Social System of Islam 36 – Marital Relations 1 Wifes Rights
Channel: Jamal Badawi
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In the Name of God, the beneficence, the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon a servant the messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God, I greet you, as is my fashion with our usual greetings. This is a greeting that has been used by all the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum, which means peace be unto you. Today we have our 36th program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam. We'll be talking about the topic of
marital relationships. I'm your host, Hama Rashid and I have joining me on the program, as usual, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University by the Jamal Assalamualaikum.
In the last few programs, we we basically dealt with the various aspects of marriage laws in Islam, we got up as far as the went to the various stages up to
the stage of the marriage contract. Moving on now to marital relations, I wonder if I could ask you to give us an indication of the main rights and obligations resulting from marriage?
Well, as a result, of course of the marriage contract, there are a number of things that follow from that.
One is the eligibility of the wife for the marriage, or the marital gift, which we discussed already in several problems, I will not repeat that again. Another thing also that was covered before, which comes also as a result of the contract, or the rules against incest, that is the for example, the person would not be eligible to get married to the mother in law once he consummated his marriage with her daughter, for example. So that would be another aspect of it.
assert is that any additional condition, mutually agreed to between both parties, which is included in the marriage contract becomes effective and binding on both parties.
But in addition to this, there's also other consequences such as the inheritance mutual inheritance between husband and wife. And this is a topic that we haven't come to yet. On top of that, there are also additional duties and responsibilities between husband and wife, including the eligibility of the wife for maintenance,
the legitimacy of the children born to this union.
So these are some of the various aspects which might follow from the marriage contract. I should add, however, before we leave this point that according to Islam, and Islamic law, the identity of the wife does not change with marriage, she will not be required to change her religion. If you happen to be
Jewish or Christian, she would not be required to change her school of law for example, in case she follows one particular branch of a given religion, she does not have to change her name, as was indicated in the previous program. So her legal personality remains intact, she would have the right to contract
as any other person would be financially, she's entitled for her property. And secondly, that the kinds of rights and responsibilities mutual between husband and wife as a result of the marriage contract are not just a matter of legalistic aspect, but it is based mainly on religious and ethical grounds to
one on one wonder you mentioned ethical grounds, I wonder if I could get you to, perhaps shed some light on the ethical foundations of marriage in Islam? Well, to start with the essential point to remember, by both husband and wife, and Islam, is their servitude to God.
As was covered in a previous series on moral teaching of Islam, the person is created on earth to serve God, the human being, and that's one of the most important and challenging functions for humans being here on Earth.
In order to serve God as his deputy, if you will, quote unquote, or trustee on Earth,
it means that you meet you
requires both males and females to cooperate with each other in fulfilling this responsibility, and for example, in the Quran, chapter nine, verse 71, it talks about believing men and women being helpers and supporters for each other that is in obedience to God.
And if this general rule applies to any male female relationship, it is definitely much more so in the case of marital relationship, in other words, husband and wife relationship is above all, also, a spiritual fellowship is something to help each other, fulfill their spirituality responsibility on Earth.
In addition to this, for example, in the Quran in chapter four, verse 20, it describes marital relationship as something which is solemn, very profound, it's not a light relationship. It's not just a contract or people agreeing to live with each other. It's called Mr. Connelly's on a very solemn covenant.
In addition to this, one can also say that one of the foundations of the second view of Islam with respect to marriage is that marriage in Islam is a blessing. It's a divine gift from God. It is not as some people used to believe or some even still believe something of an event inevitable even that you just have to do it because you know, protect your or something like that. It is actually a blessing which is not only permissible, as we have seen before it is even desirable, it is commendable act to get married. The Quran also describes the relationship as a relation of mutual love, compassion, and cooperation. Just to give a few examples, in chapter 30, verse 21, in the
Quran, Amina Yeti and Kala kala, as well as
the translation of the meaning goes like this, and of his science, that's the science of God's omnipotence and compassion is this, that he created for you myths, from your same nature or same kind humans like you, in order that you may find peace and tranquility with them. And he or then between your hearts, love and mercy. And then the verse says, an ending here in our science for those who reflect. So it's presented really as a blessing from God, as similarly, for example, in chapter seven in the Quran, verse 189. It says, or uses a very similar term also that God created for your mates.
So that one can dwell or find rest with them.
In a similar fashion, in verse 60, and verse 72, and chapter 7016, sorry, Chapter 16, verse 72. In the Quran, again, it has mentioned there in the context of having children that among the gifts of God or his blessing that he created for you mates, and he gave you from your mates, children and grandchildren, and mentioned that as NEMA our blessing or bounty from God. But perhaps one of the most impressive verses I've ever seen in the Quran dealing with the nature of marital relationship is one that is found in chapter two. Verse 187, it says hoonah liberation, Lacan wanton liberation,
which, if translated directly, literally means that your wives are garments for you, you garments for them. And that's an interesting concept, even if you take it in this very literal meaning.
What are the basic functions of a garment, the garment First of all, provide warms the garment is the closest thing to you.
The garment protects you from weather, outside
the garment provides you also with some kind of sense of security, it beautifies you it covers or concedes, parts of the body that should be covered or concealed.
Now, the Quran by stating that wives are like garments for their husbands, husbands are like garments for the wise is a very tender expression because all the points that were mentioned about the functions of a garment applies as well in the marital relationship. Number one,
the garments beautifies marriage beautifies the person, it completes the person. And we mentioned before that marriage is like fulfilling one half of one's face.
They as the government provide warms, so that's marriage as the
The government is the closest thing to the body. So should be husband and wife, as the government protects you from whether so does marriage protect the person from even desires or lusty or illicit
sexual acts through marriage this could be fulfilled in a wholesome way. It concedes, the government considers one's buddy, or whatever he wishes to conceal. So should the husband and wife they can see each other's faults and mistakes because they are the closest to each other. So it's a very tender and very deep concept that the Quran deals with, in terms of this mutual completing of each other and supporting each other. In the same vein, we find the various saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him emphasizing the very same meaning in saying narrated in Muslim. He says, there is some joy in life, and the best joy in life is a good and pious life,
as narrated also intimacy and magic, and a similar saying, also enough to Bharani, all in the same meaning.
Some companions, asked the Prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. What kind of wealth is the best? He said, the best ones, is a tank, which is wet with the remembrance of God always remembers God, and a heart, which is thankful and grateful to God. And then the third, interesting one was always a two minute train and a believing pious wife, which would help her husband to keep also his face and his proper practice.
Well, now, I wonder if we could start to examine some of the rights that flow from marriage, beginning with the wife, could you perhaps give some explanation of what she's entitled to, broadly speaking, and for convenience of analysis, a jurist usually divided the rights of the wife basically into two categories. One is the medicine sorry, over this financial rights, you know, things that deals with maintenance and similar act. And the others are the others aspect or branch of rights or the non financial rights dealing with the treatment and the way the person dwells with his or her spouse.
When I'm looking at the, the category of maintenance rights, how is maintenance defined? And what is the basis for the these rights in the Quran, in the in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him? Well, first of all, the financial rights or the maintenance basically means that no matter how rich one's wife may be, according to Islamic law, the husband is fully responsible to provide for all her needs.
As far as the foundations for that it is quite plentiful. In the Quran. For example, it always talks about the Father, for example, in chapter two, that the father of the child would be responsible for providing,
you know, like food and housing in every need for
for his wife and the child.
Insofar as the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, there are also several of them, as part of a saying narrated in Muslim
he says that your wives have a claim on you, or right over you, which includes their food and their clothing, just as an example of the kind of needs that should be supplied to them.
In another, saying and arrested in Abu Dhabi, and an essay,
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said that, if sufficient sin for the person is to neglect the rights of those whom he supports, or who are his dependence, which shows again, that it is a moral responsibility to look after one's family and including first wife and, and children.
But beside this foundation is also in front and center, or the saying of the Prophet the the nature of marriage in Islam,
in terms of mutual duties and obligations, mix maintenance or the full financial responsibility for the household, on the man's shoulder, not really as something that is doing by way of his charity towards his wife, but rather as his part of the duty which is counteracted by her cooperation also, and fulfilment of other duties which may not necessarily requires her to go
Contribute any financial support. Of course, you may if you wish to add a little bit more of her on
freewill. But legally speaking, she's not required to spend a penny.
Well, now I wonder if I could ask you to be a little more specific in terms of the kinds of items which are included under the under maintenance maintenance? Well, first of all, of course, the most important aspect is residents. And that is the husband would be required to provide a good enough lodging or residence for his wife, which is consistent with his financial ability. For example, in chapter 65, and the plan particularly in verse six, asking open houses a country in which the combats, provide lodging for your wives, in the same way that you love yourself, according to your own means audibility,
the list of the qualification of the housing, which is accepted in Islamic law, would be one which ensures the wife comfort, privacy, and independence.
According to the majority of Muslim jurists, they also say that man should not
housing for his relatives in the same household of his wife without her consent, with the exception, of course of his own stepchildren, that's his children from another way he could, without her consent, but others,
he should get her consent. But by the same token also,
she may not also force her husband to accept her in laws, for example, on relatives, or mother, let's say, without the consent of the, of the husband. But even in the case of jurists who said that
her consent is needed, and that's, that's also conditioned
with the requirement that they should not hurt the wife. So that assures again, the privacy and comfort for the wife. A second basic item, of course, is food, that the husband should provide sufficient food without extravagance or miserliness to his wife. But again, there is no particular specification as to how much of what it depends on his means on one hand, and also on what is accepted as a customary standard.
assert basic item is clothing.
And it is interesting when you check some of the books in Islamic jurisprudence, how much they go even in detail, making sure that justice is being done twice. They say for example, if the person is poor, he can provide clothing made of cotton, for example, to his wife, if he is known to be a rich person, and it is customary for a rich man to provide silk garments for his wife, then he would be required actually legally, to provide her with silk garment, the customary thing for her
level and for his own means also,
it is interesting to notice that beyond even this basic needs, miniature is said that if the wife happens to come, let's say for my wife to do family, and she's used to have maids to help with the housework, or if she's sick, if she's not rich, but sick, and requires help, then it is a legal responsibility of the husband according to Islamic law, to provide her also with a mate if he is able that if he can really afford to provide a maid. So in general,
you can say that all her reasonable needs of lodging, food, clothing, health, even
is taken care of what about the health care and medication things of that type, at least part of maintenance as well? Well, there's no evidence whatsoever
that we know of, in the Quran, the Word of God or the saying of the Prophet, to the effect of exclusion of medication, or treatment for any disease or ailment for the wife. And this is only consistent with the purpose of managing Islam as we find in the Quran, and the prophetic tradition, that it is companionship. It's concerned mutual concern, it's kindness. And of course, there could be no kindness or mutual concern, if medication is excluded from this responsibility. And this has been the opinion of the overwhelming majority of Muslim jurists, with the exception of some minority opinion which in fact, does not have any solid foundation from the main sources of Islam to justify
any form of of exclusion.
So this is also included as part of the well now
What about the situation particularly in with our economy and things are so bad for jobs and that kind of thing? What happens if, if the husband happens to lose his job or, for some reason, maybe illness or something like that he's unable to support his wife at the level that she's accustomed to, or his business Rosebank or his business goes bankrupt.
what options are available for the wife at that point? Well, according to the great majority of Muslim jurists, a woman in that case, or the wife is given the choice between either engineering with the husband until his financial status improves,
or to seek suppression from him. That separation might take different forms, it could be in a form of seeking divorce, it could be in a form of environment, or
anonymous note of the contract marriage contract, or she could seek simply suppression, without actual divorce.
But there is an additional
interesting remark that was made by the Hanafi jurists.
They say that if the husband really gets poor, the wife could be sponsored or supported. That's in terms of his of his, you know, food, clothing and other needs, she would be supported by the closest males relative who otherwise would be responsible for her maintenance if she were not married. Because in Islam, a wife is assured security financially, whether she's married or not. So suppose she's not married, the person, for example, who would be responsible for his maintenance would be her father or brother or son, depending on the case. So in that case, if the husband really gets poor and is not able to provide for her, he would be looking after her. And then
they also added that a woman could also be given the choice
to borrow money, reasonable amount of money to support her basic needs until her husband situation improves. And whatever she borrows becomes a debt
for which her husband would be responsible to pay as soon as his financial situation improves.
There's one exception, however, I'm trying to give a whole range of jurisprudence interpretation of this. This is the majority. There is a minority opinion, however, given by the so called zaharie jurist, like the notable jurist, it has an example where they claim that if the husband becomes poor, let's say, on a temporary basis, some difficulty that he's facing,
and his wife happened to be rich,
then she will be required to support both herself and her husband.
And even when his situation improves, she is not required to pay her back for this, and they give reasonable grounds for this. They said if the if the wife is already rich, and she can support herself and her husband, and without this kind of difficulty,
then it is definitely better for her to suffer financially. That is to sacrifice a little bit of her wealth, that's hurt. Now that's harm done to her because she's not supposed to, and the general rule to spend anything, but they say that this harm is much less than the other harm, which means separation or divorce and the difficulty that she and her children might be facing in the church in the future. And they say a basic rule in Islamic law is that if there are two harms, then it is better to take the lesser harm and prevent the greater harm and they consider divorce to be a greater harm.
So it depends, like I said, on the situation as to whether it is just a temporary situation or if the husband is simply refusing, like
a jurist, Another notable jurist, he said, if the husband, for example, falsified information about his financial state at the time of marriage, or refuses to provide for his wife, when in that case, there's no question that she could seek divorce. But if it's just a temporary situation, perhaps there's room there for interpretation, and depending on the situation.
Now, what about the situation where
the husband is not poor, but perhaps is a bit modular? Is his money and as much as his wife is concerned?
Can the wife take from his property, what she needs to even without his knowledge? Well, there was there was a similar situation that was raised during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And that's the case of hint. They
Wife of Abu Sufyan
and she came to the Prophet as narrated both in Bukhari and Muslim. And she said, O Messenger of God, apostrophe, and that is my wife, my husband is a miserly person. And he does not give me enough for myself and my children, except whatever I take from his property and spend without his knowledge,
the prophets answer was, take whatever is sufficient for you and your children, but in a fierce and customary way, that is, not just snatch anything that you can, but even without his knowledge, you can spend as much as is customary, he regarded as fair and equitable, even if he doesn't know that. And this is based on an interesting rule in Islamic law is that first of all, a person who have a right is entitled to take his right with his own hand, if you can.
And secondly, that
even without the knowledge of the person who's taking away your right or not giving your rights you still incited, if you if you can take your right by your own hands.
It should be added also that in case this dispute about the miserliness of the husband, or lack of sufficient support is not resolved amicably between both of them. In Islamic law, she's entitled actually to go to court. And the court could actually assign or impose on him certain amount to pay to his wife if he's neglecting his duty. So there's a great deal of security and protection there. Now, in the few minutes, we have remaining today's program, either situations where our conditions which make the wife ineligible for maintenance by her husband, one, the only
this qualification that there's there seem to be consensus among Muslim jurist about is the case when the wife is a refractory wife, or obstinate, obviously, for instance, a person who is rebelling, who does not yield teresian does not yield to any plea, for fairness in her treatment of her husband, and taking a stubborn and defiant type of line with her husband, more specifically, a wife, for example, who not all types by the way of defiance, because if she's defiant, but still in the household, he's still responsible for her. But if the wife, for example, is so unreasonable and obstinate, that she without any agreement of a husband moves,
to live in some other place, for example, without good reason, because I can understand we said that lodging should meet certain requirements should be comfortable and private and give her independence. So if he provides her old lady with good, reasonable housing, and she still moves to some other places and say, all right, they pay the bill, you know, because she's not reasoning with him moving without his permission.
Similarly, a wife could not, for example, travel without his consent and say, all right, you have to support me, she cannot take off to Hawaii.
And, you know, spent her summer and say, all right, you pay the bills without any agreements or consent
on his part. So short of this reasons,
the woman is fully entitled for maintenance regardless of her age,
regardless of her health, or
Regardless, even of her once, in fact, even some Muslim jurists add that even if the woman is divorced, for the waiting period before divorce become effective, she is still entitled to full maintenance in the household of her husband. And this issue is probably pop up later on when we did with the dissolution of marriage and the various rules of, of divorce. But in any case, there's full protection and security for the wise in return, of course for her great contribution as a wife and mother to the totality of the household.
But we'll leave it at that for today's program. We want to invite you back next week when we'll be talking about non material rights in marriage. Thank you for watching Assalamu alaikum peace, BMT.