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Mutual Rights-Good Companionship - I

Under category : Q & A and Advice
3072 2012/12/19 2024/05/21

Mutual Rights-Good Companionship - I


The mutual rights that Allaah The Almighty has enjoined on both the spouses represent His utmost justice. There are two major rights. There are two main rights: the right to good companionship, and the right to overnight stay and equal distribution. In this series we will address the first of these rights.


First: The right to good companionship


Muslims will never find happiness or tranquility in their homes unless they live together in a kind manner. Allaah The Almighty enjoined the right of good companionship because it helps maintain the affairs of the spouses and brings them happiness. Moreover, it was set to serve as a real test for the spouses. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): #{And live with them in kindness.}## [Quran 4:19] This is a command from Allaah The Almighty, which implies a sense of obligation. Scholars said that living in kindness is an obligatory right whose violator bears a sin while the one who fulfils it deserves reward. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): #{Either retain them in kindness or part with them kindness.}## [Quran 65:2]


Good companionship requires essential matters that appear in a person’s heart, which is only known to Allaah The Almighty, in his speech and words and in his behavior and actions.




Good companionship has three aspects, the first and foremost of which is the intention and what is hidden in the hearts of the spouses. The husband cannot live in kindness with his wife, nor can she live in kindness with him unless each has a good intention towards the other. This is what Allaah The Almighty means by his Saying (what means): #{And do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them].}## [Quran 2:231] If the husband wants to keep his wife, he should have a good intention towards her. Therefore, scholars have said that Allaah The Almighty reveals whatever man conceals in his heart, good or bad, in the slips of his tongue. For the man who intends good when marrying a woman or bringing her into wedlock with the intention to treat her kindly and live with her in kindness, Allaah will guide him and grant him success in his life. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): #{If Allaah Knows [any] good in your hearts, He Will Give you [something] better.}

## [Quran 8:70]


When Allaah The Almighty finds good intentions in the hearts of the spouses, He will grant them success in their apparent behavior and actions and bring about goodness through them.


Thus, the first advice given to the person who wants to live in kindness is to have good intention. Some scholars said that the husband has to renew his intention every day so that Allaah The Almighty would increase his reward, particularly when his wife is righteous or has an extra right over him, such as being his relative. He should have in his heart a good intention towards her, and in this case, Allaah The Almighty would reveal this intention through his sayings and actions. Similarly, the woman should have in her heart good intention towards her husband. Once this intention changes, Allaah The Almighty will change the conditions of the spouses. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): #{Indeed, Allaah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.}## [Quran 13:11]


When the spouses change their good intentions, Allaah The Almighty will consequently change their conditions from good to evil, and from better to worse. Thus, every husband should consider his intention and look into his heart when he suffers troubles with his wife. In principle, good companionship emanates from good and righteous intention, and from a heart that harbors goodness. The effects of these things are reflected on a person’s actions. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ~“Indeed, there is a piece of flesh in the body which, if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Indeed, that is the heart.”~~




The second point related to good companionship in one's speech is that just as man should have good intention in his heart in order to live in kindness, his speech should also be in accordance with the Pleasure of Allaah The Almighty. Some scholars said regarding #{And live with them in kindness}## that kindness is everything that is in accordance with the Sharee‘ah of Allaah The Almighty, and that evil is everything that contradicts the Sharee‘ah of Allaah The Almighty. Thus, the husband, who wants to live on good terms with his wife, should fear Allaah The Almighty regarding what he say, and likewise for wife. The principle that the Book of Allaah and Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) have affirmed is that every believing man and woman should preserve his/her tongue and utter good words. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ~“Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him say something good or keep silent.”~~


The signs of belief in Allaah The Almighty include controlling one's tongue from saying anything but good to people in general and the family in particular. Allaah The Almighty enjoined the believers in the past, addressing us as well, Saying (what means): #{And speak to people good [words].}## [Quran 2:83] Allaah The Almighty ordered us to say good words that please Him, because good words benefit the person who says them both in this world and in the Hereafter. On the other hand, bad words harm the speaker in this life and in the Hereafter. When words emerge from the tongue, they never return, and when hurtful and harsh words are uttered, they break hearts, ruin them and alter affection and love to an extent that only Allaah Knows. Allaah The Almighty therefore enjoined preserving the tongue in the Quran and through the words of His Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ).


Scholars listed the situations in which living in kindness through speech occurs between the spouses:


1- When the spouses call one another.

2- When they request something from one another.

3- During discussion, conversation and jesting.

4- In disputes and arguments.


1- When the woman calls her husband or when he calls her, it should be done in a nice manner. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) would call ’Aa‘ishah may Allaah be pleased with her saying: “O ’Aa‘ish, O ’Aa‘ish.” Scholars said that this manner of calling his wife showed how the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) honored, jested and fulfilled his role as a good husband to his wives. This is a method for Muslim husbands - to use words of love and kindness when calling their wives. Harsh and coarse addressing, which involves a coercive and forceful style on the part of the husband or mockery and sarcasm on the part of the wife, ruins love and severs ties of intimacy between the spouses. Thus, the wife should call her husband by the best names and so should her husband.


‘Umar may Allaah be pleased with him said that affection and love increases when a Muslim calls his Muslim brother with the best of his names. This is one of the three factors that strengthen intimacy among Muslims, so what would be its effect on the spouses? It is a mistake when the husband chooses for his wife a name that embarrasses her or exposes her to ridicule or belittlement. The same thing applies to the wife with her husband. Some scholars would say that it is preferable that the spouses do not call one other by their names; it is most honorable that they call each other by their nicknames (i.e. father of so and so or mother of so and so). This is the best manner to adopt. Scholars have also said that when a husband is used to calling his wife affectionately, she does the same or even better since women were created inclined to affection and love for gentleness, mercy and intimacy. So, when the husband treats his wife on that basis, she would react with him in a better way.


2- When the man requests something from his wife, he should ask her in a manner that does not give her the feeling of servitude, humiliation, contempt or belittlement. Similarly, when the woman requests something from her husband, she should not overburden, hurt or harm him, nor should she use troublesome words. This behavior helps to preserve one's tongue and fulfill living equitably through speech. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) once asked ‘Aa‘ishah may Allaah be pleased with her while he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was in the mosque (Masjid): ~“Give me the straw mat.”~~ She may Allaah be pleased with her said, “I am menstruating.” The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ~“Your menstruation is not in your hands.”~~ [Muslim].


Just look at how the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) asked a Mother of the Believers for something, and when she declined, she mentioned her Sharee‘ah-based excuse. She may Allaah be pleased with her did not say no or that she could not without a justification; rather, she may Allaah be pleased with her said that she was in her menstruation, awaiting instructions on what to do. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: ~“Your menstruation is not in your hands,”~~ meaning that she could simply hand it over since entering a hand into the mosque is not like entering the whole body.


The lesson we learn here is kindness in calling or requesting something. Marital problems may arise due to frequent requests. Scholars mentioned that when a man burdens his wife with many demands and his manner of demanding is bothersome, this would be one of the major reasons that ruin affection and love. A woman in this case feels as if she is a humiliated servant in her husband's house.


Wise men, with the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) before them, advised giving reward upon request, at least with kind words. For example, when the husband asks his wife to do something, and she does it, he should say kind words to her, such as supplicating to Allaah The Almighty to grant her goodness and bless her. Once the wife realizes that her favor and goodness are appreciated, thanked and not denied, she will appreciate this from her husband and will actively do good to him and fulfill his needs. This will greatly help them live equitably together.


3- In conversations and jesting. The spouses should not talk to one another at inappropriate times. Some scholars said that it is harmful that a woman talks to her husband when he is tired and exhausted or that a man talks to his wife when she is tired and exhausted. This entails boredom and contradicts living in the kindness that Allaah The Almighty enjoined. They added that when a man jests with his wife, he should use the best words, and when he relates something to her, he should select the best event that positively and fruitfully affects her.


(To be continued)



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