PART ONE: “Why is it that no one ever thinks about the characteristics of a good Muslim husband? It is always what a wife should do for the husband, and the list never ends: home management, tutoring, ferrying the kids, caring, cooking, cleaning, washing…you name it, she is doing it. What of our men? An ideal Muslim husband should imbibe the following:
1. Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good. When was the last time you went shopping for designer pyjamas? Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her, too.
2. Use the best names for your wife. Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt her feelings.
3. Don’t treat her like a fly. We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day – which brings no attention from the husband – until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognise all the good that she does and focus on that.
4. If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment! This is one of the ways the Prophet (upon whom be peace) used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives (may Allah be pleased with them).
5. Smile at your wife whenever you see her, and compliment her often. Smiling is Sadaqah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling.
6. Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again! Take for example a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, plus a dozen other tasks. And sometimes the only acknowledgment she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!
7. Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again. You don’t have to play a guessing game, ask her and work on repeating those times in your life.
8. Don’t belittle her desires. Many men look down upon the requests of their wives, thinking them frivolous. This is because many men don’t understand what women want, or why they would want it. Try what you can, within reasonable limits. If you can’t, then comfort her.
9. Be humorous and play games with your wife. Look at how the Prophet (upon whom be peace) would race with his wife Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in the desert.
10. Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger (upon whom be peace): ‘The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.’ So try to be the best!
PART TWO: When Allah’s Messenger (upon whom be peace) was asked which woman was the best, he replied, “The one who pleases her husband when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves.”
Therefore, women would do well to consider the pieces of advice Umamah gave her daughter, Umm Iyas, on the daughter’s wedding night:
‘O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you posses these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.
‘O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father’s wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were created for men just as men were created for them.
‘O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion to whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you, he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.
‘Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.
‘The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one’s husband pleases Allah.
‘The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you.
‘The fifth and sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.
‘The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his children and servants shows good management.
‘The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.
‘Be careful of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgment whilst the latter will make him unhappy.
‘Show him as much honour and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation. And may Allah choose what is best for you and protect you.”
AND FINALLY…Couples should always be clear in their communication. There is this about the husband whose car would not start in the morning because he left the lights on overnight. He asked his wife to give him a hand to start the car. He told her to get into their much bigger second car and use it to push his car fast enough down the road to start it. He explained that because his car had automatic transmission, it needed to be pushed at least 50kmh for it to start. She said fine, hopped into the bigger car and drove off. The husband sat there fuming, wondering why she drove off without pushing him. A minute passed by and then he saw her in the rearview mirror coming behind him at about 70kmh. It was too late to realise that he should have been a bit clearer with his instructions. Push came to shove! Ouch!