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The Rights of the Husband

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they (i.e., men) support them ( women) from their means... (Qur'an, 4:34)

This ayah covers in a nut-shell all the principles of domestic life. As mentioned earlier woman is, by nature, the weaker sex. As such she should not be expected to struggle for a livelihood; instead man should provide for both. If `home' is a kingdom, then husband is the King, and wife his Prime Minister. This ayah points to these facts. Let us look minutely at these phrases ` Allah has given the one more than the other.": This phrase refers to the natural strength of man in comparison to woman.

Man and Woman: Physical Differences It has been mentioned earlier that there are certain important anatomical and physical differences betweeen man and woman, which equip them for different roles in procreation. To these major differences can be added other secondary ones involving skeletal and muscular variations.

Reference to any physiology book will show that the regulation for the maintenance of these differences is largely a chemical one: the harmones (the name given to the chemicals which animals and human beings produce to regulate procreative and other functions) produce physical and functional differences. It can also be shown scientifically that these harmones produce distinct emotional effects and they are agents which cause emotional changes such as those seen in women before and after child-birth.

It should be mentioned here that it is the harmones which produce the marked general difference between man and woman, described earlier, which make the latter more suited to the task of rearing young children, and the former better able to withstand the rigours of competitive existence.

Farid Wajdi Afandi quotes an authority to the effect that the psychology of a woman is nearer to that of a child. A child will start crying if confronted with an unpleasant situation; and will start jumping and merry-making when happy. Just the same is the case with woman who, in comparison to man, is more affected by such feeling.

Allah has made woman more sensitive than man because it is more in keeping with the role for which she has been created, i.e., Motherhood. Pointing to this fact Kenneth Walker writes in The Physiology of Sex (published by Penguin Books)

In order that she may succeed in the world to which she rightly belongs, woman has been equipped with a greater sensitiveness to effective stimulus than has a man. She sees life through her feelings, and emotionally reaches to many a truth to which a man, working laboriously through the medium of his reason, remains permanently blind. The fact that in the sphere of intellectual abstraction she is at a disadvantage is no sign of inferiority,

for it is no exaggeration to say that a man's judgement is as often warped as it is helped by this intellect. `A woman judge,' it has been said, `Would always deliver her sentences in accordance with the dictates of her heart.'

But, as Maranon has asked, `What better method could there be of judging the action of others than reason tempered with feeling?' It is therefore no deprecation of a woman to state that she is more sensitive in her emotions and less ruled by her intellect. We are merely stating a difference, a difference which equips her for the special part for which she is cast.

Perhaps because of this difference in perception, and the dominance of feeling over intellect, the Qur'an treats evidence of two women as equal to that of one man ... And get two witnesses from your own men; and if there are not two men, then a man and two women such as you choose for witness, so that if one of them errs the other can remind her ... (Qur'an, 2:282) Anyhow, it was because of this natural weakness of the "Fair Sex" that man has been made responsible to provide for her necessities. Justice and mercy demand that her back should not be broken by putting a heavy load upon her.

"Because they (men) support them (woman) from their means " makes this point clear. It is painful to see that the non-Islamic societies have compelled the weaker sex to carry a double load of responsibilities on her shoulders, disguising this "tyranny" as "emancipation of women" and "equality of sexes."

And what does this "emancipation" mean? Woman is still required to carry on her natural responsibilities of child-bearing and child-rearing. Man does not, and by nature cannot, share with her the burden of pregnancy, nursing and suckling the infant, looking after the children and all multifarious activities connected with "motherhood."

Woman has to bear this burden alone. But, in addition to these full-time life-consuming responsibilities, man now tells her to help him in the struggle of earning their livelihood! Thus, the stronger sex has "liberated" the weaker sex to share his burden without himself sharing her burden. Poor woman, she is still overwhelmed by the powerful slogans of "liberation" and "emancipation" without realizing that it is nothing but a clever device of man to overload her with his own duties. The disaster - social, domestic and economic - wreaked by the entry of woman in earning fields are too numerous to be listed here.

Adopted from the book: "The Family Life of Islam" by: "Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizivi"

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