HOW DOES ISLAM BUILD THE FAMILY
By analyzing these arguments, we understand that none of the
Religious learned scholars deny the virgin from exercising her will or harming her.
On the contrary, they try to protect her against any act of rashness
caused by her naive youth and tender adolescence or driving desires,
and prevent her from falling a prey to the seduction of men and their
carnal desires, which may turn her into means of pleasure and
exploitation. That is why these religious learned scholars insist on the father's
consent or leave the matter to him, provided his decision does not
bring her any harm, in which case they demand that she herself should
be mature enough and be capable of understanding such affairs.
However the most important thing is that the woman has to obey the
instructions of the `Mujtahid' (the authority on Divine Law) in this
regard, of whom she is a follower and not of anyone else.
Thus, Islam establishes an orderly family on exact moral an legal
foundations, based on a strong and lasting construction so that the
family, through sound married life, may play its great human role in
2- ORGANIZING FAMILY RELATIONS
The major task undertaken by Islam is the organization of the human
life and its protection against disintegration and disorder by
rational laws, values and morals.
In Islam the family is the keystone of the social building and
organizes, controls and supports the order of society; and it is also
the starting point for the psychological and moral guidance of the
society. So Islam concentrates on the orderly organization of the
family by laying the legal and moral bases necessary for systematizing
the life within its limits and describes every psychological and
instinctive element that is required. Therefore, it defines the
following basic rights as the firm foundation of a family.
1. The rights of a wife upon her husband.
2. The rights of husband upon his wife.
3. The rights of children upon their parents.
4. The rights of parents upon their children.
1. The Rights of a Wife Upon Her Husband:
In order to establish the relationship between wife and husband on a
sound and explicit base in accordance with a clear and defined
religious principle, the Qur'an says:
"... And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over
them in a just manner..." Holy Qur'an (2:228)
Through this wonderful legal relationship, Islam builds the
connection between the couple on the basis of an exact and just
equation. The woman has her legal rights upon her husband, as also the
man legal rights upon her. In short, Islam has imposed certain rights
upon both husband and wife.
Studying the marital relations in Islam we realize that Islamic laws
advocating marital bonds between man and wife are based on affection,
mercy, kindness and good treatment towards each other and consider the
marriage contract as a sacred covenant.
How wonderfully Imam Ja`far bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq (a.s.), refers to
this sacred contract! He says:
"When one of you wants to marry a woman,let him say to her: `I accept the covenant taken by Allah': ...And then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in kindness.'
The religious texts and concepts define the rights of the wife upon
her husband as follows:
The Wife has the right of being properly maintained
by her husband and he is responsible for providing his wife with food,
clothes, residence, medical treatment, adornment (as per his means)
and other expenditures needed by the wife and becoming her social
status, on one hand, and falling within the husband's financial means,
on the other.
Allah the Exalted says:
"Lodge them where you dwell, according to your means, and harass them
not so as to straiten life for them. And if they are pregnant, then
spend for them till they bring forth their burden. Then, if they give
suckle for you, give them their due payment and enjoin one another
among you to do good; but if you disagree, then let other (woman)
suckle for him (the father of the child.) Let him who has abundance
spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him
spend of that which Allah has given him; Allah does not lay a burden
on any soul, except that which He has given it. Allah will bring about
ease after hardship." Holy Qur'an (65:6-7)
b. Good Treatment:
The following verses of the Qur'an explain the sharing of affection
love, confidence and respect with her.
"...And treat them (woman) kindly..." Holy Qur'an (4:19)
"...And then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in
kindness..." Holy Qur'an (2:229)
. This refers to the period of alimony for the divorced wife who, if pregnant, is to be provided for till she gives birth to the child.
"And of His signs is this: He created mates for you from yourselves
that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and
mercy...". Holy Qur'an (30:21)
The Messenger (s.a.w.) said:
"Verily the best of you is the best to his women; and I am the best
of you to my women."
He also said:
"May Allah bless the man who does good between himself and his wife;
as Allah the Exalted has given him authority over her and made him her
Family life is the fountain of happiness and the source of love and
affection. In the warmth of the home man finds his comfort and
stability, and near his wife he feels pleased and secured.
The more affectionate the relations, the better the companionship
between the couple and the deeper the feeling of peace, security and
comfort in the souls of husband, wife and the children.
How exact is the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he says:
"A man's words to his wife: `I love you' would never go out of her heart."
Islam enhances good companionship with the wife, fulfilling her
psychological and aesthetic inclinations and satisfying her sexual
and instinctive desires so that all their marital dimensions may rub
against each other.
It insists even further than that. Islam asks the husband to resort
to every means and method that cause his wife to love him, physically,
spiritually and instinctively, tying her tightly to him. Islam urges
man to be keen on keeping himself good-looking and attractive to her,
responding to her sexual desire, starting with foreplay for excitement
so that he may reach climax with her simultaneously, as she is a
matching partner to him in enjoying sexual pleasures. She is not a
mere means for satisfying man's desire. A Tradition says:
"All the believer's diversions are futile, except in three instances:
in paying court to his wife, as (only) these are true."
"When one wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, one may not
hasten her, as women, too, have their desires"45
"Three acts are considered to be rude: to accompany somebody without
asking his full name; to refuse an invitation for a meal, or to accept
it but refuse to eat; and to start sexual intercourse with the wife
It is related that: The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) on entering the house
of Umm Salama, smelled a strong perfume. He asked; "Is Al-Hawla'
here?" Umm Salama replied: "Yes, she is here complaining about her
husband." Al-Hawla' came out and told the Prophet: "My husband
neglects me". He said: "Give him more, Hawla' ". She answered: "I
leave no perfume without using it, but he still disregards me." He
remarked: "If only he would know what he would get by approaching
you!" She asked: "What would he get by approaching me?' The prophet
replied: "If he approached you, two angels would escort him and he
would be like a man drawing his sword to fight for the cause of Allah.
Then by having sexual intercourse, his sins would fall off him like
leaves from a tree and when he takes the bath, his sins would wash off
Al-Hasan bin Al-Jahm narrates that he saw the Imam Al-Rida (a.s.) with
his beard dyed. So I asked him: "May I be your sacrifice, I see you
have dyed." The Imam said, "Yes, embellishment increases the chastity
of women. They abandon chastity when their husbands abandon
embellishment." Then he continued "Would you like to see her as she
would see you, without adorning herself?" Ibn Al-Jahm answered in the
negative. The Imam replied, "that is it. The habit of the prophets is
to be clean, to use perfumes, to trim the hair and to frequent their
By the above quotations regarding rights of the wife upon her husband
we can illustrate a clear picture of leading a good marital life and
fulfil all aspects of the material, moral, instinctive and aesthetic???? relations between husband and wife.
2. The Rights of a Husband Upon His Wife:
To complete the equation between man and woman, Islam grants the
husband certain well-defined rights upon his wife. (These are, however,
less expensive and narrower in scope than her rights upon him.)
By analyzing the Qur'an and the Prophet's Traditions we discover the
basic rights granted by Islam to the husband upon the wife - rights
that are explicitly and exactly defined:
"Men are the maintainers of women, because Allah has made some of
them to excel others, and because they spend out of their property
(for the support of women)." Holy Qur'an (4:34)
According to a narration, a woman came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and asked
him: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me what right has the husband upon
the wife?" He said: "A lot." She said: "Explain me some of them." He
replied, "She may not fast without his permission, nor may she go out
of her house without his consent. She has to use the best of perfumes,
to wear the best of her clothes, to adorn herself as best as she can,
to offer herself to him day and night, and still his rights are more
For a better explanation, the husband's rights upon his wife can be
classified as follows:
a. Protecting his home, wealth and children: The husband should make
the necessary arrangements for the household and the family, otherwise
the wife is not responsible for housekeeping, cooking, cleaning etc.
It is not compulsory for her to suckle her children, attend them or
nurse them. Yes, Islam renders these affectionate acts for the woman
and considers them good deeds and a away of approaching Allah, unless
such responsibilities agreement.
A Tradition concerning man's right upon his wife, says:
"No Muslim got a better benefit from Islam than a Muslim wife who pleases her
husband, obeys his orders and protects his honour and his property
during his absence."
We also read about a wonderful arbitration conducted by the Messenger
of Allah (s.a.w.) between the Commander of Believers, `Ali bin Abi Talib
(a.s.) and his wife, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.) the Imam
"Ali and Fatimah came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) for arbitration concerning housework. The Prophet (s.a.w.) decided that all house - hold work should be done by Fatimah, and all the works outside the house were to be done by `Ali (s.a.w.). Fatimah later said: none but Allah knows how much pleased I was with this judgement of the messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) which spared me a man's job."
b. Obedience and Authority: The family is an important social unit
whose orderly construction depends on sound discipline and efficient
organizing. As there should be some one entrusted to shoulder
responsibility over his beloved family and undertake the task of
guidance and leadership within its prescribed limits, Islam has
therefore, authorized the husband to be obeyed and given him the upper
hand over his wife and children, until they come of age. This
authority, however is under the condition that he may not issue orders
contradicting the commands of religion and its principles. If he
orders his family to commit a sinful act, his right will lapse and he
should not be obeyed. A Tradition says:
"No creature is to obeyed in disobeying the Creator."
The following quotation from the Qur'an confirms the rights of a
"Men are the maintainers of women, because Allah has made some of
them to excel others, and because they spend out of their property
(for the support of women.)" Holy Qur'an (4:34)
A Tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) says:
"She may not go out of her house without his consent and should
obey his orders."
C. Good Behavior: In order to provide an atmosphere of love and
stability for her husband and her children, she is to do away with all
causes of unrest, disgust and whatever may disturb the peace of the
family. This can be achieved by showing affection and amity to the
husband and by infusing the home atmosphere with feelings of love, joy
her, what he hates to see and hear. The more the sense of beauty grows
in one's self, the more one's need for love and affection is satisfied
and the less the causes of trouble, boredom, frustration, bitterness,
hatred, etc. Thus, such a harmonious family life full of love, joy and
affection would certainly have its effects on the behavior of its
members, and on their relations with the society, especially the
children, who grow up in the arms of such a loving atmosphere,
contrary to a miserable and unhappy family, where the husband leads a
life of hatred, tension, repulsion and ill - temper, thereby bringing
ruin to the family. Such environments badly affect the children,
causing them to be complex and miserable, or even pushing them to be
aggressive, irresponsible and lead a vagabond life.
Islam urges the mother to be the source of love. beauty, peace and
security in the house and advises her to endeavor to create a tightly
knit family life full to harmony and affection.
A man said to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.): "I have a wife who
welcomes me at the door when I enter the house, and sees me off when I
leave. When she sees me grieved. asks me: `What are you grieved for?
If you are anxious about your livelihood, it is guaranteed by other
than you; or if you are worried about your hereafter life, may Allah
increase your worries". "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "Allah has
agents and she is one of them. She will get half a martyr's reward."
According to Jabir bin Abdallah Al-Ansari: Once the Prophet (s.a.w.)
"The best of your women is the prolific, the affectionate, the
chaste, the endeared of her family, the humble to her husband,
fortified against other than him, listens to what he says, and obeys
his orders, offers herself to him when alone, but not in an unabashed
manner like his."
d. Pleasing the husband: The wife should pay proper attention to her
make - up and appearance, to attract the husband and respond to his
sexual inclinations, since this is quite effective in pulling the man
to his wife and strengthening the relations of love between them, she
should provide him with ways of enjoying her beauty and satisfy his
desires and prevent him the temptation of throwing himself into the
traps of forbidden desires.