A Special Message To All The Husbands And Wives! By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

Dear brothers and sisters, know that Islam depicts marriage to be the foundation of any society and all family life. All Muslims are encouraged to marry. Islam teaches every aspect of life, in a concise manner, including the chapter of marriage in an individual’s life. In order to live a life of peace and tranquility, both partners in the relationship are required to fulfil each other’s rights. In an atmosphere of harmony, these rights and duties initiate a framework to balance the household and family life. Islam secures the rights of man and woman equally. It does not degrade either of them. They have both been given their due rights. Today’s sermon aims to illustrate, that both partners in a relationship have equal rights and responsibilities to establish a stable society. This will be illustrated through analysing three different Prophetic Hadiths concerning spousal rights.

Respected servants of Allah, know that the relationship between a husband and wife is not like any other ordinary relationship, rather it is more extreme. It is a unit of love. The noble Qur’an expresses this in the following verse:

“And of His signs is that He has created for you, from yourselves, spouses that you may gain peace through them and He has set among you love and compassion. Surely in this there are signs for thoughtful people.” [Qur’an, 30:21]

To gain that love and compassion, Islam has ordained specific rights upon the husband and wife. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Marriage is half of Iman (faith).”

It is a source of protection against temptations. One interesting Prophetic Hadith in respect to the rights of a husband upon his wife is as follows:

“When a husband calls his wife at night to have relations with her and she refuses without a valid Shari’ah reason she is cursed throughout the night by the angels.”

This Hadith signifies the rights of a husband upon his wife. It symbolises that the desires of a man should not be neglected by his wife, regardless of the circumstances.

Imam Ibn Hazm has stated regarding this Hadith:

“It is obligatory on women not to refuse their masters or husbands if they call them, so long as the woman who is called is not menstruating or sick in such a way that intercourse will be harmful to her, or observing an obligatory fast. If she refuses with no excuse, then she is cursed.” This curse which has been recorded for a woman, (in case of her refusal) is entitled to her if her husband remains displeased with her throughout the night. However, if he forgoes his own right and forgives her then she is pardoned against this curse by the mercy of Allah. In the case, of a man insisting to call her to have relations at night whilst she has a genuine Shari’ah excuse, he will be sinning instead of his wife.

“There is no obedience to any creation if it coincides with the disobedience of the Almighty Creator.”

Islam emphasises upon two main aspects in life. Firstly, the rights of Our Creator. Secondly, the rights of His creation. Mankind has been expected to fulfil the rights of everyone. Precisely the rights of a husband and wife have been prioritised over all others. To gain the ability of understanding and fulfilling the rights ordained upon a husband and wife it is necessary to know the importance of marriage and its status in Islam. Indeed, marriage is a means of attaining piety and it is a source of protecting one’s chastity. Allah Almighty says:

“They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.”

This verse denotes that a man is a covering for his wife. Simultaneously, she is a covering for her husband. They shield one another. They shroud each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore, marriage allows one to enter a citadel of safety which in return protects against immorality. To attain these benefits of marriage, Islam has enlightened its followers through Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Hadiths, which teach the men and women equally, etiquettes of marriage. It has been narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah by Abu Umamah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to say:

“Nothing is of more benefit to the believer after Taqwa of Allah than a righteous wife whom, if he commands her she obeys him, if he looks at her he is pleased, if he swears an oath concerning her she fulfils it, and when he is away from her she is sincere towards him with regard to herself and his wealth.”

Amongst the many lessons and advice that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) left for his Ummah, one of the most comprehensive life lessons for a woman is the one mentioned above. Life will become blissful for each household that holds unto the practices and teachings of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has emphasised multiple times upon the importance of obedience to the husband. He said:

“If I was to command anyone to prostrate to anyone besides Allah, I would command a wife to prostrate to her husband.”

The Hadith narrated by Abu Umamah focuses on the rights of a husband upon his wife. A man is encouraged to choose a wife according to four aspects; beauty, wealth, lineage and religion. A wife that aids him in gaining nearness to Allah and is submissive to her husband. The righteous wife is the one who brings joy into the life of a man, provided she lives up to his expectations and possesses the quality of obedience. This is supported by a Qur’anic verse mentioned in surah Nisa’i. Allah Almighty says:

“Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husbands) absence what Allah would have them guard.” [Qur’an, 4:34]

Well explained in the narration is the expectation from an ideal wife. She must obey her husband under all circumstances, provided that his command is not contrary to the command of Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him). The Hadith further explains that the husband should feel a sense of pleasure and happiness when he sees her. This phrase denotes that she beautifies herself for him and she possesses qualities which please her husband according to his nature. After a person has earned the fear of Allah and righteousness, he cannot find a better bounty or favour from Allah than that mentioned above, i.e. an ideal wife.

“The Muslim should choose a wife who gives him comfort when he sees her, and he feels joy in his heart when she is present, so she fills his house and his life with ease, joy and happiness.”

This is not only what is expected from her. Rather the Hadith follows on to explaining that she fulfils every oath which is taken by her husband regarding her. She must also be sincere towards him, not only during his presence but in his absence too. If he entrusts her to his wealth, property, belongings etc that trust must not be violated. It is the right of every husband to have a trustworthy wife. She is entitled to live with the quality of sincerity, man is also required to live with the quality of sincerity towards her. These are the minor aspects which form every household. They bring understanding and respect for one another which in return positively influences the children also.

The third Hadith to be analysed in this essay is reported in Bukhari by an eminent companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), namely Sa’ad Bin Abi Waqqas; Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“You will be rewarded for whatever you spend for Allah’s sake even if it were a morsel which you put in your wife’s mouth.”

This Hadith illustrates the enormous rewards which Allah has kept for giving charity for His sake, to the extent that whatever a husband feeds his wife he is rewarded for that. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) explains that every action done with sincerity is loved by the Allah Almighty. Charity for the pleasure of Allah is highly ranked. Explicitly charity to the wife. Not necessarily through means of giving her money, clothing etc. Rather, a single morsel of food that she is given with love, care and sincerity of intention by the husband is a rewarding act. A man is encouraged to be loving, playful and enjoyable with his wife, not serious and strict.

“A man should be like a child (playful) with his wife, but if she needs him, he should act like a man.”

Islam emphasises upon the rights of a wife and a husband. Several Prophetic Hadiths teach the way of living and creating an atmosphere of harmony within the home. Loving actions performed by the husband towards the wife will naturally build confidence within her and enable her to explore her own qualities, hence she will be grateful towards him. Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) was the most loving husband. He showed affection towards his wives. He reassured them about his love for them through his noble actions. For instance, when Aisha (RA) used to drink water from a glass, he (Peace be upon him) would drink after her from the same glass and the same place that she drank from. These actions teach a husband how to treat his wife. Every virtuous deed is charity. The best charity is that which is for the family.

“When you give begin with the members of your family.”

Dear servants of Allah, here are the lists of some rights of a husband and wife in Islam:

• Rights of Husband

1. The husband must give his wife the marriage gift/dowry/sadaq. A marriage contract is not considered legal and complete unless a dowry has been specified. This right cannot be forfeited, even if the bride approves, until after the marriage contract is completed. She has the freedom to do whatever she wants with it. Allah Almighty says:

“You shall give the women their due dowries, equitably.” [Qur’an, 4:4]

2. The husband must give proper and sufficient sustenance/financial support to his household according to his status and means. The wife should receive full maintenance from her husband including food, clothing, housing, education, recreation, medication etc… Even if the wife is rich, she does not need to spend anything on her husband or household. Allah the Most High says:

“Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship ease.” [Qur’an, 65:7]

And Allah Almighty says:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.” [Qur’an, 4:34]

3. A husband must be kind to his wife. His behaviour towards her is a measure of his Iman (faith). Allah the Most High says:

“Consort with women in kindness.” [Qur’an, 4:19]

Again Allah Almighty says:

“Among His signs is that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” [Qur’an, 30:21]

And Allah Almighty says:

“It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her in love.” [Qur’an, 7:189]

And Allah the Most High says:

“They (wives) are your garments and you are their garments.” [Qur’an, 2:187]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“A woman is like a curved rib, so be kind and considerate to her.” [Bukhari]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The most complete of the believers in his belief is he who perfects his manners, and the best of you in manners are those who act best towards their wives.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Be kind to women.” [Bukhari]

4. A husband cannot ask his wife to do anything that is against Islam. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No obedience is due to creatures in disobedience of the Creator.” [Bukhari]

5. He must exercise patience and should be prepared to listen to his wife’s opinions in every situation. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) listened to the advice of his wives in matters ranging from the smallest to the greatest.

6. He must respect her and pay attention to her needs as she will respect him and pay attention to his.

7. If the wife works outside the house, it is admirable for the husband to hire help to relieve her from the burden of housework.

8. A husband must avoid excessive and useless jealousy. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not be excessively jealous of your wife lest evil be hurled at her on your account.”

9. A husband must not beat his wife. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) condemned the man who beats his wife in the day and then approaches her at night. If a husband beats his wife to the extent of inflicting serious injury, it is enough grounds for her to obtain divorce from a judge. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not beat your wife.”

He also said:

“Do not strike your wife in the face.”

10. He must never ever divulge the secrets of his household or marriage.

11. He must treat her generously at all times. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The best gift or charity is that spent on one’s wife.”

12. The wife has the right to live in separate accommodation with her husband and children if she does not want to share it with anyone like her in-laws or relatives.

13. It is the obligation of the husband to make sure that his wife acquires all the Islamic knowledge, like how to pray, how to fast etc., that is obligatory for her to learn. If this means that he has to spend money on books or tapes, then he must do so. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“All of you are shepherds and all of you will be asked about your wards. The ruler is a shepherd and shall be asked about his wards. The man is a shepherd of his family and will be asked about his ward.” [Bukhari]

14. A husband must protect his wife’s honour and not place her in situations where it is compromised or belittled. This includes in interactions with the husband’s brother, uncle, and nephew, let alone non-related friends, neighbours, and complete strangers. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah will not ever let him enter Paradise who cares little, who shares his wife’s privacy.”

15. The husband should not stay away from his wife or keep his wife in a state of suspense, whether at home or abroad, for a prolonged period of time except with her consent. Allah Almighty said:

“Turn not away (from your wife) altogether, so as to leave her hanging. If you come to a friendly understanding and practice self-restraint, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Merciful.” [Qur’an, 4:129]

16. A husband must exercise patience and forgiveness in the case of disagreement or dispute, and not rush to divorce. The declaration of divorce is a grave matter. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Of permitted matters the most loathsome before Allah is divorce.”

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The best intercession [i.e. intervention of a third party] is that which brings back together the husband and the wife.”

• Rights of Wife

1. A wife must obey her husband, be respectful towards him, and always be eager to please him and make him happy. Allah Almighty says:

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable.” [Qur’an, 2:228]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No human being is permitted to prostrate to another, but if this were permitted I would have ordered wives to prostrate to their husbands, because of the greatness of the rights they have over them.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Pay attention to how you treat him, for he is your Paradise and your Hell.” [Ahmad and al-Nisa’i]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of Ramadan), obeys her husband and guards her chastity, then it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise by whichever of its gates you wish.’” [Ahmad and al-Tabarani]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.” [Ibn Majah]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Shall I not tell you about your wives in Paradise? They are fertile and loving. If she becomes angry or is mistreated, or her husband becomes angry, she says, ‘My hand is in your hand; I shall never sleep until you are pleased with me.’” [al-Tabarani]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There are three people whose prayers will not be accepted, neither their good works: a disobedient slave until he returns to his masters and puts his hand in theirs; a woman whose husband is angry with her, until he is pleased with her again; and the drunkard, until he becomes sober.” [Ibn Hibban]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If a man calls his wife, then let her come, even if she is busy at the oven.” [Tirmidhi]

Allah the Most High says:

“As to those women on whose part you see ill‑conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful).” [Qur’an, 4:34]

2. A wife cannot allow anyone to enter their home without her husband’s permission. She also cannot leave her house without his knowledge and permission. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah to allow anyone into her husband’s house whom he dislikes; or to go out when he does not want her to; or to obey anyone else against him; or to forsake his bed; or to hit him.” [Al-Hakim]

3. Wives are expected to ask their husband’s permission before doing nawafil (voluntary acts of worship) that may conflict with his rights, such as observing nawafil fasts. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No woman should fast when her husband is present except with his permission.” [Bukhari]

4. A woman should make herself look beautiful for her husband.

5. It is forbidden for a woman to dress in mourning for more than three days for anyone, except in the case of her husband’s death, then she is permitted to mourn for four months and ten days. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to grieve for more than three days, except for her husband, (for whom she may grieve) four months and ten days.”

6. A wife should help her husband to worship Allah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“May Allah have mercy on the man who gets up at night to pray and wakes up his wife to pray, and if she refuses, he sprinkles water in her face. And may Allah have mercy on the woman who gets up at night to pray, and wakes her husband up to pray, and if he refuses, she sprinkles water in his face.” [Abu Dawud]

7. A wife should be tolerant and forgiving. She shouldn’t bear a grudge against him or remind him about his mistakes often. There is no quality that will endear her to her husband like the quality of tolerance and forgiveness, and there is nothing that will turn her husband against her like resentment, counting faults and reminding him about his mistakes. Allah the Most High says:

“Let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” [Qur’an, 24:22]

8. A wife should take responsibility for her husband’s wealth, not spending without his permission and being careful not to be wasteful. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The best women among the Arabs are the most compassionate towards their children when they are small, and the most careful with regard to their husband’s wealth.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“And she would not give in charity from his money except with his permission.”

9. A wife expresses respect towards her husband by honouring and respecting his family, especially his mother. She helps him to honour and respect his mother by doing the same.

10. A wife cannot disclose her husband’s secrets, and cannot talk to anyone about their secrets and other matters there may be between him and her. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Among the worst type of people in the sight of Allah on the Day of Judgment is a man who enjoys his wife’s intimate company, and she enjoys his intimate company, then one of them goes and discloses the secret of the other.” [Muslim]

11. Wives are expected to help their husband in dealing with the outside world and to play their role in life by offering their opinions and advice, and supporting him in all his affairs. They never hesitates to stand by his side, encouraging him, supporting him and offering advice and consolation.

12. A wife should show gratitude to her husband. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah will not look at the woman who does not thank her husband at the time when she cannot do without him.” [Al-Hakim]

13. She has to be vigilant in the husband’s absence. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Shall I tell you the best a man can treasure? It is a good wife. If he looks at her, she gives him pleasure; if he orders her, she obeys; and if he is away from her, she remains faithful to him.” [Abu Dawud]

Respected servants of Allah, In conclusion, this sermon illustrates the importance of the rights of a husband upon his wife and the importance of the rights of a wife upon her husband in Islam, through the analysis of three noble Prophetic Hadiths. The chain of transmission and the body of each Hadith has been analysed. It established that the wife is required to live in full submission towards her husband if he does not command her to disobey Allah and he does not oppress her. She is also obliged and expected to be loyal and trustworthy towards him. His trust should not be violated under any circumstances. In return to her obedience, the husband is expected to keep her happy. He is the leader of the house; he should win her heart through his thoughtful actions and caring nature. Consequently, by fulfilling the rights of one another the environment of the house is brightened causing a strong bond between the couple. This strong relationship will also impact the children of the household. Islam teaches every minute detail of every facet in life. It specifically emphasises upon rights and responsibilities of husband and wife. If these advices are practiced correctly this will create a harmonious society filled with positive vibes and it will help create stronger generations with confidence.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.



Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 10, 1445 AH (July 28, 2023).

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