All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. May Allaah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and all the Prophets before him and protect his nation from that which he fears for them.
Thereafter, it was said:
Islaam constitutes rights for women as it does for men. This fairness is clearly stated in the Holy Qur’aan. Soorat Al-Baqarah, Aayah 228 indicates that men are bound to rights and duties, which they have to give to women; as women are bound to rights and duties, which they have to give to men, as ordered by Allaah the Exalted.
This Aayah also states the advantage of men over women, which refers to the authority of men over women, which encompasses the added responsibilities and duties asked of men rather than women. The husband is the manager of the household affairs and the only person held responsible for supporting his wife and children with adequate food, clothing and shelter, and for providing them with the security necessary in life. The wife is not obligated to share in the financial support of the family or herself. By their characteristics, men are made to fit their position of authority and responsibility with the many characteristics that Allaah, the Creator has bestowed upon them.
In the noble principles of Islaam, the wife is entitled to certain rights from her husband. This is indicated in Soorat Al-Baqarah, Aayah 233. The first of these obligations is for the husband to give moderate financial support to his wife and dependents from his lawfully earned income. This includes providing adequate food, clothing and a suitable home. These rights of women are also confirmed in the response of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, to one of his Companions when he was asked: “Oh Messenger of Allaah, what are the rights of our women upon us?” The Prophet, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, answered what means: “To provide her with the sustenance as you are obligated to, to clothe her as you are obligated to, and to abstain from abusing her verbally, mentally, or physically.”
In this Hadeeth, the Prophet, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, forbids the husband from abusing his wife in any way or form. For example, hitting her on the face is forbidden. The husband is not permitted to verbally abuse his wife in any way, such as swearing at her or her parents and kin, or cursing her or them. Our dear Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, ordered men to treat their wives with kindness and patience.
Equally important are the rights of the husband due to him from his wife. It is a duty upon the wife to obey her husband in all matters that agree with Islaam. The wife is obligated to satisfy her husband’s desires and is not permitted to deny her husband of his rightful pleasures with her, without an Islaamicly valid reason. Also as part of the husband’s rights, the wife should ask his approval before fasting optional days. As well, the wife must not welcome any person into his home without her husband’s approval. The wife also needs her husband’s approval to leave his house for any reason except for matters of urgency. However, if the husband tells his wife to commit a sinful deed, then she becomes obligated to disobey him, because the Islaamic principle stands — There is no obedience due to any creation in what entails disobedience to the Creator.
If the husband gives his wife permission to go out of his house within the guidelines of Islaam, she is therefore not forbidden to do so. However, she must remember her obedience to Allaah and keep within the Islaamic dress code and manner of conduct, especially while in public. A reference to this matter is made in the Qur’aan and particularly in Soorat Al-AHzaab, Aayah 33.
Also, from the rights of the husband is the duty upon his wife to groom herself for him if he tells her to. She should always take care to greet him with an attractive and well-presented appearance, in the ways of personal cleansing, hygiene and grooming.
The wife is expected to be protective of her husband’s wealth and assets; both in his presence and in his absence. This means that she should preserve what he has in fortunes and money, and not spend his money freely without consideration and without his permission.
It is a duty upon the wife to respect her husband at all times and not to display authority over him, and to respect his advantages and authority over her. The wife must keep in mind that her husband is the person most deserving of her care, attention and devotion. In this respect, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said, what means: “In regard to the rights of men, the greatest of rights are due to the husband from his wife. In regard to the rights of women, the greatest of rights are due to the mother from her son.” Al-Haakim and other scholars related this Hadeeth. Also, in a Hadeeth, the Prophet, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said, what means: “Any [Muslim] woman who dies leaving a husband who is pleased with her, enters Paradise.”
The most vital aspect of a blissful marriage relies equally upon the husband and wife. Both, the husband and the wife are bound to adhere to the teachings of Islaam. They are equally responsible for their duties to one another, and most importantly, their duties to their Creator. For a peaceful and long lasting marriage, they must exercise forgiveness, and discipline themselves against holding grudges.
Inevitably it is only by adhering to Islaam that a married couple will have hope in leading a successful functional, affectionate, and satisfying marital relationship, while preserving for themselves a high status in the Hereafter.
In the end, let us take heed to the Holy Qur’aan and the honorable instructions of our dear Prophet Muhammad, Sallallaahu ^alayhi wa sallam, as well as the advice of the most pious among us.