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  • Anam Nasir

Rights and responsibilities in marriage.

Updated: Jul 3

“Nikah- A contract that binds two souls with love & mercy for eternity and transfers responsibilities”

When you say “Qubool” or “I Accept” in your wedding ceremony, you agree to accept the responsibilities coming with it. The duties of a husband are to provide for his wife, protecting and loving her. And for a wife is to pay attention to her husband's needs.

To promote a cheerful and successful life in a newly established marriage, Islam has guided defining the relationship between a husband and a wife through rights and duties distributed to them.

Muslim couple shopping together in a grocery store, symbolizing collaboration and shared responsibilities in a marriage.
Muslim couple shopping together in a grocery store, symbolizing collaboration and shared responsibilities in a marriage.

According to Islam, the husband is said to be the head of the household. This doesn't mean that our religion thinks highly of men or gives superiority over women. It is because of mam’s inherent psychological and physical make-up. Therefore, a man does not have to go through regular monthly menstruation pain and its psychological effects. Neither do they have to carry a baby in their belly for a full 9 months nor do they have to feed the infants from their breasts. Plus they also don't have to go through postpartum recovery. But however, a man is always ready to go out and earn to sustain themselves and all who are dependent on them.

Basically, Islam saves women from difficulties, if we take a look in Quran there are many ayahs that emphasize the rights of women and also the rewards for the pain she bears and for all their efforts, same as men. Some women are exploited because of the ill-treating customs that society made up and are forced to follow by saying that they are Muslims and WE SHOULD FOLLOW SUCH CUSTOMS.

However, let us take a look below over the duties and roles both husband and wife has to follow separately:

Duties of a husband:

1. Duty of protecting, providing and keeping her happy.

First and foremost duty of a husband is to protect his wife. He is responsible for the happiness, upkeep, and the cost required for clothes(multiple clothes according to seasons), food, and all the accommodation of his wife. If she is supposed to cook then the husband is supposed to buy the materials required for cooking and a proper environment with proper facilities where she can cook. She is not required to live with her husband's parents or relatives, just the way he is not required to live with hers. It is the husband’s duty that she lives peacefully with her husband as she wants. Her husband is liable to provide an environment where she can feel relaxed and free from embarrassment which can be caused by other adults in the house.

2. Being kind and gentle to her.

The husband must be understanding, forgiving, kind, gentle, and most importantly loving. Not only in her Ups but also in her Downs, he must treat his wife in a tender and loving manner! There will be times when you will think that you cannot tolerate something about her but a husband has to be patient with her and try to avoid hurting her at any cost as long as she doesn't spoil herself or she behaves in an inappropriate manner consistently. And live with them in kindness.

If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which God has placed much good.” (An-Nisa 4:19).

There is one hadith of our Prophet Mohammad SAW: “Fear God in the matter of women. They are weak partners, a trust from God with you, and they are made by the divine word permissible to you”.

Additionally, he said, “Whoever of you whose wife behaves in a disagreeable manner and he responds with kindness and patience, God will give him rewards as much as Job will be given for his patience”.

Patience is key to a successful marriage, our Prophet Mohammad SAW practiced it with all his wives. There is this one incident when Abu Bakr, father of Aisha (R.A.) was invited to settle some misunderstanding between him and Aisha. Our Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said to her, “Will you speak, or shall I speak?” Aisha said, “You speak, but do not say except the truth”. Abu Bakr was so outraged that he immediately struck her severely, forcing her to run and seek protection behind the back of the Prophet Mohammad SAW. Abu Bakr said, “O you the enemy of yourself! Does the Messenger of God say but the truth?” The Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said, “O Abu Bakr, we did not invite you for this [dealing with Aisha harshly], nor did we anticipate it”.

3. Be light-hearted and humorous around her.

It is advised for husbands to be lighthearted with their wives and make them laugh or make amusing jokes. There are many sayings about our Prophet Mohammad (SAW)... one of them is “The most perfect belief is that of those who are best-mannered and most tender with their wives”. He used to run in a competition with Aisha (R.A.), where she won sometimes, and sometimes he did. He once also said, “Surely God does not love a rough person who is boastful, and rude to his wife”. The best of husbands are described very well by one of the Bedouin widows (about her husband)- “He always came with a smile and left with a greeting. When he was hungry he ate whatever was found, and did not bother when something was missing!”.

4. Handle subjects like sex with delicacy and understanding.

The husband must make every effort to handle the subject of sexual relations with delicacy, respect, and understanding. He should perceive his wife as a partner (not as a material or some object) with whom he should continually seek mutual fulfillment and happiness rather than as a thing for his own personal enjoyment only. Therefore, he must always treat and approach her with kindness and affection, specifically at the beginning of the marriage. He needs to be extremely gentle during the early stages, particularly on their first encounter on the wedding day. Moreover, a husband should constantly give his wife’s sentiments the respect they deserve and make an effort to ensure that she is completely satisfied in this regard.

It is important to note that neither the husband nor the wife may reveal any of their bedroom secrets to anyone outside. As our Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said, “Verily among the worst people before Allah on the day of Qiyama is a man who approaches his wife sexually and she responds and then he spreads her secrets”

5. He must encourage her in performing devotional duties.

A husband should ensure that his wife is well-informed about her religious responsibilities and support her in upholding them. Husbands must consider it a duty to be concerned about their ethics, faith, morality, and conduct. He must motivate her to perform good deeds and behave honorably and forbid her from doing bad deeds and acting inappropriately. Clearly, he must help her free herself from the fires of hell and invite her to heaven!

6. Never behave in a spying manner and guard her against all odds.

A husband shouldn’t overly carry doubts or assumptions about his wife. Although it is true that jealousy is a natural emotion, a husband must protect his wife from any corrupting influences and avoid being overly forgiving or insensitive in situations that are appropriately disturbing. He should not overthink or start acting like a spy to her. However there are two types of jealousy, as for that which Allah loves, it is protective jealousy when there are grounds for suspicion. And as for that which He hates, it is protective jealousy when there are no grounds for suspicion.

7. Take good care of her during and after pregnancy.

If the woman gets pregnant, the husband should show more attention to her and should try to make her feel as comfortable as possible. When she is delivered, he should thank God for protecting her and for all that God has graciously bestowed upon them. You as a husband should not differentiate whether a boy is born or a girl. Neither be overjoyed with the birth of a son nor feel disheartened for a girl.

If someone is blessed with a daughter, treats her well, and shows her some of the graces God has given him, she will shield him from the torment of the Hell Fire. Not only that but spending on our children and the whole family is considered as charity!

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Duties of a wife:

1. Creating a calm and peaceful environment for her husband and herself.

The wife’s main responsibility is to establish a serene, comfortable environment in the home so that she and her husband can coexist peacefully, pleasantly, and leisurely.

2. Be loyal and devoted to your husband.

A wife must be loyal to her husband and faithful. Even more so than her family, he deserves her loyalty first. She shouldn’t hang out alone with any male friends and should stay away from sketchy or suspicious people (men specifically).

3. Prime duty: managing the household.

The wife is primarily in charge of running the home. What matters is the shared love and goodwill, which will undoubtedly inspire each side to lighten the other’s load as much as they can.

4. Never be demanding to your husband, always be grateful!

The wife shouldn’t be overly demanding; instead, she should be pleased and grateful for any favors her husband may do for her. She shouldn't insist on spending more than her husband can afford on designer clothing or any materialistic thing.

5. Always appear attractive to your husband.

In order for a wife to always look lovely, happy, and alluring to her husband, she should take care of herself. She should constantly smell nice, and she can use cosmetics in moderation, but she shouldn’t overdo it. Makeup that is excessive can be unhealthy from a psychological perspective, as it makes her attractive appearance seem fabricated and unauthentic. Plus, it is also financially not good.

6. Raising children with manners and the right education and being their role model.

Being your children’s first teacher, teach them basic “Adab” of how to treat others, and give them knowledge about our deen; Islam. Make them realize that their first priority is to be in Jannah, and explain to them why following Islam and living a life according to the Quran is so important. However, having worldly knowledge is also important to survive in this world.

As being mother, it will be you whom your kid is going to look up to as your husband is out earning for living. Set them a beautiful example of a righteous mother and human being!

7. Support your husband and family in tough times.

Life is not always sunshine and sunflowers, there are hard times when your family goes through tests, illness, financial issues, or any other problem. When those times arise, have faith in Allah and hold your husband’s hand, you can face any difficulty that might come your way. Because “Allah does not burden a soul more than it can handle”.

Even in the good or bad times, never let your husband or any family member feel left alone. Be there for them, comfort them and encourage them to tackle the situation very patiently. This will have a an optimistic impact on your family and you will be the source of love, warmth and growth of the family (as a wife should be), Indeed Allah is All-Seeing, Al-Knowing.

8. Spend your husband’s wealth modestly with his approval.

As a wife, one should practice modest living and abstain from luxury when managing the household. She is only allowed to donate money from her husband’s wealth to the extent that he allows. Whenever she donates, she will receive a portion of the divine recompense; however, if she gives more, her husband will benefit and she will suffer on the Day of Judgment.

Always remember, that husband and wife’s relationship is built on love, mutual respect, trust, and regard.

The true success of a marriage is achieved not by being able to marry the “Right Person” but instead by being able to adjust with the actual person one is married to. We can only grasp the overview of a person we are getting married to, the natural challenge/Jihad in marriage is to live in harmony with the person they inevitably realized they have married.

A wife’s Jihad to take good care of her husband. And a husband’s Jihad is to deal with all her mood swings patiently, with love and respect. Marriages are unique and based on different values, so always focus on what is good about your relationship without comparing it to others and all the other difficulties will disappear In Sha Allah!

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