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Marriage Duties

Marriage in Islam is an important institution that has deep effects on society. Marriage is a bond containing rights and duties that each person, male or female, should preserve, protect and fulfill. Both the husband and wife, have certain rights and duties. Allah said, what translated means

"And live with them honorably."[4:19].

Each of them must fulfill his or her duties for the marriage to succeed. Allah said, what translated means,

"And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them as regards to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.) [2:228].

Women must fulfill their duties towards their husbands. Men must treat their wives fairly and fulfill their duties towards them, too. A happy marriage is assured if both the husband and the wife preserve each others' rights. A marriage that does the opposite is a miserable one.

The Sunnah of the Prophet is full of advice of what brings about a successful marriage. He said, what translated means, "Treat women fairly. The woman was created from a bent rib. The most bent part of the rib is the top. If you want to straighten it, you will break it. If you left it, it will stay bent. So treat women fairly." [Al- Bukhari & Muslim]. In this Hadith, the Prophet orders men to be fair with their wives and to treat them in the best manner. He described forcing a woman to change some of her attitudes as breaking the rib, and breaking the rib here means divorce. The Prophet was seeking to protect marriage from what may destroy it. He said, what translated means, "No Mu'min (believer) should dislike his believing wife. If he does not like her attitude (in some matters), (then) he will like another." [Muslim].

The Prophet advises men as how to have a good marriage. Men must ignore some of their wives mistakes and attitudes as long as they are not sins. The Prophet acknowledges that changing these attitudes is difficult. Women, Just like men, are not perfect. To enjoy marriage, men must forgive the bad attitudes and habits, and remember, the good ones. Surely in most cases, the good sides are more than the bad sides. For the husband to hate his wife, ignoring the good in her, means the destruction of their marriage. Many men want their wives to be perfect. This is not possible to achieve. If men ignore this fact, then misery and depression will fill their marriage, and this may lead to divorce. The Prophet advises the believers to protect their marriage by correcting the impermissible behavior of their wives, and not force change in matters that are not sins.

The wife has certain duties and rights. The rights include providing for her needs of food, clothing, housing and respect. The Prophet said, what translated means, "They have upon you (the rights) of providing for them and clothing, as regards to what is reasonable" [At-Tirmithi]. Also, the Prophet said to a questioner: "(Her rights upon you) is to feed her when you eat, buy her clothes when you buy for yourself, not to smack her on the face, not to curse her and not to ignore her (if you have a difference with her) but in the house." [Ahmad].

The wife has the right to be respected and treated fairly. Being unjust with the wife is impermissible. The Prophet gave us the perfect example of how a righteous believer should treat his wife. What men cannot control matters of the heart) must not affect the way they treat their wives.


Large Extracts taken from Marriage in Islam
By Iman@henry.wells.edu

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