEIR TRAINING
Looking after children and protecting their health, training them physically and spiritually, education and their training is a common duty of mother and father. This requires co-operation, and firmness. Although father has a great responsibility in this regard, the role of mother is more sensitive and formative for the child.
B) SPECIAL DUTIES OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
DUTIES OF THE HUSBAND
Man along with the common duties, due to his special creation has special duties; we mention some of them:
۱- Mustadrak, Vol. 2, P. 545
۲- Mustadrak, Vol. 2, P. 545
(۱) SUPERVISION AND GUARDING THE FAMILY
In Islam, mastership, guardianship, management of the family are responsibilities of man.
The Qur’an says:
Men are the ones who should support women since God has given some persons advantages over others, and because they should spend their wealth [on them]. Honorable women are steadfast, guarding the Unseen just as God has it guarded. Admonish those women whose surliness you fear, and leave them alone in their beds, and even beat them [if necessary]. If they obey you, do not seek any way [to proceed] against them, God is Sublime, Great.(1)
Although the affairs of the family should take place through understanding, advice, and co-operation of husband and wife, but this small family like other gatherings, cannot be managed nicely without an effective manager. The families without managers usually don’t get the expected results. On this basis should the wife take up the responsibility and care of the family or the husband should?
As men are more rational than women, and can bear the problems, the responsibility of supervising the family is laid on them.
On the other hand, women are usually more sensitive and sympathetic than many men, and they perform the jobs that require sympathy.
۱- Qur’an 4:34
Due to this, the well-being of the family would require the supervision of man, and that the important works of life should be performed by them with advice and capability.
It goes without saying that the supervision of man doesn’t mean that he manages the house with an iron hand and his actions should not be dictatorial, and he should not prevent other family members from expressing their views. Since a manager knows it well that no organization, big or small, can be managed by force and deprivation. Especially the rules of the family should be for peace and comfort, and a place for training of children, who are the future of the country. But it means to supervise the activities, a right plan for managing the family, with advice and exchange of views of the family members, inviting their co-operation, understanding and solving their problems, making decisions and giving the final word in the family arguments.
The responsibilities of man can be divided into three groups:
۱٫ Supply the family finance, conducting the affairs of the family with advice, exchange of opinion, and control the fiscal balance of the family.
۲٫ To protect, care, and defend the members of the family.
۳٫ Supervising religious and cultural affairs of the members of the family, and guiding them for progress and perfection of physical and mental accomplishments, and preventing them from evils of society and bad ethics.
(۲) MAINTAINING EXPENDITURE
In Islam maintaining all the expenses and payments of the family is the responsibility of man.
Is’haq Ibn Ammar questioned Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that what was the right of a woman on her husband?
He replied: “Food, clothes, and to forgive her mistakes.” (1)
(۳) RESPECT AND TOLERANCE
It is a duty of man to understand the value of his wife, and consider her a blessing from god . He should respect her, and has a tolerance with her in the life, and forgive her errors. He should not be strict and obstinate. Islam considers this a right of woman, and a duty of husband.
Imam Sajjad (a.s.) said:
The right of your wife is that you consider her as a source of comfort and peace from Allah, a blessing from Allah, then respect her. Although you have the right over her, but you should be her hearty companion. You must arrange food and clothes for her, and if she makes any mistake, forgive her.(2)
۱- Makarimul Akhlaq, Vol. 1, P. 248
۲- Bihar, Vol. 74, P. 5
(۴) THE RELIGIOUS AND ETHICAL VALUES OF THE FAMILY
It is a duty of man to safeguard the ethical and religious values of his wife. Either he should help her in these matters, or should arrange for her education in this regard. He should care her. He should invite her to good deeds and ethics, and prevent her from bad deeds and bad ethics. Altogether, he should take her away from the fire of hell, and invite her towards Paradise.
This is one aspect of supervising and guidance that is duty of men.
The holy Qur’an says:
You who believe, shield yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel will be men and stones: over it there [lurk] fierce, stern angels who do not disobey God in anything He commands them [to do]. They do whatever they are ordered to.(1)
(B) DUTIES OF WOMAN TOWARDS HER HUSBAND
Women also have important duties towards their husbands, that some of them are mentioned here through traditions. All the duties are concluded in a short sentence, and that is nice hospitality toward the husband.
Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) said: The crusade of woman is that she look well after her husband.(2)
“Good hospitality” that has come in the tradition is a small sentence but it has a vast meaning, and gathers all the goodnesses. It can be said that she must look for the well-being of the husband, and accepts her husband as the supervisor, and honor his position. She must consult him in important affairs and obeys his orders. If at times he doesn’t give permission to go out of house, she may not go out. She may change the house into a nice and loving place and encourages her husband with her good behavior, good ethics, and love. She hastens to help her husband in problems and difficulties, and gives him moral support. She is trustworthy with the wealth of the husband, and avoids extravagance and useless expenses. She encourages him in doing good deeds. Wears the best clothes in the house, and does make-up and decoration for her husband, and is always prepared to present herself to him. She makes efforts in training the children and It can be said that a woman who looks after her husband is like the warriors who are fighting in the way of Allah.
۱- Qur’an 66:6
۲- Bihar, Vol. 103, P. 252
Traditions have emphasized some points:
(۱) Obeying the husband in lawful things,
(۲) Sleeping with the husband and satisfying his sexual needs.
(۳) Trustworthiness and protecting the wealth of the husband;
(۴) To observe chastity.
(۵) Necessity of getting husband’s permission for going out.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates from the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.):
“There is no better blessing for a muslim, after Islamic faith, than a wife who when he looks at her,he becomes happy, and she obeys him and in his absence protects his wealth and chastity.” (1)
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said that a woman came to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and said, “what is the right of a man or woman?”
He answered, “She must obey him, and should not be disobedient. She must not give charity from his property without his permission, should not keep recommended fast without his permission, should not prevent him from satisfying his sexual desires, although she might be riding a camel; She may not leave the house without his permission.” (2)
۱- Wasael, Vol. 14, P. 23
۲- Wasael, Vol. 14, P. 112
THINK AND ANSWER
۱٫ What is the meaning of the words: WIVES ARE DRESS FOR YOU AND YOU ARE ALSO DRESS FOR THEM?
۲٫ What is the meaning of: AND TREAT THEM KINDLY?
۳٫ What are the common duties of husband and wife?
۴٫ What are the special duties of the husband?
۵٫ Why it is the responsibility of the man to pay the family expenses?
۶٫ How is the supervision and leadership of a man?
۷٫ Who is responsible for maintenance?
۸٫ Who is responsible for looking after the religious and ethical issues?
۹٫ What are the duties of a woman towards her husband?
۱۰٫ What is the meaning of ” good hospitality ” and when it can be said that she has kept her husband nicely?