Managing Marital Discords III

Managing Marital Discords: The essay is an excerpt from a lecture given by Shaykh Doctor Lukmaan Idris Sekoni (Hafidhahu Llāhu wa ra’āh).

Ways To Manage The Disobedience Of A Wife

This isn’t farfetched for Allah has explained to us in details in His Glorious Book in Sūratun- Nisaa verse 94.

• The first step is to admonish her, feeding her with the words of Allah and the sayings of His noble Prophet. The scholars explain that, the husband who would admonish her must equally be one who understands the admonition. And this is a wakeup call to fathers or guardians of females. Does the husband who would admonish his wife even have the capability?

It is recommended that the husband firstly admonish his erring wife if he notice in her, traits of disobedience either by teaching her or giving her the opportunity to listen to Islamic lectures frequently. This is what Allah stated first and not battering her or humiliating her. Her disobedience would first be managed and if the husband is not a scholar, then he must be a seeker of knowledge and if not, then he must be someone who ask and seek clarification from the scholars on what is ambiguous to him. Because, when it is said that you admonish your wife, the admonition must have also been exhibited by you.

Any man that wants to protect his household from discords should allow his wife to be much in listening to Islamic lectures. Because, the Prophet (Upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) usually admonish his wives specifically in his household. And when they are being overwhelmed by their emotions, the Prophet will say to them; “Fear Allah! Oh you!” and this is a great admonition because Taqwā (piety) is the best of all admonitions. And this is why most of the time, this was the most common of the prophet’s utterance to them.

• The second step is, if the admonition didn’t work, then desert her bed. There is no punishment more painful to a woman than leaving them to themselves. This is even way more painful than raising hands to beat them. It usually has a great positive impact on them. But there is a condition attached to this “ desertion”.

– A husband does not hold grudges against his wife unless he is sure it will reform her. And if it would not have any impact on her then he must not desert her. But should rather continue with admonishing her.

– Forsaking her should solely be for the purpose of using this to deter the woman from disobedience, to return her to righteousness and obedience, and to convey a message from the husband that includes his discontent and dissatisfaction with her behavior, and it is not intended to torture the woman.

And the method of forsaking or deserting a wife would only be efficient from a lively husband. For instance, a husband who even when the wife was submissive usually frown every time he is with her, should not think of adopting this method for it would have no impact of redeeming the woman. Because, there would be no difference between the past and present time. And Allah’s aid is earnestly sought!

• The third step is disciplining her. When admonition didn’t work, nor does forsaking her, disciplining her would then be the next step. Imām Qurtubiy (may Allah have mercy on him) stated in his exegesis of this verse; “the discipline” meant in this verse is that of drawing her attention to change and not the one that would deform her or break her bones or inflict scar on her. For what was intended was to reform her and not to deform her. If it leads to deformation or even death, then the husband would be held responsible by paying ransom.

The most sound and advisable method of reforming an erring wife is to first admonish her, desert her if the first doesn’t work and be careful while disciplining her. After all, no record has it that the Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) ever raised his hands to discipline any of his wives. These are the legislated ways through which a disobedient wife can be corrected.

How An-Nushūz Can Materialize From The Husband’s Side

In the same sense, “Nushūz” can also materialize from the side of the husband . Ibn Haadiy Al-Amdaliy said; “what is meant when an husband is said to exhibit the act of Nushūz towards his wife is refraining from satisfying the sexual right of his wife or dislikes her in his heart and openly. This is an act of Nushūz on the part of the man. Almighty Allah says regarding this; (( And if a woman fears cruelty or evasion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better…))[An-Nisaa:128]

Almighty Allah is affirming in this verse that, discord can also be caused by the husband. And this is classified into two:

– The one that Allah abhors for the husband to express towards his wife; like forsaking her unnecessarily, being unjust to her, not relating well with her, humiliating her, battering her, howling abusive words at her etc. are acts of Nushūz and are strictly, totally forbidden by Allah.

– And the other one doesn’t fall into haram (prohibition) and does not attract punishment from Allah. May Allah protect us from this. This is when the husband looses interest in his wife for one reason or another. And this is because humans’ hearts usually change. He might unconsciously start loosing interest in her, getting aggressive at the slightest provocation from her, and her love begin to reduce in his heart.

Ibn Kathīr (May Allah be merciful to him) said “If a woman fears that her husband is becoming disinterested in her or wants to forsake her, it is then better for her to forfeit some of her demands from him. There is nothing wrong with the woman, if the husband turns away from her due to old age, illness, or any other reason, and she desires the continuation of the marriage, to reconcile with him by forfeiting some of her rights, such as spending the night and maintenance, provided that he keeps her in his custody and does not divorce her, because Almighty Allah said reconciliation is better.

Our mother Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “When Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) was estranged and separated from the Messenger of Allah, she said, “O Messenger of Allah, my day is for Aisha.” So he accepted that from her. This option may be the best for the woman due to her social and psychological situation.

On this note, if a wife notice a change in the behavior of her husband to her, she should become lenient with him to draw his heart back to her. Islaam frowns against the act of a wife being in combat with her husband for it doesn’t solve discord but worsen it. Every Muslim females should therefore have it in mind that, even if you would demand your rights, exercise patience first. In an hadith reported by Mu’ādh bn Jabal, the Prophet said; “No woman will experience the sweetness of faith until she gives her husband his due rights. And among the rights of the husband is to be patient with him if you notice a change in his attitude.”

Also, from the hadith of Ibn Abbās (Radiya Llāhu ‘anhu), the Prophet (Salla Llāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said; “Your women who would be dwellers of Jannah are those who love you. The one who is always eager to draw opportunities to her husband. The one who would pacify him to her best of ability and when he is angry, she pacifies him by saying “ I will not eat until you are pleased with me”.

The Best Approach By An Aggrieved Woman

As known, the religion of Islaam is balanced, free of prejudice and accommodates no injustice of any form. It can be seen sometimes that a man is mean and wicked and derives joy in maltreating women. What should be the best approach by a woman?

The woman can admonish him in the best of manners but it is not for her to desert her husband or refuse sexual advances from him and Islaam does not permit her to discipline him. This is so because Almighty Allah in His sublime wisdom put the husband in the status of an head and a woman should be under his care.

There is no teaching of Islaam that is against/opposes logical reasoning except an illogical one. A typical example is the setting of a business organization where there is an head representing the founders. If the subordinates err, this head would sanction them but assuming he was the one who errs, it isn’t the subordinates that would punish him but will rather report him to the main head. And to Allah is perfect example/instance.

When the humility becomes unbearable for the woman, she would report him to the judge. Islaam permits her to tender the matter to the judge to seek redress and even the man-made law permits such. The Islamic scholars explain that, if such matter is reported to the judge, there are five approaches to it by the judge:

• Affirming the claim of the wife and researching for solid evidences. The Hanābilah school of thought opined that, such judge can order the husband to change his environment and move to another environment in order to lay hands on reliable evidences.

• Admonishing the husband and ordering him to change for better.

• If the husband does not improve, he would be disciplined and be forced to fulfill his duties.

• Separating them temporarily which is different from divorce.

• Separating them permanently/dissolving the marriage whereby they cease being husband and wife.

This indicates that, Islaam does not just dump a woman under a man to be maltreating her. The rights of the woman over her husband has been firmly and clearly entrenched in the Qur’an and Sunnah. This being said, it is an act of injustice by the husband to categorically tell his wife to endure every of his maltreatments and restrict her from reporting his matter to those that can solve it or call him to order.

A woman is obliged to report acts of injustice experienced from her husband to the judge. This is among the laws stated by the Shari’a to curb marital discords in every households. And if we are to follow these methods as stated by Allah in His Book and His Apostle (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), even if discords would happen, it would be easier for us to manage and we would experience nothing short of joy in our marital journey.

May Almighty Allah make what was said and heard beneficial to us all, count it among our accepted good deeds and make it weigh heavily on our Meezānul hasanāt (scale of good deeds) on the day no affluence or children would be of benefit except one who comes to his Lord with an healthy heart. Fassalāmu ‘alaykum warahmatuLlāhi wabarakaatuh.


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