6. RELIGIOUS DIMENSION OF MARITAL RELATION
slam desires that the marital relations should be satisfactory and gratifying. It has given suggestions and advices to attain the goal. The matrimonial relation gets fulfilled when two strange persons unite. They are two human beings with individual differences. In order to make their relation complete, careful effort, planning and adjustments are necessary.
Family is the micro unit of the society. It gets realized through marriage. The foundation of the society gets realized when the institution of marriage is established by the will of God. That is why the matrimonial relation is considered ‘the half of Islam.’ The Holy prophet said “By getting married one’s religious mission is half fulfilled. Let him live with complete awareness of God in the next half.” (Byhaqui)
Islam has related marriage with the Heaven and Hell as it has done in the case of all other aspects of human life. Following the rules and instructions of matrimonial aspects of life are much related to the religion.
Marriage is the first institution of the society. If the family has to exist peacefully there must be a leader. It is the ‘man’ in the family. Man is the leader of the family. Qur’an says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means” (An-Nisa 34). It is because one partner is given more ability by God, and that he meets all living expenses.
The leadership of the family is attained by fulfilling one’s obligation of protecting and safe guarding the women. By presenting the Mahr (bride money to the bride, the leadership of the man commences. Allah has enjoined: “Wed them (women) with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable.” (An-Nisa 25)
“There will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their dower (Mahr).” (Al Mumthahina: 10)
In continuation to this (i.e. paying Mahr, the right of woman) the duty of protecting the woman is vested with the man (husband). Islam instructs the obligation should be performed well. The prophet said: “It is your obligation to give them food and clothing.” (Tirmidi)
Mu'aviya: reported: He asked the prophet as to the obligations of men to their wives. The prophet said, “If you eat, feed her too; If you wear clothes, clad her too. Don't slap on the face; don’t scold. Except at home, don’t be away from them.” (Abu Dawood)
Islam teaches that protecting one's wife in this way is the husband’s obligation. Abu Masood reported: If one is spending his wealth for the sake of his family expecting the reward of God, it will be considered as his sadagah. (Bukhari/Muslim)
The prophet said: “whatever you spend is considered as alms (charity) - even the food you put in mouth her.” (Bukhari)
“Of all the money spent in the way of God, or for freeing a slave, or the indigent, or on one’s wife, the money spent for the wife is the most rewarding.” (Muslim)
If the husband doesn’t meet his wife’s expenses, she has the right to defray her expenses by using his wealth in a moderate way. Hazrat Ayisha reported that Abu Sufyan’s wife Hind complained to the prophet that her husband was stingy and he did not meet her and the children’s expenses. Then the prophet said: “You could take money for essential reasonable expenses.” (Bukhari/Muslim)
It is a crime that the husband doesn’t give money to meet the expenses of his wife. Abdullah bin ‘Amr ibn’ As reported: “It is a serious crime that you are ignoring those whose expenses you have to meet.” (Abu Dawood)
Umarul Farooq had written to his high military officers that the husbands who keep themselves away from their wives must meet their living expenses or divorce them, and if they resort to divorce the women should be given compensation equivalent to the amount she ought to have spent for the period the husband had kept her without divorce. The military officers were instructed to implement this.
It is the husband's duty to look after his wife. Even if the wives are rich, the husbands are obliged to meet their living expenses. Dereliction of this obligation is a crime in the stand point of religion.
Islam emphatically states the rights of the women. Quran says: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (Al Baqara: 228)
This is due to the fact that women are considered equal to men. Prophet said “Women are the part of men.”
The husbands have to treat them in excellent manner. “You treat them in a good manner.”
“Live with them (wives) on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” (An-Nisa 19)
Abu Huraira reported as said by the holy prophet: “Those who have attained perfection in faith among the believers are those with good character. The best of you are those who treat your own family well.” (Tirmidi)
Hazrat Ayisha (RA) reported: “The best among you is he who is best for his family and one who treats family well is I myself, said the prophet.” (Ibnu Hibban)
Islam instructs that women should be treated in a very noble way, and they should not be treated in a harsh manner. The prophet said “only a man of noble character will honour them. Only a man of base intention will dishonor them.” (Muslim)
‘Aamir reported referring to the prophet’s farewell speech in which he commanded; “know and take it from me that you have to behave in a gentlemanly manner to the women. They are your dependents.” (Abu Dawood)
As long as a man retains a woman with him, she must be treated properly. If the man and wife cannot agree in any way, it is better to enter into divorce. Allah has decreed: “The divorce is only twice, after that, the parties should either hold together on reasonable terms or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you (men) to take back any of your Mahr which you have given them except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah.” (Al Baqara 229)
“When you divorce women, and they (are about to) fulfill the term of their prescribed period, either take them back on reasonable terms or set them free on reasonable terms:. But do not take them back to hurt them and whoever does that then he has wronged himself.” (Al Baqara 231)
The unacceptable behavior on the part of wives is to be ignored and their obstinacy should be viewed compassionately. During the reign of Umarul Farooq a man approached him to complain about the bad behavior of his wife. He waited at the door of the Khalifa’s house expecting him to come out. Meanwhile he overheard the wife of Khalifa talking to him rudely. Khalifa did not reply at all. Disappointed, the man was thinking to go back without meeting the Khalifa. He said to himself: “If the condition of Khalifa Umar, who is the leader of the believers, and a strict administrator, is this, what would be my condition.” The Khalifa who came out at that time saw the man. He called him back and asked him about the purpose of his visit. He said to him that he had come there to explain about the rude behavior, and rash talk of his wife. He said that meanwhile heard khalifa’s wife talking to him in the same manner. Therefore he was going back. Umar Farooq said to him “Dear brother, I approve of her right over me. She cooks food for me, makes all preparations for it. Washes my clothes, suckles my children. Actually these are not her duties. Meanwhile she saves my mind from all forbidden things. Therefore I give her due consideration.” Hearing this, the man who came to complain of his wife said “My wife also behaves likewise.” The prophet said: “Allah will give rewards to those men who can tolerate their wives’ filthy behavior as He had rewarded prophet Ayyoob (AS) for enduring the acid tests he had to encounter. Likewise those women who can endure the rude character of their husbands will also be rewarded as Asia, the wife of Pharaoh and the daughter of Muzahim.”
Islam instructs that men should find occasions to chat with and entertain their wives. The prophet said, “You must approve the needs of the young woman who like entertainment.”
Any thing which doesn't contain an element of piety to God in it can be an entertainment except the following four items - men’s chat with their wives, training the horses, running between two points and practice swimming. (Nasae)
On another occasion the prophet said: All entertainments are forbidden except three, archery, horse training and chatting with one’s wife. (Ahmad)
Umar Farooq said “A man should be child like when he is in the company of his family.”
Imam Ghazzali has stated that “men must chat, play, and joke with women. These will help to spring joy in their mind. The prophet had joked and played with them. He had gone down to their level.” (Ihya Uloom)
Hazrat Ayisha reported that when the prophet was in the company of his wives he was very mild and light hearted.
The prophet was very unassuming in the presence of his wives. When the wives wanted to get on the camel, they first got on the legs of the prophet (as a support). He was a treasure of love. He not only made them participate in the congregational prayer on the Eid day, but also permitted them to watch the entertainments until they were fully satisfied. Hazrat Ayisha reported that on one Eid day two girls were sitting by her (Ayisha) and singing songs. The prophet was lying there, facing opposite side, perhaps thinking that his presence should not be a disturbance to them. Then Aboobacker Siddique who came there asked them whether there could be devils’ musical instruments in the prophet's house. Hearing this, the prophet said to Aboobacker Siddique to let the singers alone so that they might sing on the Eid day.
Ayisha continued: Some Ethiopians were conducting some games in the mosque. The prophet asked his wife Aysha, whether she was interested in watching their games. When she said that she wished to see, he took her there and showed her the games. It was only when she told him that was enough for her, he left with her.
The prophet used to participate in races with Ayisha. Hazrat Ayisha said that he used to compete with her in the race. She used to defeat him, until she became fatter. But afterwards he defeated her. Then the prophet told her that it was his revenge for getting defeated several times.
Islam teaches that the sexual relation between the couple is a holy thing. The prophet said to the followers: A person will rewarded for having sexual relation with his wife. The followers asked him: Oh messenger of Allah, does it mean that we can have sexual relation with the wives and also the reward for it. The prophet said: If one had done it in the manner prohibited by the religion there would be punishment. When one does it in the permitted manner, it will be rewarded. (Muslim)
Islam teaches even the etiquettes to be observed in sexual relation. The prophet said that one should not approach his wife like a beast. (Dailami)
“Your sexual contact with you wife should not be like that of the birds. You must be slow and patient.”
Anas Ibnu Malik reported: If you share the bed with your wife, you must give her proper gifts. When you have got satisfied, don’t leave her. Let her also enjoy and get satisfied. (Abu Ya’la)
Imam Ghazzali said: Even if the man experiences orgasm, he must wait until the wife also experiences orgasm. Perhaps, the wife may have orgasm belatedly. If man withdraws from her during the sexual intercourse, it might give her embarrassment. Even if the man gets orgasm early, he must wait until it is experienced by her. But experiencing the orgasm simultaneously is most desirable. (Ihaya)
Islam very strictly advises that the husband should not ignore and leave his wife during sexual intercourse, even if it is for prayer. Once Khaula, the wife of Usman Ibnu Maz’oun called on Hazrat Ayisha who was in the company of some other women. Khaula appeared very pathetic - she did not comb her hair, did not use perfume. Ayisha asked her, why she was so unkempt.
Khaula replied that she did not comb her hair or use perfumes because her husband did not contact her for some time. Khaula opened her mind to Ayisha and expressed her agony. Ayisha and the women assembled there laughed when they heard this. Meanwhile the prophet arrived there. He asked why they were laughing. Ayisha explained the reason. The prophet sent for Usman, Khaula's husband and asked him about the matter. He said that he had given up the contact with his wife in order to have more time to worship Allah.
The prophet strongly advised him to approach his wife without any delay. Then he said that he was observing fast. The prophet said that he must break his fast. He obeyed what the prophet ordered him to do.
When Khaula came back she was very glad. She had combed her hair; she told Hazrat Ayisha that her husband had approached her the previous day. Ayisha just smiled.
Once a woman approached Umarul Farooq and said. Oh! The leader of the believers! My husband observes fast through out the day. In the night he prays standing. I don’t wish to complain to him. He is steeped himself in the worship of God.
Umar Farooq said that her husband was a true husband. The woman repeated her complaint again. Khalifa responded in the same way. Ka’abul Asdi who was there intervened and said to Khalifa. “Leader of the believers, she is complaining about her husband’s keeping himself away from the bedroom".
Khalifa told him, as he had understood the meaning of her complaint, it would be better if he suggested a solution/remedy. Ka'abul Asdi said that he must see her husband. The husband was summoned. Ka’abul Asdi said that his wife had complained about him. He wanted to know whether she had complained about food or drink. Ka’ab said it was about none of them. Then the women sang a song which meant like this.
Justice! Wise and judicious,
My man has forgotten my bedroom,
As he loves the masjid better
Worships made him frigid,
Hence, Justice Ka'ab, issue a decree
Just and fearless.
His days and nights are sleepless!
Sure, he is never praised,
In women's matters
Hearing this her husband sang.
I am detached in the matters,
Of woman and flirtations,
I am afraid of the warming
That Sura Al Nahl, and the seven nights
The warnings in the Holy Scriptures are fearful
Hearing this Ka'ab said. “You have certain obligations to your wife. All intelligent people know that she has right over you on four matters. Therefore you fulfill them, and get free from complaints.”
Islam advices that as women make themselves clean and beautiful for the sake of men, men also should be careful about such things. Prophet said “You must keep yourselves clean and handsome by washing your clothes, getting hair cut and cleaning your mouth. As Israeli men did not do these, their women happened to be adulteresses.”
Ibnu Abbas said “As my wife makes herself beautiful I adorn myself for her.”
This makes us realize that man is obliged to accept a woman’s right over food, clothes, residence, approach, conduct, behavior and even sexual matters. It means that a woman’s human needs and sexual emotions should not be ignored simply because she is a wife. Islam has related the coexistence and interaction with one's wife with religious beliefs and success in the life hereafter.
The meaning of the prophet’s statement is that the best of men is one who behaves very well to his wife.