The object of nikah is to lead a purposeful, peaceful, and harmonious life. For this purpose selection of an alliance has to be done carefully and thoughtfully. Inspite of taking all-possible care in this matter, certain circumstances arise and result in tense relationship between husband and wife. This situation prevails temporarily and gets normalised by lapse of time. In other situation, a person in anger calls his wife as his ‘mother’ or talks some rubbish with her; this is called zihar. This is a kind of thoughtlessness in oaths, and when the anger subsides, he feels ashamed of it. Such calling does not make his wife the mother, and it is similar to that of calling a person as ‘son’, and this does not make him a natural son (33:4). Such an attitude towards wife is strongly condemned and punishment has been imposed for it that such a person, before touching his wife should free a slave (since slavery prevailed in the then Arab society). If he is not in position to do so, he should fast for two months consecutively, and if he is unable to observe fast the should feed sixty indigent (poor) persons before they touch each other (58:3-4).
In another case when a man has taken an oath for abstention from his wife that he well not conjugate with her, he is given four months (as waiting) for reconsideration to resume as this situation cannot remain permanently. During this period if they resume conjugation, they are permitted to do so. If their intention is firm to dissolve the marriage they can do so as per the provisions of the Divine Laws (2:226 -27 ‘ 4:35), The object is not to leave the woman at the mercy of man under any circumstances. And her rights are fully protected.
In connection with relationship between husband and wife (4:34), it is generally interpreted that the rank of man (husband) is higher than that of woman (wife), and men are rulers over women, An example of such an interpretation is: "As far those women who seem to have gone refractory, (first) admonish them (and then, if necessary) remove them to separate beds, and (if that fails) give them a shaking." (4:34) In case if a situation arises when woman (wife) turns rebellious, this will not remain an individual problem but it will become a collective one; the matter of protection and upbringing of the children will get associated with this case. At this stage, the society or the State has to take steps giving them a chance to understand each other and rethink over the matter. If this approach fails, then their husbands will be asked to detach their sexual relations for sometime, so that this treatment may create a psychological effect on their mind. If all these approaches fail, the court of law may give some physical punishment to the party at fault. In case the husbands are given a free hand to punish their wives by beating them, it will create chaos in the society, and instead of solving a problem, we may create several other problems for the women, their suckling babies children, homes, hospitals, etc.
Adapted from: "Family Life in Islam" by: "Dr. Mir Mustafa Hussain"
Share this article