The pleasure Hadhrat Ādam must have felt when he saw a woman next to him as he awoke from a deep slumber, during which Allāh created a ‘mate’ for him from his body, is absolutely beyond our grasp. This mate called ‘Hawwā’ was a very special gift that Allāh presented to the first man of the human race.
However, men in all ages have continued to receive such a gift throughout the human history and will carry on getting the same till the Day of Qiyāmāh. Muslim men are bestowed this gift by virtue of a ceremony known as ‘Nikāh’. A Nikāh is sacred social contract between the bride and the groom. This contract is a strong covenant (Mithāqan Ghalizā) as expressed in Quran in Surāh An-Nisā Āyat 21.
Entering into such a contract is quite easy for a man but extremely difficult for a woman. Men can rarely fathom what a woman has to go through at the time of her marriage. For her, the marriage is a major transitional period of her life. She does not leave behind her parent’s house only; she leaves behind the immense love, care and pampering of her parents, the irreplaceable company of her siblings and every nook and every corner of a ‘home’ she is so dearly attached to. As a result she goes through a major emotional turmoil at the time of her wedding. During this stage of her life she has to make tremendous adjustments not only to her physical self but to her emotional self as well.
No other religion in the entire human history has accorded the status and dignity that Islām has accorded to a woman.
This is the time when a man, as a husband to the woman (or the wife), has to play a pivotal role in assuring her, not by words only but also by deeds, that he is here to embrace her wholeheartedly and that she should in no way feel the absence of her parents and her siblings.
Now the question is: how can he assure her by his words as well as by his actions that she is now a part of his life?
A wedding (an Islāmic wedding, of course) is a great blessing from Allāh. The husband gets a mate fully adorned as a ‘Bride’ on this auspicious day. The title ‘Bride’ means: ‘a woman on her wedding day or just before and after the event’. However, if a husband wants to bring true happiness in the married life he should see that the woman he marries retains the title ‘Bride’ forever – even after she becomes a mother and even after she attains the old age and become a grandma. Yes, this title should not be limited to their wedding night alone or for the period till the ‘henna’ applied on her hands (and at times, on her feet) fades out. It should be permanent. He has to continue giving her the same adulation, adoration and attention that he gave her on their wedding night.
No doubt at times misunderstandings are bound to develop between the couple but the mutual respect and love should be enough to ward of these misunderstandings. Do not let Shaytān triumph as a result of these misunderstandings.
There is a saying of the Messenger of Allāh that Iblis deputes his troops to create mischief and disorder in the world. Each one of the devils returns with a story of his performance and narrates the same to him butIblis is not satisfied with their respective performances. The moment a devil informs that he has created misunderstanding between the spouses, Iblis embraces him and his joy knows no bounds.
To fight the Devil, one needs Allāh’s Help and this comes with Taqwā. Loosely translated the word ‘Taqwā’ means living with the awareness that Allāh is watching us and will hold us accountable for our actions.
A man should have a heart that is magnanimous enough to overlook the shortcomings of his ‘Bride’. After all he must always be aware that in spite of these shortcomings she has numerous other wonderful qualities. Allāh has endowed a woman with amazing qualities. She is a spring of kindness, has a bosom that is the source of warmth, and has blood flowing in her veins that is a river of fragrance.
However, a woman’s quality of the greatest magnitude is her endurance. This quality is manifested at the time of giving birth to a child. Allāh has created a woman in such a way that her pain threshold is very high. She has to go through the long and arduous period of pregnancy which culminates into the labour pains and ultimately ends up in the toughest process of giving birth. This is time when she gambles with death. It is just impossible for a man to understand what she goes through to give the husband and other family members that ‘precious bundle of joy’.
He should always appreciate that she gives for no return. She respects him as her husband and guards his entity. Her beauty lies in her spirits. Her charm and attraction are in her enlightened mind, awareness, and wise opinion. Had the case been different, grand men of letters would not have said ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’.
We have an example of a husband ‘par excellence’ and the men of the entire world need to emulate him. That ‘husband’ is none other than Rasulullāh SallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam himself. There are numerous traditions of his that teach us to be good to our wives. A few of them are quoted below:
Anas Radhiallahu ‘anhu narrates that the Messenger of Allah SallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.”
Abu Hurairāh RadhiAllāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullāh SallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “The most perfect amongst the believers in faith is the one who has best manners; and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (Musnad Ahmed)
Abu Hurairāh RadhiAllāhu ‘anhu reported: Messenger of Allāh Sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam said, “Take my advice with regard to women: Act kindly towards women, for they were created from a rib, and the most crooked part of a rib is its uppermost. If you attempt to straighten it; you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain crooked; so act kindly toward women”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Nabi Muhammad SallAllāhu ‘alahi wasallam was once travelling and the caravan included a group of women. Women rode in a Hawdāh (a carriage for riding on the back of a camel, typically with a canopy). There was also a camel driver by the name Anjashah and he sang to the camels. He recited poetry in a beautiful way so the camels would walk faster. Anjashah raised his voice so that the camels would pick up the pace. TheHawdāh carrying the women swayed and Rasulullāh felt concerned. He said, “O Anjashah, drive slowly with Al-Qawareer (glass vessels)” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 073, Number 228, 229, 230).
By describing women as ‘al-qawareer’ (glass vessels), RasulullāhSallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam underscores that women are delicate and fragile like glass vessels and they should be handled gently and with care.
This is a command to all husbands to treat women kindly and not to oppress them; to give them their rights and to guide them to do good. We should not look for perfection in this universe; but accept what is best! There is no need to demand perfection from our wives while we are drowned in our own flaws. The MessengerSallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “A believer must not hate a believing woman. If he dislikes any of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another one.” (Reported by Muslim).
So, just think: what would be the outcome if a man, instead of appreciating or respecting his ‘Bride’, oppresses her? Obviously all the beautiful qualities of the wife and all her aspirations for a blissful married life may get nipped in bud and life for both the husband and the wife may become unpleasant.
On the contrary, we have no idea what the return will be if we embrace our “Bride’ with few words of love and kindness. All her hitherto concealed beautiful attributes may get the chance to blossom into flowers bearing pleasant fragrances.
A lot of Hikmat (wisdom) has to be used when dealing with our ‘Bride’. Below are some tips on how we can bring happiness in our home.
- Keep ‘Romance’ alive in our marriage. We should not be stingy in expressing our love to her. The three words ‘I love you’ can sometimes act as a magical wand.
- We should be observant enough to notice any new dress or hairstyle that the wife has put or any new dish she has prepared for us and compliment her accordingly with all sincerity.
- Bring home a gift or flowers for her on some important occasions.
- We should try our best not to scold or belittle the wife in front of other people or compare her negatively with other women. Even in the privacy of our bedroom, if we want to point out to her about certain mistakes she might have made then we should do it very discreetly and without hurting her feelings.
- We should never pass sarcastic or satirical remarks against her and neither should we use harsh language when talking to her even if we have lost our temper for any reason. At times we tend to taunt and insult our wife for any wrong done by anyone from her parent’s side. Such an unscrupulous behaviour creates bitterness between the couple and can ultimately lead to serious rows.
- Our behavior with our family members should be such that they should be looking forward to our returning home and not dreading it. We are often very kind and sweet to our friends and colleagues and reserve our screams and roars for our wife and children. Rasulullāh Sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam always used to enter the house with a smiling face. He never raised his hand on any of his wives and neither did he raise his voice when addressing them.
- While we try our best to please her we have to be careful not to transgress the limits of the Shariyat. Hijābhas to be maintained whenever she leaves home. Some of us have a misconception that encouraging her to wear revealing clothes in public and letting her socialize with gair-mahram men are the ways to demonstrate our love for her. On the contrary we have to pay extra attention to impart adequate IslāmicTarbiyat (nurturing) to her so that she may in turn raise the children giving them proper Islāmic Tarbiyat.
- We should try as much as we can to give her a helping hand in the household chores.
- Our parents have lots of rights that need to be fulfilled by us. We have to be extra careful to see that these rights are not violated by our over-pampering our wife otherwise we will be answerable to Allāh for doing injustice to our parents.
- In a number of families the in-laws act like outlaws. Brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, father-in-law and especially the mother-in-law create lots of problems in the life of the woman. The mother-in-law perceives the daughter-in-law as an intruder who has come to steal the son from his mother. If not an open quarrel then a cold war develops between the two women, putting the man into a very precarious position. At that time we have to try our best to bring about a compromise between the two ladies and see that they live in harmony. However, before we do that we must turn to Allāh Ta’ala and beseech His Help.
May Allāh Subhānāhu waTa’ālā guide us on Ṣwirāṭ al-mustaqīm and bless us with a blissful married life based on Taqwā and Ikhlās. We can then look forward to be reunited with our ‘Bride’ in Jannāh, inshaAllāhu Ta’ala.
…And Allāh Ta’ala Knows Best