New Age Islam
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Debating Islam ( 5 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Could the Prophet call the wife ‘a utility’? And even if he did, can we treat our wives today as utilities?

The Gulf Times published recently an excerpt from a book titled The Righteous Wife, by Muhammad Shoomaan. It quotes Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radhiallah ‘anhu) as saying that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – peace be upon him) said: “All of this world is a utility and the best utility is a righteous wife.” (Muslim). takes this opportunity to ask its readers: Could the Prophet call the wife ‘a utility’? And even if he did, can we treat our wives today as utilities?


The righteous wife is the one whom the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) advised should be obtained right from the beginning. As Abu Hurairah (radhiallah ‘anhu) narrated from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he said: “A woman is married for four reasons; for her wealth; for her lineage, for her beauty; and for her religion (Deen). So marry the one who is good in her religion (Deen) – may your hands be covered in dust.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Attributes of the Righteous Wife

1. Devotion and obedience to Allah, the Most High, such that she fulfils His rights such as prayer, fasting, chastity, covering herself, withholding her gaze and so on.

2. Obedience to her husband in that which does not involve disobedience to Allah, such that she fulfils his rights completely.

3. That she guards and preserves herself and her honour, in the absence of husband, from the hand of anyone wishing to touch her, the eye of anyone wishing to look upon her and the ear of anyone wishing to listen to her.

Likewise that she preserves her husband’s children, home and wealth. As Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says: “Therefore the righteous women are obedient to Allah and their husbands, and guard that which Allah has ordered them to guard (their chastity and their husband’s property) in the absence of their husbands.” (Al-Nisa: 34)

The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “If a woman prays her five (daily) prayers, fasts her month (Ramadan), guards her private parts and obeys her husband, it will be said to her, ‘Enter Paradise through whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish’.”

4. Serving her husband. First of all by carrying out what is required in his house, such as bringing up and educating the children, preparing meals and housework, etc.

As the Ayah quoted above (Al-Nisa:34) shows that it is obligatory upon her to serve her husband unrestrictedly, including: serving him, travelling along with him, making herself available to him, and so on – just as it is obligatory to obey the parents, since the obedience due from her to the parents transfers to the husband.

5. Keeping the husband’s secrets, particularly what occurs between him and her in their private life. Disclosing the husband’s secrets will hurt him and anger him and this contradicts obedience to him and seeking to please him. Furthermore, preserving his secrets is one of the duties of the righteous and obedient woman, as Allah Almighty says, “Guarding that which (Allah has commanded to guard) in the absence of their husbands.” Part of guarding what they are to guard in the absence of their husbands is that they should not broadcast their secrets.

6. She should appear before the husband in the best appearance, such that if he looks at her it pleases him.

Abu Hurairah (radhiallah ‘anhu) narrates the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was asked: “Which of the women is the best?” He replied: “The one who gives him pleasure when he looks, obeys him when orders; and does not go against his wishes with regard to herself or her wealth by doing that which he dislikes.”

7. She should not spend any of his wealth or her wealth except with his permission.

Shaykh Al-Albaanee said, “However it is not becoming for the husband – if he is a sincere Muslim – that he should use this ruling to play the tyrant with his wife and to prevent her from utilising her wealth in a manner which will not harm either of them. Indeed this right is very similar to the right of the girl’s guardian – who is such that she cannot get herself married except with his permission. But if he unjustly prevents her, then the matter is raised to the Islamic judge for justice to be attained. Likewise is the ruling with regard to a woman’s wealth if her husband oppresses her and prevents her from spending her wealth in a lawful and prescribed manner. So there is no problem with the ruling itself, rather the problem is in how it is misused.” (Ref: Silsilatul Ahadith as-Sahih 2/420).

8. She should not permit anyone to enter her husband’s house except with his permission.

9. She should not ask her husband for divorce without a reason necessitating it.

From Thawbaan (radhiallah ‘anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whichever woman asks her husband for divorce without a strong reason – then the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden for her.” (Abu Dawud)

10. Avoidance of cursing.

Abu Saeed al-Khundree (radhiallah ‘anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah went out to the prayer-ground for the (prayer of) Adha or Fitr, and he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give in charity, for I have been shown that you shall be the majority of the people of the Fire.” So they asked, ‘Why is that, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands.” (Bukhari)

11. Being thankful to the husband for the good he does and for his good treatment of his wife.

This is accomplished by good words, and by her obedience to him in what is good, and by not forgetting his good treatment and avoiding denying this, since that is one of the reasons which brings about entry into the Fire.

Ibn Abbas (radhiallah ‘anhu) narrated the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying: “I was shown the Fire and found that the majority of its inhabitants were women, due to ingratitude. It was said: Is it that they disbelieve in Allah? He said: They are ungrateful to their husbands and deny the good they do. If they were to treat one of them well always and she then saw something (displeasing) from you she would say: ‘I have never seen any good from you’.” (Bukhari)

12. She should not remove her clothes outside her husband’s house.

Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whichever woman removes her clothes in other than her house, then Allah Almighty and Majestic, will tear down His cover from her.”

13. Striving to please the husband by every possible means.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Your women from the people of Paradise are the beloved and fertile, the one who is an asset to her husband, who if her husband becomes angry – comes and places her hand in the hand of her husband and says, ‘I will not taste sleep until you are pleased (with me).’”

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “There are three whose prayers will not be raised above their ears – the runaway slave until he returns; a woman who spends the night whilst her husband is angry with her; and the one who leads people in prayer and they dislike him.” (Tirmidhi)

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Indeed he is your Paradise and your Fire.” Meaning the husband.

So, whichever woman obeys Allah Almighty, with regard to her husband and fulfils his rights, then he will be her Paradise - meaning he will be a cause for entering Paradise; and if she is disobedient to her husband – then the Fire.

May Allah Almighty make our Muslim sisters benefit from this lesson and all those who read it. May Allah guide us all to the Straight Path.

 Published: Friday, 25 July, 2008,

(Taken from The Righteous Wife, by Muhammad Shoomaan)