The ideal muslim husband pdf English islamic book PDF

B. Aisha Lemu
A British Scholar & Writer
© B. Aisha Lemu
First Published 1987 RePrinted 1993, I 994. 1999 RePrinted 2007
Published by:-
Islamic Education Trust (Publications
Division) P,M.B. 229, Minna, Niger
by B. Aisha Lemu
Much ink has., been spilled, and much breath spent in defining the
role of Muslim women, the rights of Muslim women the duties of
Muslim women, and what constitutes an ideal Muslim wife. Maybe
because there has been so much misunderstanding of the role of women,
we seem to give it special emphasis in lectures and books. However since
men and women are inter-dependant it is not wise to concentrate on one
and remain silent about the other.
The last time I was invited to speak about “The Ideal Muslim Wife”,
I made a promise that my next assignment would be to prepare a lecture
on “The Ideal Muslim Husband”. Many men seem to feel that
womenfolk., and their wives in particular, should be ideal Muslims,
while they themselves and their fellow men behave as they like without
reference to the Qur’ an and Sunnah, and unchallenged by the Shari’ah
This paper is therefore intended to redress the balance, to turn the
spotlight on to the men, so that they may be aware of the Islamic
standard for an ideal husband, and try to reach that standard as much as
they wish their wives to reach the standard of an ideal Muslim wife.
The obvious place to look for these standards of behaviour is in the
Qur’an and Hadith.
Let us therefore start at the beginning. How does the ideal husband
behave before marriage? After all a man does not totally change his
character with effect from his wedding day. The bride is joining her life
with that of another person whose personality and habits have been in
some degree already formed. What then should be the behaviour towards
women of a young man before marriage?
Islam does not accept the view common in western secular society
that before marriage a young man is expected to “sow his wild oats” –
whether by frequenting prostitutes or by sleeping around, or having any
form of “trial marriage”. For all such activities the Qur’ an has prescribed
a legal punishment of 100 lashes. (Qur’an 24:2). The Qur’an moreover
“and as for those who are unable to marry, let them live in
continence until Allah grants them sufficiency out of His
bounty.,. ” (Qur’an 24:33)
To assist young man in this situation the Prophet in a Hadith
recorded in Bukhari further advised:
“Young men, those of you who can support a wife should
marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves
your chastity; but those who cannot should fast, for it is a
means of cooling passion, “
For those who have the means to get married, how should they go
about it? We have mentioned that the modem western practice of having
girl friends and trial marriages is emphatically unlawful for Muslims.
Instead it is expected that the family and its friends will play a big role in
finding suitable partners for both their sons and daughters. This process
of finding out in detail about the character and circumstances of the
proposed partners before allowing the feelings of the boy and girl to be
aroused has several advantages. Its effect is to cut out a lot of the
embarrassment and temptation and heartache which are common in the
western system of courtship and intimate relations before marriage.
The boy is expected to share with his parents certain priorities in the
type of girl he hopes to marry, and this is mentioned in a Hadith related
by Abu Huraira in which the Prophet advised:-
‘A woman may be sought for her wealth, her birth, her
beauty or her religious character. But do look for the
religious woman. And if you do it for any other
consideration ,your hands be rubbed in dirt. “(Bukbari and
In other words, the key to success in marriage is seen as the moral
quality of the partner. The ideal Muslim bridegroom therefore goes into
marriage with the responsible attitude of a person establishing a family
on the best possible foundation of love and mutual compassion, and not
of infatuation over beauty, ambition for wealth or social position. The
Qur’an has described the marriage relationship in these terms;-
‘Among His signs is the fact that He has created spouses
from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility with
them; and He has put love and mercy between you. In that
are sign for people who reflect” (Qur’an 30:21)
And again:
“They (wives) are garmentts for you. while you are
garments for them” (Qur’an 2: 187)
Having sought his bride in an honourable way, and married her in
the manner prescribed by the Prophet – that is with public celebration but
the minimum of fuss and ostentation – what are the Muslim husband’s
His first duty is maintenance and protection, and overall
responsibility for the welfare of his wife, which is prescribed in the
“Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which
Allah has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on
the latter, and with what they may spend out of their
possessions … ” (Qur’an 4:34)
This includes feeding, clothing and shelter for the wife and for any
children of the marriage. This is a legally enforceable duty which
remains even after divorce until tl1e expiry of the iddah or even longer in
the view of some scholars. Financial responsibility for the family
therefore rests squarely on the husband, and the wife has no duty to
contribute to family expenses unless she has the means and the wish to
do so.
The legal obligations of a husband do not stop with provision of the
basic requirements of maintenance and protection. He is also excepected
to give her company and marital relations, and to avoid doing anything
that would harm her.
These obligations are enforced by the Shari’ah. If a man fails to
maintain his wife or fails to visit her for more than a certain period of
time, the wife has grounds to be granted a divorce by a Shari’ah court.
Similarly, if she can prove to the court that the husband is doing her harm
(idrar), be it by drinking alcohol, or beating her without lawful cause, or
abusing her or her parents and so on, she is entitled to be granted a
divorce. In none of these cases can the husband claim back any part of the
dowry or presents he has given to the wife.
The husband is however urged in the Qur’an to avoid divorce and try
to preserve marriage even if it is not ideal. This is to be done in the first
instance by exercising patience with his wife’s faults, The Qur’an says:
“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity, lf you
take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing while
Allah brings about it a great deal of good”,
(Qur’an 4:19)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also emphasised the
undesirability of divorce in a Hadith found in Abu Dau’d’s collection:
“The most hateful of all lawful things, in the sight of Allah, is
divorce. “
The ideal husband should therefore, if need arises, make full use of
Qur’anic provisions for reconciliation and arbitration, (Qur’an 4:34) before
proceeding with divorce. It is to be noted that the Prophet – the ideal
husband – never divorced any of his wives.
If a man does divorce his wife, he should follow the steps approved
in the Qur’an and Sunnah of giving a revocable divorce, of the type that
allows for cooling off and reconciliation before it becomes final on the
third pronouncement The divorce is not to be pronounced while the
wife is in menstruation, but when she has finished menstruation and not
yet resumed marital relations with husband (Qur’an 65: I ).In other
words divorce is not to be pronounced in anger or at random, but at a
specific time when the husband is in control of his reason, and the wife
herself is not in the state of emotional upset that sometime accompanies
The husband is to continue good treatment of the wife even if
divorce is in the end decided upon. He is to keep and feed her a before
in his own house until the expiry her iddah (waiting period) without
harassment, (Qur’an 65:1; 65:61) and to make provision for her
according to his means.
He is not to take back any of the gifts he may have given be
before or during the marriage:
“The parties should either hold together on equitable terms
or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you (men) to
take back any of your gifts from your wives. “(Qur’an
On the contrary, the husband is to give her a gift or some form of
maintenance to sustain her after divorce (Qur’an 2:241) Moreover he is
not to interfere if after divorce she wishes to marry someone else:
” .. , And when you divorce women and they have reached
the end of their waiting term, hinder them not from
marrying other men if they have agreed with each other in a
fair manner.” (Qur’an 2:232)
The husband should also know that according to the Shari’ah he is
not the one to have custody of his children after divorce, contrary to the
common practice. It is the wife who is given priority in custody of
children, in accordance with a Hadith related by Amru b. Shu’aib in Ibn
Majah, which tells how a woman came to the Prophet and said:
“Truly my belly served as a container for my son here, amd
my breast served as a skin bag for him (to drink out of), and
my bosom served as a refuge for him; and now his father has
divorced me, and he (also) desires to take him away from me.”
The Prophet said: “You have a better right to have him as
long as you do no marry again.”
In the Maliki School of Islamic Jurisprudence, this rule is systematised
to give priority in custody of children to the mother and to 5 other relatives,
preferably on the mother’s side of the family, before the custody could be
claimed by the father. This custody lasts until puberty for a son and until
marriage for a daughter, while the financial responsibility for their
maintenance remains with their father.
The knowledge of the necessity of separation from his children must
certainly act as a check on indiscrimmate divorce on the part of the
It IS also to be born in mind that the husband is required to be faithful
in marriage as much as the wife is. The punishment for adultery of a
married person, male or female, under the Shari’ah is death. The fact that
the punishment may happen not to be applied in this world at a particular
time or place does not make the sin any less grievous in the sight of Allah.
A sin that is not expiated in this world is after all going to follow a person
to the grave.
Therefore the husband should not fail to follow Allah’s command in
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful
of their chastity: verily this will be most conducive to their
purity – (and) verily Allah is aware of all that they do.”
(Qur’an 24:30)
Those men who cruise around in their cars looking for school girls to
pick up are surely disgracing themselves, and forfeiting all rights to require
chastity of their wives.
If for some serious reason the husband cannot manage with his first
wife but does not want to divorce her, he is not prohibited from
contracting another marriage, provided it is done in a legal and
honourable way.
The permission to marry more than one wife at a time is however
” … If you fear that you cannot do justice between them,
then marry only one.” (Qur’an 4:3)
This condition is often taken very lightly in this country where
polygamy has long been a social custom. No words in the Qur’an,
however, are without meaning, and this verse should not be taken lightly.
A weak husband will not be respected and will not act fairly between his
wives, whereby his marrying more than one is likely to lead to injustice,
constant disharmony and the break-up of his family, which is not in his
interests or theirs or in the interests of the Muslim Ummah.
If having married more than one, however, a husband finds his heart
inclining to one at the expense of the other, he is warned that this
inclination should not reach the stage of neglect of the needs of the other
“And you will not he able to treat your wives with equal
justice however much you may desire it. But do not incline
towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her as it
were in suspense.” (Qur’an 4: 129)
This warning against injustice is strongly reinforced by the Hadith in
which Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said:
“Whoever has two wives and does not treat them equally,
shall come on the Day of Resurrection with half his body
hanging down.” (Transmitted by Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i and
We have so far examined the legal framework of marriage and
divorce as outlined mainly in the Qur’an.
This now needs to be filled in with illustration and elaboration
drawn from the Sunnah, since the Qur’an tells us:
“You have in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of
conduct for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the final
Day.” (Qur’an 33:21)
How did the Prophet (peace be upon him) then, behave as a
husband’? Obviously he observed the legal framework, but how did he
behave in his day-to·-day relationships with his wives?
A lot of information is to be gathered about this from the Hadith,
both directly and indirectly, and also from the Sirah (the Biography of
the Prophet).
His guiding principle on the treatment of wives is stated in some
well known Ahadith such as the following from Bukhari and Muslim:
“From among the believers are those who have the kindest
disposition and are kindest to their families – such are those
who show the most perfect faith.
The best among them are those who are kindest to their
How did the Prophet himself exemplify this kindness?
Firstly he was not a difficult or remote or tyrannical husband of
the type who regard all household chores as “women’s work”. In a
Hadith in Bukhari, Aisha was asked by AI-Aswad b. Yazid what the
Prophet used to do in his house. She replied:
“He used to work for his family, that is, serve the family, and
when prayer time came, he went out for prayer. ” Other Hadith
tell us that he used to mend his own clothes.
Secondly he didn’t make a fuss about food. It is recorded in a
Hadith from Abu Huraira in the collection of Muslim:
“Allah’s Messenger never found fault with food If he liked
something, he ate it, and if he disliked it, he just
abstained from it” – implying that he never complained
about the food or its cooking.
Aisha reported that whenever she was sick the Prophet would
come to her to show his sympathy.
Nor was he ashamed to let it be known that his love for his wife
was greater than his love for any other human being.
It is recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim
that someone asked the Prophet: “Who among all people is most
beloved by you?” And he said “Aisha”.
This love and understanding for Aisha did not eclipse his high
regard for his first wife Khadijah, who had been his only wife for
about 25 years until her death. Aisha reported that he always treasured
the memory of Khadijah who had supported and encouraged him
through the difficult years in Mecca, and that he used regularly to
make gifts to Khadijah’s close friends as an expression of his
undiminished esteem and love for her.
He never held himself aloof from his wives as if they were by
their nature as women inferior. On the contrary, he included “playing
games with one’s wife” as one of the legitimate entertainments.
According to a Hadith in Abu Da’ud, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi:
‘: .. There is no amusement which is praiseworthy except
three, namely training a horse, sporting with one’s wife and
shooting arrows with a bow. ..
In illustration of this practice, Aisha records that on more than
one occasion she and the Prophet ran races and sometimes she won
and sometimes he won,
Most men of nowadays consider it far beneath their dignity to
play any sort of game with their wives, and their marriages are the
duller and poorer for it.
I think this is one of the problems we encounter in the way we
learn about the life of the Prophet. Most of the history books dwell on
the political and military aspects of the Prophet’s life, and his
personality, which was obviously very attractive, eludes us. We tend for
this reason to picture him as always serious, while the Hadith informs us
that although he rarely laughed aloud, “nobody used to smile as much as
he did”. This is fully in accordance with the Hadith:
“Smiling at your brother (Muslim) is charity'”
The Prophet’s attitude towards female children and female education
is a beautiful elaboration of what is found in the Qur’an. The Qur’an not
only forbade the Jahiliyyah practice of female infanticide, but even
condemned the common practice of showing disappointment or anger
over the birth of a female child. (Qur’an 16:58-59).
A Hadith related by Ibn Abbas in fact encourages the reverse:
“Whoever has a female child and does not bury her alive, nor
hide her in contempt, nor prefers his male child over her, Allah
will make him enter Paradise.” (Abu Da’ud)
The Prophet showed the greatest love and affection for his female
children, particularly for Fatima. Aisha related that: “Whenever the
Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Fatima he would welcome her, and
rising from his seat would kiss her, and then taking her by the hand
would seat her in his own seat.” (Bukhari).
He decreed that every Muslim – male and female – must as a duty
seek knowledge, and prescribed education for all children in the
following words:
“No present or gift of a parent, out of all the gifts and presents
to a child, is superior to a good broad (general) education.”
(Tirmidhi and Baihaqi.)
He laid special emphasis on the education of daughters:
“Whoever brings up two sisters or two daughters, and gives
them a broad education, and treats them well, and gives them in
marriage, for him Paradise.” (Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi).
This concern for the education of girls was reflected in his teaching
of Aisha, who was still a young girl when he married her and was only
18 when he died. She had a natural ability for learning and a strong
sense of reasoning and he taught her as much as she was ready to learn.
He was so impressed and pleased with her learning that he even told
“You can learn half your religion from this rosy-cheeked
He therefore encouraged people to consult her on religious matters.
and after his death she became one of the major sources of Hadith.
From all this we can see that some people’s resistance to allowing
their daughters to have access to knowledge is not only misguided but
quite contrary to all the Prophet preached and practised. An ideal
Muslim husband is therefore expected to be deeply committed to and
involved in the education of all his children -the daughters as much as
the sons.
The Prophet’s respect for a wife’s intelligence and understanding
was also reflected in his readiness to consult his wives and to respond to
their good advice. An instance of this practice is recorded on the
occasion of the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. Many of the
Muslims were reluctant to accept the Treaty. They did not want to go
home without performing pilgrimage and they considered some parts of
the Treaty disadvantageous to the Muslims. They were therefore
reluctant to obey his instructions to slaughter their sacrificial Camels
and shave their heads, which would symbolise that the pilgrimage was
over and the matter closed. The Prophet withdrew to his tent in
perplexity and told his wife Umm Salamah what had happened. She
advised him: ‘Go out and speak to no man until you have
performed your sacrifice. ‘”The Prophet followed her advice, and
slaughtered the camel calling: “Bismillah Allahu Akbar” in a loud voice,
the Muslims forgot their reluctance and raced to make their own
The presence of Umm Salamah on this journey exemplifies another
aspect of the Prophet’s dealings with his wives. One or more of them
almost invariably accompanied him on his journeys and campaigns. To
ensure fairness they would draw lots as to which wife or wives would
accompany him.
His wives were thus not kept locked up so that they couldn’t
experience what was going on in the outside world. They wore their
modest dress (hijab) and went out and saw everything that was going on,
and themselves participated when necessary, for example in nursing the
wounded on the battlefields.
Umar once criticised the Prophet’s wife Saudah for going out,
saying he had recognised her in the street. So she appealed to the
Prophet for support and he supported her saying: “Women have the
right to go out for their needs.” (Narrated by Aisha in Bukhari)
Similarly the Prophet allowed his wives and other women to go
out to the mosques for their prayers. He also advised other men:
“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from going to the
houses of Allah (i.e. mosques),” (Muslim).
The ideal Muslim husband therefore does not impose restrictions on
his wife greater than those imposed by Allah, or by the Prophet on his
own family.
All the foregoing indicate that the woman who is married to an ideal
Muslim husband is protected but not suppressed, and is therefore likely
to be very happy and contented.
However, the Muslim husband is not expected to please his wife at
all cost, if what pleases her may be wrong or against her interests or the
interests of the family. The Qur’an says:
“0 you who have attained to faith! ward of from yourselves
and your families that fire. (of the hereafter) whose fuel is
human beings and stones.”(Qur’an 66:6)
In this respect a husband has a duty to ensure that his wife is fully
educated as a Muslim. If this has been neglected in her parents’ home
he must take necessary steps to remedy it, either by teaching her
himself or by arranging for her Islamic education by other means. The
husband is expected to give leadership in the family. We have seen
that this form of leadership is not dictatorship or tyranny, The wise
husband will, as indicated, consult his wife on important matters
concerning the family, and if he sees her advice is good, accept it.
However, Islam has given the man authority as the head of the family
and he is expected to abide by the Qur’an and Sunnah and endeavour
to ensure that he and his family do not violate Islamic norms of
The kind treatment required towards a wife should not therefore
include condoning her misbehaviour. The Qur’an has prescribed
specific graded series of three steps which the husband should take if
the wife shows by her behaviour that she is rebelling against Islamic
norms of conduct.
His first step should be to speak to her seriously about the
implication and likely consequences of what she is doing. If she fails
to respond to this sincere admonition, his next step is to suspend
marital relations with her for a period of time. If this step also fails he
is permitted to beat her lightly as a final act of correction. If she then
complies the husband should take no further action against her (Qur’an
‘This beating is the last resort, and not the first one; and the Prophet
(peace be upon him) placed some limitations on it, as follow
(a) It should not be on the face or on any of the easily injured part of’
the body;
(b) It should not be hard enough to cause pain or injury or leave
a mark. The Prophet indicated that if a man must beat his
wife it should be more or less symbolic, with something like
a toothbrush.
The Prophet himself very much disliked the beating of wives, and
never beat any of his own. In Abu Da’ud’s collection of Hadith he is
reported by Laqit b. $abrah to have said:
”Admonish your wife, and if there be any good in her she
will receive it; and beat not your wife like a slave. “
In another Hadith from Ayas b. Abdullah, he specifically said:
“Do not beat Allah’s female servants (i.e. women)” (Abu
Da’ud, Ibn Majah).
In Trimidhi’s collection is another Hadith related by Amru b.
”And enjoin on one another goodness towards women;
verily they are married to you: you have no power over them
at all unless they come in for a flagrantly filthy action; but if
they are devoted to you, then seek no way against them. And
verily, you have rights over your women and your women
have rights over you”
The Muslim husband therefore has no right to beat his wife
discriminately or habitually for petty offences, and if he does so the
wife has a right to seek divorce by a Shari’ah court. Similarly, as we
can see, Islam has not authorised men to beat up their wives in the way
we sometimes find them doing, so that the poor wife comes out injured
looking as if they had done ten rounds in a boxing-ring.
The phenomenon of wife-beating is not peculiar to Muslims – it is
und in all parts of the world among certain types of men. However,
some Muslims unjustly claim that they have religious sanction when
they beat their wives, while in most cases they are beating them only
because they themselves are drunk, or brutal by nature, or just in a bad
Bad temper is to be controlled, not vented on the weaker sex. The
Prophet referred to this in another Hadith when he said:
He is not strong who throws people down, but he is strong
among us who controls himself when angry.” (Abu Huraira
in Bukhari and Muslim).
Aisha observed this self control in the Prophet’s behaviour:
The Prophet (pbuh), never beat any of his wives or
servants; in fact he did not strike anything with his hand
except in the cause of Allah, or when the prohibitions of
Allah were violated, and he retaliated on behalf of Allah. “
The Ideal Muslim husband therefore strives to emulate the Prophet’s
practice by avoiding beating completely and discouraging it in others. It
is not at all becoming for a Muslim to be a wife-beater in defiance of the
Prophet’s explicit dislike of the practice.
This brings us to another interesting aspect of the Prophet’s
relationship with his wives.
He apparently allowed his wives to do what is called “answering
back” by men who think that women like children, should be seen but
not heard. There are several recorded instances of the Prophet’s
companions remonstrating with him or with his wives about this
practice. Nevertheless he chose to allow his wives to speak their minds.
An incident related in Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah (an early
biography of the Prophet) makes interesting reading:
One day Umar rebuked his wife for something and she sharply
answered him back: and when he expostulated with her she replied
that the wives of the Prophet were in the habit of answering him back
so why should she not do the same. “And there is one of them”, she
added, meaning their daughter (Hafsah), “who speaks her mind
unabashed from morning till night’: Greatly troubled by
Re-told in “Muhammad – his Life based on the Earliest Sources” by
Martin Lings (Islamic Trust Society, George Allen & Unwin 1983)
this. Umar went to Hafsah, who did not deny that what her mother said
was true. “You have neither the grace of Aisha nor the beauty of
Zainab,” he said, hoping to shake her self-confidence; and when these
words seemed to have no effect, he added: “Are you so sure, that if you
anger the Prophet, Allah will not destroy you in His anger?” Then he
went to his cousin Umm Salamah (another wife of the Prophet) and said:
“Is it true that you speak your minds to Allah’s Messenger and answer
him without respect” “By all that is wonderful,” said Umm Salamah,
‘Whatt call have you to come between Allah’s Messenger and his wives?
Yes, by God, we speak to him our minds, and if he allows us to do so that
his is affair, and if he forbids us he will find us more obedient to him
than we are to you. Umar then realised he had gone too far and
In this anecdote we can clearly hear the voices of women who
respect their husband not because they are afraid of him or out of
hypocricy, but out of genuine admiration and love. The fact that he
allowed them to speak their minds shows that the Prophet never
regarded women as slaves or second class citizens but as human being to
whom Allah has given reason and the ability to distinguish right from
wrong as He has given them to men.
Aisha went further in a Hadith to say that when the Prophet told her
something she would question him closely about it so that she could
understand its justification before she would be satisfied. The Prophet
did not tell her she had no right to cross question him because he was a
Prophet and a man, while she was only a young woman. It appears on
the contrary that he appreciated her ciritcal faculty and clear thinking.
From this we can see the Prophet had such calm inner certainty and
natural leadership qualities that he did not need to assert himself over his
wives, or be on the defensive against them, Those men who behave like
tyrants in the home, who assert their rule in an arbitrary or violent
manner, are usually the weak ones who actually suffer from
hidden inferiority cornplexs and are afraid of being shown up as
mentally or morally inferior to their wives. To forestall this they
physically frighten or threaten their wives. Who are then afraid to open
their mouths in their husband’s presence, let alone to disagree with him.
Another incident illustrates how the Prophet asserted his
leadership of his family without harsh words or violence. This is
revealed in the way he treated his wives when they became too
demanding of the comforts of this world. Aisha related that before the
capture of the oasis of Khaybar she had not known what it was to eat
her fill of dates. The Prophet’s wives, fully aware of the general
poverty of the Muslims in Medina, asked only for their most basic
needs, After the capture of Khaybar with its rich agricultural produce,
the Muslims were better off, and the Prophet was able to give his wives
some presents, and they were not slow in learning to ask for more
comforts. This led to problems because in fairness, what was given to
one should be given to all, and considerable resentment among some of
his wives which disrupted the peace of the household. When his advice
to them was not heeded he followed the next Qur’anic step and
withdrew himself from them all and stayed in a roofed verandah that
was the only room he had apart from his wives’ apartments.
Rumour soon spread that the Prophet had divorced his wives, and
the wives, in suspense, regretted bitterly their demands on him. He then
let it be known though Umar that he had not divorced them but that he
did not wish to see any of them until a full lunar month had elapsed.
At the end of the month he asked his wives one by one to make
their own choice in accordance with newly-revealed verses of the
“O Prophet! Say to your wives: if you desire but the life of this
world and its charms, then come and I will bestow its
goods upon you, and I will release you with a fair release.
But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of
the Hereafter, then verily Allah has laid in store for you a
mighty reward, for such of you as do good” (Qur’an 33:l8-
Aisha replied without hesitation: “Verily, I desire Allah. and His
Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter” and there was not one of
his wives who did not choose the same. These events are related in a
number of Hadith books, including Bukhari and Muslim.’
Here we see a husband who in spite of his love and sympathy for his
wives, would not be carried away to commit injustice between them, not
put himself into difficulties or wrong-doing in order to satisfy their
desires beyond what was necessary. He was not ready for the role of the
“hen-pecked husband.” His firmness in the matter quickly made his
wives see it in its proper perspective, and peace was restored to the
household without recourse to divorce or even a harsh word.
It is incidents like these that make it quite clear why the Prophet
(p.b.u.h) is held up as a beautiful example to Muslims in every aspect of
his life.
There are of course numerous other facets of his personality and
behaviour which contributed to making him an ideal husband.
He was of course clean and pure both in his thoughts and person,
and very generous in accordance with his own saying:
“Verily, Allah is pure and loves the pure, is clean and loves
the clean, is beneficient and loves the beneficient, is
generous and loves the generous.” (Tirmidhi)
Another very important characteristic was his love of children.
Love of her own children is almost automatic to a mother and with that
love goes a care and concern for their welfare that lasts till her dying
day. Some men do not share this love for their children in anything like
the same degree, and consider the children to be
Fro •• -‘Muhammad – his Life based on the Earliest Source.- by
Martin Lings (Islamic Trust Society, George Allen & Unwin 1983)
“Women’s affair”. In our own society today this is a common
phenomenon where it is the mother who often plays a major role in
ensuring that the children are clothed and cared for, that their school
fees are paid, that they learn good behaviour and so on. While it is
good that the mother shows this love and concern, it is not approved
for the father to abandon his own moral and financial responsibilities
and ignore the proper education and upbringing of his children.
We have mentioned the Prophet’s own role in the upbringing of
his own daughters (it was only the daughters that survived to
maturity) and his emphasis on education for both sexes. There are
also numerous Hadith indicating his love for children and his practice
of showing his love for them, For example in a Hadith from Abu
Huraira it is related as follows:
“The Prophet of Allah kissed his grandson Hassan the
son of Ali in the presence of Aqra’ b. Habis, whereupon
Aqra’ said: “Verily, I have children, and yet I have never
kissed any of them” The Prophet looked towards him and
said: “What can I do for you if Allah has taken away
mercy from your heart? He that shows no mercy shall
have no mercy shown to him. “(Bukhari and Muslim).
The Muslim family is therefore ideally a very united family.
Mutual understanding between husband and wife lies at the root of it.
The Islamic upbringing of the children is one of its most important
functions. For it to succeed as the basic unit of the Muslim Ummah
both husband and wife need to know their duties and to practice self
control in trying to abide by the Islamic code of conduct within the
I wish to draw this paper to a close by approaching the subject
briefly from a different angle. We have so far looked at the duties of
the Muslim husband as spelled out in the Qur’an and seen how these
points were expanded and added to in the Sunnah. We have also
taken recorded incidents in the life of the Prophet as an illustration of
an ideal Muslim husband in action.
Lastly I approached the question “What is an ideal Muslin
husband” by asking Muslim women to tell me what they thought. To
24th Physical strength 4
25th Wealth
This list of qualities is not of course exhaustive, and are a few
important omissions. However, it raises many interesting points for
our brothers to consider in their endeavour to qualify as a potential
ideal Muslim husband.
Those who feared that by adhering to Islamic piety and moral
standards they would frighten women away, will see that they are
actually at the top of the league.
This information also confirms the natural order of things
referred to and upheld in the Qur’an, in that women do apparently
want men folk to lead and not be led. Leadership takes a high position
at Number 3. But that leadership has to be deserved and qualified by
all the other qualities mentioned in the upper part of the list such as
piety truthfulness, fairness, kindness, consultation, good manners,
good morals and so on.
It is interesting to go over in one’s mind the qualities of the
Prophet mentioned in the earlier part of this paper and match them
with this list to see how far the Prophet’s behaviour to his wives
demonstrates perfectly those qualities to which women give priority.
Therefore any man who wants to make a success of his marriage
cannot go wrong if he takes as his model and example the practice of
the blessed Prophet.
For our brothers I pray for Allah to give them the faith and moral
strength to attain those great qualities and thereby make a success of
their marriages. For our sisters I pray for Allah’s guidance to make
each one of us worthy of being the wife of an ideal Muslim husband.
this end a questionnaire was passed to a random group of 35 educated
Muslim women married ones, asking them to identity what they
considered to be the most important qualities in a husband.
The five most important Qualities scored 2 points each and the five next
most important qualities scored 1 point each.
The result is shown below.
Women’s Order of Priority in the Desirable
Qualities of an Ideal Muslim Husband
A Pious Muslim 49
Truthfulness and Honesty 47
A good leader 40
Justice and fairness 38
Love of children 37
Kindness and consideration 31
Readiness to consult his wife 30
Good Manners 29
Chastity and good morals 26
Trustworthiness and reliability 25
Avoids quarrelling and beating 22
Clean habits 20
Strength of mind and will 19
Gentleness 17
A loving nature 16
Ability to be contented with one wife 15
Sense of humour 13
Reasonableness 11
Firmness 9
Intelligence 8
Seriousness 7
Good looks 6

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