Your husband is in one of his moods again. He disagrees with everything you say. The food doesn’t have enough of this, or it has too much of that. Nothing you do is enough, and everything you do is wrong. Your husband is really getting on your nerves!
You have heard it all before—Muslim wives should be obedient to their husbands. Inside, you’re steaming! “Why should I have to serve him when he treats me like a doormat? Don’t my feelings count? Don’t I have any rights?”
Indeed, the mistreatment of women by men has nothing to do with Islam my dear sister. It has to do with cultural practices, ignorance, weak faith, impatience, low self-esteem and other factors unrelated to our religion.
Khawla said: “By Allah, the beginning of surat al-Mujadilah was revealed concerning me and my husband Aws ibn al-Samit. He was an old man with a bad temper. One day, he came in and I raised a particular issue with him again. He became angry and said, ‘You are to me as the back of my mother.’ Then he left our house and sat for a while with some people that he knew. Later, he came back home and wanted to have marital relations with me. I said, ‘No way! By the hand of the One in Whose hand is the soul of Khuwayla (i.e., Khawla), you will never get what you want from me after saying what you said, until Allah and His Messenger decides between us.’ He tried to force himself on me, but I was able to resist because I was a young woman and he was a weak old man. I pushed him away. Then I went to one of my (female) neighbors and borrowed a cloak from her and went to the Messenger of Allah.
I sat before him and told him what my husband had done to me and began to complain to him about my sufferings due to my husband’s bad temper. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Khuwayla, your cousin is an old man, so fear Allah with regard to him.’ I did not leave until Qur’an was revealed concerning me. The Prophet was overcome as he usually was when Qur’an was revealed to him, and when it was over, he said: ‘O Khuwayla, Allah has revealed Qur’an concerning you and your husband.’ Then he recited to me Allah’s admonishment regarding what Aws had done and the penalty for compensation of his misdeed.
The Prophet then said that Aws had to feed sixty poor people with a wasq of dates.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, he does not have that much.’ He said, ‘Then we will help him with a faraq of dates.’ I said, ‘And I will help him with another faraq, O Messenger of Allah .’ He said, ‘You have done right and done well. Go and give it in charity on his behalf, then take care of your cousin properly.’ And I did so.” 1
In the above hadith you will notice that the Prophet commended Khuwayla when she offered to assist her husband by giving in charity to him by paying for his compensation in dates. The Prophet told her she had done right and well, even though Aws had been reprimand by Allah . Then the Prophet further tells her to take care of her husband properly. And she says she did so.
In any relationship, it is important for parties to know what their rights are as well as their obligations. Some women are unaware of their own obligations or wifely manners that are recommended. “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations” (Quran: al-Maa’idah 5:1)
Remember that fighting fire with fire may not be the best solution in minimizing your husband’s bad temper. Using kindness to manage a heated situation may be a better solution. Not only can the gentle approach be effective in managing undesirable behavior from your husband, it is also the way in which the Prophet dealt with his own wives. He overlooked their weakness in character or at least he didn’t respond to their ill behavior in kind.
Of course, times will occur when you will need to make your rights clear to your husband. This can be done in a calm, respectful way rather than in a confrontational manner. One of the best ways of changing our husbands, which we often neglect, is through making dua. Ask Allah to help your husband improve in his treatment of you. And also remember to ask Himto help you develop more patience, allowing you to become a stronger Muslimah as a result of your tolerance—Allah has power over all things.
One of the ways to help you become more tolerant when dealing with your husband’s behaviour is by telling yourself that you are being kind to your husband not for his sake but only for the pleasure of Allah . This can be an enormous boost in helping you become more patient with your husband’s shortcomings. So too can the following hadith:
“If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her, she will enter paradise.” 2
This positive manner of handling your marital problems is not belittling you; rather, it is empowering you!
This article does not apply to sisters living in an abusive relationship.
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