Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wife:Her Status and Rights in Islam
Like the rights and status of woman, the position of wife in Islam is also a subject of misconception in past history as in the modern world. Now-a-days Woman Day is observed all over the world and the main slogan is about woman's status and
rights. But considering the result of such observance, a question arises "Does it elevate a woman's status or give her the desirable right?" West has made woman an object of enjoyment and fun, deceiving her in the disguise of Savior of Woman and thus her status is being degraded.
Prophet (SAWS) urged to consider four points before selecting a spouse. They are beauty, wealth, family status and piety. Piety should come before all other considerations. Here, both the partners are hoped to be pious and sincere followers of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Both will be respectful for the rights and status of each other. This perception plays an important role for a happy and successful marriage.
Muslim Family Series/Husband's duty toward his wife in Islam
How to make your wife happy. A step toward a successful marriage, by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed, Director of Religious Affairs-ISNA Canada.
In Islam, the rights and status of a wife is described precisely in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In fact, only Islam gives her the worthy and glorious position. A woman becomes wife through marriage. She has the right to select her partner. As marriage is a sacred contract the selection process before marriage must be considered carefully by the man and woman. Our Prophet (SAWS) said, "Do not marry only for the beauty, may be the beauty becomes the cause of moral decline. Do not marry even for the sake of wealth, may be the wealth becomes the reason of disobedience; marry rather on the ground of religious devotion and piety."
In the Holy Qur'an, Allah (SWT) points to marital bond as one of His signs and says, "Among His signs is that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." (30:21). A virtuous wife is always a source of tranquility, love and mercy, as we find these in the great Muslim lady like Khadijah (R.A), the first wife of the Prophet (SAWS). Allah says, "It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her in love…." (7:189).
The two verses mentioned above state the great purpose of marriage i.e. tranquility and highlights the equal position of man and woman as both of them are created from "a single person". In Surah Baqarah (2:187) it is mentioned that "they (wives) are your garments and you are their garments". The inward meaning of garment is peace and security. Abdullah Yousuf Ali comments on this verse "Men and women are each other's garments i.e. they are for mutual support, mutual comfort and mutual protection, filling into each other as a garment fits the body. A garment is also both for show and concealment."
The Prophet (SAWS) said in reply to a questioner who asked about the best form of wealth, "The best wealth is a tongue which is wet with the remembrance of Allah and a health which is thankful to Allah and a believing, pious wife who helps her husband to keep to the practice of his faith." The references above from the Qur'an and Sunnah upgrades the statues of a wife.
A wife is entitled some financial and non-financial rights from her husband. A short description is given below:
1.The husband should give his wife the marriage gift or Mohr and this will be her own property.
2.The wife will get full maintenance from her husband e.g. food, clothing, housing, education, recreation, medication etc.
3.Even if the wife is rich, she need not spend single penny for her husband or family. All these are the responsibilities of her husband.
4.The mutually agreed conditions signed during the marriage contract become binding on both the spouses.
5.She has also the right to divorce her husband if necessary.
6.She can go to the court if her husband fails to meet her basic requirements.
7.The husband and wife have mutual inheritance rights from the time of marriage.
There are some misconceptions regarding the rights of wife in Islam. It is due to the misinterpretation of some Qur'anic verses and some prophetic traditions. It is a matter of disgrace to mention that, we Muslims are now Muslims by birth, and we like to recite the Qur'an without imbibing the main essence from it. We need to make a great deal of study on the Qur'an and Sunnah. Lack of knowledge always results misunderstanding, misconceptions, chaos, and deprivation of human rights and deviation from the truth. Evidently it can even ruin one's faith.
In the matter of inheritance it may appear that a woman's share is unfair as she gets half of her male counterpart. However, in deeper study, it emerges that woman has been dealt with very fairly. As a wife she gets full maintenance and Mohr and inherits from her husband's property in case his demise is before her. These are her own property and definitely these are her unearned property. Whereas she is free of any financial responsibilities rather she is entitled to enjoy all her property without spending a single penny for the maintenance of the family, relatives or other dependents. On the contrary, the husband is ordained to bear the financial responsibilities of the family. And hence he needs more money and wealth to fulfil his commitment to his family and children and if he fails to carry out the duties he is going to be accountable to Allah and the Islamic society..
Family is the basis of Islamic society. A wife deprived of her proper rights can not play her proper role to form an ideal family. The society will lose its balance if the foundation of the family is weak and not rightly constructed. An Islamic family, more precisely an Islamic wife, provides prosperity, balance and care for the coming generation. So if we can ensure the proper right and status of wife and free her from all forms of persecution, we can hope for a better future of a sound and well disciplined generation.