وَأمَّا حَقُّ رَعِيَّتِكَ بمِلْكِ النّكَاحِ فَأَنْ تَعْلَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ جَعَلَهَا سَكَنًا وَمُسْتَرَاحًا وَأُنْسًا وَوَاقِيةً، وَكَذَلِكَ كُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمَا يَجِبُ أَنْ يَحْمَدَ اللَّهَ عَلَى صَاحِبهِ، ويَعْلَمَ أَنَّ ذَلِكَ نِعْمَةٌ مِنْهُ عَلَيْهِ. وَوَجَبَ أَنْ يُحْسِنَ صُحْبَةَ نِعْمَةِ اللَّهِ وَيُكْرِمَهَا ويَرْفَقَ بهَا وَإنْ كَانَ حَقُّكَ عَلَيْهَا أَغْلَظَ وَطَاعَتُكَ بهَا أَلْزَمَ فِيمَا أَحْببْتَ وَكَرِهْتَ مَا لَمْ تَكنْ مَعْصِيةً، فإنَّ لَهَا حَقُّ الرَّحمَةِ وَالْمُؤَانَسَةِ، وَمَوْضِعُ السُّكُونِ إلَيهَا قَضَاءَ اللَّذَّةِ الَّتِي لا بُدَّ مِنْ قَضَائِهَا وَذَلِكَ عَظِيمٌ. وَلا قُوَّةَ إلا باللهِ.
And the right of your subject through matrimonial contract1 is that you should know that God has made her a repose, a comfort and a companion, and a protector for you. It is incumbent upon each of you to thank God for the other and realize that the other one is God's blessing for you. It is obligatory to be a good companion for God's blessing, and to honor her and treat her gently.
Yet, your right over her is more incumbent2 and she must obey you in every matter that you like or detest - except in acts of disobedience to God. She should enjoy the rights of mercy and intimacy, as she is an object of tranquility. You should care for her through consummation of the lust that must be consummated. And that is surely great. And there is no power but in God.
“The right of your wife (zawja) is that you know that God has made her a repose and a comfort for you; you should know that she is God's favor toward you, so you should honor her and treat her gently. Though her right toward you is more incumbent, you must treat her with compassion, since she is your prisoner (asir) whom you feed and clothe. If she is ignorant, you should pardon her.”3
This statement can be read in Makarim ul-Akhlaq: “She also has the right to have mercy on her, since she is subject to you. You must feed and clothe her. Whenever she makes a mistake out of ignorance, you should forgive her.”
We already discussed the issue of marriage and establishment of a family in chapter 9 in detail. In that chapter which was about sex, we explained that the best way to prevent adultery and the corruption of the society is through marriage and the establishment of family. We described the physical, spiritual and psychological harms of sexual corruption and fornication. Now in this chapter we will briefly discuss the duties of a spouse as viewed in the Qur’an and the traditions - as expressed by Imam Sajjad .
We already mentioned that marriage is a blessed foundation of a family. The husband and wife make a promise to each other that this relationship will last to the end of their life. This structure is not built using bricks, steel rods and cement. It is a home built upon love, comfort and delight in which the couple shall live together their whole life, and raise boys and girls to continue the human society. We shall remind you that this structure is only firm if the husband and wife know about what Islam has set forth as rightful decrees. Otherwise, this structure will be shaken up by the erupting quakes of disharmony and bad temper.
The first characteristics mentioned by Imam Sajjad are tranquility and dwelling in love. God has considered the creation of man and woman, and their dwelling together as signs in the Holy Qur’an:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them. And he has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” [The Holy Qur’an, al-Rum 3:21]
This issue of dwelling together in love is also stated in the following verse:
هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا لِيَسْكُنَ إِلَيْهَا
“It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate in order that he might dwell with her (in love).” [The Holy Qur’an, al-A'raf 7:189]
The two concepts of tranquility and dwelling together, which are major God-given blessings, are presented in these verses. This includes physical and spiritual as well as individual and social aspects of tranquility and mutual life. No one can deny the physical ailments due to not marrying. Everyone is familiar with the spiritual problems and psychological disturbances that unmarried people have to deal with.
Unmarried people feel less social responsibility. This is why more cases of suicidal attempts are seen among unmarried people. They also commit more crimes. A person who gets married is no longer single. He discovers a new character within himself, and feels a lot more responsible.
In these verses, love and mercy have been expressed after tranquility and living together in peace which is the best form of life. Everyone is seeking a peaceful life. In fact, love and mercy constitute the glue and cement for the structure of the human society. There are some differences between love and mercy.
1 - Love is the initial motivation for establishing a relationship. However, at the end of life one or the other one gets weak, and mercy is needed.
2 - Love exists between the adults who can serve each other. However, children need mercy to grow up.
3 - Love is usually a mutual feeling, while mercy is unilateral and mixed with self-sacrifice.4
When the life of a couple is filled with tranquility, is based on love, and is accompanied by mercy, it is firmly established. On the other hand, a life without these is a shaky life, ready to break apart. Marriage is like the first level of social life. Through marriage, one can study and learn about the rights.
There are two kinds of rights established between a couple: legal rights and moral rights. The legal rights include the right that the husband must feed and clothe his wife and provide for her shelter. They also include the right that the woman should obey her husband. These rights are the fundamentals of mutual life, and are needed in order to provide for life - just like the foundation and the structure of a building.
However, moral rights are those which both the husband and the wife are morally bound to adhere to. Should they not adhere to these rights, there is no legal obligation for them to do so. However, the beauty and pleasure of life is dependent upon performing these duties. Acts like compliance, friendship and love fall in this group. One can consider these rights as the decorations of life such as painting and fine plaster work.
“The law of creation has made men and women in need of each other in order to better unite men and women together, and strengthen the family which is the main basis for human prosperity. If men have been established as the ones for the women to financially rely on, women have been created for men to spiritually rely on. These different needs attract them to each other, and finally unite them.”5
Consider the following verse:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what God would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly): But if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). For God is Most High, Great (above you all).” [The Holy Qur’an, al-Nisaa 4:34]
We must realize that the family is a small society, and it needs a head and a leader. The man is the head of the household. The woman is his assistant and is under his supervision. We must know that this position is granted to him due to the characteristics that exist in men. Such characteristics are his ability to let his mind rule over his feelings - as opposed to women, and his possession of more power and physical strength.
Men can use the first to plan for their life, and use the second to safeguard their family. The phrase “because God has given the one more (strength) than the other” in the above verse refers to this point. However, it is clear that entrusting men with this duty neither is considered to be a reason for their possessing a higher human character, nor is it to be a privilege for them. It is clear that in general, the human character of an assistant may be loftier than that of his boss in some aspects. However, the boss is usually more suitable than his assistant, for the performance of the duty he is made responsible for.
In this verse, women are classified into two groups. The women in the first group are righteous ones. They are humble. They respect the family structure. They are highly responsible, and perform their duties and responsibilities well. Regarding the rights that God has established and are expressed in the above verse as “what God would have them guard.” they perform their responsibilities well.
This they do regarding financial issues, and guarding their honor. The women in the second group are the disobedient ones who are seen to have signs of possible disloyalty and ill-conduct. Men are supposed to honor and respect the first group of women, and admonish, or refuse to sleep with the second group. Should these measures not work, men are supposed to punish them as decreed by Islam.6
We presented the above verse to show that according to the Holy Qur’an, men are responsible for protecting and maintaining women. Imam Sajjad stressed their right to be fed and clothed by men. All the major jurisprudents have also decreed they have the right to be fed and clothed: “It is obligatory for men to pay for the living expenses of their permanent wives.
These expenses include food, clothes, shelter, and living necessities such as rugs, blankets, cleaning apparatus, and things that women usually need during their life. This is required if she lives in his house and is obedient to him. Therefore, if she leaves the house without a religiously acceptable excuse, and leaves him then she does not deserve to be maintained. It is well-known that this responsibility of maintaining his wife is only up until the time when the wife is complaisant, and is lifted if she becomes disobedient.”7
It was said that women have two types of rights. One is her legal right to maintenance. Should the man not pay for her maintenance, she has the right to legally claim and receive it. However, rights of the second type are moral, humane rights. Respecting these rights will cause tranquility, peace, and will strengthen life and aid its continuation.
Now we will attend to these rights. The Noble Prophet has made several recommendations regarding women on various occasions. We will present only a few here. The Prophet said:
خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لأَهْلِهِ وَأنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لأهْلِي.
“The best of you are the ones who treat their family the best. And I am the best of you towards my family.”8
He also said:
عِيالُ الرَّجُلِ أسَراؤهُ، وأحَبُّ العِبادِ إلى اللّه تعَالى أحْسَنُهُم صَنيعاً إلى أُسَرائِهِ.
“A man's dependants are his prisoners. And the servants most loved by God are the ones who best treat their prisoners.”9
Imam Baqir quoted on the authority of God's Prophet :
أوْصَاني جِبْرَئِيلُ بِالمَرْأةِ حَتىّ ظَنَنْتُ أنَّهُ لا يَنْبَغِي طَلاقُها إلاّ مِن فاحِشَةٍ بَيِّنَةٍ.
“Gabriel advised me about women so much that I thought she could not be divorced unless she clearly commits adultery.”10
In another tradition, The Prophet said:
مَن احْتَمَلَ مِن امْرَأتِهِ وَلَو كَلِمَةً وَاحِدَةً أعْتَقَ اللهُ رَقَبَتَهُ مِن النّارِ وأوْجَبَ لَهُ الجَنَّةَ وَكَتَبَ له مِائَتَيْ ألْفِ حَسَنَةٍ وَمَحا عَنهُ مِائَتَيْ ألْفِ سَيِّئَةٍ وَرَفَعَ لهُ مِائَتَيْ ألْفِ دَرَجَةٍ وَكَتَبَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِكُلِّ شَعْرَةٍ عَلى بَدَنِهِ عِبادَةَ سَنَةٍ.
“God will save whoever bears his wife - even if it is just one (bad) word - from the Fire. God will assure him of Heaven and record two thousand good deeds for him. God will wipe out two hundred thousand of his wrong-doings and raise his rank two hundred thousand levels, and establish as many years of worshipping for him as there are hairs on his body.”11
These words of the Noble Prophet are the best advice we have received regarding women. A man is supposed to be kind and polite to his wife. He is supposed to ignore her mistakes. He is supposed to be patient with her bad temper to be granted the divine rewards that the Noble Prophet promised.
There is no doubt that there are problems in every house. At times incompatibilities may cause quarrels that might cool their relationship. This will place a gap between them, and will drive them more apart from each other. If not prevented, this might lead to separation and divorce. A young inexperienced husband and wife who still follow their lust may get angry quickly, and attempt to take revenge on each other. In order to prevent this, Islam has advised men and women to forgive each other, and ignore one another's faults.
Ishaq ibn Ammar asked Imam Sadiq regarding the rights of a woman upon her husband. Imam Sadiq said:
يُشْبِعُ بَطْنَها ويَكْسُو جُثَّتَها وإنْ جَهِلَتْ غَفَر لهَا. إنَّ إبْراهِيمَ خَليلَ الرَّحْمنِ شَكا إلى اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ خُلُقَ سارَةَ فَأوْحَى اللهُ إليَهِ أنَّ مَثَلَ المَرأةِ مَثَلُ الضِّلْعِ إنْ أقَمْتَهُ انْكَسَرَ وإنْ تَركْتَهُ اسْتَمْتَعْتَ بهِ.
“He should fill her stomach, and cover her body. If she makes a mistake, he should forgive her. Abraham - the friend of the Merciful - complained to the Almighty God about Sara's bad temper. God revealed to him: The similitude of a woman is like that of a dry bent stick. It will crack if you try to straighten it, but you will benefit from it if you leave it as it is.”12
Therefore, there is no use in being harsh with your wife. Nothing can be gained but misery and bitterness. The most important issue that a man should realize in life is that his wife is his life-partner. She is neither his slave, nor his housemaid. Therefore, from the viewpoint of religious jurisprudence, a man does not have the right to force his wife to work, or to take the results of her efforts in his own possession. More importantly, he should realize that he must help his spouse. Our Immaculate Leaders have outlined many rewards for men who help their wives. We will mention a few here.
God's Prophet told Ali :
إسمَعْ مِنّي يا أبا الحَسَنِ! ومَا أقولُ إلاّ مِن أمْرِ رَبّي: ما مِنْ رَجُلٍ يُعينُ امْرأتَهُ في بَيْتِها إلاّ كانَ لهُ بِكُلِّ شَعْرَةٍ علَى بَدَنِهِ عِبادَةُ سَنَةٍ صِيامُ نَهارِها وقِيامُ لَيلِها وأعْطاهُ اللهُ مِن الثَّوابِ مِثْلَ ما أعْطى الصّابِرينَ وَداوُدَ وَيَعقوبَ وَعِيسى عَلَيهمُ السّلامُ.
“O father of Hasan! Listen to me. I will not tell you anything but what my Lord commands. God will establish the reward of as many years of fasting in the daytime and staying up at night to pray, as there are hairs on one’s body for helping his wife with the housework. The reward will be similar to what He has granted to the patient ones and the Prophet David , Jacob and Jesus .” 13
Surely, this reward will encourage believing men to help their wives, and abstain from being forceful and bossy.
God's Prophet said:
يا عَليُّ! مَن كانَ في خِدمَةِ العِيالِ في البَيتِ وَلَمْ يأنَفْ كَتَبَ اللهُ اسْمَهُ في دِيوانِ الشُّهَداءِ وَكَتَبَ لهُ بِكُلِّ يَومٍ وَلَيلَةٍ ثَوابَ ألفِ شَهيدٍ وَكَتَبَ لهُ بِكُلِّ قَدَمٍ ثَوابَ حِجَّةٍ وَعُمْرَةٍ وَأعْطاه ُاللهُ بِكُلِّ عِرْقٍ في جَسَدِه مَدِينَةً في الجَنَّةِ.
“O Ali! God will record in the book of the martyrs the name of whoever serves his family at home, and does not disdain it. God will establish the reward of one thousand martyrs for each day and night, and will grant him the reward of the pilgrimage to the Holy House of God for every step he takes in this regard. God will reward him with a city in Heaven for every vein in his body.”14
God's Prophet said:
يا عَلِيُّ! خِدمَةُ العِيالِ كَفّارَةٌ لِلكَبائِرِ وَتُطْفِيءُ غَضَبَ الرَّبِّ وَمُهورُ الحُورِ العِينِ وَتَزيدُ في الحَسَناتِ والدَّرَجاتِ.
“O Ali! Serving the family is considered to be expiation for major sins. It will quench the Lord's wrath, and be considered as the nuptial gift for the ‘Houris’. It will be a cause of raised ranks, and increased, recorded good-deeds.”15
God's Prophet said:
مَن ضَرَبَ امْرَأةً بِغَيرِ حَقٍّ فأنا خَصْمُهُ يَومَ القِيامَةِ. لا تَضْرِبوا نِسائَكُم، فَمَنْ ضَرَبَها بِغَيرِ حَقٍّ فَقَد عَصى اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ.
“On the Resurrection Day I am the enemy of any man who unduly beats his wife. Do not beat your wives. Thus whoever unduly beats his wife has surely disobeyed God and His Prophet.”16
God's Prophet said:
لَيسَ مِنّا مَن وُسِعَ عَلَيهِ ثُمَّ قَتَرَ عَلى عِيالِهِ.
“Whoever is affluent but is stingy with his wife does not belong to our nation.”17
It has been narrated that Imam Sajjad said:
أرْضاكُم عِندَ اللهِ أوْسَعُكُم عَلى عِيالِهِ.
“Whoever provides most amply for his family will be the most pleasing one near God.”18
Imam Ridha said:
يَنْبَغي لِلرَّجُلِ أنْ يُوسِعَ عَلى عِيالِهِ لِئَلاّ يَتَمَنَّوا مَوتَهُ.
“A man should provide abundant provision for his family so that they do not wish for his death.”19
So far we discussed how men should be kind to their wives, not bother or hurt them; not be strict with them, but help them. Now let us see what Islam instructs women to do to counter men's services, and what role women should play in life.
Al-Hasan ibn Mahboob quoted on the authority of Malik ibn Atiyeh on the authority of Muhammad ibn Muslim on the authority of Imam Baqir that once a woman went to the Prophet of God and asked: “O' Prophet of God! What is the right of a man incumbent upon the woman?” The Prophet replied:
أنْ تُطِيعَهُ وَلا تَعْصِيَهُ، وَلا تَصَدَّقَ مِن بَيْتِهِ إلّا بإذْنِه، وَلا تَصُومَ طَوعاً إلّا بإذْنِه، ولا تَمْنَعَهُ نَفْسَها وإنْ كانَتْ عَلى ظَهْرِ قَتَبٍ، وَلا تَخْرُجَ مِن بَيْتِها إلاّ بِإذْنِه، وإِنْ خَرَجَتْ بِغَيرِ إذْنِه لَعَنَتْها مَلائِكَةُ السَّماءِ وَمَلائِكَةُ الأرْضِ وَمَلائِكَةُ الغَضَبِ وَمَلائِكَةُ الرَّحمَةِ حَتىّ تَرْجِعَ إلى بيتِها.
فقَالَت: يا رَسُولَ اللهِ مَن أعْظَمُ النّاسِ حَقّاً عَلى الرَّجُلِ؟ قال: والِداهُ. قالَت: فَمَنْ أعْظَمُ النّاسِ حَقّاً عَلى المَرْأةِ؟ قالَ: زَوْجُها.
قَالَت: فَما لي عَلَيهِ مِن الحَقِّ مِثْلُ مَا لهُ عَلَيَّ؟ قال: وَلا مِن كُلِّ مِائَةٍ واحِدَةٌ.
فَقالَت: وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالحَقِّ لا يَمْلِكُ رَقَبَتي رَجُلٌ أبَداً.
“She should obey him, and not rebel against him. She should not give away anything from his house as charity unless by his permission. She should not fast when not required to do so unless by his permission. She should not withdraw herself from him even if they are riding a camel. She should not leave the house without his permission. Should she ever leave the house without his permission, she will be cursed by the angels in the heavens and on the Earth, and the angels of wrath and mercy until she returns home.”
The woman asked: “O' Prophet of God! Who has the most rights over a man?” He said: “His parents.” She asked: “Who has the most rights over a woman?” He said: “Her husband.” She asked: “Do I have the same rights over him that he has over me?” The Prophet said: “No. Not even one one-hundredth.” Then she said: “I swear by the One who rightfully appointed you to Prophethood that no man will ever own me.”20
The Prophet said:
حَقُّ الرَّجُلِ عَلى المَرأةِ إنارَةُ السِّراجِ وَإصْلاحُ الطَّعامِ وأنْ تَسْتَقْبِلَهُ عِندَ بابِ بَيْتِها فَتُرَحِّبَ بِهِ وأنْ تُقَدِّمَ إلَيهِ الطَّشْتَ وَالمِنْدِيلَ وأنْ تُوَضِّئَهُ وأنْ لا تَمْنَعَهُ نَفْسَها إلاّ مِن عِلَّةٍ.
“The right of the man over his wife is that she should turn on the light, prepare the food, and rush to warmly welcome him when he comes home. She should take him some water and a towel, wash his hands and not withdraw herself from him unless she has an excuse.”21
The Prophet said:
لا تُؤَدّي المَرْأةُ حَقَّ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ حَتىّ تُؤَدِّيَ حَقَّ زَوجِها.
“A woman has not fulfilled God's rights unless she properly fulfills her husband’s rights.”22
Imam Sadiq said:
أيُّما امْرَأةٍ بَاتَتْ وَزَوْجُها عَلَيها ساخِطٌ في حَقٍّ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ مِنْها صَلاةٌ حَتىّ يَرضَى عَنهَا.
“The prayers of a woman who passes a night while her husband is unhappy with her regarding his rights, will not be accepted until he is pleased with her.”23
Imam Baqir has been narrated to have said:
إنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ كَتَبَ عَلى الرِّجالِ الجِهادَ وَعَلى النِّساءِ الجِهادَ؛ فَجِهادُ الرَّجُلِ أنْ يَبْذُلَ مَالَهُ وَدَمَهُ حَتىّ يُقْتَلَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ، وَجِهادُ المَرأةِ أنْ تَصْبِرَ عَلى ما تَرى مِن أذَى زَوجِها وَغَيْرَتِهِ.
“God, the Almighty has decreed holy war for both men and women. The holy war for men is to expend their property and their blood until they attain martyrdom in the way of God. A woman's holy war is to be patient with troubles she experiences from her husband and his jealousy.”24
Imam Baqir has considered the house to be the front in this tradition. The soldiers who fight in this front are the women. The most important weapon they use in this war is their patience. The swords and the spears are the troubles she experiences from her husband. The woman should not escape from this front. She should withstand all this with patience and perseverance until her life terminates with a good ending.
Many of the women who have not been properly educated in this respect, and are inexperienced may lose the war, abandon their house, and deprive their dear children of maternal love. Thus, they choose eternal bitterness for themselves, their husband and their children. On the other hand, there are some patient women who diligently guide the vessel of life through the stormy waves of their husbands’ wrath, zeal and bothering until they settle down, and attain victory and prosperity for themselves and their children.
Imam Sadiq has admonished women not to make up for men other than their husband. He said:
أيُّما امْرَأةٍ تَطَيَّبَتْ لِغَيْرِ زَوجِها لَمْ يُقْبَلْ مِنها صَلاةٌ حَتىّ تَغْتَسِلَ مِن طِيبِها كَغَسْلِها مِن جَنابَتِها.
“God will not accept the prayers of any woman who puts on perfume for a man other than her husband until she bathes from her (having applied) perfume just as she bathes after intercourse.”25
Regarding the woman's gratefulness for her husband's efforts, Imam Sadiq said:
أيُّما امْرَأةٍ قَالتْ لِزَوْجِها: ما رَأيْتُ مِنكَ خَيراً قَطُّ، فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُها.
“The good deeds of any woman who tells her husband that she has never seen any good from him during her life will be cancelled, and wiped off from her record of deeds.”26
We briefly discussed the rights of men and women. If the men and women abide by these rules in the Islamic society, they shall have a sweet and prosperous life. There is a delicate point in a verse in the Holy Qur’an:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَآئِكُمْ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ
“Permitted to you, on the night of the fast is the approach to your wives. They are your garments, and ye are their garments.” [The Holy Qur’an, al-Baqarah 2:187]
This is a beautiful point. The husband and wife are like garments for each other. Garments are used for coverage, tranquility, and the protection and beauty of the body. Couples cover up each other's faults, and are a means of each other's comfort and tranquility, too. This coverage encompasses all aspects of their life.
They are supposed to cover up each other's faults. They are not supposed to talk about each other's bad temper with other people. They should not divulge their private secrets. They should respect each other. As we said before while discussing the previous traditions, they should not accuse each other, since then they will both be subject to destruction.
They should be patient and withstand each other's bad temper, so that God grants them the great promised rewards. The husband and wife are great blessings for each other as Imam Sajjad said. They should share the sweet moments of life as well as its hardships. They should possess a high spirit and ambition so that their children grow up to be eminent people. Imam Sadiq quoted on the authority of the Noble Prophet of God :
قَولُ الرَّجُلِ لِلمَرْأةِ إنِّي أُحِبُّكِ لا يَذْهَبُ مِن قَلْبِكَ أبَداً.
“The words of a man who tells his wife ‘I love you’ will never leave her heart and mind.”27
This will cause the wife to love her husband and be his support during times of hardship.