What Makes Me a Righteous Wife?

A marriage does not work when one half demands or seeks his/her rights. A marriage works when one half gives them self to serve the other. The interests, benefits and happiness of one’s partner should be put in front of one’s happiness. We should live with the maxim,

“As long as my spouse is happy I am happy.”

If the husband and wife live with this maxim, then both of them will be happy!

However, Allah has ordained that the wife to obey her husband. The Messenger Salalallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:

“If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (i.e. Ramadan), guards her private parts, and obeys her husband, it will be said to her, ‘Enter Paradise through whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.’’[1]

This does not mean the husband does not have to listen to his wife. To the contrary, the husband has also been commanded by Allah and the Prophet Salallahu alayhi Wasallam to live with his spouse in a just and acceptable manner. The Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam has practically shown men how to interact with their spouses.

What does it take to be a righteous spouse?

1) Devotion and Obedience to Allah such that she fulfils His rights, such as the prayer, fasting, chastity covering herself, withholding her gaze and so on.

2) “Obedience to Her Husband in that which does not involve disobedience to Allah such that she fulfils his rights completely. Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said,

“If I were to order anyone to prostrate to other than Allah, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband. By Him in whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the woman will not fulfil the rights of her Lord until she fulfils the rights of her husband; and even if he were to request her for herself (i.e. to have intercourse with her) whilst she was sitting upon a camel’s saddle, she should not refuse him.” [2]

3) That she guards and reserves herself and her honour, in the absence of her husband, from the hand of anyone wishing to touch her, the eye of anyone wishing to look upon her, and the ear of anyone wishing to listen to her.

4) Likewise that she preserves her husband’s children, home and wealth. Allah says:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.)…”[3]

5) Serving her husband.

Husain ibn Mihsan Radiallahu Anhu said that my paternal aunt said,

“I came to Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam for some need, so he asked, ‘You there! Are you married?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ He then asked, ‘How are you towards your husband?’ She responded, ‘I do not fall short in his service except with regard to what I am unable to do.’ He said, ‘Then look to your standing with him, for indeed he is your Paradise and your Fire.’” [4]

Here is an example of how Asma bint Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhuma served her husband. She said,

“Az-Zubayr married me and he did not have any property or slaves or anything upon the earth except for a camel which drew water from the well and his horse. So I used to feed his horse, draw the water, stitch his water bucket, and prepare the dough, but I was not proficient in baking bread – so ladies from the Ansar who were my neighbours and were honourable used to bake the bread for me. I also used to carry the date-stones upon my head, from the land given to Az-Zubayr by Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam and it was about two miles away. One day when I was coming with the date-stones on my head, I met Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam and a group of the Ansar were with him. So he called me and said, ‘ikh, ikh (a word said to make the camel kneel down.).’ in order to carry me behind him upon the camel. But I felt shy to proceed along with the men, and I thought of Az-Zubayr and his sense of jealousy, and he was one of the most jealous of the people. So Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam saw my shyness and so passed on. So I came to Az-Zubayr and said, ‘Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam met me while I was carrying the date-stones upon my head and with him were a group of his Companions. He caused his riding camel to kneel, but I felt shy and remembered your sense of jealousy.’ So he said, ‘By Allah your having to carry the date-stones is harder upon me than that you should ride along with him.’” She said, “Then later on Abu Bakr sent me a servant to look after the horse, so it was if he had set me free.”[5]

6) Keeping the husband’s secrets.

Particularly what occurs between him and her in private – with regard to sexual matters and the private affairs within the marriage.

Asma bint Yazid Radiallahu Anha said that Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam once said,

“Perhaps a man mentions that which he did with his wife, and perhaps a woman informs of what she does with her husband?!” So the people were silent, so I said, “Yes, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam ! The women certainly do that, and the men certainly do that.” He Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “Then do not do so, since that is just like a male devil meeting a female devil upon the way, and he has intercourse with her while the people are watching.”[6]

7) She should appear before the husband in the best appearance, such that if he looks at her it pleases him.

Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu narrates: The Messenger of Allah Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam was asked, “Which of the women is the best?” He replied, “The one who gives him (the husband) pleasure when he looks (at her outer beauty, or the inner beauty of her good character and how she devotes herself to obedience to Allah and Taqwa); obeys him when he orders; and does not go against his wishes with regard to herself or her wealth by doing that which he dislikes.”[7]

8 ) She should not permit anyone to enter her husband’s house except with his permission

Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu said that the Messenger Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam said,

“It is not permissible for a woman to fast when her husband is present except with his permission; nor may she permit anyone to enter his house except with his permission; and whatever she spends in charity without his order – then half of the reward is for him.”[8]

9) She should not ask her husband for divorce without a reason necessitating that

Thawban Radiallahu Anhu said that the Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said,

“Whichever woman asks her husband for divorce without a strong reason – then the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden for her.”[9]

10) Avoidance of cursing

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri Radiallahu Anhu said, “The Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam went out to the prayer-ground for the (prayer of) Adha or Fitr, and he passed by the women and said,

‘O women! Give in charity; for I have been shown that you shall be the majority of the people in the Fire.’ So they asked, ‘Why is that, O Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam !’ He replied, ‘You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands.’”

11) Being thankful to the husband for the good he does and for his good treatment to his wife.

This is accomplished by good words, and by her obedience to him in what is good, and by not forgetting his good treatment and avoiding denying this, since that is one of the reasons which brings about the entry into the Fire.

Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma said that the Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said,

“I was shown the Fire and found that the majority of its inhabitants were women, due to ingratitude. It was said: “Is it that they disbelieve in Allah?” He said: They are ungrateful to their husbands and deny the good they do. If you were to treat one of them well always, and she then saw something (displeasing) from you she would say: ‘I have never seen any good from you.’”[10]

12) She should not remove her clothes outside her husband’s house

Allah’s Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said,

“Whichever woman removes her clothes in other than her house, then Allah, will tear down His cover from her.”[11]

What is apparent is that removal of her clothing means uncovering herself to strange males, for the purpose of sexual intercourse or that which leads to it.

13) Striving to please the husband by every possible means

The Messenger Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam said,

“Shall I not inform you of the inhabitants of paradise? The Prophets will be in Paradise. The Siddiqeen will be in Paradise. The martyrs will be in Paradise. The person who visited his brother in Islam for the sake of Allah will be in Paradise. Your women who are full of love, the one who is an asset to her husband, who if her husband becomes angry – comes and places her hand in the hand of her husband and says, ‘I will not taste sleep until you are pleased (with me) will be in Paradise.’”[12]

Source: Jamiat KZN

[1] [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
[2] [Sahih, reported by Ibn Majah and Ahmad from Abdullah ibn Awfa]
[3] [Quran 4:34]
[4] [Sahih, reported by al-Hadim]
[5] [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
[6] [Reported by Ahmad and there are witnessing narration’s which raise it to the level of being Sahih or Hasan at the very least]
[7] [Sahih Muslim, reported by an-Nasa’i, al-Hakim and Ahmad]
[8] [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
[9] [Sahih Muslim, reported by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi]
[10] [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
[11] [reported by al-Hakim]
[12] (Shu’ab al-Imaan)