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Bulletin : Published
Monday, March 18, 2002
Subject: EQUALITY IN TREATMENT-part 2
AS WIFE: (WOMAN A FREE INDIVIDUAL IN MARRIAGE)
Woman possesses an independent entity of her own in Islam. Because of marriage neither her personality gets dissolved altogether nor merged in the personality of her husband nor does she become his property, subservient or servant. If marriage brings some new responsibilities to her it simultaneously empowers her with some new rights. Just as she cannot refuse the responsibilities of the conjugal life, so she cannot be deprived of her rights as a wife. As a matter of fact, her rights coexist with her responsibilities and not in isolation from each other.
Now let us see how Islam views the relationship between wife and husband and what legal and moral basis Islam provides for this relationship.
The relation of husband and wife is, in fact, seen by The Quran not as a relationship of superior and inferior individuals bound together by some religious or worldly compulsion, but a relationship based on understanding, reciprocal love, affection and intimacy mutual agreed upon by equal humans. According to the holy Quran:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may Dwell in tranquility with them. He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Al-Rum 30:21)
Islam considers woman’s child bearing, child rearing and other associated responsibilities such a hard and great task that it has exempted her from all other responsibilities. Islam has added a great value to this naturally assigned duty of woman. Husband has been assigned the duty of being the moral, economic and social protector of woman and their offspring. He is seen by The Quran as the family manager, nucleus of the family system. Remember , woman (as wife) has not been deprived of anything like earning money, holding her property, bank-balance, or having an equal say in the family affairs or whatever, but that none of it is incumbent upon her. It is not a case of deprivation but that of relief. One must appreciate the fine difference between depriving and relieving in order to fully understand the Quranic position on husband –wife equation.
“Men are the protectors
And maintainers of women, because God
Has given the one more (strength)
Than the others, and because
They support them
From their means
Therefore the righteous women
Are devoutly obedient and guard
In (the husband’s) absence
What God would have them guard.”
However, in his managerial capacity husband has been vested with the authority of taking the final decision. It does not purport to say that he has been empowered to impose decisions on her as a matter of routine, but that if such an issue crops up and are not able to arrive at a collective decision, so in such a situation husband will have a final say by using his veto power and it will be binding upon wife as well. This is again not to establish his superiority but to transfer the responsibility of bearing the consequences of decision to husband’s shoulders and to save wife from future embarrassment or emotional shocks in case the decision turns out to be a wrong one. The holy Quran therefore says:
“And women shall have right
Similar to the rights against them, according,
To what is equitable;
But men have a degree over them
And God is Exalted in power, Wise.
Wife, acknowledging husband’s managerial status and veto power in domestic life, retains and enjoys all her rights of being provided with maintenance allowance, residence, alimony, education and training and several other rights. If husband is guilty of denying or withholding any of her rights, she can secure them through legal procedure, and if he is incorrigible, she can seek self-divorce through court.
Islam exhorts man not only to discharge the legal rights of hi8s wife but also to behave with her decently and justly in every situation.
On being asked about the rights of a wife once, the Prophet Mohammed said:
“That you should give her food when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself… and do not revile her or turn her out of the house (if separation becomes necessary) but live separately within the same house (i.e. as long as the matter is not finally settled)
One whose behaviour with his wife is just and fair is held in high regard by the prophet, of whom he says:
“The believers with perfect faith are those who have the best disposition and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.”
Therefore, the foundation of husband-wife equation in Islam is mutual love and understanding, the basic underlying principle of which is co-operation rather compitition or mutual strife.
(Monday, March 18, 2002)
“The foundation of husband-wife equation in islam is mutual love and understanding, the basic underlying principle of which is co-operation rather competition or mutual strife.” Is that why the husband can keep 4 wives and slap (MILDLY) the wife? Shubachon, I hope Iota won’t see this posting of yours! And I must praise your perseverance!