It would not be far from the truth to say that these words deserve to
be inscribed in gold ink.
‘Abd al-Malik (RA) said: “When ‘Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of
the most highly respected leaders of the Arab nobility during the
jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn ‘Amr
al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her
mother, Umamah came into her, to advise her and said:
‘O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice
because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been
unnecessary for you, because you posses these qualities, but it will
serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those
who are wise.
‘O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue
of her father’s wealth and her need for her father, then you of all
people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were
created for men just as men were created for them.
‘O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up,
where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to
a companion to whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you, he has become
a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become
like a servant to you.
‘Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.
‘The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and
listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and
listening to and obeying one’s husband pleases Allah.
‘The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and
look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not
smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of
beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest
‘The fifth and sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep
quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame,
and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.
‘The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or
employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care
of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his
children and servants shows good management.
‘The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets,
and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his
secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if
you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.
‘Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is
upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy,
because the former shows a lack of judgment whilst the latter will
make him unhappy.
‘Show him as much honor and respect as you can, and agree with him as
much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and
‘Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to
until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before
yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah choose what is
best for you and protect you.”