Wife and Husband’s Duties
By: Sayyed Hussain Sheikh al-Islami Tooyserkani
One of the other duties of wife and husband is to love each other and this is a very important factor behind the unity in society. There are two kinds of love between wife and husband; one is divine love that is when two persons get married, they feel love towards each other. This is something Godly: “And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”1
The other kind of love is acquired love that is to say one should create the groundwork for love. Both wife and husband should act in a way that the other spouse starts to love him or her. They should take care in choosing their mates. Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (al-Kadhim) (AS) has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) his saying: “Choose virgin women as your wives, for they are more pleasant in mouths, purer in wombs, smarter in learning, and steadier in love.” 2
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The more a person is faithful, the more he loves his wife.”3
In a sermon of Imam Sajjad (AS), we read: “Seven features have been given to us, the Ahlul Bayt which are not given to anyone else; good look, eloquence, manliness, courage, forbearance, knowledge and love of women.”4
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “Love of women is a trait of the prophets.”5
The Holy Prophet (SAW) also said: “Fear Allah concerning the two weaks; orphan and woman. The best of you is one who behaves well towards his wife and children.”6
The wife and husband’s duty is to forgive each other’s lapses. The husband has a special duty in observing the state of his wife. After the Battle of Jamal, Imam Ali (AS) delivered the following sermon: “O peoples! Women are deficient in intelligence. As regards the deficiency in their faith, it is their abstention from prayers and fasting during their menstrual period. As regards deficiency in their intelligence, it is because the witnessing of two women is equal to that of one man. As for the deficiency of their shares, it is that their share in inheritance is half of men’s. So beware of the evils of women. Be on your guard even from those of them who are reportedly good. Do not obey them even in good things so that they may not attract you to evils.”7
Wife and Husband Helping Each Other
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “Ameerul Mo’minin (AS) used to collect firewood, took out water of the well, and sweep (the house) while Lady Fatima milled the wheat, kneaded the flour and baked bread.”8
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Ali (AS) as saying: “One who has the following four features will have the good of this life and the afterlife; piety that keeps him away from prohibitions, good temperament with which he lives among people, forbearance which wards off the ignorance of an ignorant person, and a good wife who assists him in the affairs of this world and the hereafter.”9
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “Any woman who satisfies her husband with a glass of water will have the reward of devotion of one year (fasting the days and keeping vigil the nights in worshipping). God will build her a town in paradise and will forgive sixty sins of her.”10
About Imam Sadiq (AS), it is reported: “He sewed his clothes, mended his shoes, and worked outside home like other men.”11
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “A group of people came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying: ‘O Messenger of Allah! We have seen people who prostrate before each other.’ The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘If I would give an order to people to prostrate before each other, I would order women to prostrate before their husbands.”12
Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far (AS) said: “The Jihad of woman is to take care of her husband.”13
Imam Sadiq (AS) has reported his father as saying: “One, who gets married, should honor his wife and should not annoy her.”14
To Avoid Bothering Each Other
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Every wife who vexes her husband, God will not accept her prayer and her good deeds unless her husband is pleased with her, even if she fasts all her life, spends all nights worshipping, sets slaves free and spends her wealth in the way of Allah. She will be the first to enter the fire.”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) then said: “The same is true about a man who vexes his wife or does injustice to her.”15
To Be Tolerant
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever tolerates his wife’s bad temper for the sake of God, God will reward him as the reward of (Prophet) Ayyub (Job) for his patience with afflictions. The wife too should discharge her duties properly. If she dies before her husband and he is not pleased with her, she will enter the abyss of hell with the hypocrites on the Day of Judgment.”16
Wife and Husband’s Jealousy
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “The wife’s zeal is (from) disbelief and the husband’s zeal is (from) faith.”17
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported by Jabir as saying: “God has made Jihad obligatory on men and on women. As for the jihad of man, man is to offer his properties and blood in the way of Allah. And as for the jihad of woman, womanis to be patient with her husband’s harms and jealousy.”18
To Forgive Each Other
Ishaq ibn Ammar narrated: “I said to Imam Sadiq (AS): ‘What is a woman’s right on a man? What should he do for her?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘To provide her with food and dress and forgive her when she makes a mistake.’ Then, the Imam said: ‘There was a woman (wife) with my father who often vexed him, but he forgave her.”19
Imam Sadiq (AS) has also said: “Observe Taqwa with the two weaks (meaning orphans and women)…for they (women) are but your honor.”20
The wife and husband have to observe certain rules in order to have a happy life in a way that their tie is not broken. They have to observe other rules too. As they have a common family life, they should be sincere to each other. They should do their best to please each other. They should avoid discord, despair, rancor and enmity. They should consider the other partner as a sincere friend. They should be kind to their in-laws and consider them as their own relatives and family members.
They should avoid finding faults with each other. They should never disclose their own secrets to others. They should not have undue expectations. They should not exceed the limits. They should keep their house, bodies and clothes clean.
They should avoid suspicion and undue pleasantry. They should take care of each other with wisdom. They should do their best in teaching, training and purifying each other. They should thank each other. They should help each other to run the family life economically. They should counsel each other. They should be loyal to each other. They should never compare themselves with those who are above them in wealth; rather, they should compare themselves with those below them in wealth.
They should be patient with hardships, and trustworthy in their lives. They should be content with what God Almighty has given them. The wife should leave the house with the permission of her husband. She should keep away from what may vex her husband and the husband too should do his best not to annoy his wife.
They should refrain from associating with unsuitable people. Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “A lustful look is like a poisoned arrow of Satan.” The Imam has also said: “Long looks create lustfulness which leads to mischief.”21
Finally, it is incumbent on every man and woman to follow such models as the Messenger of Allah (SAW), Khadijah (AS), Imam Ali (AS), Lady Fatimah (AS), Imam Hossain (AS), Rabab, Shahrbanoo, Imam Zaynol Aabideen (a.s.) Fatima daughter of Imam Hassan (a.s.), Imam Baqir (AS), Umm Farwah and the like, and learn lessons of life, sincerity, and kindness from them.
Wet Nursing (Breastfeeding)
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported in Khisal of Sheikh Sadooq in the four hundred Hadiths, as saying: “Get married, because marriage is from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who said: ‘Whoever likes to follow my Sunnah should get married and have children. Tomorrow, on the Day of Judgment, I will be proud of you among the nations.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Do not hire adulteresses and insane women to suckle your children from their breasts, for this affects them.”22
To Obey Women
Imam Ali (AS) has said: “Avoid bad women, and beware of their good ones. If they enjoin you to the good, do obey them, lest they may attract you to the wrong later on.”23
Some tradition says: “Seek the protection of Allah from the bad ones of your wives.”24
Rights of Women
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Fear Allah concerning the two weaks (meaning orphans and women).”25
Abdul Melik ibn Umar has reported: “I asked Imam Sadiq (AS) about temporary marriage, and the Imam said: ‘It is a difficult matter. Avoid (temporary marriage with) virgins.”26
Evidently, there are advantages and disadvantages in temporary marriage. The permission is with the father of the girl. Temporary marriage with virgins has been proscribed.
We are duty-bound for little dowries in marriage when forming a family. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The best women of my Ummah are the most good-looking of them in face and the least of them in (asking for) dowries” 27
1. Qur'an, 30:21.
2. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 100, p. 237.
3. Mostadrak, vol. 2, p. 532.
5. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 100, p. 236.
6. Ibid., p. 224.
7. Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 170.
8. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 140, p. 164.
9. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 100, p. 238.
10. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 14, p. 123.
11. Bihar al-Anwar , vol. 100, p. 230.
12. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 14, p. 115.
13. Ibid, p. 116.
14. Ibid., p. 119.
15. Ibid., p. 116.
16. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 14, p. 116.
17. Ibid., p. 111.
19. Ibid., p. 121.
21. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 14, p. 139.
22. Ibid., p. 4
23. Wasa’il al-Shiah, vol. 14, p. 128.
24. Ibid., p. 124.
25. Ibid., p. 460.
27. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 100, pp. 236-237.