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The Husband
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THE HUSBAND'S DUTIES

1. A husband is responsible for the protection, happiness and
maintenance of his wife. He is responsible for the cost of her food,
clothes and accommodation. Although she may have to cook, he has to
buy her the raw materials and cooking and kitchen facilities, as may
be required and applicable. He may also have to buy her two sets of
clothes or more each year, providing the types of clothing suitable
for the seasons. However, the number of sets of clothes and their
quality depend on the husbands means and social requirements. A wife
is also entitled to a comfortable, independent accomodation, suitably
furnished and provided with basiic sanitation facilities. She is not
obliged to stay with the husband's parents or relatives as he is not
obliged to live with hers. She is also entitled to enjoy herslef with
her husband in a relaxed atmophere, free from the embarrassment
caused by the presence of another adult in the household The cost of
smoking or of a forbidden fruit or drink is not to be provided by the
husband.

2. In addition to providing these material needs, a husband has to be
kind, understanding and forgiving, and must treat his wife in a
tender and loving manner. He not only should avoid hurting her but
should bear with her if she ever does something disagreeable, so long
as this clemency does not spoil her and she does not habitually
behave out of bounds. The Quran reads:

...and treat them [women] kindly. [IV,19}

And the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:

[Fear] God, [fear] God in the matter of women. They are weak
partners, a trust from God with you; and they are made by the divine
word permissible for you.


He also says:
Whoever of you whose wife behaves in a disagreeable manner and he
responds by kindness and patience, God will give him rewards as much
as Job will be given for his patience.

Patient behavior was the practice of the Prophet, even when his wife
dared to address him harshly. Once his mother-in-law- saw her daugher
strike him with her fist on his noble chest. When the enraged mother -
in-law began to reproach her daugher, the Prophet smilingly
said, "Leave her alone; they do worse than that." And once Abu Bakr,
his father-in-law, was invited to settle some misunderstanding
between him and Aishah. The Prophet said to her, "Will you speak, or
shall I speak?" Aisha said, "You speak, but do not say except the
truth." Abu Bakr was so outraged that he immediately struck her
severely, forcing her to run and seek protection behind the back of
the Prophet. Abu Bakr said, "O you the enemy of herself! Does the
Messenger of God say but the truth?" The Propeht said, "O Abu Bakr,
we did not invite you for this [harsh dealing with Aishah], nor did
we anticipate it."

3. It is further recommended that a husband be relaxed with his wife,
and cheer her up with his humor or by making agreeable jokes. The
Prophet, peace and belessings be upon him, in spite of his lofty
status, used to play with his wife. He ran in competition with
Aishah. Sometimes she won, and other times he won. And once, hearing
an Abyssinian entertainment team playing outside the home, the
Prophet said to Aisha, "Would you like to see them?" When she agreed,
he sent for them and they came and performed in front of his door.
The Prophet stretched his hand, putting his palm on the open door and
letting Aisha's chin rest on his arm so that she culd see
comfortably. A while later the Propeht asked Aishah, "Enough?" She
said, "Silence!" Another while later he asked, "Enough?" and the
answer was again, "Silence!" But when he asked her for the third
time, "Enough? she agreed, "Yes," and the team went away on a gesture
from the Prophet. He then said, "The most perfect belief is that of
those who are best-mannered and most tender with their wives. " The
Propeht also used to say, "Surely God does not love a rough person
who is boastful, and rude to his wife." A Bedouin widow once
described her husband: "He came always with a smile and left with a
greeting. When he was hungry he ate whatever was found, and did not
bother when something was missing!"

4. It is of supreme importance that the husband endeavor to handle
the matter of sex relations with skill, care and understanding. He
should not regard his wife as an object for his own enjoyment alone
but as a partner with whom he should always seek mutual bliss,
satisfaction and fulfillment. He should always approach her with love
and tenderness. In the early stages of marriage, especially in their
first expereince on the wedding day, he has to be particulary gentle.
The husband should always have due regard for his wife's feelings and
should endeavor to let her reach the degree of full satisfaction in
this respect. Because of the importance of this element, early Muslim
authorities discussed such details as love play, the techniques that
arouse excitement, and the question of orgasm. The right Islamic
literature treating this subject far exceeds and is more original and
stimulatiing than- but not so obscene as-the crude and vulgar
material now in wide circulation in the West. We may discuss here
some of the remarks made by these early authorities. They stress the
importance of premliminary love play-caresses, fondling, kissing,
endearing words- in order to arouse the wife's sexual passion and
prepare for a deeper sensation and a successful conclusion. At the
beginning of actual coitus, it is recommended that the following
prayer be said:

In the name of Almighty God, the Most High, Please,God, ward off the
evil forces away from us and from the blessings You bestow upon us.

The authorities also recommend that in the process of coitus,
especially before full penetration, the excitable areas of the male
genitals be gently provoked to contribute to completl fulfillment. We
have to remind the reader, however, that even at this moment of
absorption and ecstasy, propriety and cleanliness have to be
maintained. On the one hand, both partners may utter exclamations or
ejaculations venting or expressing the intensity of their pleasure,
which also may increase the degree of their excitation; but neither
may scream to the degree of disrupting the natural privacy of the
act. Some Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, recommend the
repetition of the words: Allahu Akbar, "God is Great."
On the other hand, it is to be remembered that the liquid
(lubricating) material discharged by the sex organs on excitement is
counted as a pollution and a polluting element in Islam and that a
Muslim is forbidden to smear a part of his or her body with a
polluting stuff unnecessarily. Therefore the custom of licking the
excitable areas with the tongue said to prevail in the West may not
only be unhealthy; it is also forbidden on that account. We also feel
that it is indeed disgusting; and this disgust might in the long run
plant the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the couple and ultimately
break their rellationship.

The position to be assumed by male and female in relation to each
other during coitus occupied a great deal of the attention of Muslim
authors who treated the subject. They compiled some fifteen basic
different positions; and within each choice they suggest varieties of
details.

We do not need to discuss this matter here at length, since husband
and wife, in their search for their own fulfillment, can easily
discover these varieties and select what they find to be most
suitable and comfortable for themselves. Muslim writers also
emphasize that the husband should endeavor to achieve mutual orgasm.
If he should fail to hold out sufficiently for his partner, they say
he should continue his efforts to have her reach a climax. To rush
away from her too soon might be injurious.

They also recommend that parting at the end of the act should be
slow, pleasant and cordial, not abrupt or indifferent.

After some rest both parties have to have the full ablution (a bath).
This duty does not need to be rushed; but when the time of the next
prayer comes, it has to be performed to remove the ceremonial
pollution arising from coitus. Prior to having this bath, the
parties, like a woman during her priod of menstrual dischage, are
forbidden to perform prayers or to touch or read the Quran. Moreover,
it is better to delay hair cutting and fingernail-clipping until
after the ablution.

It is also recommended that the husband seek to introduce changes and
variations in his approach and in the performance, even in little
details, in order to avoid boredom. Variations also create a sense of
novelty, and novelty stimulates interest and curiosity; and this
intensifies the feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. These Muslim
etiquettes are probably best summed up in the following words
attributed to the Prophet:


Let not one of you fall upon his woman in the manner a male animal
suddenly jumps over its female victim. Let there be a messenger [to
go] between them." He was asked, "What is the messenger, O Messenger
of God?" He said, "Kissing and endearing speech.
Another tradition reads:

Three practices are shortcomings in a man; namely, to fail to enquire
about the name of a man he has just encountered, but was worty of
friendship; to refuse a favor extended to him in good faith; and to
assault his woman without introductory entertainment [to stimulate
her] and so he satisfies his own desire before she can achieve her
own fulfillment.
When one of you retires with his wife, let them not strip off their
clothes completely in an animal-like manner; and let him begin by
[stimulating her by the use of] fine exciting speech and by kissing.


In the course of their game of pleasure a husband and his wife may
enjoy and fondle any part of the body of each other; and their
engagement in this kind of activity is regarded as a type of divine
devotion. However, a husband is discouraged from looking at his
wife's gentials, perhaps for its adverse psychological effect.
Moreover, coitus is strictly forbidden during the menstrual period;
and penertration in the back passage is always forbidden. If the
femal genitals are to be avoided during the menstrual period,
presumably because of their temporary blood pollution, a filthier
pollution is an enternal factor in the case of the back passage.
Prohibition also applies to all types of unnatural and unproductive
activities, whether committed between two persons of the same sex or
otherwise.
Early Muslim authorities also discussed the advisable frequency of
coitus. Some advised that the experience should be repeated at least
once every four days. It seems, however, that the matter of frequency
should be left to the mood and the personal inclination of the
parties concerned, which indeed depend on many factors, including
their age and the condtion of their health.

5. A husband should also see to it that his wife has sufficient
knowledge of her religious obligations and encourage her in observing
her devotional duties. Of special importance are the rules pertaining
to the menstrual period. During this period, as well as during the
period of postnatal dischange, the oblgation of mandatory prayer is
lifted; and coitus is forbidden. The prohibition of coitus is lifted
when the blood discharge has stopped and the woman has had the
ablution of a full bath.

6. A husband should not harbor doubts or suspicion about his wife
unduly. Jealousy is indeed a natural element; and a husband is not to
be too indulgent or to remain indifferent in reasonably provocative
situations, and surely must guard his wife against all corruptive
influences. Yet he should not allow fanciful thoughts to engage his
mind and should not behave in a spying manner toward his wife. The
Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:


There is a type of jealousy which God loves and there is another type
which God hates. As for that which God loves, it is the jealousy
which is provoked by a legitimate cause of suspicion; and that which
God hates is the jealousy which is unduly aroused.
The Prophet once asked Fatimah, his own daugher, "What is best for a
woman?" She replied, "That she should not mix with men and men should
not mix with her." The Prophet, who was pleased with her answer,
hugged her and said, "An offspring resembling its roots." Thus a
happy life depends on mutual trust between the partners; and all that
has to be done is to keep away from situations that are likely to
incite evil or arouse suspicion.

[...]

8. If the wife becomes pregnant, her husband should display greater
consideration for her and should do all he can to alleviate her
discomfort. When she is delivered, he should be grateful to God for
her safety and for what God has beneficently graced them with. If his
wife has been delivered of a male child, he should not go out of his
way to show his pleasure; and if it is a female, he should not at all
feel disheartened. After all, he does not know which is better for
him. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:

Whoever is graced with a daughter and treats her well and lavished
upon her some of the favors God has bestowed upon him, she will be a
protection for him against the punishment of the Hell Fire.
Whoever brings home some good things to his children, it will be
counted as a divine charity for him. Let him begin by giving the
female ones. Whoever cheers up a female child shall have the merit of
him who weeps out of divine fear of God; and whoever so intensely
fears God, God will protect him from the Hell Fire.

Whoever has two daughers or two sisters under his care and treats
them well, he will be my companion in Paradise.


A child, however, should be given a good name, evein if it is
delivered in a miscarriage. And shortly after a child's safe birth,
the full text of the call to prayer should be recited in its right
ear, and the short one in its left ear. It is recommended that a boy
be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth, excluding the day of
birth itself. Whether it is a boy or a girl, it is recommended that
the family then hold a feast for which a lamb or larger animal should
be sacrificed. Some of the meat should be distributed to the poor, as
well as the value of gold whose weight is the weight of the baby's
hair. The sacrifice offered on the seventh day of birth is known
as 'aqiqah.