I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
"And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable. " Q2:228
It is no secret that Allaah has placed within the hearts of men the love of women and women the love of men, by the virtue of which humanity got exposed to the concept of marriage (a union between two mutual lovers of the opposite gender that is meant to last forever). There cannot be any flaw in whatever Allaah legislates and if a man and woman seek first to understand the nitty-gritty of this legislation then they will be the happiest of all.
Jannah (Paradise) could not be enjoyed by Adam (AS) alone without a partner (Eve), hence, the world cannot be enjoyed without a partner. However, man in fulfilling this inherent requirement, often at times oversteps the boundary of the other partner, making the institution of marriage an arena of chaos and depression. And if the society condones and silently approves of this, then the essence of marriage will be grossly undermined.
Prior to marriage, it is always a story of lovebirds, living in a world of utopia, full of fantasies and display of a perfect image of an ideal spouse but soon after the wedding the true character of all or either of the partners becomes apparent. This realization often leads to serious frictions, disappointments and depression.
The image painted above is not true for all marriages but for those whose marriages were based on a faulty foundation. The marriage that is based on truthfulness, sincerity, honesty and modesty experiences less turbulence.
Be it as it may, the society wittingly or unwittingly largely prefers an eloquent, flashy and deceitful spouse than a truthful one. This twist in societal preference is responsible for most marital crisis that has stubbornly persisted for a long period of time and has left women more oppressed and belittled in marriages.
An exposure to tales of marital crisis will force any human with sane and balanced emotions to shed tears of sympathy for this and future generation. Women are suffering, victimized and oppressed by men that have no knowledge of what it means to be a husband and a partner. Abusive marriages are not lopsided, there are instances where men are at the receiving end but this article seeks to address the issue of women in abusive marital relationship.
Wives are in tears because they have husbands that do not know their duties as husbands or those that have chosen to conveniently ignore the rights of the wife. Some men wrongly latch on the 34th verse of Surah al-Nisa' where Allaah says (the interpretation of the meaning): "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women..." using it as a convenient tool to treat their wives as they deem fit.
Al-Baydaawi in his Tafseer said: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women" means that they are in charge of them and take care of them. Because Allaah has favored men over women by making men more perfect in reasoning and running affairs; and has given them more strength with regard to work and acts of worship. Hence, men are singled out when it comes to prophethood, leadership, guardianship, establishing rituals. And men are to spend on their wives regarding Mahr (dowry) and maintenance."
The cultural baggage inherited by some societies is one that chooses to amplify the rights of husband and duties of wife while being conveniently silent on the rights of the wife and duties of the husband beyond providing food and shelter. Flipping the coin and putting the spotlight on the rights of the wife will perhaps awaken most defaulting husbands from the slumber of exerting maximum rulership on the innocent defenseless wife.
Islam in its perfection, justice and mercy has given the wife certain financial rights over the husband such as the right to be spent on and accommodated even if she is super rich.
Islam has equally given the wife the right to be treated kindly by the husband. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And live with them honorably." Q4:19
This kind treatment includes giving her needed attention, respecting her judgement, seeking for her advice in matters, treating her as a partner and not a slave or baby producing factory. If she has co-wives, then it is equally obligatory to deal fairly and justly among them. The right to kind treatment also extends to her parents being treated with honor and dignity and not to be insulted or reviled (no matter the circumstances).
Sadly, this right is fast becoming a thing of the past with women becoming victims of gross negligence by their husbands. The husbands of today (not generalizing) prefer to smile all day with strange women only to come back home tired and exhausted denying an innocent wife the decent smile she anxiously awaits.
Negligence of not having enough attention from the husband that comes back home to sit on the same couch with her with a cellphone in his hand chatting away his marital time with strange women on various social media platforms. Men that shamelessly follow strange women on platforms such as Instagram to "like" and "comment" on their seductive pictures at the detriment of the honor and emotions of their wives. Some leaving their towns for a rendezvous with girlfriends and mistresses at the detriment of the happiness of their legally wedded spouses.
It is not all about giving money, it is also about giving the wife the needed attention.
Islam has also given the wife the right not to be harmed by the husband. She is not to be hit or beaten severely. The type of hitting allowed is such that no harm is inflicted nor injury caused (even this is under extreme circumstances) as in the case of rebellion, ill-conduct and disobedience against the commands of the husband of which the husband is to admonish her first, then forsake her in bed before hitting her. Ibn Abbas (RA) said: "hitting with a siwaak (toothbrush) and the likes.
Where does this leave men that have turned their wives to punching bags? How many a woman is seen outside smiling but the very gesture of her appearance suggests how depressive she is, living in a bondage in the name of marriage. How many a woman suffer from abusive and violent relationship but are too afraid of social stigma that they have no one to tell but Allaah through their patience!
O husbands of today! The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him ) said in a hadith recorded by Imam Muslim that: "Fear Allaah with regard to women, for you have taken them as a trust from Allaah and intimacy with them has become permissible to you by the words of Allaah..."
He (Pbuh) also said in an authentic hadith recorded in Saheeh Targheeb wa Tarheeb that: "Whoever has two wives and favors one of them over the other, will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides leaning (paralyzed)."
O parents! Always advice your sons on the rights of women lest they become monsters oppressing women. Also, advice your daughters to fear Allaah and He will bless them with a righteous spouse and a happy home. How you treat your spouses reflects on how your children will treat theirs.
Our sisters are dying emotionally, marriages that barely last a year with scary and sad stories of oppression and negligence. When the fear of Allaah becomes the driving force in our lives, our marriages will not suffer.
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