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Husbands worthy of Honour – Sabaahul Muslim

Sep 27, 2017

Radio Islam Programming – 27 September 2017

Sabaahul Muslim is the flagship breakfast programme on Radio Islam International that airs weekdays from 6 -9am. Every week, one contemporary issue is discussed and analysed for about 10 mins daily. The host of the programme, Ml Sulaimaan Ravat, recently discussed some tips for every husband. The discussion for that week was titled ‘How should a husband earn his honour’. Here is a summary of the points discussed and advices mentioned.

How should a husband earn his honour

First friends, then spouses.

This might sound odd but we often put so much pressure on ourselves to fulfill a role (husband/wife), that we forget to get to know each other as friends first. Every marriage will go through ups and downs, intimately and otherwise, and you’ll be surprised to realize how much having a solid, sincere friendship can pull you through the hard times.

One example of Nabi S.A.W.’s “friendship” with his wives is his relationship with Sawdah R.A. She was the first woman whom he married after the death of Khadijah, and although she was considered to be elderly compared to the other wives whom he would later marry, their relationship was one of camaraderie, confidence, and laughter.

Be a leader, in the true sense.

Being a true leader is not about being an authoritarian or a dictator, but someone who inspires love and respect, who treats others with dignity and respect. There are several excellent Islamic resources discussing leadership lessons from the life of Nabi S.A.W. Strive to embody the Sunnah in your character, not just in how many Rakaats a day you read or how you dress.

عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ هِشَامٍ ، قَالَ : سَأَلْتُ عَائِشَةَ ، رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا ، عَنْ خُلُقِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ , فَقَالَتْ : ” كَانَ خُلُقُهُ الْقُرْآنَ ” .

Saeed Bin Hishaam R.A says: ‘I asked Aishah R.A. about the character of Nabi S.A.W. She (R.A.) said: His (S.A.W.) character was the Quraan.”

Be the type of husband that a wife describes in such a manner.

Possess emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence? Empathy, being attuned to the other person’s preferences, learning to understand their personality and responding appropriately without expecting to change them into something they’re not, supporting and respecting each other as both individuals and as a team. The Prophet S.A.W. was an emotionally intelligent husband, who knew the differences in his wives’ personalities and interacted with them in a manner best suited to each woman. He comforted Ṣafiyyah R.A. when she wept; he had spirited discussions with Âishah R.A.; and he encouraged Ḥafṣah’s R.A. zeal for knowledge.

In a famous narration known as the Hadith of Abu Zar,  Aishah told Nabi S.A.W. the story of eleven women who sat together and described their husbands’ qualities and behaviours. The eleventh woman, Umm Zar, described Abû Zar as a man who was extremely generous to his wife, showering her with gifts; who went out of his way to please her; who never rebuked her or verbally abused her; who made sure that she was comfortable and satisfied. To Umm Zar, there was no greater husband than Abû Zar. Nabi S.A.W. told Âishah R.A., I am to you as Abû Zar was to Umm Zar, except that I will never divorce you.

Why did Nabi S.A.W. say that in the end? Some scholars say that as Aishah R.A. mentioned the story, Nabi S.A.W. sensed her desire to experience that emotional attachment that Umme Zar described. This is a fine example of the emotional intelligence of Nabi S.A.W.

Don’t be ignorant of female biology.

Learn about it – from menstruation to pregnancy and everything else. You need to know this stuff – it will impact your life significantly, intimately and otherwise. Don’t laugh it off or act as though it’s not worth your time and attention.

Women’s health is sorely misunderstood, and having a disinterested (or worse, disgusted) husband can make things even more difficult for women.

Nabi S.A.W. did not shy away from these matters, either as a husband or as a Messenger of Allah. Instead, he constantly enjoined men to be aware of and sensitive to their wives’ needs – just as he was with his wives.

عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّ زَيْنَبَ ابْنَةَ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَتْهُ أَنَّ أُمَّ سَلَمَةَ حَدَّثَتْهَا قَالَتْ، بَيْنَا أَنَا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ، صلى الله عليه وسلم مُضْطَجِعَةً فِي خَمِيصَةٍ إِذْ حِضْتُ، فَانْسَلَلْتُ فَأَخَذْتُ ثِيَابَ حِيضَتِي قَالَ ‏ “‏ أَنُفِسْتِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ‏.‏ فَدَعَانِي فَاضْطَجَعْتُ مَعَهُ فِي الْخَمِيلَةِ

Narrated by Umm Salamah R.A.: While I was laying with the Prophet (ﷺ) under a single woolen sheet, I got the menses. I slipped away and put on the clothes for menses. He said, “Have you got “Nifas” (menses)?” I replied, “Yes.” He then called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet. (Bukhari)

Be responsible.

Being “a good Muslim husband” doesn’t just mean fulfilling the basic rights as a husband and leaving it at that. Being a good Muslim husband means that you are on the ball as a responsible adult – whether it’s paying the bills, taking out the trash, cleaning a mess in the house, or being an engaged father (not ‘babysitting’). Doing these things is not a “kindness to the wife,” or “helping out at home.” It’s not “extra credit” and deserving of lavish praise. It is part and parcel of being a grown man responsible for his surroundings, his family, and himself.

Narrated Al-Aswad: I asked Âishah R.A. what did Nabi S.A.W. do at home. She replied. “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer.” (Bukhâri)

Âishah R.A. reported: I was asked, “What did the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, do in his house?” I said, “The Prophet was a man among men. He would remove fleas from his clothes, milk his sheep, and serve himself.” (Musnad Ahmad)

These narrations show us that Nabi S.A.W. did not just fulfil the basic rights, but went a step further in engaging himself in household chores. As a Nabi, it would have been very easy for him to secure the services of the Sahaaba R.A. to do these chores. They eagerly awaited an opportunity to serve him. However, Nabi S.A.W. done all this himself. One reason for this is that he (S.A.W.) wanted to show his Ummah the manner in which a husband should conduct himself.

Never compromise respect.

Remember that Allah describes marriage as a bond of love and mercy. Mercy and respect must always be there, even in times of conflict. Unfortunately, we tend to present respect as a quality that only men need (“men need respect, women need affection”). To have mercy and respect one’s wife is to never assume that she exists merely as an extension of you or to serve your needs. To respect her is to honour her, to defend her from harm and others’ accusations, and to have Husn al-ẓann of her.

In cases of disagreement, this respect translates as not forcing your own opinion upon her when there is Islamically acceptable room for differences of opinion.

It should go without saying, but unfortunately it bears repeating nonetheless – respecting your wife means never, ever, abusing her, physically or otherwise.

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.  [Sûrat Al-Rûm, 30:21]

Even in times of conflict, Allah tells us to behave in the most respectful and gracious of manners:

وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ

And do not forget graciousness between you.  [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:237]

The above Ayat is related to divorce. So if Allah commands us to be merciful and gracious at the time of Divorce then how much more mercy and affection should we show for marriage itself.

Her Faraidh is more important than your Nafl.

One issue that many men fall into is that in their zeal to engage more in ibâda, they end up burdening their wives even more – to the extent that she is barely able to perform her five daily Salaah. Both spouses should encourage and facilitate opportunities for each other to strengthen as Muslims, but mothers of young children especially need their husbands to step up so that they can have the necessary time they need to reconnect with Allah and flourish spiritually. (And no, that doesn’t just mean five minutes here and there.)

Ramadan is a time when this becomes more obvious than ever – for example, many men will go to Ṣalat Al-Ṭarâwîḥ while leaving their wives to deal with the children, in addition to having cooked ifṭâr beforehand. On a daily basis, though, go out of your way to facilitate your wife’s ibâda and spiritual connection.

In a lengthy narration in which Abu Darda R.A. exherted himself in Ibaadat,

Salmân Farsi R.A. told him, “Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who has a right on you.”

Abû Al-Dardâ’ R.A. came to the Prophet S.A.W. and narrated the whole story. Nabi S.A.W. said, “Salmân has spoken the truth.”   (Bukhari)

Learn conflict resolution skills.

One big reason that couples end up going for counseling is because they simply haven’t learned how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner. It’s not even about one specific issue or another; it’s about learning how to deal with whatever issues arise, in the most respectful and appropriate manner possible.

The Quran and Sunnah urge positive reconciliation between believers, and especially between husbands and wives.

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِنْ كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

And live with them honourably. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. [Sûrat Al-Nisâ’, 4:19]

By conflict resolution, It does not mean merely learning how to compromise or when to realize that your wife should have the upper hand from a fiqh point of view. We talking about a whole new way to view conflict in marriage, as a tool or vehicle to a greater goal—that of becoming a closer couple with an even stronger bond.

We might not have a choice about the conflicts that arise from differences, but we do when it comes to how we react to these conflicts. Most people don’t make any choice at all about their marital conflicts. A husband or wife may feel upset about something and merely react to that emotion. Argument ensues, which can end in a shouting match or cold distance.

Others are passive-aggressive when it comes to marital conflict. Few are the people who see conflict as an opportunity to remain calm; fewer still have the foresight not only to see how to get through this conflict unscathed, but to use it as a catalyst for growth. This is the ideal way to deal with differences, to use it to your advantage.

 Love your wife for who she is.

Not because she’s the person who cooks for you or does your laundry. Not because she’s the mother of your children. Not because you’ve settled into routine and you feel comfortable having her around and she knows how to work the coffee maker and where the family’s paperwork is filed. Love her for her. Her personality traits, her talents, her hobbies, the things about her that make her unique.

Notice them, appreciate them, compliment them. Let her know that you don’t just see her as wife or mother, but as an individual on her own. Know that long before she married you, indeed long before she was born to her own parents, she was created as a separate soul – a human being whose primary identity is as a slave of Allah.

And most importantly – let her know that you love her, with all the pride and openness that RasûlAllah S.A.W. demonstrated when he was asked, “Who do you love most?” and he responded, simply and beautifully, “Âishah.”

Final words as we conclude this topic…

Know that you are responsible for your end of the marriage, regardless of how the other party treats you. Fulfill your wife’s rights without demanding yours first, and know that you seek Allah’s Pleasure over anyone else’s. Do your job with excellence, and don’t make it conditional. Iḥsân is not merely to worship in the ritual sense, but to conduct oneself in general with an awareness that Allah is Al-Raqîb (the Ever-Watchful), and to fulfill one’s duties in the best of manners.

Then he (Jibrîl) said, “Inform me about iḥsân.” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet (know that) He sees you. (Muslim)

Muslim men should strive to match the standards set by Nabi S.A.W. when he said:

خِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ

“The best of you are those who are best to their women”

 

Tune in to Sabaahul Muslim with Ml Sulaimaan Ravat, weekdays from 6 – 9am for more interesting and thought provoking social, spiritual and political discussions.

 

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