Part 1: The Duties of Women
Marriage is a natural necessity for every human being. It bears many good outcomes of which the most important ones are:
(1) The formation of a family through which one can find security and peace of mind. A person who is not married resembles a bird without a nest. Marriage serves as a shelter for anyone who feels lost in the wilderness of life; one can find a partner in life who would share one's joy and sorrow.
(2) The natural sexual desire is both strong and significant. Everyone should have a partner for satisfying their sexual needs in a secure and serene environment. Everyone should enjoy sexual satisfaction in a correct and proper manner. Those who abstain from marriage often suffer from both physical and psychological disorders. Such disorders and certain social problems are a direct consequence of the abstinence of youth from marriage.
(3) Reproduction: Through marriage the procreation of mankind is continued. Children are the result of marriage and are important factors in stabilizing the family foundations as well as a source of real joy to their parents.
A great deal of emphasis has been given in the Holy Qur'an and the Traditions to both marriage and having children. The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا …
"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves..." (30:21).
"The Prophet (S) stated: 'There is no better structure founded in Islam other than marriage'."1
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Engage in marriage; because this is the tradition of the Prophet (S) of Allah'."2
"The Prophet of Allah (swt) stated: 'Whoever chooses to follow my tradition must get married and produce offspring through marriage (and increase the population of Muslims) so that on the day of resurrection I shall confront other Ummah (nations) with the (great) numbers of my Ummah'.'"3
"Imam Rida (a.s) stated: 'The greatest gain for a man is a faithful woman who, when she sees him, becomes happy and protects his property and her own honor in his absence'."4
What has been dealt with so far in this chapter has been only the worldly and animalistic side of marriage which the animals also share: the Benefits of companionship and reproduction. As such the true purpose of marriage for the human race is of a different kind. Mankind is not meant to have entered this world solely in order to eat, drink, sleep, seek pleasure or act lustfully, and then to die and be destroyed.
The status of man is higher than such deeds. Human beings are meant to train themselves and their souls by gaining knowledge, committing good deeds, and behaving with good manners. Man is meant to take steps along the straight path to achieve nearness to Almighty Allah. Mankind is a creation that is able to cleanse his soul and by avoiding evil deeds and exercising good behavior reach a level of such high status that even the angels are not able to attain. Man is a creature that is eternal. He has come to this world so that by the guidance of the prophets and the implementation of the programs set by the religion (of Islam), to secure his happiness in this world and the Hereafter; so that he could live a peaceful life in the next world eternally.
Therefore, the purpose of marriage should be searched for in this spiritual context. The aim of marriage for a religious person should be a means of avoiding evil deeds and purging one's soul of sins. It should be a means of acquiring nearness to the Almighty Allah. It is in this context that a suitable and good partner assumes an important role. When two believers, through marriage, form a family, their sexual relationship would benefit them in strengthening their mutual love and kindness, for such a couple, there would not exist any dangerous threats of sexual perversion, dangerous addictions or unlawful deeds. The Prophet (S) of Islam and all of the Imams (a.s) have laid great emphasis on the institution of marriage.
"The Prophet (S) stated: 'Whoever gets married, has safeguarded half of his religion'."5
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'Two Rak'ats (units) of a married person's Salat (prayer) are better than seventy Rak'ats offered by a bachelor'."6
A faithful, pious, and harmonious partner plays a crucial role in having a respectable and honest life. Indeed having such a partner is an important factor when wanting to avoid evil deeds and enables the commitment of oneself in performing the obligatory acts of worship. A pious couple, not only would not meet with any obstacle in achieving religious goals, but would be a source of encouragement to each other.
Is it really possible for a faithful man of Allah to gloriously fight in His way, without the approval of his wife? Is it possible for any pious person to earn his living lawfully, observing all religious aspects, paying statutory religious alms to avoid extravagance, and to spend on charitable deeds without the consent of his wife?
A pious person would always invite his partner to goodness, just as a corrupt person would tempt his partner towards corruption. It is then reasonable that, in Islam men and women, who want to get married, are advised to regard the piety and good manners of their future partners, as essential conditions.
"The Prophet (S) stated: 'If I were to bestow all the good of both worlds upon a Muslim person, I would endow him with a humble heart, a tongue which continuously utters his praises, a body patient enough to withstand all calamities; and I would give him a pious spouse who, when she sees him, becomes happy, and protects his property and her own honor in his absence'."7
"One person went to the Prophet (S) and said: 'I have a wife who always welcomes me when I come home, and escorts me to the door when I leave. When she finds me sad and unhappy, she then, by consoling me says: 'If you are thinking of sustenance, then do not despair, because Allah provides sustenance; and if you are thinking about the next life, then may Allah increase your intellect and efforts. Then the Prophet (S) stated: ' Allah surely has functionaries and agents in this world and your wife is one of those. Such a woman would be rewarded half as much as a martyr'."8
"Imam Ali (a.s) was thinking the same when he spoke of Hadrat Zahra (a.s). He stated that she was the best help for worshipping the Almighty Allah. History tells us that the Prophet (S), one day after the wedding of Imam Ali (a.s) and Hadrat Zahra (a.s), went to congratulate them in their house and know about their welfare. He asked Imam Ali (a.s): 'How do you find your spouse?' The Imam replied: 'I found Zahra as the best help in worshipping the Almighty Allah.' The Prophet (S) then asked the same of Zahra (a.s), and she replied: 'He is the best husband'."9
Imam Ali (a.s), in one sentence, introduced the best woman in Islam and expressed the main purpose of marriage.
The task of a wife is to maintain and take care of a husband. It is not an easy undertaking. Those women, who are unaware of this feature of their role, may find difficulty in fulfilling the task. It is a job for the woman who is aware that the job requires a degree of sagacity, style, and ingenuity. For a woman to be a successful wife, she should win over her husband's heart and be a source of comfort to him.
She should encourage him to do good deeds while dissuading him from bad ones. She should also provide adequate measures to maintain his health and well-being. The results of her efforts are directed towards making the man into a kind and respected husband who would be a proper guardian for his family, and a good father from whom the children would seek guidance and respect. Allah, the All-Knowing has endowed woman with extraordinary power. The prosperity and happiness as well as the misery of the family are in her hands.
A woman can turn the home into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. She can lead her husband to the peak of success or the dregs of misfortune. The woman with the qualities bestowed on her by Allah, who is aware of her role as a spouse, can elevate her husband to a respected man even if he had been the lowest of all men.
"One learned scholar wrote: 'Women possess a strange power in that they are able to acquire whatever they desire'."10
In Islam, taking care of one's husband has an important position. It has been equated to the role of Jihad (holy war in the path of Allah). "Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'The Jihad of a woman is to take care of her husband well'."11
Considering that Jihad is the struggle and holy war in the path of Allah including the struggle for advancement and honor of Islam, defending the Islamic territories and execution of social justice, it is one of the highest acts of worship. The value of fulfilling the duties of a proper spouse is also reflected upon when considering Jihad.
"The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ' Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her, enters Paradise'."12
The Holy Prophet also stated: "If a woman does not perform her duty as a spouse, she has not done her duty to Allah'."13
Everyone is thirsty for friendship and kindness; They all like to be loved by others. The heart of a human being thrives on it. A person who is not loved by anyone regards himself as alone and deserted. Dear lady! Your husband is not any different. He is also in need of love and affection. Before his marriage the love and affection of his parents fulfilled this need, but now, he expects you to fulfill it.
The man looks towards his spouse to find friendship and love, which is a requirement of all human beings. He struggles hard to earn a living and to comfort you. He shares with you all the hardships of life and as your true partner cares for your happiness even more than your parents. Therefore, express your appreciation to him and love him, he will love you. Love is a two-way relationship which unites the hearts.
A twenty-year old boy who had come to Tehran to study at the university fell in love with a 39-year old widow who was his landlady. This was because the woman had fulfilled the empty place of his mother in his heart through her kindness.14
If love is mutual, the marital foundation becomes strong and the dangers of separation are averted. Do not proudly think that your husband fell in love with you at first sight, because such love is not lasting. A lasting love is through kindness and permanent affection in the form of a very close friendship.
If you love your husband and have a good friendship he will be happy and willing to strive and sacrifice himself for your well-being. A man who enjoys the love of his wife, rarely suffers from poor health or has emotional problems. If a man is deprived of a warm and friendly relationship with his spouse, he may become disheartened and may avoid his home. He may end up spending a great deal of time out of his home in search of friends and attention. He may say to himself: "Why should I work and support the people who do not like me. I might as well enjoy myself and try to find genuine friends."
A woman may sincerely love her husband, but does not show it or express it very often. It is not enough to establish the ties of friendship and take it for granted. Occasional expressions of statements such a "I love you," "I missed you," "I am happy to see you," help enormously in promoting a good relationship. When the husband is on a trip, the woman should write letters expressing that she missed him. If there is a telephone at the man's office, the wife should phone him occasionally, but not in excess. She should praise him among friends and relatives when he is absent, and defend him if anyone is talking against him.
The Almighty Allah refers to this bond of love and affection of a husband and wife in the Qur'an:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
"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 (30:21)."
"Imam Rida (a.s) stated: 'Some women are blessings for their husbands who express their love and affection'."15
"The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'The best of you among women are those who possess love and affection'."16
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'When you love someone, let the person know'."17
The desire for respect is an inherent one, but not everyone is willing to give it readily. Your husband is in contact with many people during the day while away from home. Some may be impolite and insulting him which eventually can upset the person. As his wife, he expects you to show respect and encouragement at home and thereby boost his trampled ego.
To honor and respect your husband does not belittle you, but it provides energy and inclination to struggle to make a better life. You should always greet him, and with your greeting, give him a feeling of veneration. Do not interrupt him when he is talking. Be courteous and polite when you are talking to him and do not shout at him. Let him enter first when both of you are going to a meeting.
Praise him in front of others. Ask your children to respect him and reprimand them if they are discourteous towards him. Be respectful of him in front of guests and be attentive to his needs, as well as the guests. When he is knocking at the door you should try to open the door with a smile and a happy expression. This small act of happiness has such an effect that it refreshes the man's tired spirits. Some women may think that such behaviour is strange. Imagine greeting your husband as if he was a guest. This is not the correct attitude because the man has been struggling all the day for the well-being of his family and he deserves some consideration and respect when he returns home. That first greeting makes a big impression and what's good for a guest is good for the family members.
"The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'The duty of a woman is to answer the call at the door and welcome her husband'."'18
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'A woman who respects her husband and does not harass him, will be fortunate and prosperous'."19
"The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'A wife is duty-bound to arrange for a basin and towel to wash her husband's hands'."20
Be careful not to humiliate him, do not talk to him harshly, do not abuse him, do not be inattentive to him, and do not call him by any obscene titles. If you offend him, he, in turn, will insult you. Eventually, the spirit of love and trust will erode. Consequently, you will have constant quarrels and arguments which may lead to a divorce. Even if you continue to live together, your lives will surely be filled with many turbulent moments. Feelings of antagonism and psychological disturbances may build up to the point that it becomes hazardous to the couple's life in that it may lead to crime. The following stories, illustrate some of these points:
"A twenty-two year old man, stabbed his 19-year old wife to death after he was abused by her. In the court he said: 'I was married to this woman a year ago. At the beginning my wife loved me very much. But it was not long before she changed and started to humiliate me. She would use abusive language with me on every possible occasion and over the smallest issue, would make fun of me. Due to a squint in my left eye, she used to call me a "blind ass". One day she called me a "blind ass" and I became so furious that I stabbed her fifteen times with a knife'."21
"A seventy-one year old man who had killed his wife, explained: 'Suddenly her manners towards me changed and she started to ignore me. Once she called me "an intolerable man". I realized that she did not love me any more; I became suspicious of her and killed her with two blows of an axe'."22
There is not anyone who does not have problems and grievances with regard to daily life. Everyone likes to have a sympathetic person with whom he can confide and who will listen to his problems. But the point to remember is that "there is a time and place for everything". One should realize the proper time and occasion to complain. Some ignorant and selfish women do not realize that their husbands are very tired and nervous after a long day's work. Instead of waiting an hour or two for him to regain his spirits, they start attacking him with a barrage of complaints. For instance the wife may say:
"You have left me with these damned kids and rushed off. Ahmad has broken the glass in the door of the front room. Our daughters have been fighting. I am going crazy with the noise of the kids outside. Hasan does not study at all and he has secured poor marks. I have been working so hard today and I am exhausted. Nobody listens to my cries!
These kids don't help at all in the house-work. I wish I didn't have any children at all! By the way your sister was here today. I don't know what was wrong with her; she acted as if I had swallowed her father's inheritance. May God save me from your mother! She has been talking ill about me behind my back. I am fed up with all of them. Also, I cut my finger badly with a knife today.
I wish I'd not gone to Muhammad's wedding yesterday. You should have seen Rashid's wife! What an outfit! Allah should give me the same luck! Some men really love their wives and buy them beautiful things. They are real husbands. When Rashid entered, everybody respected him. It's true that people are only interested in what you're wearing. What has she got that I haven't? Why should she show off in front of me?! Oh yes, she is fortunate to have a husband who loves her, he isn't like you!
I can't stand this damned house any longer, looking after your and your children. So do what you like!"
This sort of attitude is incorrect. Women of this sort think that their husbands are going on a picnic or pleasure-ride every morning. Men confront hundreds of problems every day. Dear lady! you do not know what your husband has gone through when he is at work. You do not know what rude and obnoxious people he has had to deal with all the day. So, when he comes home, you should not present all of your complaints at the same time. He should not feel guilty of being a man. Be fair and be considerate to him. If you, by grumbling and nagging, add to his worries and anguish, then he may either start a row or just leave the house and go to a cafe, cinema, or even walk around the streets.
Therefore, dear lady! For the sake of Allah, give up this habit of complaining at inopportune moments. Find a suitable time and then present him with your genuine problems, not by complaining, but in a consultative type of way. In this way, you do not create antagonistic feelings in him and the family bonds remain secure
"The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: 'The prayers of a woman who teases her husband with her tongue, are not accepted (by Allah) even though she fasts every day, gets up for the acts of worship every night, sets free a few slaves and donates her wealth in the way of Allah. A bad-tongue woman who hurts her husband in this way, is the first person who enters hell'."23
"The Holy Prophet (S) also stated: 'The women of Paradise say to those women who abuse their husbands in this way: 'May Allah kill you. Do not misbehave with your husband. This man (the husband) is not yours, and you do not deserve him. Soon he will leave you and come towards us'." 24
I do not know what such women want to achieve by their grumbling. If they want to attract their husband's attention or to show off, then surely they achieve the exact opposite and exasperate him. If they intend to distress him, to create for him psychological problems and to lead him towards fatal artificial addictions, then they are on the right track.
Dear lady! if you care about your husband and your family, then you should give up this improper and illogical attitude. Have you ever thought that your misconduct may lead towards breaking up your family life?
"One doctor testified in court: 'I have not yet seen my wife act like a proper housewife during all my married life. Our house is always in a mess. She is always shouting and abusing. I am fed up with her'. After paying her a lump sum money, he received divorce. He said joyfully: 'If she had wanted and had asked for all my wealth and even my medical degree, I would have given it to get rid of her sooner',"25
Anyone who is good-natured with a pleasant disposition would also face the hardships and problems of life in the same manner. These are the kinds of personality that people are attracted to and continually seek. The pleasant disposition and attitude of a person would be immune to psychological disorders since their outlook to life is to overcome their hardships in the best feasible manner.
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'No life is more agreeable than the one which is of a pleasant nature'."26
But an ill-natured person would likewise find life unpleasant since the relationship of such people promote anxiety and tension. Such a person enjoys complaining and voicing one's dissonance with life. This type of attitude is avoided by most people whereby the person ends up with very few friends, these are then the conditions which are susceptible to various psychological problems, and other illnesses due to the anxiety and emptiness with which the person with a bad attitude views life.
"The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'A person with a bad disposition and attitude would be in permanent agony and suffering'.”27
A good and pleasant attitude is essential between all people in general and between couples in particular since the couple must be together to form a joint life.
Dear lady! If you want to enjoy a pleasant life with your husband and children, make your attitude and disposition pleasant and agreeable. Be good-natured and not quarrelsome. You have the ability to turn your house into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. You can be an angel of mercy whereby your husband and children can find peace through you. Do you know what a beautiful impression you would leave on their souls with your smiling attitude and good language? The pleasant impression is fresh in their minds as they start off to school or work and helps them to make a good start of the day.
Therefore, if you care about the quality of your life and the relationship you have with your husband; do not be negative in nature. Be positive in your attitude and disposition since the best supportive pillar of security to marriage is a good set of ethics leading to a pleasant disposition.
Most instances of divorce are due to the incompatible nature of man and wife. The statistics on divorce conclusively indicate that the compatible attitude, moral values and disposition was non-existent in the couples. The main source of family rows and discord is due to the incompatible character of the couple's ethical principles and values. The following set of data is of interest:
"In the year 1968, 12,760 cases out of a total of 16,039 cases of marital complaints brought to court were based on incompatible moral foundations. In 1969, 11,246 cases out of a total of 16,058 cases, were based on the same reason. It is therefore evident that more than seventy per cent of family rows were due to this factor'."28
"A woman complained to the Council that her husband always ate his lunch and dinner outside. The husband then explained that the reason he ate outside was because his wife had absolutely no constructiveness in her and she was the worst of all the ill-disposed women in the world. The wife suddenly got up and started beating her husband in front of the judges'." 29
This foolish woman thought that by complaining, abusing and beating, she could bring him back home. But she did not use the simple and intelligent method which was to be more considerate and to observe appropriate conduct.
"Another woman reported to the court that her husband has not been talking to her for 15 months and that he was paying for living expenses through his mother. The husband replied that he had enough of his wife's ill-disposed attitude which made him decide not to talk to her for 15 months'."30
Most of the family conflicts may be resolved with kindness, compassion and a pleasant disposition. If your husband is unkind, if he goes out for dinners alone, if he is abusive, wastes away all his wealth, speaks of divorce and separation or a number of reasons for family conflict, there is only one way to resolve them. The way is by being kind and good-natured. The results of exercising such behavior are miraculous.
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'Allah Almighty will grant a well-disposed person a reward equivalent to the blessings of Jihad. He will endow many blessings onto him day and night'."31
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'Any woman who bothers her husband and distresses him is distant from the blessings of Allah and any woman who respects her husband, is obedient and does not cause him sorrow, is blessed and prosperous'."32
"There is a tradition reported that the Holy Prophet (S) was informed of a good woman who fasted everyday and worshipped Allah every night, but she had an ill-disposed character and would hurt her neighbours with her sharp tongue. 'The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'There is no good in her and she is an inhabitant of hell'."33
Dear lady! You are the mistress of your household. Be wise and understanding. Keep an account of your expenses. Budget your expenditures in a way that it is not detrimental to your wealth and honor. Do not compete with others and be envious of them. If you see a nice dress on a woman, or if you become interested in some furnishings that you have seen at a friend's or relative's house, do not compel your husband to purchase them which is beyond his financial means and would force him to borrow. Isn't it better to wait until your budget is higher or there is some extra saving to make non-essential purchases?
It is mostly the ignorant and selfish women who succumb to extravagance and rivalry. These women force their husbands to be under debt and they become exhausted and disgusted in trying to satisfy the unsuitable demands of their wives. Sometimes, the only solution to these problems for the men is to go for a divorce or even commit suicide.
The women who have not perceived the true purpose and meaning of marriage and instead they regard it in terms of bondage where the husband is acquired to fulfill their childish desires and material needs. They want a husband who will serve them like a slave and will not object to their way of spending. These women sometimes even go further. They make their husbands spend more than their means which may entail bankruptcy, murder, and other disastrous consequences.
Such women are a disgrace to other women. If her high expectations lead to divorce, the woman will be deprived of the love of her children, and will have to live a life of loneliness. For these women remarriage will not happen easily. Even if it does happen, it is not certain that the marriage will work out since most human beings do not like to be kept in unreasonable bondage and the new husband may not be able to meet their demands any better than the previous one.
Dear lady! Instead of being covetous, try to be reasonable. Spend more time and effort for the well-being of your family and husband rather than trying to imitate everyone. If your husband spends lavishly, then stop him and curb his unnecessary expenses. Instead of buying non-essential commodities, it is better to save some money for a rainy day.
"In a tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'Any woman who is not compatible with her husband and persuades him to act beyond his capacity, then her deeds would not be accepted by Allah. She would taste the wrath of Allah on the Day of Resurrection'."34
In another Tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated:
"Any woman who is not compatible with her husband, is not content with what Allah has blessed them with, and treats her husband harshly by demanding him to give more than he is able, then her acts (or worship) are not acceptable by Allah and He will be angry with her'."35
"In other tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: After having faith in Allah, there is not any greater blessing than to have a compatible spouse'."36
The burdens of life weigh heavily upon the shoulders of men since they are responsible for maintaining and supporting their families. In fulfilling this responsibility, the man of the household must confront many problems and obstacles outside of the home. Some of these problems may be the pressures of work, the hassles of traffic and commuting from the office to home, concerns over economical and political issues of the day, empathy and concern for friends and colleagues, and the pressures of trying to improve the living conditions of his family. The amount of preoccupations and pressures upon a responsible man is enormous and multifaceted. It is no wonder that the average lifespan of a man is less than the woman.
In order for the human being to be able to cope with the burdens of life it is necessary to have someone to listen to and sympathize with him. Your husband is no exception. He may feel alone and in need of finding refuge and comfort amidst these pressures. It is natural that the man looks towards his wife and family as a source of comfort and relief. Therefore, anticipate his expectations and needs. Be cordial and warm when he first returns home after working and have refreshments or let him feel that you are at his disposal to care for his needs. Try not to overwhelm him with criticizing him the minute you see him. Let him rest and recover his strength before putting up the demands of the family's personal issues.
When your husband comes home, try to have a smile and a warm greeting for him. Attend to his physical needs of fatigue, hunger, and thirst. Then ask him about his problems. If he is not willing to talk, be a good listener and sympathize with him. Try to express your genuine concern and then help him realize that the problems are not as impossible and huge as he had thought. Give him encouragements of support to help him cope with the issues. You can say something like this: These problems are being faced by many people. With a strong will-power and patience, it is possible to overcome the difficulties as long as one does not let the problems get the better of you. These problems, as a matter of fact, are tests as well as builders of the true character of a person. Do not despair. You can solve them through determination and perseverance.
If you have some ideas on handling the problems, share them with your husband. If not, may be you can suggest a good friend who is more qualified.
Dear lady! at times of difficulty, your husband is in need of your attention and love. You should come to his aid and nurse him like a sympathetic psychiatrist and wife. What a psychiatrist could give the amount of care that you would give? Do not underestimate your ability to soothe and strengthen him. There is no one more devoted and concerned over your husband's well-being other than yourself. He would be able to draw strength from your devotions to him and cope with his problems which will relieve his emotional and mental pressures. Consequently, the mutual bond of respect and love would also be greater which can only lead towards strengthening your marital relationship.
"In a tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'There is nothing better in the world than a good wife. And a good wife is the one whose husband, becomes glad upon seeing her'."37
"In a tradition, Imam Rida (a.s) stated: 'There are a group of women who raise many children. They are kind and sympathetic. They support their husbands in times of difficulty and in the affairs of this world and the next. These women do not commit any acts which would incur a loss upon their husbands nor multiply their difficulties'."38
If a person is generous and charitable with the wealth that he has acquired from hard work, the appreciation and notice given in response to such acts will warm that person's inner feelings and give him a feeling of accomplishment. Acts of goodwill may then become second nature to the person whereby it becomes a habit to spend and share one's wealth for those in need. However, if the acts of goodwill are taken for granted and unappreciated, the person may lose the desire and drive to do good. It would be natural for a person to conclude that it was a waste to give away his hard earned money when it was unappreciated.
Gratitude and appreciation are admirable characteristics in a person and it is the secret by which one may attract charitable acts. Even Allah has mentioned that gratitude for His blessings are conditional on the continual perpetuation of his grace upon mankind:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
"And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is fully severe"(14:7)
Dear Madam! Your husband is also human. Like everyone else, he enjoys being appreciated. He is willing to support his family and regards it as a moral and lawful obligation. When he is thanked and appreciated for doing his duty, those duties no longer seem to be a burden.
Whenever he buys home appliances or something like clothes and shoes for you and the children, be happy and thank him. Show your gratitude for the trivial things he does such as buying groceries, taking the family on trips and gives you your allowance. By showing your appreciation, you will make your husband feel good and rewarded for the trouble he has taken. Be careful that you do not take his duties for granted and become indifferent towards his contributions to the family. He may become disheartened about the welfare of the family. He may prefer to spend his money elsewhere or on himself.
If a friend or relative presented you with a pair of stockings or a bunch of flowers, you would thank them repeatedly. So it is only natural and fair to show appreciation to your husband for his consideration and thoughtfulness. Do not think that you would be belittling yourself by demonstrating your appreciation. On the contrary, you would be loved and cared for more because you appreciate the efforts of your husband whereas snobbism and selfishness can only lead towards great misfortunes.
The following are some Traditions referring to the characteristics of gratitude:
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'The best women among your women are those who show appreciation when their husbands bring home something and are not discontented if nothing is brought home'."39
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) also stated: ' Any woman who says to her husband that she has not seen any good things from him then she has fallen in her credibility and has voided her acts of worship'."40
"The Messenger (SA) of Allah stated: 'Whoever does not thank the people who help him is, in fact, not showing his gratitude to Allah for His Blessings'."41
Nobody is perfect. Some are too tail or too short, or too fat or too skinny, have a big nose or a small one, talk too much or are too silent, are bad-tempered or too easy-going, have a very dark complexion or a very fair complexion, or eat too much, or too less, and the list can continue. Most men and women have some of these shortcomings. It is the hope of every man and woman to find a spouse who is perfect but such hopes are unrealistic. It is unlikely to find a woman who regards her husband as perfect.
Those women who are in search of faults in their husbands will undoubtedly find them. They would find a trivial shortcoming and exaggerate it by dealing on the matter to the point that it becomes an unbearable impediment. This defect then replaces all the merits of the husband. They always compare their husbands with other men. They have established a so-called ideal man in their imaginations whose standards do not fit in their husbands. Therefore, they are always complaining about the shortcomings in their marriage. The women regard themselves as unfortunates and failures which gradually turn them into spiteful women.
What does such behaviour in a woman do to her husband? He may be a very patient person who can tolerate his rudeness but most likely he will become insulted and develop a grudge against her. This would likely lead towards mutual arguments and elaborations of the shortcomings in each other. They will both become contemptuous of each other and their life wit! turn into a series of rows and arguments. Thus, they will either live in misery together or go for a divorce. In either case, both will lose, especially when there is no guarantee that another marriage may prove otherwise.
It is a pity that some women are ignorant and obstinate in their ignorance. It is possible that they may shatter their family life over a trivial matter. The following are some illustrative cases of such women:
"A woman left her husband and went to her father's house because her husband had bad breath. She was not prepared to go back home until he corrected his problem. On the basis of the husband's complaint, the court reconciled the couple and the wife returned to him. When the couple went home, the wife could still smell his bad breath so she went into another room. The husband went crazy and killed her'."42
A female dentist divorced her husband because he was not on the same level as her; he had graduated three years after her'."43
A woman applied for a divorce because her husband used to sit on the floor and eat with his fingers, did not shave everyday and did not know how to socialize with others'."44
Of course all women are not like this. There are those who are intelligent, realistic, and aware enough that they do not foolishly jeopardize their marriage and happiness by exaggerating the shortcomings of their husbands.
Dear Madam! Your husband is a human being like you. He is not perfect, but he may have many merits. If you are interested in your marriage and your family then do not set out to find his weaknesses. Do not regard his small defects as important. Do not compare him with an ideal man whom you have established in your mind. There may be some faults with your husband which are not present in others. But you should remember that other men may have other defects which are non-existent in yours. Be satisfied with his merits. You will consequently see that his merits outweigh his faults. Besides why should you expect a perfect husband when you are imperfect yourself. If you are proud enough to think you are perfect, then ask others.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'There is nothing worse for human beings than to seek the faults of others, while ignoring their own flaws'."45
Why should you exaggerate a trivial fault? Why should you shatter your life for the sake of something unimportant?
Be wise? Stop being frivolous! Ignore the faults and do not mention them in front of or behind your husband. Try to create a warm atmosphere in your family and enjoy the blessings of Allah. However, there may be flaws in your husband's character which you may be able to correct. If so, then you can succeed only by behaving considerately and with patience. You must not criticize him or start a row, but approach him in a friendly manner.
Dear lady! Before your marriage you may have had other offers of matrimony. These offers may be from rich, educated, handsome men, etc whom you may have wished to marry. Such expectations were natural before your marriage. But now that you have chosen your partner and signed a sacred covenant with him to be together for the rest of your life, then forget the past altogether. You must put aside your past wishes and forget those past offers. Do not think of any men except your husband and find peace with him. If you do otherwise you will place yourself in a strained condition.
Now that you have agreed to live with your husband, why should you be constantly noticing other man? Why should you compare him with others? What do you achieve by looking at other men except putting yourself in a permanently miserable state and cause mental anguish for yourself?
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Whoever leaves his eyes at liberty, will always suffer through his nerves, and will be trapped in a permanent state of envy'."46
By looking at other men and comparing your husband with them, you will find a man who does not have your husband's faults. You might then think that man is perfect, because you are not aware of the deficiencies of such a man. You regard your marriage as a failure and this thought might lead to disastrous ends.
"Mrs..., an 18-year old woman who had run away from home was arrested by the police last night. In the police station the woman said that, after three years of marriage, she gradually felt that she did not love her husband. She said: 'I’m used to compare my husband's face with other men and I regretted my marriage with him'." 47
Dear Madam! If you are interested in an everlasting marriage; if you do not want mental distress; and if you want to conduct a normal life, then stop being selfish and forget your vain hopes. Do not make compliments for other men. Do not think of any man other than your husband. Do not think to yourself:
"I wish I had married so and so;"
"I wish my husband looked like...;"
"I wish my husband's job was...;"
"I wish...," "I wish..." "I wish..."
Why should you imprison yourself with these thoughts? Why should you upset the foundations of your marriage? If any of those wishes had come true, how would you know that you would have been more satisfied? Are you sure that the wives of those so-called "faultless" men are satisfied with them?
Dear Madam! If your husband suspects that you show interest in other men, he would be disheartened and would lose interest in you. You must not cut jokes with other men or keep company with them. Men are so sensitive that they cannot even tolerate their wives to show an interest in a picture of another man.
"The Holy Prophet (S) stated: 'Any married woman, who looks at other men, would be subject to the vehement wrath of Allah'."48
Men and women, although having many aspects in common, also possess unique characteristics. One such characteristic is that women are delicate, beautiful, and likable beings. They are charming, attractive, and lovable; whereas men are charmed, attracted by and love women's qualities.
When a man marries a woman, he wishes all his wife's beauty and affection to be reserved for him. He wishes to be the only one who benefits from her charm, affection, coquettishness, beauty, sense of humour, etc and to strictly avoid men. Man is, by nature, very ardent and intolerant of another man either looking at his wife or having any kind of relationship with her. He would regard a close relationship between his wife and other men to be a violation of his lawful right. He expects his wife to observe Islamic Hijab (statutory Islamic dress for women) and by adapting herself to Islamic behaviour and ethics she cooperates in maintaining his lawful rights.
Any faithful and fervent man would have such a wish. A woman's social behaviour, which is based on Islamic ethics, would set her husband's mind at rest; he would then work enthusiastically to provide for his family and his affection for his wife would increase. Such a man would not be attracted to other women. On the contrary, a man whose wife is not concerned m with Islamic Hijab and displays her beauty to other men or socializes with them, would seriously become upset. He would regard his wife as responsible for trampling over his rights. Such a husband would always suffer from distress and pessimism and his love for his family may gradually fade away.
It is therefore in the interest of society and women that they should be dressed modestly and behave humbly; they should appear in public without any make-up and should abstain from showing off their beauty to others. Observing Hijab is an Islamic duty. The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِنْ زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
"And say to the believing women that they should cast down their looks and guard their private parts, and not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head coverings and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers. or the father of their husbands, their sons. or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or their brother's sons or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, so that you may be successful (24:31)."
Islamic Hijab and its observance in society is beneficial to women in many aspects:
(1) They can protect both their social worth and inner values much better, and guard themselves against just being an object on display.
(2) They can prove both their faith and love for their husbands more effectively and thus help create and maintain a warm family atmosphere while preventing ill-feelings and family rows. In short, they can win their husband's hearts and establish themselves in their families.
(3) By observing Islamic Hijab, unlawful flirtation looks by such people as ogles would cease and help in lessening the amount of rows, strengthening the family roots, and as a result create an atmosphere of tranquility within its circle.
(4) Islamic Hijab of women would also help prevent young unmarried men, from deviating from the right path. Thus forestalling harm to the young men, which would also benefit the women of the society.
(5) If all women observed the regulation of Islamic Hijab, then all women could rest assured that their husbands, when not at home would not encounter a lewd woman who might draw his attention away from the family.
Islam is aware of woman's specific nature of creation and regards her as a very important base of society with responsibilities towards it. It demands her to make sacrifices to carry out her responsibility by observing Islamic Hijab, which in turn would forestall social corruption and deviation and go a long way in creating stability, security and glorifying her nation. But definitely the greatest reward is with the Almighty Allah for performing her divine duty.
Dear lady! if you are interested in the stability and peace of your family and your husband's continual trust in you; if you are concerned about the social rights of women; if you are interested in the youth's mental health and are worried about their deviation from moral values, if you want to take positive steps towards bringing to a halt the seduction of women by corrupt men; and if you are seeking Allah's satisfaction by being a faithful and sacrificing Muslim; then you should observe Islamic Hijab.
You should not display your beauty and adornments to strangers, be it in the house with your close relations or at other social gatherings outside your own home. You must cover yourself before your brothers-in-law and their sons, sister-in-law's husbands, aunts' husbands, and cousins. Being not dressed as per Islamic Hijab before these people is a sin and may also cause great distress to your husband, even though he may never mention it.
A woman is not restricted to covering herself to the same extent before her father-in-law, her own brother, and her nephews, although it is better to observe a certain degree of Islamic Hijab before these people too. In other words women should not appear before these relatives of hers in the same way as she would make herself attractive for her husband. This is because most men dislike their wives to appear attractive by wearing attractive clothes and make up before other men; and of course it should not be forgotten that the tranquility of mind and the trust of a man in his wife is crucial to the survival and security of the whole family.
Everyone, except those that Allah has declared as "Infallible" makes mistakes. When two people, who love together, and cooperate with each other, make mistakes, they must be forgiving, if they do not forgive each other, then their marriage will come to an end. Two business partners, two neighbours, two colleagues, two friends, and specifically, a husband and a wife need to be able to forgive each other. If the members of a family are unforgiving and pursue each other's mistakes, then either the family will separate or they will experience an unbearable life.
Dear Madam! Your husband probably makes mistakes. He may insult you, abuse you, tell lies, he might even hit you. Such acts might be committed by any man. If your husband, after making a mistake, regrets it or you feel he is regretful himself for his misconduct, then forgive him and do not pursue the matter. If he is regretful but not prepared to express his apologies, then do not try to prove his mistake. Otherwise, he might feel humiliated and he may retaliate by picking out your mistakes and consequently start a major row. So it is better for you to remain silent until he condemns himself from his conscience and starts to feel remorse about it. He would then regard you as wise and devoted wife who is interested in her husband and family.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'A bad woman does not forgive her husband's mistake and does not accept his apology'."49
Is it not pitiful that a sacred marital covenant should be broken because a woman is not prepared to forgive some mistakes of her husband?
One of the problems of family life is the one cause between the wife and her husband's relatives. Some women do not have a good relationship with their husband's mother, sisters, or brothers. On the one hand the wife may try to dominate her husband so that he would not be able to pay any attention even to his mother, or any other relatives and she may try to sow discord between them.
On the other hand, her mother-in-law regards herself as the owner of her son and daughter-in-law. The mother tries hard to hold on to her son and is watchful that the new woman does not try to possess him fully. She may fabricate lies about her daughter-in-law or find fault in her. Such an attitude might be followed by many arguments and even occasional hostilities. The situation becomes even worse if they all live in the same house. Even though a row may occur between two women, the real anguish and distress remains with the man in the middle.
The husband is trapped in an argument where he cannot take sides. On the one hand is his wife who would like to have an independent life without any interference from outsiders. He naturally feels that he must support her and make her happy. But on the other hand, he thinks of his parents who have helped him with his life, education, and have spent their own lives in bringing him up. He feels that his parents expect him to help them in their times of need and that it would not be fair to abandon them.
Besides, if he himself was in need of something, who else, other than his parents, would help him and his family. As a result, he realizes that his best and most trustworthy friends are his parents and relatives. So, the dilemma for a sensible man is either to choose the wife and abandon the parents or vice versa; but neither of these is possible.
Consequently, he has to cope with both sides and keep them satisfied which, itself, is a difficult task. The only possible way to ease the situation is that the woman should be loyal and wise. A man in this situation expects his wife to help solve the problem. If the wife respects her mother-in-law, seeks advice from her, and becomes obedient and friendly with her, then the mother-in-law will be her greatest supporter.
Is it not sad that one, who can attract many people through kindness and good manners, should repulse them through stubbornness and selfishness? Do you not realize that in the ups and downs of life, one might need the help of others, and especially of relatives who would support you when everyone else deserts you? Is it not better to enjoy a good relationship with one's relatives through consideration and good behaviour? Is it really wise and fair to become friends with strangers while breaking away from your own relations?
Experience shows that when one needs the help of others, friends leave but the abandoned relatives come to help. This is because the family ties are natural and cannot be broken easily. There is a general proverb which says: "Even if one's flesh is eaten by relations, they would not throw away the bones!"
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'One is never able to do without his relatives, even though he may possess wealth and children'."50
One would need the respect and kindness of one's relatives. It is they who would support one physically and mentally. Relatives always come to the rescue. In times of need they could come to one's assistance faster than others. Whoever disowns his relatives will lose many helping hands.
Dear Madam! For the sake of your husband and for the sake of your own comfort as well as to find many good friends and supporters, put up with your husband's relatives. Do not be selfish and ignorant; be wise and do not cause your husband any distress. Be a good and devoted wife in order to be accepted by both Allah and the people.
Everyone has a job and jobs are different. For example, a driver who is mostly on the road and is unable to come home every night; a policeman who may have to stay out some nights; a medical doctor who has little time to spend with his family; a lecturer or a scientist who reads a great deal at nights; a mechanic whose clothes are dirty and have smell of oil; a factory worker who works at night. Therefore, there are rarely jobs which are entirely convenient and do not entail any discomfort of the family. There is not any other way of earning an honest living than working. It is necessary for the men to put up with the difficulties of their jobs. However, there is another problem which is the complaints of the family.
Women usually like their men to be nearby and prefer them to be home when it becomes dark. Women want their husbands to have a decent job with a high salary. They like to have enough time to go out in the evenings. But unfortunately, the jobs of most men do not live up to their wives' expectations, and this, for some families, is a source of rows and arguments.
A driver who has been on the road for a few nights, who has not had a decent sleep and has not been eating regularly, enters his house to rest and find peace and comfort with his family. Then his wife, without sparing a moment, starts to moan and groan: "What is this life? Why do you leave me with these kids and where have you been? I have to do all the work myself because you are not here to help. I am fed up with these naughty children. As a matter off act driving is not a good job. You should either change your job or settle with me. I can't live like this any longer!"
A poor driver who has such a wife cannot be expected to perform well on his job and may endanger his life; and the lives of those whom he transports. A doctor who, from morning to night, visits tens of patients cannot cope with the grumbling of his wife. Then how could he continue to practise medicine? A worker who works during the night shifts cannot enthusiastically pursue his job if his wife is a shrewish woman. How can a scientist be successful in his field of research if his wife is constantly nagging him? These are the tests which distinguish the wise women from the ignorant ones.
Dear Madam! We cannot make the world according to our wishes, but we can adapt ourselves to the existing situation. Your husband needs to have a job to earn his family's living. His job has certain conditions which you must adapt to. You must program your family life according to his job. Why do you grumble and find fault with his job? Welcome him home with a happy face and be kind to him. Be wise and cope with his job.
If your husband is a driver who is mostly on the road, then realize that he is trying to bring money home for your sake and the children's. There is nothing wrong with his job. He is a part of society and is serving it the best way he can. Would it have been better if he was a lazy person or if he was engaged in an irreligious job? So, there is nothing wrong with him. The fault lies with you, expecting him to be at home every night and not being able or not wanting to adapt yourself to the present conditions.
Is it not wise to get used to the existing situation and live more comfortably? Would you not rather welcome him with a smiling face and persuade him to carry on in his job with a warm "Good-bye" when he leaves home for work? If you act kindly, his interest in his family would increase and he could work harder. He would not isolate himself from you; he would come home as early as possible; he would not have accidents and he would remain healthy in his morals.
If your husband is a night-shift worker, he is missing his night's good sleep in order to meet the expenses of his family. Try to get used to it and do not express your dissatisfaction. If you get bored, then you can do some of the housework, sewing and reading at night. In the morning prepare the breakfast when your husband comes back from work, and then prepare his bed in a quiet place. Keep the children quiet and teach them not to disturb their father when he is resting. You can even sleep less at night and take a rest with your husband during the day. But, do not forget that he has been awake all the night and the sleep during the day to him is the same as the night sleep for you. Women in this situation have to have two programs, one for themselves and one for their husbands.
If your husband is a driver, a doctor, a worker, or a scientist etc, then you must be proud of him. Your husband is not an idle loafer or engaged in an irreligious occupation. So appreciate him and show your gratitude.
Do not expect him or ask him to leave his job, but try to adapt to his existing one. If he is reading or researching on a particular field, then do not disturb him. You can do the housework, read a book or, with his permission, go and visit your friends or relatives. But when he is resting, try to be at home. Prepare his food and other requirements. Receive your husband with a smiling face and good manners. By showing your kindness and by pleasing him you can make him forget his tiredness. If you are a good wife, then not only you can expedite his promotion, but also you are contributing to his services towards society.
Not all women deserve such hardworking men. So by being well-mannered and sacrificing, prove that you are worthy of him.
If your husband's job requires him to wear special clothes which become dirty, then wash them frequently. Do not grumble and do not tell him bad because of his job. Do not ask him to change his job. It is not easy to change jobs. What is wrong with being a mechanic? In any case, this is not an important matter and families should not be broken because of it.
"A woman told the judge in a court that her husband's job was selling kerosene and that he always smelled bad and hence she was fed up with the situation'."51
One may have to live away from one's hometown. Your husband may be working for the private or the public sector and sent on duty to another city or town also. Some people live in this way either temporarily or permanently. Men are forced to cope with this situation but some women prefer to be near their parents and relatives. These women are accustomed to the streets, walls, and the environment of their place of birth. After moving away they blame their husbands and complain: "Why should I live away from my home? How long am I going to be away from my home and my parents? I have no one in this place. What is this place you have brought me? I cannot stay here; so think of a way out!"
These women should not upset their husbands in this way. They are so feeble-minded that they think their birth places are the best locations to live. They think that they cannot enjoy life anywhere else. Mankind is not satisfied even with its own planet, so it has stepped onto other planets. But one looks and finds a woman who is so improvident that she is not prepared to live a few miles away from her hometown. She thinks to herself: "Why should I leave all my friends and relatives to get to a strange place?’It is as if this lady is not self-confident enough to be able to find new friends in another place away from her home.
Dear Madam! Be wise and sacrificing. Do not be selfish. Now that your husband's job has taken you away from your hometown, do not cause him any distress. If he is a civil servant, he has orders to travel on duty and if he has a private business, then surely it is to his advantage to live in another location. If your husband informs you that he has to live in another place, then you should agree at once. You should then help pack up and move to new places where you must try to feel at home. Plan your life in this new home and adapt yourself to it. Since you are new in the area and probably not familiar with the characteristics of the inhabitants, be cautious with them. After a while, with the help and supervision of your husband, try to make friends from among the chaste and trustworthy women.
Every place has its own merits. You can relax by sightseeing and visiting ancient buildings. You must keep the family together and encourage your husband in his work. After a while you get used to your new home and you might even like it more than your previous one. You might find that your new friends are better than your old ones.
If the new place lacks the luxury of your previous town, then get used to the new life and find its merits. If you are no longer enjoying such privileges as electricity, then your environment may have a better climate and you may be able to get fresher and better quality food. If there are not any proper roads, then you will not be inhaling toxic exhaust fumes and you will be away from all the noise of people and cars.
Think a little about your country men and women who are living happily in mud and brick houses and would not give any heed to the luxuries of city life and their beautiful castle-like houses. Think of their needs and deprivations. If you can help them, then do not hesitate and encourage your husband to be helpful to them. If you are wise and perform your duty, then you can live comfortably in the new place. You can be helpful towards your husband's progress. This way you would be known as a respected and devoted wife. You will be loved by your husband and would earn popularity amongst the people. Moreover Allah will be satisfied with you.
Those women whose husbands work outside have freedom at home. But some men work at home, like poets, writers, painters, or scientists who need to read a great deal. The wives of such men have less freedom at home and, therefore their lives are different. The above-mentioned jobs require concentration, talent, and intellect. Therefore, there will be a need for privacy and silence. One hour of work in peace is equivalent to a few hours of work in a busy and noisy surrounding. The problem is clear. On the one hand, the man needs a quiet place to work in and on the other hand, the wife wants to move around the house freely.
If a woman plans the affairs of such a house in such a way that her husband can get on with his job, surely she has accomplished a valuable task. Such an achievement is certainly not easy, especially when there are children around. But nevertheless the problem must be solved, because the progress of the husband in his job would be based on this.
If a woman cooperates with her husband, she can turn him into a respected man who can be a credit to her and the society.
A woman, whose husband works at home, should not expect him to baby sit, to open the door to callers, to go to the kitchen, to help with the housework, to shout at the children...; but she should imagine that he is not in the house while he is working.
Dear Madam! When your husband wants to go to his study room, prepare his pen, paper, cigarettes, ash-tray, matches, books, and other items he requires.
Once you have prepared the room and his requirements, leave him. Do not talk loudly and do not allow the children to make a noise. Teach your children not to play noisily while their father is working. Do not talk to him about daily matters. Answer the door and the telephone when it rings. If anybody wants to see him or talk to him, tell them he is busy. Entertain your guests during his break times. Tell your friends and relatives to visit you when your husband is not busy. Your true friends would not be upset by your demand. While you are doing your housework, provide him with his needs. Do not interrupt him.
Perhaps some women think this way of life is impossible. They might say: "Is it possible for a woman to do the difficult housework, and at the same time, take care of her husband and not to let anything interrupt him?"
It is true that this way of life is unusual and seems difficult, but if the women in question ponder over the importance of their husbands' jobs, they can decide to overcome the problem through good planning, devotion, and wisdom. The exceptionality of some women becomes apparent in these situations. Otherwise, running an ordinary family life is not an extraordinary task.
Dear lady! Writing a book, a good scientific article or a useful essay, writing an excellent poem, creating a precious painting, or solving scientific problems are not easy tasks. But, with your devotion and co-operation it becomes possible. Are you not prepared to sacrifice your desires and with a slight alteration in your life, help your husband in his job? Through your help, he would become prestigious and you would share his social status.
Human beings are by nature potentially able to make progress. The love for attaining perfection exists in all of us; and we have been created for achieving perfection. Everyone, in any job at any age and in any condition is able to progress and mature. One should never be content with mere existence, and should not forget the purpose of creation. One must try to acquire perfection in one's own lifetime.
Even though everyone is pursuing for progress, not all are successful. Making progress needs high aspirations and a great deal of hard work. One must prepare the ground and remove the obstacles after which one must take the necessary steps in the path of progress. The personality of a man is largely dependent on his wife's desires. A woman can be helpful in her husband's progress as much as she could be detrimental to it.
Dear lady! While considering the possibilities, consider a higher status for your husband and encourage him to achieve it. If he is interested in continuing his studies or if he wants to increase his knowledge through reading and research, then do not stop him. Encourage him to achieve his desires. Plan your life in a way that is not a hindrance in his progress. Try to assist him to make progress through creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere at home. If he is illiterate, encourage him and humbly ask him to start his studies at night classes. If he is educated, encourage him to increase his knowledge by further reading. If he is a medical doctor, make him read the medical journals and other related articles. If he is a teacher, engineer or a judge, then ask him to read the books and articles which are related to his specialization. You should remember whatever position your husband holds, there is an opportunity for him to make progress.
Do not let him deviate from the path which has been paved by the order to creation. Encourage him to read books. Do not let his personality cease to grow.
If he is short of time to buy or obtain books, then with his or a friend's supervision obtain the books of his interest. Give the books to him and encourage him to read them. You should read books and useful magazines too. If through reading, you come across an article which is useful for your husband, then inform him of it. This act has several benefits:
(a) Through the repetition of this act, your husband will become a learned person who would be a credit to you and himself. Moreover, he would become a brilliant specialist whose services would be beneficial to him as well as his society.
(b) Since, through his studies and research, he has conformed with the laws of creation, he would be less prone to mental and nervous disorders.
(c) Since he is on the path to progress and shows interest in reading, then he becomes more attached to you and the children; he would not be drawn towards corrupt activities and would not fall into the trap of fatal addictions.
Men should have freedom in their business and associations in order to be able to work and progress in a way suitable to them. If men are restricted in their activities, then they will not be comfortable. A wise woman would not interfere with the affairs of her husband. She should not monitor his movements; because she should know that by denying him the freedom he needs and by trying to control his activities, he may react severely.
Wise and experienced men do not need to be controlled. Such men always act wisely; they cannot be deceived; they know both their friends and their foes. However, there are men who are simple; they can easily be deceived and would easily be influenced by others.
There are people who are impostors and are lying in wait for simple men. The impostor, though pretending to be a good-doer, traps the man and draws him towards corruption. The corrupt society and the unyielding nature of humans does not help the situation. The simple man may not realize his situation for a while, but one day he wakes up and finds himself deep in a trap from which there is not any escape.
If you look around yourself, you see tens of such unfortunate people. Perhaps none of them intended to fall in the trap or become corrupt, but through their own simplicity, ignorance, and unthoughtfulness, they are now preyed upon by the corrupt in society.
On this account, the simple men need to be taken care of. By monitoring their activities, the wise and well-wishing people would be doing them a great service.
The best people for this task, however, are the wives of these men. A wise and clever wife is able, through a benevolent and wise attitude, to achieve the greatest of the tasks regarding her husband. Such women, however, should remember not to directly interfere with the affairs of their husband, or to tell them the "do's" and the "don'ts". The reason for this is because men mostly do not like to be treated as tool in the hands of others; otherwise they may react sharply. But a wise woman would monitor her husband's activities and watch his associates indirectly without his knowledge.
It also happens that some men, some times, come back home later than usual. If this is the case and the number of the late arrivals to home are within an acceptable limit, then there is no need to worry, because men are sometimes engaged in certain unexpected events which they try to pursue after their work. However, if the number of late arrivals exceeds the accepted limit, then his wife should make an effort to investigate. But investigation is not easy; it requires patience and wisdom; one must avoid anger or protest.
The wife should first of all talk to him softly and kindly. She should ask him why he came home later than the day before and where he had been. She should pursue the matter wisely and patiently at different times and on different occasions. If she finds out that he comes back home late because of his work or attends scientific, religious, and moral meetings, then she should leave him alone. If she feels that he has found a new friend, she should find out who he is. If his new friend is a well-mannered person with a clean record, then she should not worry. It is even recommended that she encourages him in his new friendship, because a good friend is a great blessing.
If you feel that your husband is going astray or that he associated with corrupt and unworthy people, then you should stop him immediately. A woman in this situation has a great responsibility. The slightest mishandling of the situation, through carelessness. May shatter their family life. This is a situation where the wisdom and cleverness of some women can become useful and apparent. One should remember that rows or arguments are not the solution and they may result in the exact opposite. A woman, who experiences this event, has two tasks to achieve:
(a) First she should assess the situation at home; and should examine herself and her attitude. She must find out the reason for her husband's behavior. She should fairly judge why he has grown cold towards his family and gone astray. She may find that her own attitude had been the cause; or perhaps she had been the cause; or perhaps she had been indifferent to his desires for food, her looks or the affairs of the house. Such matters draw men away from home. They may then pursue outside deviant activities in order to forget their problems.
The wife can ask her husband about his problems and try to help solve them. If a woman corrected herself and changed the house according to his desires, then she could be hopeful that her husband could be drawn back to his family and that he would avoid corrupt places.
(b) Secondly, she should show him as much kindness as possible. She should advise him and remind him of the grim consequences of his deeds. She should even cry and beg him to give up his bad companions. She must say to him:
"I love you from the bottom of my heart. I am proud of you. I prefer you to all things and I am ready to devote myself to you. But I am saddened by one thing; why should a man, like you, have these kinds of friends; or attend that kind of a party? Such deeds are not suitable for you. Please give them up"
The wife must continue this attitude until she conquers the heart of her husband.
It is possible that the husband is used to unworthy habits and that he would not be influenced easily, but the wife should not become disappointed. She should pursue her goal with greater strength and patience.
Women have great power and influence over men. She is able to do whatever she wills if she puts her mind to it. If a woman decides to save her husband from the filth of corruption, she can do it. There is an eighty per cent chance of success, provided she acts wisely. Anyway, she must not use violence or a harsh attitude, unless she sees that there is not any result from being kind and gentle to him. Even then she must quarrel, leave home or use any other way in as kind a way as possible and not revengefully.
Yes, looking after one's husband is the duty of every wife. It is a difficult duty and that is why the Prophet (S) of Islam stated: "The Jihad of a woman is to take care of her husband well."52
It is not wrong if a woman is watchful of her husband, but only if it does not exceed to a state of suspicion and mistrust. Suspicion is a destructive and incurable illness. Unfortunately some women are affected by this disease.
A woman of suspicion imagines that her husband is, lawfully or unlawfully, disloyal to her. She imagines that he is married to another woman or that he is going to marry her. She suspects him of having an affair with his secretary or another woman. She loses trust in him because he comes home late or he was seen talking to a woman. If he helps a widow and her children, the wife may think that he has an interest in her, other than a charitable one. If any woman gives her husband a compliment, saying that he is handsome or well-mannered, she concludes that he is interested in that woman. Upon finding a strand of hair in his car, she thinks there is another woman in his life.
Such women with these thoughts and inconclusive proof gradually assume certainty regarding their husbands' unfaithfulness.
They think about it every day and night. They also tell others, friends and foes about it, who, in the name of sympathy, reinforce the allegations and in turn tell the concerned women about other unfaithful men.
Arguments and rows start to take shape. The woman begins to ignore the affairs of the house and the children and might even go to her parents. She would monitor him and search his pockets. She would read his letters and would explain any trivial matter as due to his unfaithfulness.
With this attitude, she would make the family's life hard and turn the house into a burning hell in which she would also suffer. If her husband brought proof of his innocence, or swore that he had not been committing any thing wrong, or cried, she would not be satisfied.
The reader has certainly come across such women, but it is useful to know of the following cases:
"A woman said in the family court: 'Do not be surprised as to why, after twelve years of married life and three small children, I have decided upon a separation from my husband. I am now certain that my husband is unfaithful to me. A few days ago, I saw him with an attractive woman walking in the street. I read a weekly magazine which has a proper section on fortune telling. Every week, in my husband's horoscope, it mentions that he would have good times with the people who are born in the month of June. I was born in February; so I am not one of those people mentioned in the horoscope. Besides I feel my husband is not as loving towards me as he used to be'.
The husband of this woman said: "Please tell me what I can do I wish these magazines would consider the readers like my wife, and would not tell so many lies. Believe me these horoscopes have turned the lives of mine and my children into ruins. If one of these horoscopes says that this week a large lump sum of money is coming my way, then she comes to me and asks me what I have done with that money? Or, if it says that I would be receiving a letter, then Allah save me! I think it is probably better for both of us to separate, because she does not confront reason'."53
"A man said in the court: 'It was a month ago, when I was coming back from a party, that of my colleagues asked me to give him and his wife a lift back home. The day after my wife asked me to take her to her parents'. On the way, she looked back and found a strand of hair on the back seat of the car. She asked who this strand of hair belonged to. I was in a panic and could not give her a proper explanation. I dropped her at her parents' house and went to work. When I went to pick her up that night she refused to come with me. I asked, why? She said to me that I should better live with the owner of the strand of hair'."54
"A young woman complained to the court and said: 'My husband is coming home late every night on account of overtime at his work. I have been worried about this and my suspicion has increased due to what our neighbours are saying. They say that my husband is lying and he is not working at night and that he goes after his pleasure. As a result I am not prepared to live with a liar'.
At his point the husband took out a few letters from his pocket and placed them on a counter before the judge and asked him to read them aloud in order to prove his innocence and to stop his wife's improper attitude.
The judge started to read the letters aloud. One of the letters was indicative of his overtime working from 4 to 8 O'clock at night. Other letters were also related to his work where he was asked to attend certain seminars. The wife came forward and after seeing the letters said: 'I used to search his pockets every night but I did not see any of these letters'..
The judge said: 'He might have left them at his work'.
The young man said: 'My wife's suspiciousness towards me has grown so much that I have become suspicious of her. Every night I have nightmares. I imagine that she is in love with a man and wants to separate from me in order to marry him'.
At this point the young wife rushed towards her husband and while crying for joy, apologized to him and they both left the court'."55
"A dentist complained to the court and said: 'My wife is exceedingly jealous. I am a dentist and there are women patients who come to my office for treatment. This has aroused my wife's jealousy and everyday we argue about it. She believes that I should not accept women patients. But I cannot lose my regular patients. I love my wife and she loves me, but this improper expectation of hers is ruining our lives. A few days ago she came to my dental surgery and forced me to leave. We went home and quarreled. She said to me: 'I went to your surgery and sat beside a young girl in the waiting room. We talked about you and she, without knowing that I was your wife, said: 'The dentist is a handsome and well- mannered man' . "The dentist went on saying: 'On account of a girl's opinion, my wife dragged me out of the surgery in a degrading manner'."56
"A woman, complaining to the court, said: 'One of my friends told me that my husband goes to a stranger woman's house. I followed him one day and realized that it was true. Now I am asking the court to punish him'. The husband, while acknowledging what his wife was saying, told the court: 'One day I went to a pharmacy to buy some medicine. I saw a woman in the pharmacy who was buying powdered milk. She did not have enough money to pay for the milk, so I offered to help. Later, I found out that she was a widow who was poor. So I decided to continue my help'." The judges, after investigating the matter, realized the truth of his claims and reconciled the couple'."57
Such events happen in many families. The family atmosphere changes into an environment of pessimism, suspicion, and enmity. The children would suffer and the mental effects are grave.
If a couple continues to live in this situation, then they would both suffer, and if they show stubbornness towards each other, they would surely lead to a divorce. In the case of a divorce taking place, both man and wife would be losers, because on the one hand the man would not be able to find another wife who is any better than the previous one. On the other hand, the children would suffer and would not be able to enjoy a healthy life. The children might even confront new problems due to a step-father or step-mother.
The man may think that by divorcing his wife, he can marry a 'perfect' woman, with whom he can live in peace. But this is nothing more than a dream and the realization of it is very remote. By divorcing his wife, he may encounter new problems with the new one.
Divorce is also not a path to comfort and happiness for the woman. Although she might feel satisfied that she has had her revenge, remarrying would not be easy for her. She may have to live alone for the rest of her life and would probably not even enjoy the presence of her children. Even if she gets married again, it is not certain that her new husband would comply with her expectations. She may even have to bring up the children of a man whose wife is dead. Therefore, neither divorce nor arguments and rows can save the couple. But there is a way to salvation.
The best attitude is that both man and wife give up arguing and try to be logical. Men have a greater responsibility in this matter, and in fact the key to the solution is in their hands. Men can, through patience and forgiveness, save themselves from trouble and also help eliminate the element of suspicion in their wives.
Now a few words to the men:
Firstly, dear sir! You should remember that your wife, even though suspicious of you, loves you. She is interested in your children and the family home. She is afraid of separation. She would definitely suffer from your deplorable life situation. If she did not love you, she would not have been jealous. So she does not like the present situation, but what can she do if she is ill? Some patients have rheumatism and some have cancer. Your wife suffers from a mental disorder and if you do not believe it, then take her to a psychiatrist. You should treat her sympathetically and compassionately. You should not be angry with her or have arguments. No one could quarrel with an ill person. Do not react harshly to her impoliteness or allegations. Do not end up fighting with her. Do not go to any courts. Do not ignore her. Do not talk about divorce and separation. None of these acts can cure her illness; in fact it might become worse. Your unkindness would serve as a source of her suspicion.
You must be as kind to her as possible. You might resent your wife deeply because of her attitude, but there is not any other way. You must treat her in a manner so that she becomes certain of your innocence.
Secondly, you should try to create an understanding between yourselves. Do not hide any thing from her. Let her read your letters even before you do. Leave the keys to your private desk, drawers or safe within her reach. Let her look into your bags and pockets. Allow her to monitor you. You should not express displeasure with any of the above- mentioned points, but regard them as normal procedures in a healthy and friendly family life.
After work, if you do not have any other business, return home as soon as possible. If an urgent matter arises that you should attend to, then inform your wife and tell her where you are going and at what time she should expect you back home. Then try to be on time. If you are late in coming home, then immediately tell your wife the reason. Be careful not to lie, otherwise she will become suspicious. Consult her in your affairs. Do not hide anything from her. Talk to her about your day. Keep her trust in you. Ask her to question you on any vague subject which may be bothering her.
Thirdly, you may be innocent of the subject of her suspicion, but the suspicions of women are mostly not baseless either. Perhaps, through carelessness you have done something which has affected her mentally and made her suspicious of you. You should ponder over your previous acts carefully. You might then find the cause of her suspicion. In this way you can solve the problem better. For instance, if you joke a lot with other women, try not to do it any more.
What is the point of being called handsome or well-mannered at the expense of your wife's suspicion and her distrust towards you? Why should you trigger her suspicion by joking with your secretary or a woman colleague? Why should you employ a woman to work for you? Do not joke with other women in parties. If you want to help a poor widow, why should you not inform your wife? You can even help the widow through your wife. Do not think that you are a slave, or a person in chains. You should not be a slave, but a wise man who, upon an agreement with your wife, is taking care of her. You should help her overcome this problem.
Through patience and wisdom, you should remove the dangers which are threatening the foundation of your sacred family life. You would then cure your wife's illness as well as save your children from unhappiness. You would do a great deal of service to yourself both mentally and materialistically. Moreover, Allah rewards men who are willing to sacrifice at vital moments such as this.
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ' Act moderately with the women in every instance. Speak to them nicely in order that their deeds become good'."58
"Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: 'One of the rights of a woman upon her husband is that he should forgive her ignorance and foolishness'."59
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ' Any man who copes with his incompetent wife, the Almighty Allah, upon his patience (towards his wife) on every occasion, would grant him the reward of patience of Hadrat Ayyub (a.s)'."60
Now the women are reminded of few points:
Dear Madam! The subject of your husband's unfaithfulness, like every other subject, needs proof. As long as his guilt is not proved you do not have any right to convict him. Neither law nor one's conscience allows one to accuse someone on the account of probability of a crime having taken place. Would you not be hurt if someone accused you of something without any proof? Is it possible to consider your foolish and baseless theories as proof of an important crime such as adultery?
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ
"O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin...(49:12)."
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: '(The weight of) accusing an innocent person falsely is heavier than the high mountains'."61
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: " Anyone who makes false accusations upon a believer, Allah, on the Day of Resurrection, will place him upon a heap of fire in order that he receives the punishment he deserves'."62
Dear Madam! Do not be foolish and do not jump to conclusions. When you have time, sit down and write down all the proof and grounds regarding your husband's unfaithfulness. Then in front of each point, write down the other aspects to the problem and the probability of their occurrence. Next, place yourself as a fair judge and think deeply about the written points. If they do not convince you that he is guilty, then you can either forget the matter or make further investigations.
For instance, the presence of a strand of hair in your husband's car may be easily explained by one of the following:
(a) It may belong to one your husband's relatives such as his sister, mother, aunt, or their children.
(b) It may be one of your own.
(c) He might have given a lift to his friend or relative accompanying his wife and the strand of hair might be hers.
(d) He might have given a lift to a helpless woman.
(e) Perhaps one of his enemies has dropped the strand of hair in his car deliberately in order to make you suspicious of him.
(f) One of his women colleagues might have been given a lift in his car.
(g) There is also a probability that he had been out with his beloved. But this case is far more remote than the previous ones and therefore should not be taken very seriously. At least one should not regard it as firm evidence of guilt while forgetting about the other possibilities.
If your husband comes back home late, he might have been doing extra work; or might have been at his friend's house; or might have attended a seminar or a religious meeting; or he might even have walked back home.
If a woman thinks of him as a handsome man, it is not his fault. Being well-behaved is not a proof of being guilty! Would you prefer him to be a bad-tempered man from whom everyone would be repulsed?
If your husband attends to the needs of a widow and her children, regard him as a charitable person who is doing this for the sake of Allah.
If your husband has a private desk or a safe; and if he does not let you read his letters, do not think of him as having a mistress. Men generally have a sense of secrecy and modesty. They do not like others to be informed of their affairs, perhaps they possess secret materials which are related to their work. Perhaps he does not regard you as a person who could keep a secret. Any way, a possibility is just that, and it should not be considered as a firm proof.
Whenever you suspect anything, you should discuss it with your husband in such a manner as to find the truth of the matter out and not in a way of protest. Be frank with him and ask him to explain the subject of your suspicion in order to clear your mind and set it at peace. Then listen to him carefully. Think about his explanation. If you are satisfied with it then the matter is over. But if you are still suspicious, then investigate the matter yourself until the truth is revealed.
If, while investigating, you come across a point that your husband had lied about, then do not regard it as a proof of his guilt. This is because despite his innocence, he might have deliberately not been telling the whole truth lest you become more suspicious. Again it is better to go to him and ask why he did not tell the whole truth. Of course, it is not good for one to lie, but if your husband made this mistake, then you should not, in turn, act foolishly.
Ask him firmly to tell you the truth. His inability in explaining the subject of your suspicion is not indicative of his guilt. It is possible that he may really forget something or he may be in a panic. At this point, do not pursue the matter further and leave it for a more appropriate occasion. If he says to you that he has forgotten something, accept it. However, if you are still in doubt, investigate through other channels.
Do not voice your suspicion with anyone you see, since they may be your foes. Enemies always endorse your claims and might even add a few lies to it in order to shatter your life. They may not be foes, but a bunch of foolish, simple, and inexperienced people who reinforce your claims sympathetically. They may be you r close relatives or close friends. Consultation is only useful with wise, clever, and genuine sympathizers. If you need to consult someone, then find the right people and discuss it with them.
If the proof of your husband's guilt is not a firm proof towards your husband's guilt, if your friends and relatives think that the evidence is not enough, if your husband regards himself as not guilty, and finally if you are still suspicious of him, then you can be sure that you are ill. You are suffering from a mental disorder in which the element of suspicion has grown beyond your control. It is vital for you to turn to a psychiatrist who could treat you accordingly.
Therefore, it is not wise for you to argue with you r husband or make complaints to the court. Do not talk about divorce and do not degrade him. Such an attitude will only lead to more anger and rows which may result in divorce. Be careful not to act foolishly, or decide to commit suicide. By killing yourself not only would you lose this life, but you would also be tormented in the next world. Is it not sad to lose your life for the sake of a baseless thought? Is it not better to solve your problems through patience and wisdom?
If you are still suspicious of your husband or you reach the conclusion that he is certainly having an affair, then again you are to be blamed, because you have not tried enough to win his heart. You have placed a gap in his life in which other woman can find a place. But do not despair; there is still time. Review your attitude and act in a manner that would attract your husband towards you.
One of the negative characteristics of some people is their speaking ill of each other. This characteristic is not only unpleasant by nature, but it is also a cause of much mischief. It causes suspicion, pessimism, disharmony, and strife among the people. It destroys friendly atmospheres and sows the seed of discord among families. It separates men from their wives and it could lead to homicide.
Unfortunately, this characteristic is so widespread among the people that it does not even seem bad any more. In a gathering it is rare not to hear gossiping and backbiting. Specially, in a women's gathering, the element of gossip is dominant. When two women meet, they start gossiping. They talk slanderously of others as if it is a competition. They sometimes talk about their husbands. For instance, they discuss their looks or jobs, and find fault with the other woman's husband. One woman would blame the other one for being married to; say a mechanic or a shoemaker.
If the husband is a driver she would say: "Your husband is always traveling, how can you cope with this?" If he is a butcher, she would say: "Your husband always smells of fat." If he is not earning much, she would say: "How do you live with such little money? Why did you marry him? Is it not a pity that you, with such a beauty, have married such a short and puny man? How did your parents allow you to do this? Were they fed up with you? You could have married any man you wished. Why did you choose this man? He does not take you anywhere, not the cinema, not the theatre, nowhere.
By the way, your husband is such a grim faced man. How can you live with him? How could you, with all your education, marry a peasant?"
Talks of this kind can be heard among a fairly large percentage of the female population of any society. Women who are used to this manner of speaking, as a matter of fact, do not think of the grave consequences which might follow. They do not think that their gossiping or picking up faults could lead to divorce or even murder.
Such women are truly demons in a human form. They are the enemies of families. They create strife among the families and turn their houses into dark and horrible dungeons. What should one do? This is a component of our societies. Even though Islam has firmly prohibited us from such deeds we are not prepared to give them up.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Oh! Those of you who claim to be Muslims, but failed to let faith enter into your hearts, do not speak ill of Muslims and do not find faults with them. Whoever find faults with people, then Almighty Allah will be doing just the same while looking into their faults; and in that case they would be disgraced among the people, even though they may remain in their own houses'."63
These evil-character women may pursue one or many goals. They gossip for the sake of revenge in order to break up a family. They may do it because of jealousy or self- glorification. They might want to cover their own deficiencies or deceive the simple women. They may want to pretend that they are sympathetic. They sometimes gossip for amusement and do not pursue any goal other than satisfying their distasteful desires. But what one can be sure of is that deeds of this kind are not committed in order to help others and that such acts could have disastrous effects.
The readers have surely come across certain events which have occurred as the result of gossip. The following is such a case:
"A woman said in the court: 'Mr... used to talk behind my husband- in order to cause a clash between me and my husband. He used to tell me that my husband was not good enough for me and that he did not understand me or have any emotions. He always wanted me to get a divorce and marry him... As a result of his deluding suggestions I was misled and one day we, both together, killed my husband'." 64
Dear madam! Now that you have realized the evil intentions behind gossip and if you are interested in your husband and children, then do not be influenced by the tongues of the human-shaped devils. Do not give in to their false friendship. Be sure they are not your friends, but your foes who want to see you breaking away from your family. Do not be simple and do not believe them. Try to find their evil intentions through sagacity. Stop them immediately when they set out to criticize your husband. Do not be shy to tell them: "If you want us to remain friends, then stop talking about my husband. You do not have any right t to criticize him. I love him and there is nothing wrong with him."
Once they detect your love towards your husband and children, through the firmness of your tongue, then they may become disappointed with misleading you and you will not be disturbed again. Do not think that they would become upset, or that you would lose your friends. If they are your true friends, then they should not be hurt and should even thank you. If they are your enemies, then what is better than avoiding them. If you encounter those who are persistent in their evil act, then cut off your relationship with them.
A girl, while in her parents' house, is duty-bound to satisfy them. However, once she is married, her role changes.
In her husband's house, a woman should give priority to her husband's needs. Even when there are conflicting desires of her husband and her parents, she should obey her husband, even at the expense of the parents' dissatisfaction. Disobedience to one's husband may harm one's marital relationship and vice-versa. Moreover, many mothers do not enjoy a proper education and wisdom.
Some mothers have not yet realized that they should leave their daughters to reach an understanding with their husbands of their own. The married couple must be left to plan their own affairs and if they encounter any difficulty, they should overcome it through their own initiative.
Since the wives' mothers are unaware of this point, then, in their own minds, they try to make their son-in-law act according to their desires. They try, directly and indirectly, to interfere in their family affairs. They use their young daughters, who are inexperienced and not quite aware of their situations, in order to influence the sons-in-law. The mothers constantly tell their daughters how to act, what to do, what to say, and what not to say. The poor daughter, who regards her mother as sympathetic and experienced, obeys her and commits herself to the mother's desires too.
There would not be any problems if the son-in-law submits to the mother-in-law's desires: However, if he shows resistance, then rows begin to take shape. In the latter case the ignorant mother may become so stubborn that it may lead to the destruction of her daughter's family life. The ignorant mother, instead of encouraging her daughter to devote herself to her husband, makes her oppose her husband. The mother may tell her daughter:
"You have ruined your life. What an awful husband! What good men were prepared to marry you! What a good life your cousin has! How lucky your sister is! What have they got that you haven't? Why should you live like this? My poor daughter!"
The mother, whose words are regarded as sympathetic, causes family rows and arguments between the daughter and her husband. The daughter is placed in a situation to pick up rows with her husband. The parents would also take sides with her and finally in order to win the fight, they show willingness towards their daughter getting a divorce.
"A thirty-year old woman attacked her fifty-year old mother for she had caused her divorce. This woman said: 'My mother talked behind my husband so much that it caused many arguments between me and him. Finally, I got divorced but soon regretted it. But it was too late, because six hours after our divorce, my former husband was engaged to my cousin. I was so frustrated that I decided to beat up my mother'." 65
"A thirty-nine year old man ran away from his wife and mother-in-law and left a letter saying: 'Because of my wife's attitude and because she was not prepared to go to Abadan with me, I decided to leave this world. My wife and her mother are responsible for my death'. Thus a man, who was fed up with his mother-in-law's interference, committed suicide'." 66
"A man, who was fed up with his mother-in-law's interference, threw her out of a taxi'." 67
Undoubtedly, daughters who obey mothers of this kind and submit to their wills, would inflict an irreversible blow on themselves.
Therefore, any woman who cares for her family, should not be influenced by her mother's will and should not regard them as one hundred percent correct.
A wise and clever woman would always examine the suggestions and sayings of her mother before implementing them in her family life. She should implement them if they did not contradict or endanger her family bonds. In this case, the daughter should submit to the will of her mother. Otherwise, if the daughter reaches the conclusion that her mother is ignorant and her suggestions lead to rows and arguments, then she can reject her.
Anyway, there are two choices for the daughter:
(a) To go along with the desires of her mother in which case, family arguments would follow; or
(b) To ignore her mother, and comply with her husband's desires.
Obviously, one would not choose the former because if one did, then she would either have to live in a misery with her husband or divorce him. If she continues to live with her husband, then she, along with her husband, and the children, would suffer .In the case of divorce she would probably have to go to live with her parents. In this case they would not accept her as a member of the family and would try to get rid of her. She would be degraded and humiliated before all the other members of the family .It is also not easy to live alone. It will also not be easy to marry again. How can one be sure that the next round will be any better What about the children? What about the children of the next man? She might end up so frustrated that she might kill herself. She may become so difficult to live with that the next man she marries, may run away from her, or even kill himself.
Once a woman ponders over the consequences of acting upon the selfish and foolish desires of her mother or others, then she should firmly decide to ignore all the talk as not to endanger her relationship with her husband.
She could tell her mother:
"Now that I am married, it is better for me to try to protect my marriage, and keep my husband satisfied. I would rather treat him kindly, because he is my partner. He can make me happy and is able to help me. He shares ail the ups and downs of life with me. He is my choice and, if we have any difficulties, we will try to solve them ourselves. We can plan our lives. Your interference may make a bad situation worse. If you want us to have a good relationship with you, then do not interfere in our lives, do not talk behind my husband, otherwise I will have to cut off my relationship with you."
If your mother, as a result of your suggestion, stops interfering, then you will not be disturbed. However, if she is not prepared to take any notice of you r desires, it would be better for you to stop seeing her. In this way you will be saved and you can live comfortably.
While, as a result of breaking away from you r parents, you may lose some of your respect among you r family, you will have earned many times over more respect from your husband.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The best of your women is one who gives birth to many children, is loving and chaste, who does not submit to the will of her relatives but is obedient towards her husband, adorns herself only for her husband and protects herself from strangers, listens to her husband and obeys him, accedes to his wishes in privacy and does not lose her modesty in any case."
"The Prophet (S) then added: 'The worst of your women is she who obeys her relatives but does not submit to the wishes of her husband, is barren and vindictive, is not afraid of committing bad deeds, adorns herself in the absence of her husband, would not accede to the wishes of her husband in privacy, would not accept his excuses and would not forgive his mistakes',"68
It is customary with most women that whenever they go to a party or a gathering, they wear their best dresses and adorn themselves with the best. However, upon returning home, they take their dresses off and put on an old and shabby dress. These women are not particular about cleanliness at home and do not beautify themselves. They walk around the house with disheveled hair, stained clothes, and torn socks. In fact, the situation must almost be reverse, that is, a woman should adorn herself at home and charm her husband in order to conquer his heart and in order not to leave any gap for other women to fill. Why should she look beautiful for others? Is it proper for a woman to expose her beauty before the eyes of other men and to create problems for the youth?
"The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ' Any woman, who perfumes herself and leaves the house, is deprived from the blessings of the Almighty Allah until she returns home'."69
"The Prophet (S) also stated: 'The best of your women is one who is obedient towards her husband, adorns herself for her husband but does not reveal her adornment to strangers; and the worst of your women is one who adorns herself in the absence of her husband'." 70
Dear Madam! Winning the heart of a man, especially for a long time, is not easy. Do not think: "He loves me. I don't need to look beautiful for him or try to win his heart or entice him." You must always maintain his love towards yourself. Be sure that your husband would enjoy having a tidy beautiful and clean wife, even though he may not express it. If you do not satisfy his inner desires and do not dress attractively at home, he may see beautiful and attractive women out of the house. He may then become disheartened in you and might deviate from the right path. When he sees attractive women, he compares you with them. If you are an untidy, careless, and disheveled woman, he would think that other women are angels who have descended from the heavens. So try to look attractive at home and be sure that he will not lose interest in you.
Read the following letter written by a husband:
One cannot distinguish my wife from my servant in the house. I swear by Allah that I sometimes think: I wish she would wear one of these dresses made for parties, at home. I wish she would throwaway those torn and worn out clothes. I have told her a few times: 'darling! at least wear those nice dresses at home on holidays.' She told me sourly: 'I don't need to be particular when I am at home; but if one day I look untidy in the presence of my colleagues, then it would be embarrassing for me'."
The reader might believe that while house keeping and cooking, a woman cannot dress up or look beautiful. This may be true but a housewife can have different clothes for doing the housework; and she can change her working clothes to proper ones while she is in the presence of her husband or for when he returns home. You can always comb your hair and keep yourself clean after the housework.
"Imam Baqir (a.s.) stated: 'It is incumbent upon a woman to perfume herself, to wear her best clothes, to adorn herself in the best way, and to meet her husband in this state day and night'."71
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'Women should not give up adornment, be it only with a necklace. She should not have untinged hands, be it with a little henna. Even old women should not give up adornment'." 72
At the time of preoccupation and illness, one needs to be nursed by others. A nurse can assist the recovery of an ill person tremendously through kindness and loving care. Men are small children who have grown up. They still need motherly care. When a man gets married to a woman, he expects her to be a mother to him at times of illness and difficulty.
Dear Madam! If your husband becomes ill, take care of him more than usual. Express your sympathy and pretend that you are extremely upset with this sickness. Console him, prepare all his requirements and keep the children quiet in order to keep him relaxed. If he needs a doctor or medicine, then act accordingly.
Cook the food he likes, and which is good for him. Ask about his health frequently. Try to stay by his bedside, as much as possible. If he is in so much pain that he cannot sleep, stay up with him, as much as possible. Once you wake up, go to him. Ask how is he. If he had not slept that night, then express your sorrow. Keep his room silent in the daytime. Your care for him would help him recover faster. He would appreciate your efforts and would love you more. Besides he would do the same for you if you ever became ill.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The Jihad of a woman is to care for her husband well'."73
Women usually like to know about their husbands' secrets, their earnings, their decisions about the future, and their work. They expect men not to hide anything from them.
On the contrary men are not willing to tell their wives everything. As a result, some husbands and wives constantly argue over this matter.
Some women say that their husbands do not trust them; do not let them read their letters; do not tell them the amount of their earnings; are not straight with them; do not answer their questions properly; and sometimes lie.
Incidentally, men do not mind telling their secrets to their wives. But they believe that their wives do not keep secrets; that they relate to others everything they know, and might even cause trouble for their husbands.
If one intends to find out the secrets of others, it suffices for one to call on their wives. Some wives, by knowing their husbands' secrets, blackmail them, and thus misuse their husbands' trust in them.
Obviously men, up to a certain extent, have a point. Women, in comparison with men, are more under the influence of their emotions. When women become angry, it would be difficult for them to control themselves, and by knowing their husbands' secrets, they could put their men in trouble.
Therefore, if a woman is interested in knowing her husband's secrets, she must be very careful not to speak of them anywhere without his permission. She must not even tell her best friends or relatives. It is not keeping a secret if you tell someone about it, and ask him not to repeat it to anybody, otherwise everyone will find out about it.
Therefore a wise person is one who does not tell his secret to anyone.
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'The chest of a wise man is the safe for his secrets'." 74
"Imam ' Ali (a.s) also stated: 'The benevolence of this world and the next is in two things: keeping secrets, and friendship with the good people; and all the evils are in two things: revealing secrets, and keeping bad company'."75
Every institution, factory, and organization needs a responsible manager. In any sociological unit and organization, cooperation between the staff is important. However, running the affairs of such a unit needs a manager who can coordinate the duties.
One of the very important social units is the 'family'. Running the affairs of this unit is very vital and difficult.
Undoubtedly, there must be a deep understanding, and cooperation among the members of a family, but there must also be a manager who can act responsibly with regard to the family matters. Needless to say, if a family does not enjoy a person who can organize others it would suffer from disorder and chaos. Thus, either the husband must act as the director and the wife follows, or vice versa.
However, since the logical aspect of men is dominant over their emotional aspect, they can be better managers.
The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur'an:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their money; the good women are therefore obedient... (4:34)."
Thus it is in the interest of the members of a family to regard the man as their guardian and the one in charge, and to seek his supervision in their deeds.
However, one should not conclude that the status of a woman in the house is belittled, but it is a fact that maintaining the order and discipline in the house requires the management of the husband. Women, who can think without being biased, would confirm this act.
"A woman said: 'We had a good tradition in Iran which has unfortunately faded away gradually. In this tradition the man used to be in charge of the family affairs. He used to be the boss. Nowadays, however, the situation is changed, and families cannot make their minds up as to who should be in charge. I believe that the woman of today, who more or less have the same social status as men, should accept her husband as the chief of the house... This old tradition has to be recommended to today's young woman, who intends to marry. She should enter her husband's house wearing a wedding dress and come out of it wearing a shroud'." 76
It is true that the everyday preoccupations of life do not allow man to participate in all the family affairs and that in practice the wife runs the house according to her desires, but nevertheless, the right of directorship remains with the man, and as such he should be respected.
Therefore, should a man express his opinion about any point in the household matters or suggest any thing, the wife should not oppose him or deny him his right of directorship in any way. Otherwise, the man would regard himself as powerless and look upon his wife as an impolite and ungrateful woman. He might hold a grudge against her and, at a later stage, even resist his wife's lawful wishes.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ' A good woman would pay heed to her husband's wishes and would act according to his desires'." 77
"A woman asked the Prophet (S) of Allah: 'What is the duty of a woman with regard to her husband?' The Prophet (S) stated: 'She must obey him and must not violate his orders'." 78
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The worst of women is one who is stubborn and obstinate'." 79
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The worst of women is one who is barren, dirty, obstinate and disobedient'." 80
Dear Madam! Accept the authority of your husband. Seek his supervision in your household affairs. Do not violate his orders. Do not resist or oppose his participation in the household and family matters. Do not reject his participation even in those matters that you have more expertise. Do not practically make him powerless. Let him participate in your work occasionally. Teach your children to respect his authority, and ask them to get permission from their father in their affairs. Your children must learn not to violate his orders from an early age. This way your children will be brought up as obedient to their parents.
Life is full of ups and downs. The wheels of fortune do not always rotate according to our desires. One goes through many difficult times. Everyone becomes ill. Many lose their jobs, and some may lose all their wealth. Many unpleasant incidents happen in the lives of everyone.
A man and a woman, who have sworn allegiance to each others and signed a covenant of marriage, should walk along the path of life hand in hand. The covenant should be so firm that it could hold them together in sickness and in health, in richer and poorer, and in good as well as bad times.
Dear Madam! If your husband becomes poor, must you add to his problems by having disagreeable behaviour. If he becomes ill, and bed-ridden, either at home or in the hospital, it is fair for you to increase your kindness towards him. You must nurse him, attend to his needs, and spend money for him. If you have money of your own you must pay for his treatment. Remember if you were ill, he would have paid for your health. Must you withhold your wealth in preference to your husband's health? If you fail to satisfy him at sensitive times like this, then he will be disappointed with you, and may even prefer to divorce you.
Here is a case to read about:
"A person came to the court to divorce his wife. He said: 'I became ill a few days ago and my doctor told me that had to have an operation. I asked my wife to lend me the money that she had saved. She disagreed and left my house. As a result, I had my operation in a state hospital. Now that I have my health back I am not prepared to live with a woman who prefers her money to her husband. How can one call this woman a 'wife'?" 81
Every conscientious person would acknowledge that, in the above-mentioned case, it was the man who was right. Such a woman, who is not prepared to spend her money for the treatment of her husband, does not deserve the respected position of 'wifehood'.
Dear Madam! Be careful not to act mercilessly at a time when your husband suffers from a permanent illness; must you leave him and your children? How can you desert a man with whom you have had many joyful days and nights? How do you know that a similar fate is not awaiting you? How can you be sure that another man will be any better? Do not be stubborn and selfish. Be sacrificial and devote yourself or the sake of Allah as well as your honour and children. Be patient and teach your children a lesson of devotion, love, and patience. You can be sure that, in this world and the next, you will be rewarded handsomely. Your devotion is the best way of showing your care for your husband which is placed at the same level as Jihad.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ' Jihad of a woman is in taking care of her husband'."82
It is customary with some women that, when upset with their husbands, they sulk, refuse to talk, do not attend to household work, do not eat, hit the children, or grumble. They believe that, not speaking, or quarrelling are the best possible ways of revenging their husbands. This attitude, not only fails to punish the man, but may result in his retaliation. Life then becomes difficult turning into a series of quarrels. The woman moans, then the man does. The woman refuses to talk and the man retaliates. The woman does something else, and the man does the same until they become tired and, through the mediation of relatives or friends, reconcile. But this is not the only time they had a row. There will be other occasions and there will be a few more days of bitterness.
Therefore, spending a lifetime of family rows will not be pleasant for either the parents or the children. Most of the runaway youth come from these kinds of families who then turn to crime and corruption.
"A youth, who was arrested on charges of theft, blamed his parents for his crime and said: 'My parents used to argue everyday after which they used to go to their relatives and I used to go into the streets and wander about. I was then deceived by others and later committed theft'." 83
"A ten-year old girl told the social workers: 'I remember vaguely that one night my parents argued over something. The following day, my mother left and a few days later, my father took me to my aunt. After a while an old woman took me from my aunt's house and brought me to Tehran. It is a few years now, that I have been living with her and I suffered so much that I do not want to go back to her'."
"The teacher of a girl said: 'She is one of my students. She has not been performing well in her studies and looks to be suffering from something. She is always thinking. She has even been sitting in the courtyard of the school unprepared to go back home.' Two days ago I asked her: 'Why she was not going home?' She replied that she was living with an old woman who was nasty to her, and that she did not want her to returned home. I asked about her parents and she said they were separated'."84
Dear madam! You should remember that if your husband reacts harshly towards you for not speaking with him, then he might even resort to severe measures such as hitting you. You would probably leave you r house to go to your parents' as the result of his harsh reaction. Next your parents would interfere and the row s between your husband and you would widen. You might end up getting a divorce in which case you would lose more than your husband. You might have to live on your own for the rest of your life. You will certainly regret a divorce.
"A woman said: 'I got married some time ago. I did not know much about caring for my husband and he did not know much about looking after me. We used to have row everyday. One week I wasn't talking and the week after he was refusing to speak to me.
Only on Fridays, through the mediation of friends and relatives, we used to be on good terms. Gradually, my husband became disappointed with me and thought of divorcing me and remarrying. Since I was young I was not prepared to change and did not object to a divorce. We got divorced and I rented a flat. Soon I realized the dangers. Most of the people, whom I met, were out to deceive me. I decided to reconcile with my former husband and called at his house. There I met a lady who introduced herself as his wife. I cried all the way back to my house. I regretted my divorce, but it was too late'." 85
"A twenty-two year old woman who, after getting divorced, had taken her child to her parents, tried to commit suicide on the night of her sister's wedding'." 86
Dear Madam! You should seriously avoid sulking and not talking to your husband. If you are upset with him, be patient. Once you are calm and collected, talk .to him gently about your annoyance with him. You can tell him, for instance, "You insulted me yesterday, or you rejected my demand... Is it fair that you should treat me in this way?"
Such an approach, not only relaxes you within, but also would admonish him. He would then try to make up for his wrongdoing, and would respect you for you r good manners. As a result, he would review his behaviour, and would try to discipline himself.
The Prophet of Allah (S) stated:
"At a time when two Muslims refuse to talk to each other and do not reconcile within three days, both will be out of Islam, and there will not remain any friendship between them. Then anyone of them who takes the initiative to reconcile with the other, would enter Paradise faster (than the other) on the Day of Judgment'."87
A man meets many people while at work and he comes across many problems. Once he returns home from work, he is tired and upon confronting the smallest unpleasant incident becomes angry and may insult his family.
A wise lady would remain silent towards her husband's ranting and insults. The man would then calm down and would regret his insults. If he sees that there is not any reaction to his anger, he would even apologize. With this approach the family gets back to a normal situation after only an hour or two.
However, if the woman of the house did not understand her husband's sensitive position, then she would shout, swear, curse, and react sharply.
With this approach, the husband and wife might end up fighting and eventually resort to a divorce. Many families are broken up as the result of such little incidents. There are even cases where men become so angry that they erupt like a volcano and commit murder.
"A man shot himself, his wife and step-mother to death. The couple were believed to have had many rows and arguments right from the start of their marriage. On the night of the incident the husband had returned home from work when the couple started yet another argument. The husband hit his wife, and she decided to go to the police. Suddenly, the man took his gun, killed his wife, his step-mother, and then ended his own life with a bullet'." 88
Would it not have been better for the woman to have remained silent at the husband's anger? Would three lives have been ended if the woman had been patient and had not reacted? Which one would you prefer? A few moments of silence or all the grave consequences of getting back at your husband?
Do not imagine for a second that the position of the man is being defended here and that he is not guilty. Not at all. Of course he is guilty. He should not vent his anger out on his family. In the next chapter, this point will be discussed in more detail but here we are saying that a woman should be wise and not react towards her husband's anger, be it right or not. In this situation, the man may not be able to control himself, so it is important that the wife, in order to save her family, remains silent.
Women usually think that remaining silent, when coming face to face with their husband's anger, would belittle them, and that they would lose their respect. However, the situation is quite the reverse. A man who sees no reaction when insulting his wife. Would certainly become remorseful. He would regard his wife as a loving woman, who despite her ability to retaliate, preferred to forgive him. His love for his wife would increase many fold. He would apologize and thus his wife would earn more respect.
'The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The best of your women is one who, upon seeing her husband's anger, tells him: 'I submit to your will. Sleep will not pass over my eyes unless you become content with me'." 91
'The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Forgiveness and tolerance would increase the honour and respect of their owners. Be forgiving so that Allah will cherish you'."92
Some men like to have certain hobbies at home. They are interested in, say, collecting stamps or books, gardening or photography in their spare time at home.
Such hobbies are classified as the best and healthiest pastime activities. They are very useful in that they attract men towards their homes as well as causing their relaxation. One can become depressed and frustrated from being idle. It is a fact that one of the ways of treating people with mental disorders is to keep them busy with certain jobs. Those of us who work more than others are generally less affected by mental disorders, and are less attracted towards dangerous occupation.
Therefore, woman should respect the healthy hobbies of their husbands and should not regard their pastime activities as foolish, cheap, and useless. Women must encourage their men in these activities and cooperate with them if necessary.
A house, although a little place, is a precious blessing. It is a shelter for the man who takes refuge in it after the work. It is a place for seeking comfort in even after being on a holiday; one finds rest in one's home. No where is like home and nowhere can one find peace as one would in one's home. It is a place of friendship, love, sincerity, comfort, rest, and a place where men and women of good virtue are educated and trained. It is a workshop to train mankind and a place to educate and bring up children. It is a little society from which greater societies are formed.
It is responsible for the advancement as well as the decline of the larger society. The small family environment. Although a part of a greater society, enjoys an internal independence, and that is why correcting a nation must start by improving the family. The responsibilities of education, training, and running of this sensitive social base lies with the women. Therefore women, through their deeds and behaviour towards their family, can determine the deterioration or progress of a nation. Thus, the job of a housewife is sensitive, respectable and revered.
Those who underestimate the family unit and are ashamed with this job, are in fact ignorant of its values.
A housewife should be proud of her position. She is holding a position of honour and sacrifice for the good of society.
The educated women have a greater responsibility in this job, and thus should be models to others. They should practically prove that being educated does not contradict the position of being a housewife, but that it also helps in being a better housewife.
The educated woman should manage the family life in the best possible manner. She should be proud of housekeeping and should prove that an educated housewife is much better than an uneducated one.
It is not proper for her to abandon housework on the pretext of being educated. Education is not meant to shirk one's responsibilities, but it should help one perform his responsibilities better.
"A man, married to a high-school passed girl, said in the court: 'My wife refuses to do any housework. Every time I protested she said that housekeeping was not meant for an educated woman. She is not prepared to change and even asks me to divorce her, and marry a maid instead! Two nights ago I invited my wife's relatives and friends for dinner. At dinner time I spread the table cloth and placed my wife's framed certificate of high school in the middle. I then told everyone to observe the dinner that my wife prepares for me every night'."93
Now let us read the opinion of a few educated women about being a housewife:
"Mrs. F. N. Shamirani, a graduate, said: 'A housewife should be an expert in dealing with the household affairs, a good companion for her husband, a good mother to her children and a good hostess to the guests'."
"Dr Mrs Fasihi, pediatrician, said: 'I believe that a genuine housewife is one who is not engaged in office work, because office jobs in our country lack the necessary facilities regarding nutritional needs and nurseries. A woman in an office is always worried about her children or her husband's food'."
"Mrs. S. Yakita, Technical Superintendent of the Faculty of Medicine, said: 'A housewife should be able to create a clean and attractive house with the least possible budget. She should share the happy and sad time with her husband. She must not ignore her husband's mental and social status'."
"Mrs. I. Naimi said: ' A housewife is one who minimizes her unnecessary recreations and who would try to improve the affairs of the house. She must also be able to regulate the income with spending'."94
One of the important duties of a housewife is maintaining cleanliness in the house. Cleanliness is the key to hygiene and health. It prevents many illnesses and attracts the family members to the house. It is a source of respect for the family.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The religion of Islam is based upon cleanliness'." 95
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'Islam is immaculate, so you should make efforts for cleanliness because only the clean ones would enter Paradise'."96
Always keep your house clean and tidy. Dust it off once a day and remove all stains and dirt from the walls, doors, windows, furniture, and other items. Keep the garbage in a covered dustbin; keep it away from the other rooms, and kitchen. Empty the dustbin regularly. Do not keep the garbage in front of your house. Do not let your children urinate in the garden or the yard, and if they did, wash the place immediately. Dirt is a center for dangerous microbes. Do not pile up dirty dishes. Wash them as soon as possible. Do not forget that deadly germs grow on dirt and can become fatal to you and your family. Wash the dishes with clean water, and afterwards keep them in a clean place. Remove all dirty clothes, especially babies' nappies, from the vicinity of all rooms and kitchen and wash them as soon as possible.
Keep all the family clothes, especially the underwear, clean and tidy. Wash the meat, vegetables and all your food ingredients before cooking. Wash all fruits before eating them because some fruits are sprayed with poisonous substances.
Wash your hands before eating and teach your children to do the same. After food, one should wash one's hands and mouth. If possible one should brush one's teeth after every meal. Brushing one's teeth is essential, at least, once a day, preferably before sleeping at night.
Cut your nails once a week. Long nails are not hygienic, because germs can live under long nails.
Take a bath, at least, once a week, or if possible every other day.
One must remove all hair from under one's armpit as well as other places by shaving or other means. Hidden hair on the body is a suitable place for the growing germs. Do not leave food exposed to flies, because flies are carriers of many dangerous microbes.
The holy religion of Islam strongly recommends people to observe cleanliness.
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'Almighty Allah likes adornment, being beautiful, and finds the pretention of being poor as distasteful. He likes to see the effects of his blessings upon his worshipper, that is to see him clean, tidy and using scent, to decorate his house, to dust off his house environment, to turn the lights on before sunset -because this deed takes away the poverty from home and increases sustenance.'" 97
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ' A dirty person is a bad servant (to Allah)'."98
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Keep your house clean of spider's webs, because a spider's web is a cause of poverty'."99
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Do not leave the rubbish inside the house at night, because Shaytan (Satan), i.e. pollution and uncleanliness takes its abode there'." 100
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'One's clothes must always be clean'." 101
"In addition, the Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Do not leave an oily cloth in the house, because Satan takes its abode there',"102
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'Washing dishes and cleaning around the house increases the sustenance'," 103
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) also stated: 'Do not leave the dishes without a cover, otherwise Satan spits at them and uses them'," 104
"In addition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'Fruits are sprayed with poisonous substances, so wash them before eating'," 105
"Imam al-Kadhim (a.s) stated: 'Taking a bath every other day would fatten one'," 106
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Do not leave the rubbish behind the front door of the house because Satan takes its abode there'," 107
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'If it had not been something inconvenient for my followers, I would have ordered them to brush their teeth with every wudu (ablution) for prayer (i.e., five times a day)'," 108
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: 'Cutting one's nails on Fridays would prevent one from being affected by leprosy, insanity, alopecia and blindness'," 109
"It has been related that: 'Satan takes his sleep underneath the (long) nails'." 110
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Washing one's hands, before having meals, would prolong life, prevent one's clothes from becoming dirty and would enlighten one's eyes',"
A tidy house is preferred to an untidy one in many ways.
Firstly, the tidiness helps the house look clean, attractive and beautiful, An arranged house, does not bore one, but would be a source of joy and happiness.
Secondly, the job of house-keeping would be easier in a well-ordered house, and the housewife, by knowing the exact location of the household contents, would not waste time to look for them. As a result the woman would not become tired with her job.
Thirdly, it attracts the man to his house and his wife. A well-ordered house is representative of the woman’s quality.
Fourthly, a tidy house is a source of pride for the whole family. Whoever visits it, appreciates it, and admire the woman's talent and good taste.
Having many luxurious items would not beautify a house, but the manner in which the household contents are arranged, would make it attractive. You must have seen wealthy people whose house, despite containing many luxurious items, is boring, and there are poor people whose houses, because of being orderly, are enjoyable to look at.
Therefore, arranging a house is one of the duties of housewives. Talented ladies with good taste know how to put their houses in order, but mentioning a few points here may prove useful.
Classifying your dishes: Do not pile them all on top of each other. Leave all the cutlery in one place and place the dishes somewhere else. Put all the dishes for guests separate from the dishes you use everyday. Do the same for every thing else. Every thing must be put in its proper place so that all the family members are able to find them, even in the dark.
Some ladies may believe that such a program suits the rich and the wealthy .But this is not correct, even poor people should arrange their belongings, including their dishes, beds, and clothes. For instance, the wife should keep her own clothes separate from her husband's and her children's. The winter clothes must be separate from summer ones. Dirty clothes must have their own place. The ornaments must be put in their proper locations. Teach your children to be tidy with their clothes, books, toys, etc. You can be certain that by being tidy, your children would learn and would follow you.
Untidy women blame their children for the house being in a state of mess, whereas it is the children who learn from their parents. If the parents are tidy, then the children would learn and children, by nature, are willing to be disciplined.
Keep all your money, important papers, documents, jewelry and certificates in a safe or a place out of the reach of children. It is not correct to punish a child for touching, destroying or losing any of the precious items that you have left within their reach. The parents are the guilty ones and they should know better.
"A man left some money with his wife and asked her to leave it in a safe place..., and then put it on the mantle piece and left the house. After a short while the man returned home and did not find the money he had left. He looked around the house anxiously, and saw his five-year old boy burning something in the garden. The mother of the boy angrily went up to him, lifted him up, and then threw him on the ground so hard that it killed the boy outright. She was quite scared while looking at her son's corpse when the man came out into the garden. He started hitting her, and then decided to go to the police. He got on his motorcycle, but on the way to the police station, he had an accident. He is now in the Intensive Care Unit'." 112
Who do you think, is guilty party in this incident? You can judge for yourself. Perhaps your know of a similar occurrence.
Medicines, paraffin, petrol, and poisonous substances should always be kept out of the reach of children. Children drink and eat anything which looks like water and food. Do not endanger their lives by being careless. There are many children who die as the result of their parents' carelessness.
"Two children, a brother and a sister, aged 6 and 4 years drank a solution of DDT. The four-year old girl died, and her brother survived. The children were on their own in their house. They drank the solution in order to quench their thirst. 'Their mother said in the hospital that the solution was made to kill the mice in her house '. "113
"Two children drank kerosene, mistakenly thinking that it was water."
"Another child swallowed ten of her mother's tablets."
"All these children were taken to hospital for treatment." 114
Finally, you are reminded that discipline is only useful up to a certain extent in that it should not deprive you from comfort. You should not be obsessed with tidiness, because obsession itself can cause problems:
"A man said: 'I am fed up with my wife's obsession with cleanliness and tidiness. Everyday when I return home at 4-30 pm, my wife makes me wash my hands and feet a few times. She wants me to put my clothes in their proper place. She doesn't even let me smoke in all the rooms. I have always lived freely, but during the four years of my marriage, I have been living in a prison. Why should one care for cleanliness and tidiness so much. This is an obsession and I hate obsession'." 115
A moderate behaviour is the best in all aspects of one's life. One should not be so chaotic that it becomes impossible to live a normal life, and also one should not overindulge in cleanliness to the extent that it becomes an obsession.
Another very important responsibility of a housewife is preparing food for her family. A good housewife is also a good cook who can prepare delicious food with little money, while a bad housewife cooks bad food with expensive ingredients. Delicious food is a means of attracting her husband towards her. A man whose wife cooks well, does not particularly enjoy eating out.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The best of your women is one who perfumes herself, prepares food skillfully and would not overindulge in spending. Such a woman is one of the workforce of Allah and a person who works for Allah would never have to face either regret or defeat'." 116
It is not possible for me to write down recipes, but there are many good books on the subject which can be obtained and used to cook delicious foods.
But just a few points to remember:
The purpose of eating is not to fill one's stomach but that it also supplies the body with all the nourishment it needs to continue its function. The necessary nourishment for the body is contained in meat, fruits, vegetables and cereals and can be classified into six groups:
(b) Minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, etc,
(c) Starchy substances (carbohydrates),
(e) Proteins, and
(f) Vitamins like, A, B, C, D, K.
The majority of one's weight is water. Water dissolves the solid food in order to prepare it for absorption by the intestines. Water also regulates the body's temperature.
The minerals are necessary for the growth of bones, teeth, and the regulation of muscle functions.
Carbohydrates create energy and heat.
Protein helps in the replacing of old or dead cells causing the growth of the body.
Vitamins are also important for the growth, strengthening the bones, regulating the chemical reactions in the body, and are vital in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Each of the above substances is vital for the body. Malnutrition causes many illnesses and can be fatal. The quality of the food is important and has a proportional relationship with one's life span, happiness or sadness, beauty or ugliness and healthy nerves or mental disorders.
We are what we eat. If one monitors his food and cares for his eating habits, he would become ill less frequently. It is not wise to eat just delicious food without pondering over its quality. Once one's health is impaired as a result of bad food, one would have to seek medical treatment by a doctor, but unfortunately the human body would never be restored to its original health.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The stomach is the centre of all illnesses'."117
Since the choice of food is with the women, therefore, they are very much responsible for the family health. The smallest carelessness on her part, would expose the health of all the family members to many illnesses.
Therefore a housewife, besides being a good cook, should be able to identify the quality of the food.
Firstly: She should make a food which has all the nourishment necessary for a human body to function properly.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The duty of a woman towards her husband is to turn the lights on in the house and to prepare good and suitable food'." 118
"A woman asked the Prophet (S) of Allah: 'What good (reward) is awaiting a woman who performs her duties in her husband's house?' The Prophet (S) stated: 'For every activity that she does concerning the household matters, Allah looks on her kindly, and whoever enjoys the grace of Allah would not be tormented'." 119
Secondly: The dietary needs of people are not the same. Age, size of the body and other possible factors determine the level of our nutritional requirements. For instance, a child, who is growing, need more calcium in comparison with a middle-aged person. The youth need more energy providing food because they have more activities.
One's job is also a factor in determining the type of food one should eat. For instance, a worker needs more fatty, sugary, and starchy food, because he is very active. . The weather is another factor. Our nutritional requirements differ from each other in the seasons of summer, and winter. Also an ill person would eat differently from a healthy one. A good cook should remember all these points.
Thirdly: It is a fact that when one reaches the age of forty and over, he is likely to get fat. Perhaps some people regard obesity as the sign of health, but they are mistaken. Obesity is an illness which could have very bad effects on the heart, blood pressure, kidneys, gall-bladder, liver, and may cause angina and diabetes.
Statistics coming from medical sources and insurance companies suggest firstly that thin people live longer than fat ones.
Beyond the age of forty, one becomes less active and thus needs less fat, sugar, and starch. The calories are not turned into energy as much as before and therefore contribute towards the fattening of the body. It is therefore better to reduce your consumption of these substances.
A woman who cares for her husband's health should put him on a special diet to stop him from getting fat. He should eat less sweets, fat, and cream, but more eggs, liver, poultry, red meat, fish and cheese. Dairy products are also useful. If permitted by the doctor, the overweight person should consume plenty of fruit, and vegetables.
If you are fed up with your husband, if you prefer to be a widow, or if you want to murder your husband without the risks of being prosecuted by the police -then you will not have to do much. Just put plenty of delicious and fattening foods before him. Encourage him to eat as much bread, rice and cakes as possible. Consequently you will get rid of him and not only will you become a widow but he would also thank you for feeding him with all these delicious foods.
You may suggest that such a program is possible for the wealthy people who can afford to buy any type of food they wish. You may think it impossible for those who are not so well off.
But one should not forget that all the nutritional values are hidden in the simple and natural foods. A woman who has learned about cooking would tell you that one could get all the nutritional requirements for the body from simple foodstuff such as fruits, cereals. Vegetables. and dairy products. One can cook a meal with these ingredients which is both hygienic, healthy, and cheap.
One of the inevitable tasks of every family is to entertain guests at one time or another. This is an enjoyable tradition as a result of which friendships become closer and people can forget their problems temporarily. Keeping company with friends and relatives is one of the healthiest pastimes.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The sustenance of a guest is descended from the heavens. and upon eating it, the sins of the host are forgiven'." 120
"Imam Reza (a.s) stated: ' A generous person eats the food offered to him by others so that they eat his. But a miser would not eat the offered food by others lest they eat his'." 121
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'Associating with friends causes kindness (amongst them)'." 122
"Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s) stated: ' Associating with friends matures one's mind and enlivens one's heart, be it even only slightly'." 123
In the turbulent sea of life, one's soul needs tranquility, and this peace of mind can be found when keeping company with one's friends.
People would forget their problems while present in a friendly gathering. Not only can friendships become stronger, but it would serve to boost one's morale.
Entertaining guests is a good custom and rarely one would deny its merits, but there are two difficulties with it that make some families reluctant to take part in this age-old tradition.
First: Luxury goods and vying with one another has made life difficult for many of us. Household goods which are meant to serve our comfort have turned into a means of showing off and ostentation. Thus people are tending to associate less frequently with each other. Although many who are willing to socialize, refuse to do so, because they have the wrong idea that they do not possess many luxurious items in their homes that it would be better to keep away from others and save themselves the embarrassment. This reflection destroys one's situation in the life after death as well as placing him in a difficult situation in this world.
Dear Madam! Do your friends come to your house in order to watch your luxury goods? If so, advise them to go to the stores and museums instead of coming to visit you. Associating with others is meant to increase one's friendship with them as well as having a pleasant time. It is not meant for showing off or filling one's stomach. Everyone is annoyed with 'luxurism' and rivalry of this kind. But they dare not dispose of this mistaken tradition.
If you were prepared to entertain your guests in a simple manner, you would see that they would follow you. This way you can associate with your friends simply and without going to too much trouble. Thus, the solution to this problem is easy .Instead of trying to match your belongings to those of others’; you should concentrate on strengthening the bonds of friendship with them through kindness.
Second: Another difficulty is about the hosting of one's guests. A housewife goes through the trouble of making food for a few guests over a period of a few hours. Sometimes a woman cannot prepare a delicious meal, after which the husband may become upset. Her husband may also show his displeasure towards her cooking. Therefore, some parties are accompanied with the anxiety of the host couple as a result of which people tend to avoid having a party.
Of course it is true that holding a party is not easy, but the main difficulty arises when the housewife does not have sufficient knowledge about how to look after her guests.
Hosting one's guests becomes easy if one is prepared to learn the necessary skills. Here two case studies are presented. You may follow whichever you prefer while entertaining your guests:
Case (a): The man informs his wife that on Friday night, ten of his friends are coming for dinner His wife who has had bitter experience with previous parties, suddenly becomes enraged and protests to her husband. After a detailed discussion and the husband's pleading, the reluctant wife agrees to arrange the dinner for his guests. They spend their days and nights in a certain air of restlessness, and excitement until Friday.
On Friday morning one of them goes for shopping. He remembers the necessary items to buy and after purchasing a few items, returns home.
The housewife starts her job after lunch. She suddenly confronts many problems. She has to do the cooking, washing, sweeping, dusting, arranging the guestroom, and so on. Also, she has to do all this and more on her own or at the most with only one person helping her. She begins to work with a great deal of worry. She looks for the knife to cut the onions, searches the house for salt, etc. She realizes that there is not any tomato in the house, so she sends somebody to buy it. She must then fry the chickens, cut the meat, soak the rice in water, clean the vegetables... etc.
She becomes touchy and nervous, and then shouts at the servant, curses her daughter, hits her son and then runs out of gas or kerosene. "Oh God! What shall I do?” she screams.
All of a sudden the door bell rings. The guests have arrived! They come in one after another. The poor husband, who is aware of wife's anxiety, welcomes the guests into the house and leads them to the sitting room. He then intends to serve them with tea, but he finds out that tea is not ready. He shouts at his daughter or son for not putting the kettle on the samovar.
Once the tea is made, he finds out that they do not have enough sugar. After having to buy some more sugar, he takes a few cups of tea to the guests. He looks at them but his mind is in the kitchen. He knows what is going on in that quarter. He cannot sit comfortably or talk to the guests peacefully. He is worried about the dinner. It is even worse if there are women among the guests in which case they keep asking where the woman of the house is. The man must answer that his wife is busy cooking and she will be with them soon.
The wife, occasionally goes to the guests but cannot stay and sit with them. She, while apologizing to them once again returns to her kitchen. It is not possible for her to prepare a really delicious meal under these conditions.
Once the meal is ready, she has to look for the dishes, make a drink, get the glasses, fill the salt and pepper shakers, etc.
The guests after eating their meal finally say 'good-bye' to their hosts and leave.
Conclusion: The meal was either too salty or salt less, burnt or less- cooked. Also some of the items may have been forgotten by the hostess, and therefore not placed before her guests.
It is now midnight and the wife is exhausted. She has not had a moment of rest since noon. Also she was unable to attend to the guests properly.
The husband has gone through a great deal of worry. He has spent a lot of money for the party, but the evening was not enjoyable and he may even blame his wife.
The couple, not only have not enjoyed the party, but may also have an argument over it, and may even decide not to hold any more parties.
The guests did not enjoy the party either, because they felt that they had caused a lot of trouble for their hosts and they probably wished that they had not come at all.
Undoubtedly, the readers would not enjoy such a situation and would not be prepared or willing to have this kind of experience.
Do you know what the source of this problem is? Well, the only real cause is the lack of experience and know-how of the housewife about how to entertain her guests. Otherwise, holding a party is not such a difficult task.
Now the second option:
Case (b): The man informs his wife that ten of their friends will be coming for dinner on Friday night. The wife responds by saying "Very well, what should we prepare for dinner that night?" The couple decides on this matter together and then writes down all the necessary items needed for the party. They recheck their needs again and by crossing out those items that they already have in their house, re-write the items that they would have to purchase. Then in good time they do their shopping.
On Thursday, a day before the party, they finish some of the work such as cutting onions, washing the potatoes, filling the salt and pepper shakers, preparing the table wares and so on.
The following morning, the woman of the house after eating breakfast, carries out some of her tasks like washing, cutting and frying the meat, chicken, and potatoes. After lunch she can take a rest after which she can finish the remainder of her work.
So she can finish all her cooking, tidying up and arranging the house without any rush or worries. There would be no need for arguments or any cause for confusion. She would have enough time to get herself ready and prepare a cup of tea when their guests arrive. She can then welcome the guests alongside her husband and sit and talk to them. She would just need to go to the kitchen to make sure everything was going smoothly.
She can ask her husband and the children to help her in setting the food in front of the guests. Therefore, everyone would be able to comfortably enjoy their delicious meal.
Conclusion: The guests have enjoyed the company of their hosts. They have talked and their friendship had become stronger. They have enjoyed the meal and have admired the housewife for her ability to entertain them. Finally, they have enjoyed an evening which they would remember for a long time to come.
The husband has been able to associate with the guests. He has had a good time with his friends and is happy with his wife for not letting him down. They become encouraged to invite their friends over and over again.
Finally, the woman who, through patience and know- how, has been able to entertain the guests normally and without any problem, is satisfied with herself. She feels happy with her husband and has proved herself to be a good hostess.
Now you can choose to follow either of the two examples.
Men are usually the supporters of the family. They work hard and spend their earnings on their wives and children. They regard this as their duty and do not ever show their displeasure in their hardship.
But men also expect their wives to economize and not to spend their money extravagantly. The women are expected to classify the necessities and spend on the priorities such as food, clothes, medicine, rent, electricity, telephone, gas and water bills. Placing such items as luxury goods on the list of one's priorities is regarded as squandering and wasteful. Men do not like their wives to misuse their money in buying unnecessary goods or lavishly spending.
If a man finds his wife trustworthy of caring for his money, if he is sure that his wife does not spend lavishly and if he is certain that his hard earned money is not wasted away he would then work harder and would not waste his money.
On the other hand, if the woman spends the money on her clothes and adornment, or if she spends on unnecessary items and they would have to borrow in order to live, or if the family, like an infidel enemy, plunders his wealth, then the man will become disheartened. He would lose interest in working and supporting his family. He would think it illogical to work and support the people who do not appreciate his efforts. He may even go astray and follow a corrupt path. It might shatter the foundations of the family.
Dear Madam! Although your husband's money and wealth is at your disposal, do not regard it as your own. The wealth is lawfully his and you are the trusted one. Therefore, taking any item into your possession, giving anything away, presenting or selling any of his belongings needs his permission. You are responsible for his wealth and as such you must protect it. If you shirk your responsibility, you would be questioned in the world Hereafter.
"The Prophet (a.s) of Allah stated: 'A woman is the protector and trustee of her husband's wealth and as such is responsible'." 124
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The best of your women is one who perfumes herself, prepares delicious food and would not overindulge in spending. Such a woman is a representative of and one of the workforce of Allah, and a person who works for Allah would never be faced with regret or defeat'."125
"A woman asked the Prophet (S) of Allah: 'What are the rights of a husband over his wife?' The Prophet (S) stated: 'She must be obedient towards him, must not violate his orders and should not give away anything without his permission'." 126
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: 'The best of your women is one who spends less' 127
It is right that earning a family's living is an obligatory deed of the man, and that women are not Islamically (as per Islamic laws) responsible for this act. Women, however, should also have a job. In Islam, idleness is discredited and reproached.
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: 'The Almighty Allah hates too much sleep and too much rest'." 128
"Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) also stated: 'Too much sleep wastes and ruins both one's worldly life and the religion (the life in the world Hereafter)'."129
"Hadrat Zahra (a.s) also used to work at home."130
Anyone, in need or not, should have a job. He should not waste his life by not doing anything, but he should work and offer his share in building a better world.
If necessary, one should spend his earnings for his family and himself, but if not needed then he should donate his earnings from work to those who need his help. Idleness is tedious and, more often than not, causes mental and psychological disorders, as well as moral corruption.
The best job for married women is to take care of the house. Housekeeping, childcare, etc are the best and the easiest jobs that women can do.
A talented and hardworking housewife can turn her house into a heavenly place for her children and husband; and this is a valuable and worthwhile job.
"The Prophet (S) stated: 'A woman's Jihad is when she attends to her husband (and takes care of him well)'." 131
"Umm-e-Salamah asked the Prophet (S): 'How much reward is there for a woman's housework?' The Prophet (S) replied: 'Any woman who, in the way of improving the order of the house, takes something from somewhere and places it somewhere else, would enjoy the grace of Allah, and whoever attracts the blessings of Allah, would not be tormented by Allah's anger'.
Umm-e-Salamah said: 'O Rasul-Allah (Messenger (SA) of Allah)! May my parents be sacrificed for you, please state other rewards for women'. The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'When a woman becomes pregnant, Allah rewards her as much as He would to someone who goes for Jihad (holy war) with all his wealth and life. Then when she delivers her baby, a call would reach her stating 'all your sins are forgiven; start a new life again.' Each time she feeds her baby with her milk, Allah gives her reward equal to that of freeing a slave for each feeding'."132
Housewives, even not busy with their housework, should find something to do. They can read books, conduct research on something useful, and add to their knowledge and skills. They can write articles, and even books. They can engage in drawing, painting, tailoring, knitting, sewing, and so forth. As a result they can help their families economically as well as contributing to their society by making their achievements available to the public. Working prevents the development of many mental disorders.
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ' Allah likes a pious person who is honestly engaged in doing a job'." 133
While some women work at home, there are others who prefer an outside job. This preference may be either for economical or other reasons. In this case, the best jobs are cultural occupations or nursing. Nurseries, primary and high schools are suitable places for women to train and teach female students. Hospitals are also suitable places where women can serve as nurses and doctors. Such jobs are agreeable to the female nature; and also, there would rarely, if at all, be the need for them to mix with or come across the men who are not mahram (near relatives with whom marriage is prohibited).
The following are recommendations to those ladies who intend to or who are working outside their homes.
Consult your husband before taking up a job. It is your husband's right to grant or refuse you permission to work. Starting to work without your husband's permission will be detrimental to the serenity and loving atmosphere of your family.
Men are also advised not to be adamantly negative with regard to their wives' working outside the house, unless the job concerned is considered unsuitable for them.
(b) Ladies should observe proper Islamic Hijab (veil) when not at home. They should go to work without any make up, and with plain clothes. They must avoid mixing with men who are not mahram as much as possible.
An office is a place to work in and is not for the purpose of showing off, or for rivalry. Prestige and dignity does not come with what you wear, but what you do, and how well you do it. Be and act as a dignified Muslim woman. Maintain your self-respect, and do not hurt your husband's feelings; save your adornments and your beautiful dresses for him at home.
(c) Ladies should be aware that although they are working outside the house, they are still expected by their husbands and children to attend to such activities as housekeeping, cooking, washing, and so forth. This can be done by cooperation within the family. An outside job should not pave the way for upsetting the whole family. Men are also advised to help their wives with regard to housekeeping. Husbands should not expect their wives to work both outside and inside the house on their own. Such an expectation is neither lawful nor fair. Men and women should share the housework.
(d) If a woman, who working outside has a child, then she should leave the child in a nursery or with someone trusted and kind. It is neither right nor wise to leave children at home on their own, since many children become fearful or helpless when they have to confront dangerous situations.
(e) If a woman feels that, in addition to the above works and responsibilities, she should under take another job, then she should definitely come to an understanding with her husband and take up a job with his permission and under his advice. If the husband does not agree, she should forget about this job. If the husband agrees for the wife's undertaking a job, she must try to select a job in which she comes in contact with minimum number of strange men. This is in the interest of both herself and the society. In any case, while outside her home, she must certainly observe Islamic Hijab and see that she remains simple and without any make-up.
The housework comprises of a great deal of work. If a housewife intends to carry out her job perfectly, she would not have enough time to do anything else. This is especially true if she has to take care of a few children as well. But most housewives do find some spare time.
Everyone spends his spare time in one way or another. Some women waste their time. They might just walk in the streets or find another woman to talk to. Most of the time their few hours of talking are not worth a penny. They would listen to repeated words which only prove to be time wasting and nerve breaking. Such idle chatting always results in one's moral degradation. The women who go through life in this way, are surely losers in this world and the next. How surprising it is that if anyone should lose some money, he would become very upset, but people do not give a thought about losing their precious moments of life.
A wise person would make the most out of his precious hours of life. What valuable achievements one can have!
Idleness is very harmful and is a cause of many mental disorders and anxieties. An idle person keeps thinking and finds ways of feeling sad. He would experience many types of worries after which his mind would become confused. A happy person is one who is busy doing something. An unlucky person is one who has excess idle time enough to think of the ups and downs of his life. Being busy is enjoyable, and idleness is a source of depression.
Is it not a pity that one should waste his precious life or spend some of its moments without getting anything in return?
Dear Madam! You can make the most out of your spare minutes or hours. You can do scientific tasks. You can buy the related books and with the help of your husband, increase your knowledge. Any course is possible; physics, chemistry, Qur'an, philosophy, history, geography, literature, psychology, etc. You would enjoy it and perhaps you could one day contribute to your society through your knowledge. You can write articles or even books after which your name will remain. You can earn money too.
Do not think that this is too ambitious for a housewife. Do not imagine that all the great women of history have been sitting idle. They, too, were housewives but the ones who did not waste their spare time.
Mrs. Dorothy Carnegie was a housewife who wrote a good book. She used to do the housework and also helped her husband (Dale Carnegie) in writing his famous book "How to Make Friends and Influence People". She writes in her book concerning principles of looking after the husband: "I have written this book during my child's two-hour sleep. I did a lot of my reading during the time my hair were getting dried in the hairdressing saloon."
There are many women who have been writing great books or have had many achievements in scientific fields.
If you are an enthusiastic person, you could be one of them.
If your husband is a researcher, then help him in his field. Is it not a pity for an educated woman to give up all her knowledge?
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'There is not any better treasure other than knowledge'." 134
"Imam Baqir (a.s) stated: 'Whoever spends his day and night in seeking knowledge, would surely be enjoined by the blessings of Allah’''135
If you are not interested in reading or research then keep yourself busy with handicraft or artistic hobbies such as dress making, painting, knitting, flower decorations, etc.
You can learn such arts and practice them. These skills may help you mentally and financially. Islam has also proposed handicraft to women in their spare time. The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: "Spinning (and weaving) is a good pastime for women." 136
One of the important duties of women is caring for their children. This is not an easy task but one which is very sensitive and vital. It is the most sacred and most valuable responsibility which has been bestowed upon women by the order of creation. There are a few points which are briefly mentioned here with regard to this matter:
(1) Fruit of Marriage
Although a man and a woman get married for a few reasons such as sexual motive, love, etc, having a child is not one of the main reasons for marriage.
But it is not long before the true motive of natural creation becomes apparent itself and the love for having a child grows in their hearts. The existence of a child is the fruit of the marital tree and a natural desire of men and women. A marriage without a child is like a fruitless tree. A child would strengthen the bonds of love between a couple. It serves as a drive to the man's working life and encourages the parents to care for their family.
Marriage is sometimes initially founded on the basis of lust, love making and instantaneous sexual interests. Such a foundation is false and not lasting and is always prone to destruction. The factor with which this foundation becomes strong, is haying a child.
Lust and sexual drive soon subside. The only memory from days and nights of sexual desire would be the children, whose existence would be heart warming to the parents.
"Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: 'One's happiness is in haying pious children from whom one can seek help'.'' 137
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'A pious child is a sweet-smelling plant from among the plants of Paradise'.'' 138
"The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: ' Add to the numbers of your children, because I, on the Day of Judgment, will feel honored about the greatness of your numbers over the other Ummahs'.'' 139
How ignorant are those who, with various excuses, refuse to have children, and thus fight the principle of creation!
(2) Educating a Child
The most sensitive responsibility of a mother is her duty to educate and train her children. Although both the parents should share this responsibility, it weighs more heavily on the shoulders of mothers.
This is because a mother is able to constantly protect and monitor her child. If mothers, through a correct program try to bring up their children, then a whole nation and even the world would undergo revolutionary changes.
Thus the progress or deterioration of a society is in the hands of women.
"The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: 'The Paradise is under the feet of mothers'." 140
Small children of today are the men and women of tomorrow. Whatever lessons they learn now, they will practice in future societies. If families improve, the society will progress, because societies are no more than a collection of families. Tomorrow's world will suffer with today's bad- tempered, stubborn, ignorant, cowardly, materialistic, nasty, careless, selfish and cruel children.
On the contrary, tomorrow's world will benefit from today's children who are honest, well mannered, generous, brave, just, trustworthy, etc.
Therefore, parents in general and mothers in particular are responsible towards their societies. They can serve their society by bringing up pious children. On the other hand, carelessness about their responsibility will be questioned on the Day of Judgment.
"Imam Sajjad (a.s) stated: 'The right of your child is that you should know he is from you. Be it good or bad he is related to you. You are responsible for his upbringing, education and showing him the path to Allah and helping him to be obedient. You should treat him in such a way that if you behave well towards him, you will be sure of being rewarded and if you behave badly towards him, you will be sure of receiving punishment'.'' 141
Of course not all mothers are aware of the necessary skills of training a child and that is why they should set about learning them.
It is not within the scope of this book to present you with a detailed discussion on caring for one's child. Fortunately, there are many books, which have been written on this subject by learned writers and scholars. Women can buy these books and with the help of their own experience, they can educate their children and even become specialists in the field of child-rearing. She can then become helpful to other mothers for their duties regarding their children.
Here one point should be mentioned. Many people make mistake about the two phrases of 'education' and 'training', or think of them as having the same meaning. But one should know that teaching a child different subjects such as appropriate stories, poems, Qur'an, traditions of the Prophet (S), and the Imams (a.s) does not educate them. Such subjects are useful but a child should not only learn about honest persons, but he should be honest himself.
Thus, we must create such an atmosphere and living environment that the child would naturally become an honest and pious person. If a child grows up in an environment of honesty, truthfulness, bravery, discipline, cleanliness, kindness, love, freedom, justice, patience, trustworthiness, faithfulness, and sacrifice, then he learns all of that.
On the other hand, a child who grows up in a place of corruption, deception, anger, hate, hypocrisy, filth, and disloyalty, would inevitably be affected by them. Such a child may learn many stories about good and pious people, but to no avail. Dishonest parents cannot, by teaching Qur'an and Hadith, bring up honest children. Dirty mother and father actually teach their child to be dirty. A child pays more attention to his parent's deeds and not so much to their words.
Therefore, those of us who are seriously thinking of bringing up honest and good children should correct their own behaviour first. This is the only way to educate a child to be useful to himself and his society.
Another important duty of a housewife is feeding her children. Health or illness, beauty or ugliness, even good or bad temperedness, and cleverness of children are all related to the way they are fed.
Children have a different feeding pattern as compared with that of adults. They have different requirements at different ages and therefore mothers have to take this point into consideration when feeding their children.
"The best and the most nourishing food is milk. Milk contains all that is required for a healthy body. Thus for a baby there is nothing more suitable than the mother's milk. Since milk contains ingredients which are suitable for the baby's digestive system, therefore, there are not any problems in feeding a baby with mother's milk. Besides one does not need to boil it, pasteurize it, or sterilize it. One also need not to worry about its genuineness.
"Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'There is no better and more copious food than mother's milk for a baby'." 142
"Dr A. H. Taba, the former Head of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the World Health Organization said: 'One of the important factors, which makes a child susceptible to many illnesses is by depriving him or her of mother's milk which is the only life insurance of any person.'' 143
Thus, mothers who feed their babies with their own milk must remember that all the necessary nutrition for their babies are contained within that milk.
But a nutritive milk is only possible if the mother is fed well, that is, the quality of her milk is related to the quality and quantity of her own food. The better her food, the better her milk would be. Mothers who feed their babies with their own milk can, through carelessness about their food, damage their own health as well as of their babies.
The fathers of small babies are also responsible to supply their wives with sufficient good quality food. Malnutrition is a serious problem for many people and one should not overlook it or else she must be prepared to pay for the treatment of illnesses caused by it.
You can obtain enough information on this subject from your doctor or related books. But as a general rule a nursing mother should consume all types of food from meat, fruit, dairy products to vegetables.
The important fact is that the mother's milk affects the baby's character and that is why "Imam Ali (a.s) stated: 'Do not choose foolish women to feed (your children) with their milk, because the milk makes their base qualities penetrated into the child'." 144
"Imam Baqir (a.s) stated: 'Choose noble women to feed (your children) with their milk, because the base qualities of milk are passed from the feeding woman to the child'." 145
You must feed your baby at definite intervals. Your child gets used to this regularity and helps him in being patient. It also helps him with regard to a healthy digestive system and stomach. On the other hand, if you feed the baby whenever he cries, then he will not learn to be disciplined. If he gets what he wants through crying, then he will pick up this attitude and use it even when he becomes an adult. He will not have the necessary patience when confronting hardships. He will either use force to achieve his own wishes or he will break down under difficulties.
Do not think that to discipline a child is an impossible task. You must just be patient and have a suitable program for training him according to your standards. The child nutritive experts say that a baby must be fed with milk once every three to four hours.
Hold your child in your arms while feeding. By embracing the child feels your love and it would even affect his/her future personality. Do not feed the baby while lying down, because it has been seen that some mothers have fallen asleep while feeding their babies and as a result some babies have suffocated because their mother's breasts prevented them breathing.
If you do not have any milk yourself, you can use cow's milk. But since cow's milk is much denser than mother's milk, you must add some water to it. You can also use pasteurized milk, which you should boil for twenty minutes or until it becomes safe for babies' consumption.
Do not feed the baby with hot or cold milk, but at the same temperature as the mother's milk.
After every feeding, you should boil the bottle and its nipple, and extra car must be taken during the hot seasons. Be careful not to use leftover or sour milk. It is better to measure the amount of milk for every feeding in order to make sure that your child is not getting too much or too little. In using powdered milk, you should consult a pediatrician. You must always use fresh powdered milk.
After the fourth month of the baby's birth you can start to feed him with fruit juice. From the age of six months, you can also start to feed him with solid foods and soups. You can feed him biscuits or sweet bread. Yogurt and cheese are also useful. You can gradually feed him with slight amounts of your own food.
Remember that your baby feels thirsty just as often as you do. Therefore, feed him with water as well, but do not try to make him drink tea or coffee. Fruits, vegetables, and soups are especially useful for growing infants.
Do not forget to be hygienic with regard to your baby's bedding, clothing, and nappies. Wash his face and hands often. Bathe him regularly, because infants are very susceptible towards dirt and germs and become ill easily.
You must vaccinate your children against such diseases as smallpox, chickenpox, whooping cough, infantile paralysis, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. Vaccines are fortunately readily available in medical and health centers.
You can have healthy children by observing these codes of hygiene and cleanliness.
- 1. Wasa 'il al Shiah, vol 14, p 3.
- 2. Ibid
- 3. Ibid
- 4. Ibid, p 23
- 5. Ibid, p 5
- 6. Ibid, p 6
- 7. Ibid, p 23
- 8. Ibid, p 17
- 9. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 43, p 117
- 10. Dar Aghushe Khushakhfi, p 142
- 11. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 254
- 12. Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 2, p 70
- 13. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 552
- 14. Ittela'at, 20th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri*, no. 13140. *By Solar Hijri is meant Solar Calendar based on Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (SA). Difference between the Gregorian calendar and Solar Hijri is 621 years.
- 15. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532
- 16. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235
- 17. Ibid, vol 74, p 181
- 18. Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551
- 19. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 253
- 20. Mustadrak, vol 3, p 551
- 21. Ittela'at, 14th Urdibahisht, 1351 Solar Hijri, no 13787
- 22. Ibid, 1st Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri, no 13652
- 23. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 363
- 24. Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 2, p 72
- 25. Ittela'at, 13th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri, no 13689
- 26. Bihar al-Anwar vol 71, p 389
- 27. Ibid, vol 73, p 298
- 28. Ittela'at, 15th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 29. Ibid, 3rd Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 30. Ibid, 3rd Shahriwar, l349 Solar Hijri
- 31. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 71, p 377
- 32. Ibid, vol 103, p 253
- 33. Ibid, vol 103, p 253
- 34. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 71, p 244
- 35. Ibid, vol 76. p 367
- 36. Mustadrak, vol 3, p 532
- 37. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 217
- 38. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 534
- 39. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 239
- 40. Shafi, vol 2, p 139
- 41. Wasa'il al Shiah, vol 11, p 542
- 42. Ittela'at, 7th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 43. Ibid,17th Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 44. Ibid, 8th Esfand, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 45. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 73, p 385
- 46. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 104, p 38
- 47. Ittela'at, 3rd Esfand, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 48. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 104, p 39
- 49. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235.
- 50. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 101
- 51. Ittela'at, 13 Murdad, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 52. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247
- 53. Ittela'at, 4th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri.
- 54. Ibid, 7th Dey, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 55. Ibid, 29th Dey, 1348 Solar Hijri
- 56. Ibid, 17th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 57. Ibid, 25th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 58. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 123
- 59. Ibid, vol 74, p 5
- 60. Ibid, vol 76, p 367
- 61. Ibid, vol 75, p 194
- 62. Ibid
- 63. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 57, p 218
- 64. Ittela'at, 27th Aban, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 65. Ittela'at, 9th Azar, 1348 Solar Hijri.
- 66. Ibid, 12th Urdibahisht, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 67. Ibid, 13th Urdibahisht, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 68. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235
- 69. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247
- 70. Ibid, p 235
- 71. Shafi, vol 2, p 138
- 72. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 228
- 73. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247
- 74. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 75, p 71
- 75. Ibid, vol 74, p 178
- 76. Ittela'at, 17th Murdad, 1351 Solar Hijri.
- 77. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 235
- 78. Ibid, p 248
- 79. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532
- 80. Shafi, vol 2, p 129
- 81. Ittela'at, 25th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 82. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103. p 247
- 83. Ittela'at, 4th Azar, 1348 Solar Hijri
- 84. Ibid, 28th Mehr, 1348 Solar Hijri.
- 85. Ibid, 8th Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 86. Ibid, 17th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri
- 87. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 75, p 186
- 88. Ittela'at, 17th Tir, 1349 Solar Hijri
- 89. Asiyah was the wife of Pharaoh.
- 90. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 103, p 247
- 91. Ibid, p 239.
- 92. Ibid, vol 71, p 419
- 93. Ittela'at, 3rd Azar, 1350 Solar Hijri.
- 94. Ittela'at, 28th Farwardin, 1351 Solar Hijri
- 95. Mahajjat al-Bayda, vol 1, p 166
- 96. Majma' al-Zawaid, vol 5, p 132
- 97. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 79, p 300
- 98. Shafi, vol 1, p 208
- 99. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 175
- 100. Ibid
- 101. Shafi, vol p 208
- 102. Ibid, p 215
- 103. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 76, p 176
- 104. Ibid
- 105. Shafi, vol 2, p 124
- 106. Ibid, vol 1, p 209
- 107. Ibid, p 210
- 108. Ibid, p 211
- 109. Ibid
- 110. Ibid
- 111. Ibid, vol 2, p 123
- 112. Ittela'at, 23rd Bahman, 1348 Solar Hijri
- 113. Ibid, 26th Tir, 1351 Solar Hijri.
- 114. Ibid,11th Esfand, 1348 Solar Hijri.
- 115. Ibid, 3rd Bahman, 1350 Solar Hijri
- 116. Wasa'il al-Shiah, vol 14, p 15
- 117. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 62, p 290
- 118. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 551.
- 119. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 251
- 120. Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 16, p 557
- 121. Ibid, p 520
- 122. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 355
- 123. Ibid, p 353
- 124. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 550
- 125. Wasa.il al-Shiah, vol 14, p 15
- 126. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 248
- 127. Mustadrak, vol 2, p 532
- 128. Usul al-Kafi, vol 5, p 84
- 129. Ibid
- 130. Ibid, p 86
- 131. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 103, p 247
- 132. Ibid, p 251
- 133. Usul al-Kafi, vol 5, p 113
- 134. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 1 p 165
- 135. Ibid, p 174.
- 136. Ibid, vol 103, p 258.
- 137. Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 96
- 138. Ibid, p 97
- 139. Ibid, p 96
- 140. Majm'a al-Zawa'id, vol 8, p 138
- 141. Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 6.
- 142. Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 175
- 143. Ittela'at, 15th Farvardin, 1353 Solar Hijri
- 144. Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vol 15, p 188
- 145. Ibid, p 189.