The Noblest Husband
Concerning wives, the Prophet (Pbuh) said to husbands:
“Women are the counterparts of men.”2
Lady ‘Aishah, Sunan At-Tirmidhy, Book of At-Taharah (Purification), Hadith no. 105.
“The most perfect of believers in faith are those who are most nobly mannered, and the best of you are those who are the most mannerly towards their wives.”
Abu Hurairah, Sunan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Ar-Rada‘ (Breastfeeding), Hadith no. 1082.
“The best of you is he who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wife.”
Lady ‘Aishah, Sunan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Manaqib, Hadith no. 3830.
The Prophet (Pbuh) shared his life with women, honored them, protected them, helped them, consulted them, listened to them, laughed with them… and even played with them and said,
“Everything with which a Muslim man amuses himself is vain, except his shooting with his bow, his training of his horse, and his playing with his wife, for they are among what is right.”
‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir Al-Juhany, Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Jihad, Hadith no. 2801.
Lady ‘Aishah narrated,
“The Prophet (Pbuh)raced me, and I outstripped him.”
Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of An-Nikah, Hadith no. 1969
The Prophet (Pbuh) had another race with his wife but this time he (Pbuh) outstripped her. She said,
“When I became fleshy, I raced him (again) and he (Pbuh)outstripped me, saying, ‘This (makes up) for that.’”
Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Jihad, Hadith no. 2214.
On a feast day, the Prophet (Pbuh) stood at the door of Lady ‘Aishah’s house while some Abyssinians (Ethiopians) were playing with their spears in the Masjid, screening his wife with his garment and lowering his shoulders to enable her to see their display. She kept watching until she was content. Lady ‘Aishah narrated:
It was a feast day, when Africans would play with leather shields and spears. Either I requested from the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)or he (Pbuh) himself asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. He (Pbuh) made me stand behind him, my cheek touching his cheek. He (Pbuh)was saying, “Carry on, O Banu Arfida!” When I became bored, he (Pbuh)asked me, “Had you enough?” I said, “Yes.” So he (Pbuh)asked me to leave.
Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Jihad wa Al-Siyar, Hadith no. 2691.
The Prophet (Pbuh)did not belittle the special world of woman, her tales, interests, likes and dislikes, and the way she sometimes gets attached to certain possessions - perhaps a necklace. Lady ‘Aishah narrated:
We set out with the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) on one of his journeys. When we were at Al-Baida’ or Dhatul-Jaish, a necklace of mine was broken (and lost). The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) stayed there to search for it, and people stayed with him. They were not at a place of water, nor did they have any water with them. The people went to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (my father) and said, “Do you not see what ‘Aishah has done? She made the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) and the people stay where there is no water, nor do they have water with them.” Abu Bakr came while the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) was sleeping with his head reclining on my thigh. He said (to me), “You have detained the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)and the people where there is no water, nor do they have water with them.” Abu Bakr admonished me and said what Allah wished him to say. He started to jab me in my flank with his hand. The only thing that prevented me from stirring (because of pain) was the position of the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)on my thigh. When the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) woke up at dawn there was no water; consequently, Allah revealed the Ayah of Tayammum.Usaid bin Hudair said, “This is not the first of your blessings, O family of Abu Bakr.” Then we made the camel on which I was riding get up and found the necklace under it.
At home, the Prophet (Pbuh) was not the kind of husband who would sit and have everything done for him. His helping hand was there supporting the hands of the women, giving fodder to the animals, milking the sheep, sweeping the house, mending his shoes, patching his garment, buying things from the marketplace, and serving his family.
- Lady ‘Aishah was asked, “What did the Prophet (Pbuh) used to do in his house?” She replied, “He (Pbuh)used to be in the service of his family, and when the time for Salah came, he (Pbuh) would go out to Salah.”
- Lady ‘Aishah was asked about what the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) used to do in his house and she replied, “He (Pbuh)was one of the humans; he (Pbuh)used to clean his garment, milk his sheep, and serve himself.” She also said, “He (Pbuh)used to stitch his garment, mend his shoes, and do what men usually do at their homes.”
At home, the Prophet (Pbuh)was affectionate and spoke the language of affection and mercy that must exist between spouses. Lady ‘Aishah narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)came to me to kiss me, so I said to him,
‘O Messenger of Allah, I am fasting.’ The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said to me, ‘And I am fasting.’ Then he (Pbuh) kissed me.”
At home, the Prophet (Pbuh)was willing to talk and listen to his wives, and in a life burdened with responsibilities, still he (Pbuh)dedicated some time to his wives. Ibn ‘Abbas narrated, “
I stayed overnight at the house of my aunt Maymunah. The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)talked with his wife for an hour, and then he (Pbuh)lay down.”
Lady ‘Aishah narrated,
“The Prophet (Pbuh)used to offer a two-Rak‘ah prayer (at dawn), and then if I was awake, he (Pbuh)would talk to me; otherwise, he (Pbuh)would lie down.”
Closeness and familiarity made the Prophet (Pbuh) understand his wives. Through a few words he (Pbuh) could easily decipher their feelings. In a mild reproach he (Pbuh) once said, as Lady ‘Aishah narrated, “I know when you are pleased with me and when you are angry with me.” ‘Aishah asked, “How do you know that?” He (Pbuh) said, “When you are pleased with me, you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Muhammad,’ and when you are angry with me, you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham r).” ‘Aishah said, “Yes, but by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, I leave nothing but your name.”
He (Pbuh) not only listened to the opinions of his wives, but followed their counsel at times of crisis, as happened in the year of Al-Hudaibiyah. Muslims came a long way, driving their sacrificial animals, hopeful to visit the Ka‘bah, but they were inhibited from entering Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) and performing ‘Umrah (minor pilgrimage) – an aggression that deeply grieved them. After negotiations, the Hudaibiyah treaty was concluded, in which the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)agreed with the infidels of Quraish that he (Pbuh) and his Companions would perform ‘Umrah, but not until the next year. ‘Umar narrated:
When the writing down of the treaty was concluded, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said to his Companions, “Get up, slaughter (your sacrifices), and then get your head shaved.” By Allah, none of them got up. The Prophet (Pbuh)repeated his order three times, and when none of them got up, he (Pbuh)went to Umm Salamah and told her about the attitude of the people he (Pbuh)encountered. Umm Salamah said, “O Prophet of Allah, do you want that (i.e., your order to be carried out)? Go out and do not say a word to any of them until you have slaughtered your sacrifice, called your barber, and shaved your head.” The Prophet (Pbuh)went out and did not talk to any of them until he (Pbuh)had done that. He (Pbuh)slaughtered his sacrifice and called his barber, who shaved his head. Seeing that, the Companions got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another.
At home, the Prophet (Pbuh)had unwavering trust and confidence in his wives. He (Pbuh)forbade husbands from behaving with distrust towards their wives, spying on them, or looking for their lapses. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said,
“The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)forbade that a man should come to his family unexpectedly at night, doubting their fidelity and looking for their lapses.”
Anas bin Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) would not come (back from a journey) to his wives at night. He would return to them in the morning or at evening.” The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said,
“When anyone of you is away (from his house) for a long time, he should not return to his wife at night.”
He (Pbuh) taught that mutual trust built between spouses through living together entails support of each other during hard times. When Ubai bin Salul spread a vicious story, slandering the Prophet’s wife, Lady ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet (Pbuh)stood on the pulpit and defended his wife, saying, “By Allah, I know nothing except good about my family. And they have mentioned (blamed) a man of whom I know nothing but good, and he has never visited my family except with me.”
At home, the Prophet (Pbuh)was forgiving and patient. He (Pbuh)excused moments of anger in marital life and allowed giving vent to feelings. ‘Umar t narrated:
I once shouted at my wife and she retorted upon me. I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, “Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet (Pbuh)retort upon him. Some of them desert him for the whole day until night.” What she said scared me. I said to her, “Whoever does so among them has failed.” Then I dressed myself and went to (my daughter) Hafsah and asked her, “O Hafsah! Do any of you keep the Prophet (Pbuh)angry all day long until night?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “You have failed and you are ruined! Are you secure against Allah getting angry for the anger of His Messenger (Pbuh)and you be ruined? Do not ask much of the Prophet r, do not retort upon him for anything, and do not desert him. Demand from me whatever you like.”
An-Nu‘man bin Bashir narrated:
Abu Bakr came asking the permission of the Prophet (Pbuh) to enter when he heard ‘Aishah speaking to the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) in a loud voice. He was given permission. He entered and said, “O daughter of Umm Ruman!” and he seized her (to slap her), “Are you raising your voice to the Messenger of Allah r.” The Prophet (Pbuh) interposed himself between her and Abu Bakr. When Abu Bakr went away, the Prophet (Pbuh) started to soothe her saying, “Can you not see that I came between the man and you?” Abu Bakr then came and asked permission to come in and found the Prophet (Pbuh) trying to make her laugh. He was given permission and he entered. Abu Bakr said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, make me share in your peace as you made me share in your fight.”
At home, like any other home there were times of discord, but the husband there was not like any other husband. He (Pbuh)was the man whom Almighty Allah praised, saying: (And indeed, you are of great moral character.)
He (Pbuh)taught, through his good behavior and blessed guidance, how marital discord should be quietly and nobly solved. Allah U says: (If you fear a breach between the two (the man and his wife), appoint an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. If they both wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation.)
A disagreement happened between the Prophet (Pbuh)and Lady ‘Aishah, so he (Pbuh)said to her, “Whom do you accept (as a conciliator) between me and you? Do you accept ‘Umar?” She said, “I will never accept ‘Umar. ‘Umar is tough.”
He (Pbuh)said, “Do you accept your father between me and you?”
She said, “Yes.”
The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)sent for Abu Bakr. When he arrived, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said, “Shall you speak or shall I speak.”
She said, “You speak and say nothing but the truth.” Upon saying this, Abu Bakr lifted his hand and slapped her nose. ‘Aishah ran away from him and sought protection behind the Prophet’s back, until the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)said to him, “I adjure you to leave. We did not call you for this.”
After he left, ‘Aishah rose, so the Messenger (Pbuh)said to her, “Come close to me,” but she refused.
He (Pbuh)smiled and said, “A while ago you were adhering close to my back,” – alluding to her seeking protection behind his back in fear of her father’s beating of her. When Abu Bakr returned, he found them laughing, so he said, “Make me share in your peace as you made me share your path.”
At home, jealousy aroused, which is only natural, especially if the husband was the greatest and noblest of men. The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)asked, “What is wrong with you, ‘Aishah? Do you feel jealous?” She said, “How can it be that someone like me does not feel jealous over someone like you?”
But jealousy never found a wiser healer. Safiyah (may Allah be pleased with her) once learned that Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with her) said (about her), “The daughter of a Jew,” which made her cry. The Prophet (Pbuh)came to her while she was crying and asked, “What makes you cry?” She said, “Hafsah said to me that I am a daughter of a Jew.”
The Prophet (Pbuh)said, “Indeed, you are the daughter of a Prophet (Aron r), and indeed your uncle is a Prophet (Moses r) and indeed you are the wife of a Prophet (Muhammad (pbuh)), so what does she have over you to boast about.” Then he (Pbuh)said, “Fear Allah, O Hafsah.”
At home, there were nine wives whom the Prophet (Pbuh)should look after, protect, and provide for, and sometimes they asked him for more. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah narrated:
Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sought permission to visit the Messenger of Allah and found him (Pbuh)sitting sadly and silently with his wives around him. Abu Bakr said, “I shall say something to make the Prophet (Pbuh)laugh,” so he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen the daughter of Kharijah. She asked me for (more) financial support, so I got up and hit her on her neck.” The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)smiled and said, “They are around me as you see, asking me for (more) financial support.” Upon that, Abu Bakr got up to hit ‘Aishah on her neck, and ‘Umar got up to hit Hafsah on her neck, both of them saying, “You are asking the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)for that which he (Pbuh)does not have!” They said, “By Allah, we will never ask the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)for anything that he (Pbuh)does not have.”
Then he (Pbuh)withdrew from them for a month or twenty-nine days, after which the following Ayahs were revealed to him: (O Prophet! Say to your wives, “If you desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you an enormous reward.”)
He (Pbuh)started with ‘Aishah and said, “O ‘Aishah, I want to propound to you a matter. I would like you not to hasten in it until you consult your parents.” She said, “What is it, O Messenger of Allah?” He (Pbuh) recited to her the Ayah, to which she replied, “About you, O Messenger of Allah, shall I consult my parents? Nay, I choose Allah, His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter; but I ask you not to tell any of your wives what I have said.” He (Pbuh) said, “Any woman of them who asks me I shall tell her. Allah did not send me to make things hard, or look for (people’s) lapses, but He has sent me as a teacher who makes things easy.”
At home, there was the teacher of all mankind (Pbuh) and the Mothers of all Believers (may Allah be pleased with them), who faithfully transmitted every breath, thought, word, and deed of the universal Prophet r.
Umm Salamah said, “When the Adhan (call) of the Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer is announced, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)taught me to say, ‘O Allah, this is Your night coming, Your day going, and the voices of Your summoners (calling for prayer), so forgive me.’”
Umm Salamah said, “The Prophet (Pbuh) never went out of my house without raising his eyes to the sky and saying, ‘O Allah, I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or be made to slip, or oppress or be oppressed, or act ignorantly or be treated ignorantly.’”
Lady ‘Aishah said, “The Prophet (Pbuh) used to say while bowing and prostrating himself, ‘Glory be to You, O Allah, our Lord, and Yours is the praise. O Allah, forgive me.’”
Lady ‘Aishah said, “I know how the Prophet (Pbuh) used to say Talbiyah: ‘Here I am at Your service O Allah, Here I am. Here I am at Your service, You have no partner, Here I am. Yours Alone is all Praise and all Bounty.’”
Lady ‘Aishah said,
“When he (Pbuh) rose at night, he (Pbuh) would open his Salah (by saying), ‘O Allah, Lord of Jibril (Gabriel), Mika’il (Michael) and Israfil, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, All-Knower of the Unseen and the Seen. You will judge between your slaves in that wherein they used to differ. Guide me, by Your Leave, to the truth of that wherein they differed. Verily, You guide whom You will to a Straight Path.’”
Lady Juwayriah narrated that one day the Prophet (Pbuh) left her room in the morning for the Subh (Dawn) Prayer while she was in her place of worship. He (Pbuh) came back in the forenoon, and she was still sitting there. The Prophet (Pbuh) asked her, “Have you been in the same state since I left you?” She said, “Yes.” The Prophet (Pbuh) said, “After I left you I said four words three times. If they were to be weighed against what you have said since morning, they would outweigh them. Glory be to Allah and His is the Praise as many as His Creations and His Good Pleasure and the weight of His Throne and the ink of His Words.”
Umm Habibah said “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) say, ‘Any Muslim servant who voluntarily offers twelve Rak‘ahs every day, other than the obligatory ones, for the Sake of Allah, Allah will surely build for them a house in Paradise (or a house will be built for them in Paradise).’” Umm Habibah added, “I have kept on offering them ever since.”
Lady Maymunah said, “When the Prophet (Pbuh) prostrated himself, if a lambkin wanted to pass between his arms, it could pass.”
Lady Maymunah said, “When the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)prostrated himself, he (Pbuh) spread his arms (i.e. he (Pbuh) separated them), to the extent that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen from behind him. When he (Pbuh) sat (during Salah), he (Pbuh) rested on his left thigh.”
Lady Hafsah said, “When the Muezzin (caller for prayer) fell silent after announcing the Adhan of Subh Prayer and morning dawned, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) would offer two short Rak‘ahs before the call to the commencement of the prayer.”
Lady Hafsah said, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)used to place his right hand under his right cheek whenever he (Pbuh) went to sleep. And he (Pbuh)used to observe fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.”
Speaking about the three superb blessings in his worldly life, the Prophet (Pbuh) said, “Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the apple of my eye is made to be in Salah.”
The Prophet (Pbuh) first dedicated his love to women, whom he (Pbuh) regarded as his home in this world and his companions in the Hereafter. Such was the value and loyalty he (Pbuh) attached to women.
Then he (Pbuh) gently mentioned fragrance, something as soft and delicate as women, which he (Pbuh) loved to put on while inviting people to Allah’s Path and was the only thing he (Pbuh) allowed himself of worldly goods.
As for the apple of his eye, it was the long hours he (Pbuh) stood praying to the Lord of existence.
- Dry ablution; it is performed with clean earth in the absence of water or when one is unable to use water because of illness.