Preparation for Marriage
What does it mean to be a wife?
In Islam, marriage is highly regarded, and a righteous woman is considered both a joy and a blessing to her husband. This blessed and uplifting relationship has been described in the Qur’an as fostering tranquillity, love and understanding between the spouses in order that they may live together in harmony; loving, supporting, advising and tolerating each other.
The bond shared by a husband and wife is best summed up as follows:
“They are your garments and you are their garments.” [Surah Al Baqarah 2:187]
Contrary to the views of many who do not follow Islam, our religion both values and cherishes femininity. The Prophet (ṣall Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught us that there was nothing better in life than a good wife: “This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous woman.” [Muslim]
An Islamic wife keeps her name after marriage and, in this way, is able to keep her identity. Islam protects the interests of both spouses, and promotes equality between the sexes through the laying down of clear roles for each partner.
So, what does it mean to be a wife? How should a wife behave and how should she treat her husband? The Qur’an shows us the standards expected from an ideal Muslim wife, the most important of which are summarised below.
First and foremost, a wife has the right to be treated kindly by her husband and to be protected from harm. Like her husband, she has a right to sexual satisfaction. A wife also has the right to living and household expenses for herself and, later, Insha’Allah, for her children according to her husband’s means.
It is also a right that a wife receives a Mahr (dowry) from her husband when they marry. The Qu’ran describes this as a show of goodwill to his new wife, an appreciation of her rights and a welcome into his household as his life partner. The Mahr is hers to use as she wishes; however she may wish to share some or all of it with her husband, although she is not required to do so.
A wife’s most important duty is to contribute to as much as possible to the success of her marriage. She should be a source of comfort for her husband, a devoted supporter and adviser.
“Our Lord! Grant us wives and offspring who will be the joy and comfort of our eyes, and guide us to be models of righteousness.” [Qu’ran 25. 74]
A wife should obey her husband but this does not mean that she should be subservient to him. As Islam places upon the husband the role of head of the family, so the wife is the head of the household. Such an arrangement makes for a partnership of co-operation and a man is expected to consult his wife for her opinion on household and family matters.
An Islamic wife is expected to be faithful, to her husband and to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Taala سبحانه و تعالى), and also trustworthy. A wife should make herself attractive to her husband, just as he should make an effort to look his best for her, and not deny her husband sexual relations unless she has a reason for doing so. Physical intimacy is as important as emotional intimacy.
A wife’s obedience to her husband does not mean at all costs, particularly if he goes against the teachings of the Qur’an. Also, a husband is obliged to treat his wife kindly, and if he does not do so, if he is controlling or abusive – whether physically or emotionally – it is no reflection on how good a wife you are. You have the right to protection and you should not have to suffer in silence.
Naturally, there may be times when your marital relationship does not run smoothly. It is a part of life, and overcoming difficulties together is an important part of marriage life.
You should not dwell on aspects of your husband’s personality that you may not like. If they do not go against Islam, then do not try to change them. Equally, he will find traits in you that are less pleasing to him. It is important to work around these and to focus on each other’s good points.
Ultimately, both husband and wife have the right to be treated with kindness and tenderness by their spouse and the right to intercourse and enjoyment of one another. For a truly successful marriage, however, you should make time to pray together and make Du’a to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Taala سبحانه و تعالى).
To Be A Husband
Finding a Marriage Partner