When Wife is at Fault?
If the wife neglects her duties and gives trouble to the husband, then, three cures have been prescribed step by step. Allah says in the Qur'an ... And as to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, and (then) refuse to share their beds,
and (lastly) beat them. Then, if they return to obedience seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is Most High Great. (Qur'an, 4:34)
First Step: First the husband should admonish the wife and advise her to change her behaviour. In the beginning, advice and mutual discussion may bear good fruits, while tough measure may create an undesirable reaction.
Second Step: If this fails, then it means that the malady has taken a deeper root. Therefore, the husband should leave her in her bed. This silent protest may bring the wife to her senses; and the cause of conflict may be removed.
Third Step: But, if her arrogance has reached the furthest limit, and she is oblivious of admonition and that subtle protest, then the `soft' treat ment will not be of any use. In this extremity, the husband is allowed to beat her. If good-manners fail to awake her gentle feelings, the alternative is `tough' dealing.
But that `tough' dealing also must be tempered with tenderness. al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said: "Verily, it is a stroke with a tooth stick." The shar`ah says that the blow should not be such as to break a bone or to leave red marks or bruises, nor is he allowed to hit her on her face, nor in another place several times.
If these cures remove the cause of complaint, the husband should at once start gentle and fair dealing with her. The last sentence of the above mentioned ayah points to this aspect: "Then, if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance)."
If, on the other hand, the husband is at fault and neglects his duties towards his wife, then she, at first, should try to bring a reconcilement with him.
And if a wife fears cruelty or negligence on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable reconcilement between themselves; and the reconcilement is best ... ( Qur'an, 4:128)
If this method fails, then she has a right to put the matter before Hakim ash-Shar`i (the Qadi or mujtahid) who has every authority to settle the dispute according to his discretion.
If both neglect their duties towards each other, then there is a need of some helping hands to end the conflict. Therefore, Allah has ordained: And if ye fear a breach between the two, then appoint two arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers; if they wish for reconcilement and peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation , for Allah is Omniscient Allknowing. (Qur'an, 4:35)
This arbitration may be resorted to even in the first two situations when only one party is at fault.
Adopted from the book: "The Family Life of Islam" by: "Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizivi"
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