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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Family Matrimonial Rights

Matrimonial Rights - Observance of Rights

Article Index



Spouses cannot obtain marital happiness before they apply the law of give and take to themselves through observing each other’s rights. Considering it as the first cell of society, the Islamic Sharia has paid a great deal of attention to the marital life through regulations and common rights of spouses and special rights of each. The common rights that each spouse should perform towards the other are honesty, confidence, trust, sympathy, and cooperation. These are the genuine supports of successful mari tal life.

Rights of Husbands

By virtue of their obligatory and guardianship on their wives, husbands enjoy definite rights:

1. Obedience to Husbands

A wife is fully responsible for responding to the husband’s acceptable desires, and avoiding any matter that harms him, such as leaving the house before obtaining his permission, spending his wealth wastefully, neglecting the domestic duties, and the lik e matters.

Imam al-Baqir narrated that the Prophet (s) answered the woman who asked him about the husbands’ rights against their wives by saying: “Women should obey and avoid defying their husbands. They should not give alms out of the husbands’ wealth before obtai ning their permission, avoid observing fasting recommendably before they obtain their permission, respond to their sexual call every time and in every manner, even if they were on the backs of camels, and not leave their houses before obtaining their per mission. If they do, they are cursed by the angels of the heavens, angels of the earth, angels of wrath, and angels of mercy until they come back to their houses.”

The woman then asked: “God’s Messenger, who is the owner of the greatest right against man?” The Prophet (s) answered: “His father is.”

She asked: “Who is the owner of the greatest right against woman?” The Prophet (s) answered: “Her husband is.” 16

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated that a woman, whose husband had ordered her not to leave her house until he would be back from his journey, sent a messenger to the Prophet (s) to ask him a permission to visit her diseased father.

“No,” answered the Prophet (s), “She should sit in her house and obey her husband.”

As her father became intensely ill, she sent a messenger to the Prophet (s) asking for permission to visit him.

“No,” answered the Prophet (s), “She should sit in her house and obey her husband.”

As her father was dead, she sent a messenger to the Prophet (s) asking for permission to attend his funeral ceremony.

“No,” answered the Prophet (s), “She should sit in her house and obey her husband.”

When her father was buried, the Prophet (s) sent a messenger to tell her that Allah forgave her father and her because of her observance of the obedience to her husband. 17

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “As for any wife who passes a night while her husband is angry with her for a question in which he is right, her prayers will not be admissible unless her husband is pleased with her.” 18

2. Compliance with Husbands

Wives are recommended to encompass their husbands with nice sociability, pleasant attention, and kind compliance by means of observing their affairs, securing means of their physical and mental tranquility, doing well the housekeeping, and caring for the family members. Carrying out so, wives will certainly be dear and lovable by husbands. Moreover, wives, by following such instructions, become good examples for their sons and become the sources of high moral standards. The most significant form of the wives’ compliance with their husbands is to avoid exhausting them by expensive charges that injure their economical capacities. This causes confusion to husbands who, subsequently, begin to have an aversion to their wives.

Imam al-Kadhim (a) said: “Jihad of women is their compliance with their husbands.”

The wives’ good behavior and compliance with their husbands raise their spirits and supply them with huge physical and mental energies helping in going on exerting all efforts for seeking earnings and encouraging on standing ordeals and crises of life. T he wives’ quarrelsomeness and disobedience, on the other hand, enfeeble the husbands’ entities and bring to them senility earlier.

The following story is a good example:

A group of people went to ask the three brothers of Banu Ghannam for a solution for their complicated question. As they met the first one, who was old man, and asked him for a solution, he referred them to his brother saying, ‘You may find a solution wi th him because he is older than I am.’ When they went to meet his brother, they found a middle-aged man. Having sought a solution from him, he said, ‘You may see my third brother and, because he is older than I am, you can find a solution with him.’ Henc e, they went to the third brother to meet a young man. As they could no longer conceal their astonishment, they asked him about his two brothers and his manner. He answered: ‘My brother whom you first met is the youngest among us. Unfortunately, he had t o suffer the misbehaviors of his ill-tempered wife because he anticipated an intolerable matter if he would divorce her. His wife therefore has been the main reason beyond his growing old at an earlier time. The second one you met is the middle among us. His wife has gathered both good and bad mannerism. She sometimes pleased him, but she also displeased him. Hence, you can see him as middle-aged man. I have a well-mannered wife who never shows misbehavior with me. Hence, I could keep my youth with her. ’ 19

Let us now listen to the following words of a wise Beduin mother who provides some instructions to her daughter on her wedding night:

“Daughter, you will very soon leave the house in which you came to this world and the nest in which you grew up to join a nest that you have not known yet, and a companion with whom you have not familiarized yourself yet. Thus, you should behave as his b ondmaid so that he will behave as your slave. Observe for him the following ten points:

The first and second are that you should live with him with satisfaction and associate with him with obedience.

The third and fourth are that you should observe the places where his eye and nose notice. Hence, he should not see anything ugly and should not smell anything bad from you.

The fifth and sixth are that you should observe the times of his sleep and food. Continuous feelings of hunger arouse fiery and continuous disturbance of sleep arouses rage.

The seventh and eighth are that you should observe his wealth and respect his family. To observe his wealth is to opt for moderation, and to respect his family can be achieved through good management.

The ninth and tenth are that you should avoid disobeying his orders and divulging his secrets. You will certainly arouse his malice against you if you disobey him, and you will certainly expose yourself to his unexpected punishment if you divulge his sec rets.

Beware of showing happiness before him when he is sad or showing depression when he is happy, because the earlier is a sign of negligence and the latter is a sign of annoyance.

Glorify him more than anyone else does, so that he will honor you more than anyone else. You must know that you cannot obtain that which you like before you prefer his satisfaction to yours and prefer his desires to yours in any matter. Finally, God may choose for you the good.” 20