The Ideal Muslim Husband
ink has been spilled, and much breath, in defining the role of Muslim
women; the rights of Muslim women; the duties of Muslim women, what
constitutes an ideal Muslim wife. Maybe because there has 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
interdependent, it is not wise to concentrate on one and remain
silent about the other.
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 women,
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.
paper is therefore intended to redress the balance; to turn the
spotlight on to the men, so that they might be aware of the Islamic
standard for an ideal husband, as they try to reach that standard
as much as they wish their wives to reach the standard of an ideal
obvious place to look for these standards of behaviour is in the
Qur’an and Hadith.
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
behavior towards women by a young man before marriage?
does not accept the view common in the 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]
Qur’an moreover says;
as for those who are unable to marry,
let them live in continence until Allah grants them sufficiently
out of his bounty...."
assist young men in this situation the Prophet (saws) in a Hadith
recorded in Bukhari further advised;
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."
those who have the means to get married, how should they go about
it? We have mentioned that the modern western practice of having
girlfriends and trial marriages is emphatically unlawful for Muslims.
Instead it is expected that the family and friends will play a big
role in finding out in detail about the character and circumstances
of the proposed partner 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, temptation and heartache which
are common in the western system of courtship and intimate relations
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 Hurairah in which the Prophet (saws) advised:
women may be sought for her wealth, her birth, her beauty or he
religious character. But do look for the religious women. And if
you do it for any other consideration, your hands be rubbed in dirt!"
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
His signs is the fact that he has created spouses from among yourselves,
so that you may find tranquillity with them; and he has put love
and mercy between you. In that are signs for people who reflect."
(wives) are garments for you, while you are garments for them."
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 duties?
first duty is maintenance and protection, and overall responsibility
for the welfare of his wife, which is prescribed in the Qur’an:
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....".
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 the expiry of the Iddah or even
longer in the view of some of the 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.
legal obligations of a husband do not stop with provision of the
basic requirements relating to maintenance and protection. He is
also expected to give her company and marital relations, and to
avoid doing anything that would harm her.
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 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. I would like to make a note here that every situation
has to be evaluated on its merits and circumstances by a Shar'iah
Court. These points mentioned above are general precepts in 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 say’s;
with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike
to them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah brings about
through it a great deal of good."
Prophet (saws) also emphasised the undesirability of divorce in
a Hadith found in Abu Dau’d’s collection:
most hateful of all lawful things, in the sight of Allah, is divorce."
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
a man does divorce his wife, he should follow the steps approved
in the Qur’an and Sunnah regarding a revocable divorce. This allows
for cooling off and reconciliation before it becomes final on the
final 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 the husband. (Qur’an
65:1) 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 sometimes occurs whilst she is pregnant or may accompany
husband is to continue good treatment of his wife even if divorce
decided upon. He is to keep and feed her as before in his own house
until the expiry of her iddah (waiting period) without harassment,
[Qur’an 65:1, 65:6] and to make provision for her according
to his means.
is not to take back any of the gifts he may have given her before
or during the marriage:
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."
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
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."
husband should also know that according to the Shari’ah he is not
always the one to have custody of his children after divorce, contrary
to the common practice in some countries. It is the wife who is
given priority in custody of children in many cases, in accordance
with a Hadith related by Amru b. Shu’aib in Ibn Majah, which tells
how a woman came to the Prophet (saws) and said:
my belly served as a container for my son here, and 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 away from me." The Prophet (saws) said: "You have
a better right to have him as long as you do not marry again." [Ibn
would also like to point out again however, that the decision as
to the custody of the children has to be evaluated by a Shar'iah
Court, which will consider the particular circumstances surrounding
the family and the children's best welfare.
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 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.
knowledge of the necessity of separation from his children must
certainly act as a reality check when a husband is indiscriminately
deciding to divorce.
should also be realised the husband is required to be faithful in
marriage as the wife must. The punishment for adultery of a married
person, male or female, under the Shari’ah is death. The fact that
the punishment may not be applied in this world, does not make the
sin any less 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.
the husband should not fail to follow Allah’s command in the Qur’an:
the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their
chastity: verily this will be most conductive to their purity (and)
verily Allah is aware of all that they do."
married men who cruise around in their cars looking for school girls
to pick up are surely disgracing themselves, and forfeiting all
right to require chastity of their wives.
for some 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 honorable way.
permission to marry more then one wife at a time is however conditional:
you fear you cannot do justice between them, then marry only one."
condition is often taken very lightly in some countries, where polygamy
has long been a social custom. No words in the Qur’an, however,
are without meaning, 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 then one is likely to lead to
injustice, constant disharmony and the break up of his family. This
is not in his interests or theirs or in the interests of the Muslim
having married more then 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 wife:
you will not be able to treat your wives with equal justice however
much you desire it.
But do not incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving
her as it were in suspense."
warning against injustice is strongly reinforced by the Hadith in
which Abu Hurairah (raa) reported the Prophet (saws) as saying:
has two wives and does not treat them equally, shall come on the
day of resurrection with half his body hanging down." [Abu
Da’ud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]
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 :
have in the apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for
anyone whose hope is in Allah and the last day."
did the Prophet (saws) 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?
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 (saws)).
guiding principle on the treatment of wives is stated in some well
among the believers are those who have the kindest disposition and
are the kindest to their families- such are those who show the most
perfect faith. "The best among them are those who are kindest to
their wives." [Bukhari
did the Prophet (saws) himself exemplify this kindness?
he was not a difficult or remote or tyrannical husband of the
type who regards all household chores as "women’s work". In a Hadith
(raa) was asked by Al-Aswad b. Yazid what the Prophet used to do
in the house. She replied: "He used to work for his family, that
is serve his family, and when prayer time came, he went out for
Hadith tell us that he used to mend his own clothes.
he didn’t make a fuss about food. It is recorded in a Hadith from
Abu Hurairah (raa) in the collection of Muslim:
Messenger never found fault with food. If he liked something, he
ate it, and if he disliked it, he just abstained from it." [Muslim]
that he never complained about the food or it’s cooking.
(raa) reported that whenever she was sick, the Prophet (saws) 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 then 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 the people is most beloved by you?" And he said "Aisha".
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 (raa) reported that he always treasured
the memory of Khadijah who had supported and encouraged him through
the difficult years in Mecca, and that he use to regularly give
gifts to Khadijah’s closest friends as an expression of his undiminished
esteem and love for her.
Prophet (saws) never held himself apart 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 entertainment's.
According to the following Hadith:
is no amusement which is praiseworthy except three, namely training
a horse, sporting with one’s wife and shooting arrows with a bow."
Da’ud, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi]
illustration of this practice, Aisha (raa) records that on more
then one occasion she and the Prophet (saws) ran races and sometimes
she won and sometimes he won. Most men 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.
this is one of the problems we encounter in the way we learn about
the life of the Prophet (saws). Most of the history books dwell
on the political and military aspects of the Prophet’s (saws) life,
and his personality, which was obviously very attractive, eludes
our knowledge. We tend to, for this reason 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
Prophet’s (saws) 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 practice of showing disappointment or anger
over the birth of a female child. [Qur’an 16:58-59]
related by Ibn Abbas in fact encourages the reverse:
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
Prophet (saws) showed the greatest love and affection for his female
children, particularly for Fatima. Aisha (raa) related that:
the Prophet (saws) saw Fatima (raa), 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]
decreed that every Muslim - male and female- must as a duty seek
knowledge and prescribed education for all children in the following
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
laid special emphasis on the education of daughters:
brings up two sisters or two daughters, and gives them a broad education,
and treats them well, and gives them in marriage, for him is Paradise."
concern for the education of girls was reflected in his teaching
of Aisha (raa), 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 people:
can learn half your religion from this rosy-cheeked girl."
therefore encouraged people to consult her in religious matters,
and after his death she became one of the major sources of Hadith.
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 (saws) preached and practiced.
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 son’s.
Prophet (saws) respect for a wife’s intelligence and understanding
was also reflected in his readiness to consult his wives and respond
to their good advice. An instance of this practice is recorded on
the occasion of the signing of the treaty of Hudaibihiyah. Many
of the Muslims were reluctant to accept 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 (saws) 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 (saws) followed her advice, and slaughtered
the camel calling: "Bismillah, Allahu akbar" in a loud voice, whereupon
the Muslims forgot their reluctance and raced to make their own
presence of Umm Salamah on this journey exemplifies another aspect
of the Prophet’s (saws) 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.
wives were thus not kept locked up so that they could not experience
what was going on in the outside world. They wore modest clothes
(hijab) and went out and saw everything that was going on, and they
participated when necessary, for example in nursing the wounded
on the battlefields.
following Hadith is narrated by Aisha (raa):
once criticised the Prophet’s wife Saudah for going out, saying
he had recognised her in the street. So she appealed to the Prophet
(saws) for support and he supported her saying: "Women have the
right to go out for their needs." [Bukhari]
the Prophet (saws) allowed his wives and other women to go out to
the Mosques for their prayers. He also advised other men:
not prevent the female servants of Allah (i.e Mosques)" [Muslim]
ideal Muslim husband therefore does not impose restrictions on his
wife greater then those imposed by Allah (swt), or by the Prophet
(saws) on his own family.
the foregoing indicate that the women who is married to an ideal
Muslim husband is protected but not suppressed, and is therefore
likely to be happy and contented.
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.
you who have attained to faith! Ward off from yourselves and your
that fire (of the hereafter) whose fuel is Human beings and stones."
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 his family do not violate Islamic norms
of behavior. The kind of treatment required should not therefore
include condoning her misbehavior.
Qur’an has prescribed a specific graded series of three steps, which
the husband should take if the wife shows that she is rebelling
against Islamic norms of conduct.
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 also fails he is
permitted to beat her lightly as a final act of correction. If she
then complies then the husband should take no further action against
her. [Qur’an 4:34]
beating is the last resort, and not the first one, and the Prophet
(saws) placed some limitations on it, as follows:
It should not be on the face or on any easily injured part of the
It should not be hard enough to cause pain or injury or leave a
Prophet (saws) indicated that if a man must beat his wife it should
be more or less symbolic, with something like a toothbrush.
Prophet (saws) 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. Sabrah to have said:
your wife, and if there be any good in her she will receive it;
and beat not your wife like a slave."
another Hadith from Ayas b. Abdullah he specifically said:-
not beat Allah’s female servants (i.e women)" [Abu
Da’ud, Ibn Majah]
Tirmidhi’s collection is another Hadith related by Amru b. al Ahwas:
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 they have rights over you." [Tirmidhi]
Muslim husband therefore has no right to beat his wife indiscriminately
or habitually for petty offences, and if he does, 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.
phenomenon of wife beating is not peculiar to Muslim’s- it is found
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 brutal by nature, or just in a bad temper.
temper is to be controlled, not vented on the weaker sex. The Prophet
(saws) referred to this in another Hadith when he said:
is not strong who throws people down, but he is strong among us
who controls himself when he is angry." [Bukhari
observed this self-control in the Prophet (saws) behavior:
Prophet (saws) 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.
ideal Muslim husband therefore strives to emulate the Prophet’s
(saws) practice by avoiding beating completely and discouraging
it from others. It is not at all becoming for a Muslim to be a wife-beater
in defiance of the Prophet’s (saws) explicit dislike of the practice.
brings us to another interesting aspect of the Prophet’s (saws)
relationship with his wives.
apparently allowed his wives to do what is called "answering back"
to men who think that women, like children, should be seen and not
heard. There are several recorded instances of the Prophet’s (saws)
companions remonstrating with him or with his wives about this practice.
Nevertheless he chose to allow his wives to speak their minds.
incident related in Ibn Ishaq’s sirat Rasul Allah (An early biography
of the Prophet*) makes an interesting reading:
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 (saws) 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 until night." Greatly troubled by 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 (saws), 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
(saws) and answer him with no respect?". "By all that is wonderful,"said
Umm Salamah, "What call have you to come between Allah’s messenger
(saws) and his wives? Yes, by God, we speak our minds, and if he
allows us to do so that is his affair, and if he forbids us he will
find us more obedient to him then we are to you." Umar then realised
he had gone too far and withdrew.
this anecdote we can clearly hear the voices of women who respect
their husband not because they are afraid of him or out of hypocrisy,
but out of genuine admiration and love. The fact that he allowed
them to speak their minds shows that the Prophet (saws) never regarded
women as slaves or second-class citizens but as human beings to
whom Allah (swt) has given reason and the ability to distinguish
right from wrong as he has given them to men.
went further in a Hadith to say that when the Prophet (saws) told
her something she would question him closely about it so that she
could understand its justification before she was satisfied. The
Prophet (saws) 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 critical
faculty and clear thinking.
in Muhammad- his Life based on the Earliest Source by Lings
(Islamic Texts Society/George Allen & Unwin 1983)
this we can see that the Prophet (saws) 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 complexes and are afraid of being
shown up as mentally or morally inferior to their wives. To forestall
this they physically frighten their wives, who are then afraid to
open their mouths in their husband’s presence, let alone to disagree
incident illustrates how the Prophet (saws) 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 (raa) 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 basic needs.
After the capture of Khaybar with it’s rich agricultural produce,
the Muslims were better off, and the Prophet (saws) 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 this could not
always be exactly fulfilled. There developed 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.
soon spread that the Prophet (saws) had divorced his wives, and
the wives, in suspense, regretted bitterly their demands on him.
He then let it be known through Umar that he had not divorced them
but that he did not wish to see any of them until a full lunar month
the end of the month he asked his wives one by one to make their
own choice in accordance with the newly revealed verses of the Qur’an:
Prophet, say to your wives: If you desire but the life of this world
and it’s charms, then come and I will bestow it’s goods upon you,
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
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. *
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 harsh word.
is incidents like these that make it quite clear why the Prophet
(saws) is held up a beautiful example to the Muslims in every aspect
of his life.
are of course numerous other facets of his personality and behavior,
which contributed to making him an ideal husband.
was of course clean and pure both in his thoughts and person, and
very generous in accordance with his own saying:
Allah is pure and loves the pure, is clean and loves the clean,
is beneficent and loves the beneficent, is generous and loves the
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 children in any matter with the
same degree of love, and consider the children to be "women’s affair".
In our own society today this is a common phenomenon where it is
the mother who often plays the major role in ensuring that the children
are clothed and cared for, that their school fees are paid, that
they learn good behavior and so on. While it is good that the mother
shows this love and concern, it is not approved for father to abandon
his own moral and financial responsibilities and ignore the proper
education and upbringing of his own children.
have mentioned the Prophet’s (saws) own role in the upbringing of
his own daughters (it was only the daughters that survived to maturity)
and on 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.
example in a Hadith from Abu Hurairah (raa) it is related as follows:
Prophet of Allah kissed his grandson Hassan the son of Ali in the
presence of Agra’ B. Habis, whereupon Agra’ said: "Verily, I have
children and yet I have not 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
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 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 family.
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 (saws) as an illustration of
an ideal Muslim husband in action.
I approached the question "What is an ideal Muslim husband" by asking
Muslim women to tell me what they thought.
this end a questionnaire was passed to a random group of Muslim
women, who informed me what they considered the most desirable qualities
for an ideal Muslim husband to be.
this end, a random group of 35 Muslim women living locally, mainly
married ones were selected.
five most important qualities scored 2 points each and the five
next most important qualities scored 1 point each. The result is
Order of Priority in the Desirable Qualities of an Ideal Muslim
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
A loving nature 16
Ability to be contented with one wife 15
Sense of humour 13
Good looks 6
Physical strength 4
list of qualities is not of course comprehensive, and there are
a few important omissions. However, it raises many interesting points
for our brothers to consider in their endeavor to qualify as a potential
or actual ideal Muslim husband.
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.
information also confirms the natural order of things referred to
and upheld in the Qur’an, in that women do apparently want their
men folk to lead and not be led. 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.
is interesting to go over in one’s mind the qualities of the Prophet
(saws) mentioned in the earlier part of this paper and match them
with this list to see how far the Prophet’s (saws) behavior to his
wives demonstrates perfectly those qualities to which women give
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
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
our sisters I pray for Allah’s guidance to make each of us worthy
of being the ideal wife of an ideal Muslim husband.
B. Aisha Lemu.
and edited by Muslim Information Service