Merits of the Prophet’s Wife, Lady Khadijah

Merits of the Prophet’s Wife, Lady Khadijah

Translated from an article by 'Abdullah ibn 'Abduh Nu'man Al-'Awaadi

Spouses are partners in life. In life’s different conditions, they are friends for better or worse, in prosperity and adversity, in poverty and richness, and in hopes and pains. When a good husband marries a good wife, she becomes the best consort and friend he has won.

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was one of those whom Allah chose for them the best of women. Allah chose for His Messenger the best and most virtuous women to be his wives. Thus, they were the best wives to the best husband ever. Of his pure wives was Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a model of purity and chastity that every Muslim woman may be inspired to emulate. A Muslim woman should learn that from her as well as how to choose a husband, how to help solve the husband’s problems and how to allay his concerns and sorrows. Moreover, a wife should learn about her husband’s past life and benefit from it for a better present and future. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was also a model of unique sacrifice for advocating the truth, offering tangible and intangible support for the Islamic Call after accepting it right away and without hesitation.

The life of our Mother Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was filled with causes of righteousness for Muslim women to emulate. She is like a school whose successful graduates are those women who would like to be good wives, successful preachers, ascetic worshippers and businesswomen who uses their wealth to advocate the truth.

Here’s a short part of Khadijah’s biography Khadijah bint Khuwailid:

Allah chose for His Messenger the best and most virtuous women to be his wives.

Her biography and behavior:

Her name is Khaidijah bint Khuwailid ibn Asad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzza ibn qusai. She was from the tribe of Asad from Quraish. She was the Prophet’s wife and the first to believe in his prophethood and accept Islam. The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married her maybe 15 years or over before his prophethood. The reason why she wanted to marry the Prophet (peace be upon him) was his good behavior which was very well-known among the people of Makkah.

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), who was older than the Prophet (peace be upon him), gave birth to all his children except Ibrahim. She was honest, forbearing and wealthy. After she had become a widow, every noble man from Quraish wanted to marry her. When the Prophet (pace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to travel to trade for her, the profits increased. Later, she wanted to marry him. So, she sent Nafisah bint Umayah who said to him, “why don’t you marry?” “I have nothing.” he replied. “What if you needn’t have anything as you are invited to marry a wealthy, beautiful and an efficient woman?” she suggested. “Who is she?” he asked. “Khadijah” she answered. Thereupon, he agreed.[i]

Her qualities:

1. Nobility, honorable lineage, wealth and honor

2. Sound judgment and apparent wisdom

3. She sacrificed her wealth in order to advocate the truth

4. She loved the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and gave preference to his pleasure

5. Chastity and purity; she was nicknamed “the Pure” in the pre-Islamic period.

Her Merits:

1. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first person ever to believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

2. She was given glad tidings of Paradise while she was still alive. Narrated Abu Huraira: Gabriel came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! This is Khadija coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (i.e. Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace of hollowed pearls in Paradise wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. Allah and the archangel Gabriel greeted her.

4. The best of Muslim women

Narrated `Ali: I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Mary, the daughter of `Imran, was the best among the women (of the world of her time) and Khadija is the best amongst the women (of this nation). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5. She gave birth to all the children of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon her) who said, “Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet rewarded her for all these favors:

1. He did not marry a second wife until she had died.

2. He loved her so much and did not forget her virtues and favors

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Her love had been nurtured in my heart by Allah Himself. (Muslim)

3. He felt great sorrow over her death.

4. He always remembered her even after her death

Narrated ‘Aisha: “Once Hala bint Khuwailid, Khadija’s sister, asked the permission of the Prophet (ﷺ) to enter. On that, the Prophet (ﷺ) remembered the way Khadija used to ask permission, and that upset him. He said, “O Allah! Hala!” So I became jealous and said, “What makes you remember an old woman amongst the old women of Quraish an old woman (with a teethless mouth) of red gums who died long ago, and in whose place Allah has given you somebody better than her?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5. He kept good ties with her friends as an act of loyalty to her.

Narrated `Aisha: I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) as much as I did of Khadija though I did not see her, but the Prophet (ﷺ) used to mention her very often, and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut its parts and send them to the women friends of Khadija. When I sometimes said to him, “(You treat Khadija in such a way) as if there is no woman on earth except Khadija,” he would say, “Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children.” (Al-Bukhari)

A sad incident and its date:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) led a life of ease and comfort with Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). He found tranquility, peace of mind and solace with her. She helped him in facing all the difficulties of life so she was a joy to the eye for him. However, death is certain and it is a destiny that can never be postponed. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) died on 10 Ramadan in the 10th year after prophethood. It was also said that she died before that.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) felt great sorrow and pain at that because he lost the one who used to help and support him. He lost a beloved wife who was with him in times of prosperity and adversity for twenty five years. His sorrow increased as it wasn’t a long time since his uncle Abu Talib had died. His uncle also used to defend and protect him especially outside whereas Khadijah used to support him especially inside the house.

Lessons to be learned from this incident:

1. No matter how strong love is, death can cause people to break up. So, love whoever you wish, you will break up one day. However, the content and patient believer will be rewarded for this.

2. Sorrow which is not accompanied by words or actions that contradict patience is permissible. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) felt sorrow at the death of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)

3. One feels greater sorrow at the death of a person whose life is filled with acts of charity and goodness.

4. The death of a good wife remains a deep wound that memories, similar incidents and voices keep reopening.

5. What our mother Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) has done to support and help Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as well as her good qualities make us hold her in high esteem and to respect and praise her.


[i] Adapted from Ibn Hajar’s Al-Isabah fi tamyeez Al-Sahabah (7/600-604)

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How to Raise Truthful Children

How to Raise Truthful Children

By Muhammad Al-Ghazali

Islam commands that in the hearts of the children the seeds of the greatness and importance of truth be sown, so that they may grow up and develop on truth and may become young in its lap; and they may give it its due place in their talks.

How to Raise Truthful Children

Adoption of straight dealing and telling the truth has been very strictly insisted upon in Islam.

`Abdullah ibn `Aamir said: “once my mother called me when the Prophet was present in my house. My mother asked me to come and said that she would give me a certain thing. He asked what did she want to give? She said that she wanted to give me a date (fruit). The Prophet said: “If you had not given him this date, then the committing of a falsehood would have been entered into your record of deeds”. (Abu Dawud)

Abu Hurayrah says that the Prophet has said:

“Anybody who called a child saying that he would give him a certain thing, and did not give it, then it is a lie.” (Ahmad)

It is worth noting that in what a wise way the Prophet has instructed his followers to train their children in such a manner that they should consider truth and straight dealing respectable things and should avoid telling lies. Had the Prophet ignored these things and had not emphatically reminded about them, then there was a danger that the children on growing up would not have considered telling lies as sin.

Adoption of straight dealing and telling the truth has been very strictly insisted upon, so much so that it has been enjoined upon to take care about this in even small household matters.

Asmaa’ bint Yazid narrates that she once asked the Messenger of Allah:

“If someone of us women stated that she had no desire to have a certain thing even though she had that desire, then would it be considered a lie?”

He replied: “Falsehood is written as falsehood, and a small falsehood is written as a small falsehood.” (Muslim)

Not to Tell a Lie Even in a Joke

The establisher of the Shari`ah (peace be upon him) has warned of all the occasions where falsehood can be used and the adverse consequences of the same, so much so that it is not possible for even an ordinary enforcer to misguide the people about the reality or to lessen its importance.

A man tends to make false statements in cutting jokes, thinking that on the occasions of entertaining people there is nothing wrong if baseless information is given or false and imaginary events are related. But Islam, which considers providing relief to hearts as permissible, has fixed only those methods proper and permissible which are within that: limits of truth, because halal is much broader than haram and that truth is independent of falsehood. Allah’s Messenger has said:

“Death for the man who indulges in story-telling in order to make some people laugh and for that he relies on falsehood. There is death for him, there is destruction for him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In another hadith it is stated:

“I give guarantee of a house in the middle of Paradise for the man who has given up falsehood, though he was required to indulge in humor.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

The Prophet has said:

“A believer cannot have complete faith unless he gives up falsehood in his jokes and debates though in all other matters he speaks the truth.” (Ahmad)

This is our daily observation that people give full rein to their tongues in the matter of humorous talks to make others laugh, and do not hesitate to spread the tales and stories invented by friends or foes only for the purpose of getting some pleasure or for pulling some one’s leg, when the world has absolutely prohibited such a wrong policy, and this is a fact that this kind of entertainment and amusements and false acts create enmities and rivalries,

Avoid Exaggeration in Praise

Some peoples when they praise somebody, go to the extent of exaggerating and making false statements. For a Muslim it is necessary that when he praises somebody he should do it to the extent to which he knows about that man, he should avoid exaggeration and falsehood in showering praises of the praised one, although he may be deserving of the praises, for exaggeration is a kind of falsehood which has been forbidden,

To a person who was praising the Prophet, he said: “Do not indulge in exaggeration while praising me, as the Christians did in the case of Ibn Maryam (Christ). I am only a slave. So only say that he is a slave of Allah and His Messenger.” (Al-Bukhari)

A group of such people is always found who lick the boots of the leaders and rulers of the country and praise them to heaven. The main purpose of their lives is to compose very lengthy panegyric poems or to write long-drawn essays in praise of their benefactors.

Thus, they try to make a mountain of the molehill and place an unknown person in the palace of fame. Sometimes they do not even hesitate to call the tyrant rulers as standard bearers of justice and coward and chicken hearted soldiers as brave and lion-hearted fighters. Their only purpose in this is to earn wealth.

This is the worst kind of falsehood. Allah’s Messenger has counseled us to totally reject them and expose them till they give up their wrong practices.

Abu Hurayrah says that the Prophet has commanded us that we should throw dust in the face of those who indulge in exaggeration in their praises. (At-Tirmidhi)

The commentators have pointed out that the persons mentioned here are those who make exaggeration as their habit and through this try to earn gifts and presents from the praised ones but those persons who praise the performers of good acts with a view to encouraging them and to inciting others to follow their example are not meant.

The limits where a Muslim stops and which keep him distinct from the bootlickers and the exaggerators are: that he praises his benefactor or a good person, but he does not let him indulge in vanity and pride. These limits have been clarified by the Prophet.

Abu Bakr narrates that a man praised someone in the presence of Allah’s Messenger and the Prophet told him:

“Fie on you, you have separated the head of your companion,” He repeated these words and then said: “If someone wants to praise his brothers then if he is aware of the facts then he should say that I think he is such and such and Allah is the real Knower, and there is none purer and innocent than Allah; I consider him bearer of these qualities.” (Al-Bukhari)

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The article is excerpted from the book  “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim

 

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A Divine Call for Kindness to Parents

A Divine Call for Kindness to Parents

By Dr. Ahmad Al Khalidi

Allah (Exalted be He) addresses believers and commands them to worship Him alone and to be always kind to their parents especially when they grow old and weak in such a way that they should not utter the slightest word of disgust or disrespect to them.

A Divine Call for Kindness to Parents

Allah commands believers to worship Him alone and to be always kind to their parents especially when they grow old and weak.

The Qur’an reminds children of their parents’ favor to them in childhood specially mothers who endured pains of weight in her body, delivery and weaning.

The human status, nowadays, matches with the Qur’anic facts; as the Muslims in the east and west belong to families with strong bonds where the children are dutiful to their parents in one way or another; while most mushriks ( polytheists’) children in non-Muslim societies depart their parents as soon as they reach puberty age.

Besides, their relationship with their parents gets too weak to visit them or to do any favor for them except on occasions (if they remember them). How wonderful are the  Qur’anic teachings that call children to do good to their parents not only throughout their life but also after their death.

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

Baz, (2007) brings up that the Qur’an incites the affection of benefaction and mercy in the hearts of children, who always look forward and rarely look backward to care for their parents who  have spent the whole nectar of their life for the sake of their children until drought has approached them.

The Father

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructs children to be aware of their parents’ status in Islam.

Abu Darda’ heard the Prophet say that:

The father is the middle door of Paradise (i.e. the best way to Paradise), so it is up to you whether you take advantage of it or not.” (Ibn Majah)

And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say, “My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy even as they cherished me in childhood”. (Al-Israa’ 17:24)

The Mother

That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) commended children to treat their mother well more than any other person.

Abu Huraira reported that a person said:

“Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: ‘Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).’” (Muslim)

Allah says:

And We have enjoined upon man (care) for his parents. His mother carried him, (increasing her) in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the (final) destination. (Luqman 31:14)

True scientific discoveries usually agree with the Holy Quranic verses, so Al Tawashi (2006:265) mentions what scientists have discovered about the importance of mother’s milk, “Every day, a new benefit of mother’s milk to the baby is discovered.” He adds, “one of the facts that science has discovered about mother’s milk is that suckling up to two years after birth is very beneficial.” Moreover, “Mother’s milk is an unmatched mixture that is created by God has both an excellent food-source for the new born baby, and a substance that increases its resistance to disease. Even artificial baby food produced by today’s technology cannot substitute for this miraculous source of nutrition.”

Allah’s Mercy

Children should not forget their parents’ breeding and care. Allah orders children to be modest to their parents out of humbleness and mercy to them seeking reward from Allah. However, in case parents call their children to shirk, they should not obey them; yet they should keep kind and benevolent for them. This, indeed, reflects the extent of mercy of Allah upon parents even though they were disbelievers.

But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in this world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me in repentance. Then to Me will be your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do. (Luqman 31:15)

“If they help you in the obedience to Allah, guide and cultivate you with a correct upbringing then they deserve to be obeyed. If, however, they both deviate and strive with much effort with you to fall into shirk (associating other beings/gods) with Allah then there is no obedience to them (in that). However, the general righteousness that you should have towards them does not become void even if they try and strive against you and harm you to disbelieve in Allah, it is upon you not to forget their rights; for you must be a good companion to them in this life.” (Sahih International)

In view of that, young Muslims should always remember this Prophetic hadith that calls children to regard their parents and to be watchful for them.

`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud reported:

“I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds (takes one) nearer to Paradise? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Prayer at its proper time, I said: What next, Messenger of Allah? He replied: Kindness to the parents. I said: What next? He replied: Jihad in the cause of Allah.” (Muslim)

Fostering Ethical Concepts in Children

Luqman’s son is reminded of the rights of his parents on him, of the hardships mothers face while bearing and weaning their children and of the total dependence of infants on their mothers for two years. However, Man should be thankful to Allah first, then to his parents.

S`adi (1985) points out that one has to be respectful to his parents and that he should treat them gently, speak with them modestly using kind words, deal with them pathetically and avoid ill-treating them, particularly his mother who faced difficulty after difficulty since he was a clot until he was born, enduring his weight in her body, her sufferings from weakness and illness as well as pains of delivery.

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Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi is Researcher and translator, E L teacher and lecturer, an old member in the presentation to Islam committee.

 

 

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Between Belief and Manners in Islam

Between Belief and Manners in Islam

By Dr. Ahmad Al Khalidi

Allah (Exalted be He) guides Muslims to the best of manners to purify them and keep them away from social and psychological complexities. Allah enjoins Muslims not to enter other people’s houses without their permission and welcoming, and if it is said to them go back; they should go back as it is purer for them. Men should lower their gaze and guard their chastity; as it is better for them, and they should not draw near any apparent or hidden vice. Muslim women should also lower their gaze and keep their chastity and keep themselves from prohibited men and women.

Between Belief and Manners in Islam

Allah guides Muslims to the best of manners to purify them and keep them away from social and psychological complexities.

Privacy of Homes

Respecting privacy of homes is a moral and legal conduct. Allah made home a dwelling for family life and comfort, not a common place for anybody to enter at any time; so the Qur’an enjoins Muslims not to enter other people’s homes without taking permission and agreement, and if it is said to them go back; they should go back as it is purer for them.

O ye who believe! enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them.

And if you do not find any one therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you” Go back,  then go back: it is purer for you. And Allah is knowing of what you do. (An-Nur 24:27-28)

However, if the houses are not inhabited such as public houses and one has interest therein, he can enter without permission. Allah knows  what you display and what you conceal.

There is no sin on you that you enter (without taking permission) houses uninhabited (not possessed by anybody), (when) you have  any interest in them. And Allah has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal. (An-Nur 24:29)

The Believing Man

Chastity of believing man is a part of ideal manners. Lowering the gaze on the part of men is considered a type of sublime good manners that decreases the chance of enticement and fascination. This manner makes the  society pure and protects its sanctity and dignity.

On the authority of Ibn Mas`ud that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a shield for him. (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)

Six tips are suggested by productive Muslim.com to help young Muslims to lower their gaze: “1- Find good friends. 2- Carry a book. 3- Fight the second gaze. 4- Get married.5- Remember Allah and  6- Ask Allah (SWT) for help”.

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is well-acquainted with what they do.

`Abdul Rahman, Jamal (2001:110) On the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

I was riding behind the Prophet from Muzdalifah to Mina when a Bedwan was going side by side the Prophet with his beautiful daughter riding behind him. He said “I was looking at her, then the Prophet looked at me and turned my face away from her face, then I looked again and he turned my face until I did that for the third time without ending while the Prophet was saying “Talbiyah’ until he threw the stone of `Aqabah.” And on the authority of Ibn Khuzaimeh that the Prophet said to him “My brother’s son this is a day on which he who lowers his gaze, keeps his special parts and his tongue will be forgiven.

The Believing Woman

Chastity of believing woman honors her. Allah creates Man and knows what is harmful and what is useful for him; that’s why, He orders believing woman to be aware of her chastity and keep herself from prohibited men and women and forbids her from displaying her beauty and ornaments to prohibited people.

Allah wills the Muslim society to be free from immoral relation between man and woman. Lots of women suffer a lot in societies that ignore such divine guidance and moral etiquette. To cite Rahil Brightehard, (Bayan magazine)  who declared, in a forum held in London under the name of “The reality of woman in the west” which points out the statistics that show the dangers of coeducation and mixing males and females. She mentioned these results:

1-The percentage of pregnant adolescents at mixed British schools is 75%.

2- The  percentage of pregnant adolescents at non mixed British schools is 5%.

3- The percentage of pregnant adolescents at non mixed Islamic schools is zero %.”

These statistics also highlight the positive results of the Islamic education at school as well as paternal care and ethical guidance at home.

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Dr. Ahmad Muhammad Al khalidi is Researcher and translator, E L teacher and lecturer, an old member in Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.

 

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Rights of the Muslim Woman: The Daughter and the Wife

Rights of the Muslim Woman: The Daughter and the Wife

By Dr. Jamal Badawi 

As a Daughter

1- The Qur’an ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide(wa’d):

Rights of the Muslim Woman- The Daughter and the Wife

Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters.

When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed…. (At-Takwir 81:8-9)

2- The Qur’an went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy:

When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame he hides himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance and) contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on! (An-Nahl 16:58-59)

3- Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, Allah will enter him into paradise. (Ahmad)

Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together). (Ahmad)

4- A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females.

Prophet Muhammad said, “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim”. (Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn-Majah) The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.

As a Wife

1- Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love and compassion, and not the mere satisfying of human sexual desire.

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)

Marriage and Divorce

2- The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals.

Her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of the martial contract, according to the Prophets’ teaching. It follows that if an “arranged marriage” means the marrying of a female without her consent, then such a marriage may be annulled if the female so wishes:

Ibn `Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of Allah, and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice… (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it. (Ahmad)

Another version of the report states that the girl said: “Actually, I accept this marriage, but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right to force a husband on them.” (Ibn-Majah)

3- The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership (qiwamah) of the family, within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean “subservience” by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad helped with household chores although the responsibilities he bore and the issues he faced in his community were immense.

The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear.  No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. A heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. If you decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you offered on equitable terms. But fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:233)

Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women,

“I commend you to be kind to women.” (Al-Bukhari) He said also, “The best of you is the best to his family (wife).” (An-Nawawi in his book Riyad As-Saliheen)

The Qur’an urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him. It also outlawed the pre-Islamic Arabian practice whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased:

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the marital gift you have given them, except when they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing through which Allah brings about a great deal of good. (An-Nisaa’ 4:19)

4- Should marital disputes arise, the Qur’an encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Under no circumstances does the Qur’an encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse.

In extreme cases, and whenever greater harm, such as divorce, is a likely option, it allows for a husband to administer a gentle pat to his wife that causes no physical harm to the body nor leaves any sort of mark. It may serve, in some cases, to bring to the wife’s attention to the seriousness of her continued unreasonable behavior  (refraction), and may be resorted to only after exhausting other steps discussed in endnote.

If that mild measure is not likely to prevent a marriage from collapsing, as a last measure, it should not be resorted to. Indeed, the Qur’an outlines an enlightened step and a wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their martial life: In the event that disputes cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Qur’an prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses.

5- Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Qur’an esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right – male and female alike – to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment based upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her martial contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason) and the wife’s initiative without a “cause” provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband (khul` or divestiture).

6- Priority for the custody of young children (up to the age of about seven) is given to the mother. A child later may choose the mother or father as his or her custodian.

Custody questions are to be settled in a manner that balances the interests of both parents and the well-being of the child.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s “Gender Equity in Islam: Basic Principles”.

 

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