Nikah - the Wife's Obligations
by Ml. I Khamissa,

Many prospective wives seem to have their hopes dashed after they enter into the contract of marriage. Once the honeymoon is over, suddenly things are not so rosy any more, and the reality of married life seems to be a far cry from the Haraam movies which many have been watching or the novels which end up with 'and they lived happily ever after'. In a world where it has become fashionable to engage in immoral activities and illicit relationships, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince people that marriage is an important component of a pure society.

What guidelines does the Shariáh give the wife to help cement the relationship between herself and her husband?

The Qurăn in Surah Shuáraa (v74), describes the prayer of the pious in the following manner: 'Oh our lord! Grant us wives and offspring who will be the joy and comfort of our eyes.' The explanation of the above verse is clearly illustrated in the beautiful words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) (as narrated by ibn Abbaas), 'The best woman (wife) is the one whom, when you look at her she pleases you, when you command her she obeys you, when you are not in her presence she safeguards herself and your belongings.'

Today, the wife adorns herself for weddings and other social events, beautifying herself to attract the attention of everyone else besides the one who is most important in her life. The husband comes home tired from work, only to find his wife shabbily dressed, too glued to the drama on TV to even reply to the Salaam of her husband. Meal times and other household duties are dictated by the box. The children are sent away to their rooms with the words, 'Go to your room and read your Qurăn - or finish up your homework.' These words, mind you, are not uttered because of some great concern for the child's education; in fact it is only mentioned to get them out of the way.

Remember! Your children may not do what you ask them to do, but they very often do what they see you do. What kind of example are we setting for these impressionable young minds?

Unrealistic demands made by the wife do not help much to strengthen the marital bond. Being dictated by fashion and the way the people next door are living, the wife forces the husband to beg and borrow just to keep up with the Jones's. 'If your brother's wife can have it, then why can't I?' 'Well your sister has it in her house.' Comparing ourselves with those who have more than us does not help to relieve tension between husband and wife. The words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) beautifully explain:

'Look at those who have less than you, do not look at those who have more than you, (if you do so) then you are more likely to appreciate Allah's favours upon you.'

If a man had to choose a wife according to the guidelines given by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), what kind of a person was he to look for? The Hadith states: 'A woman is married for four (things); her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So choose (marry) the religious woman, otherwise you will be a loser.'

The most important quality of the wife is consciousness of her Islamic responsibilities. How Deeni conscious are you? How supportive are you of your husband when he is engaged in Deeni activities? Are you preventing him from serving humanity?

The Qurăn in Surah Rum (v21) explains the purpose of marriage as a source of comfort for both partners. No one has married 'Mr Perfect' and no one is perfect! Are you making the environment in the home conducive to living in peace and harmony or does your husband feel that he'd rather be at work than at home with you?

What degree of obedience does the Shariáh command the wife to have for her husband? A Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) explains, 'If I had to command anyone to prostrate to somebody, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her husband.' However, if your husband commands you to do something against the Shariáh you do not have to obey him.

If the objectives of both husband and wife are to please Allah, the couple will find more common ground on which to build the relationship.