Rights of the Husband - II

Rights of the Husband - II

Intangible Rights

In the first part we mentioned that being watchful of Allah and having the right environment and company are two essential matters in reforming and correcting the Muslim homes and fulfilling the rights of the spouses. In this article, we will talk about the right of the husband over his wife, if Allah wills. This right is divided into two parts: intangible and tangible rights.

Intangible rights: Allah The Almighty gave the man the role of being in charge of his wife, and Muslim homes will not become stable or run properly unless the wife respects this right. Allah The Almighty distinguished man with qualities that are not in women, such as strength, patience and endurance. The man is more capable of leadership, shouldering responsibility and carrying out tasks. Allah The Almighty has favored men over women for that reason, as Allah The Almighty made prophethood exclusive to men and this is the best favor that Allah may give to people. Scholars have stated that Allah The Almighty has distinguished men in this regard due to the physical strength He gave them, which requires the woman to be under their charge, not the opposite, and that she does not try to be equal to him or compete with him in this respect. The husband's role of being in charge is founded upon two important factors:

1- Managing matters and affairs through endeavoring and reasoning, so he is more entitled to decide what is more beneficial and more appropriate for his home, family and children.
2- Carrying out what he has decided and found appropriate.

Allah The Almighty gave men some distinguished qualities in thinking and awareness that are not in women since men mix with people more widely than women, and even when the woman mixes with men, it is limited regardless of what she does or she becomes, for a human’s innate nature does not change. Scholars say that the role of being in charge implies instructing, guiding and teaching, not tyranny, exclusion, limitation, coercion or inflicting harm on women. Allah The Almighty mentioned this role in the Quran Saying (what means): {Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other.} [Quran 4:34]


When the woman acknowledges this right for her husband and submits in the affairs of the house to the opinion, reasoning and management of the husband, all matters will be reformed. This does not mean that the woman should not contribute with her opinion. What is not acceptable here, however, is that the woman tries to impede everything, whether it is a major or minor matter, significant or insignificant, and that her opinion must be taken by and imposed.

Sometimes, she may try to tempt her husband to approve her opinion, and were he to reject it, she would harm him and embitter his life. She may incite his children against him to change his mind or accept her opinion. If the woman ruins the role of the husband being in charge with such behavior, she would make their life miserable and she will be the first one to taste its evil consequences. If a woman spoils her children and damages her husband by neglecting this right, this would be a great catastrophe as the husband would feel he is deficient and wronged, and that his rights are being violated. This takes place especially when his children are spoilt and he is no longer able to make a decision on an issue or a problem, but his wife negatively interferes until he hates dealing with his own affairs.

In some cases, particularly when the man grows old, he may despair and abandon the reins of power due to the harm and destruction she entails. Maintaining and observing the man's role of being in charge brings about reform in the home, and neglecting and spoiling it brings about destruction and misery. Therefore, if the woman is used to interfering excessively in the affairs of her husband, she will behave like a man. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) indicated the consequences of neglecting this right, saying: “Allah curses women who behave like men.”

The woman who interferes excessively in the affairs of her husband and pokes her nose into his orders, conclusions and views, has acquired some manly qualities, and refuses to be under his charge. In doing so, she seeks to be equal to him or to show that she is more knowledgeable, wiser and more experienced than him. The role of a man being in charge of his wife implies the obligation to obey him. Some scholars consider obedience the second right of the husband, with the first right being the right of managing the house affairs, as management without obedience is fruitless. Thus, the woman is commanded to obey her husband and be under his charge. This is the basic rule because Allah The Almighty favored the man over her. However, this is contingent on the fact that his order or prohibition conforms with the Sharee‘ah of Allah The Almighty. The right of obeying the husband requires the wife to obey her husband and abide by his orders and prohibitions. The husband's order may be obligatory if he orders his wife to do an obligatory act. Allah The Almighty mentions this, Saying (what means): {And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein.} [Quran 20:132] Allah The Almighty entitles the man the right to give orders and instruction to his wife. Allah The Almighty praised one of His prophets, may Allah exalt his mention, Saying (what means): {And mention in the Book, Isma‘eel [Ishmael]. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet. And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and Zakah [obligatory charity] and was to his Lord pleasing.} [Quran 19:54-55]

Thus, the wife must obey her husband. It is very important that the woman obeys her husband to fulfill his right, particularly if he calls her to maintain her chastity and guard himself against what is unlawful.

(To be continued)

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