For years we have debated on the roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives in a marital home but haven't fully gotten the best answers to settle those debates.
A question was posed on social media on the said topic and many were those who responded to it. Some answered from the cultural view, others from the gender equality view, and also from the religious view. Many of the responds were very insightful and touching but the one that caught a lot of attention was the religious view, Islamic view to be precise.
Many were surprised at what the Holy Qur'an and the Hadeeth says about the duties of a man and a woman in marriage. It has always been misconstrued that Islam doesn't respect and protect the right of women which is certainly not the case. Islam gives women more freedom, liberty and protection under marriage than most, if not all laws set aside with regards to marriage. Let's look at some of the replies regarding the topic and then compare it to what Islam says about it.
Picture 2. From the "Women Inferiority Camp"
Picture 3. From the cultural point of view.
Picture 4. From the Gender equality point of view.
Now that we have looked at these views, let's look at what Islam says about this.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisaa verse 34:
34 Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard (their chastity, their husbands honor, property, etc.) The complete financial responsibility of the upkeep and maintenance of the house and the family is the responsibility and duty of the men in Islam. It is the responsibility and duty of the men in Islam to protect and maintain the women.
It is the responsibility of the men in Islam to make sure that food is provided to the womenfolk and family in their care, that clothing is provided for them, that a place is provided for them to reside in, etc.;
Although the complete financial responsibility in running the household is the prime duty and responsibility of the husband in Islam, it is also his responsibility and he will be held accountable by the Lord to take measures to maintain and protect his family to the absolute best of his ability.
Now with regards to the Hadeeth,
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.116 Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar
The Prophet (saws) said, "Everyone of you is a guardian and everyone of you is responsible (for those under your ward). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible (for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband's house and she is responsible (for it), a slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible (for that). Beware! All of you are guardians and are responsible (for those your wards)."
From these two sources we can clearly see that by Shariah (Islamic Law) a wife only washes her husbands clothes by choice and not because its a duty.
Just like it is the responsibility and the duty in Shariah of the men to provide the food for the womenfolk under their care, and they may very well request the women under to care to cook or prepare the food; the women is well within her rights to accept to fulfill the request of her guardian and prepare the food if she wills to do so, or if she wills, she is well within her rights in Shariah to refuse to fulfill the request.
If the woman fulfills the request, she would be acting over and above her role and duty and the men should appreciate and be grateful for her gesture of ehsaan; and if for any reason the woman exercises her right to refuse to cook and prepare the food, it would remain the duty of her guardian men to provide or arrange to provide for her food and upkeep.
If husband sits at home and expects and commands his wife to go and work and earn and provide for the family and the wife exercises her option to refuse, it would not constitute disobedience. Similarly, if the wife exercises her option to refuse to cook or prepare the food, which is the duty of the male guardian in Shariah, it would not legally constitute disobedience in the Sight of the Lord. The Quran Really Favors Women A lot.
From this it is safe to say that these supposed roles are to be by choice and not compulsory. But we have to have one thing in mind, leaving all these duties for the man alone in our part of the world(Africa) would mean trouble cos most men have tight job schedules and might not have enough time to fulfil all their responsibilities that's why our affectionate and compassionate wives decide to take some load off our hands to make the family move smoothly. If it's merely impossible for a man to do all this, so why do we now want to shift everything towards those who are rather helping us(wives) and sometimes make a big mess out of it when they are not able to help us out. It would really be unfair.
Hope we learnt a lot from this article and I hope we as men start to treat our women with more respect and appreciation for what they do for us. Please leave you views and suggestions in the comment section below and don't forget to follow my handle.
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