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What Does Islam Say About Being a Husband?

Unfortunately, we have a warped view of masculinity today where men are labelled as ‘whipped’ or ‘on a leash’ (often by their own friends) because he chooses to show love to his wife, put off plans in order to be with his wife and attend to her needs.

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Unfortunately, we have a warped view of masculinity today where men are labelled as ‘whipped’ or ‘on a leash’ (often by their own friends) because he chooses to show love to his wife, put off plans in order to be with his wife and attend to her needs.

From the Islamic perspective, what does it mean to be a husband? Is it enough to provide food, shelter and clothing or do his duties toward his wife extend beyond that?

In this article, I want to paint a picture of what it means to be a husband, drawing on relevant ayat from the Qur’an and hadith, where appropriate.

A Husband is the Guardian of the Family

First and foremost, it is the man’s responsibility to seek a livelihood for himself and his guardians (wife and children). This has been made explicitly clear in the Holy Qu’ran:

Men are the maintainers of women, because Allah has made some of them to excel others.”

(4:34)

If a woman wants to work, she is free to do that. In modern society, the average family will often need two sources of income to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle, which is why many women choose to work. Additionally, women have progressed in society tremendously and now hold positions in nearly every field from sports to politics. At the same time, if a woman does not want to work, she is free not to and a man cannot compel her to because it’s simply not her duty under Islamic guidelines.

It’s up to the man to acquire the relevant skills and qualifications in order to become employable or run his own business for a steady income.

A Loving Husband

Studies suggest women are more emotional than men and there seems to be a general understanding and acceptance of this. Being emotional here is not used in the negative sense. It means they’re better at emotional information processing. If anything, it’s something women excel in compared to their male counterparts.

Because a woman is more emotionally inclined, it’s important for the husband to display affection and love as frequently as possible. Sometimes, men lack in this area, not necessarily because they’re careless but because they don’t need verbal reaffirmation as often as females and, as a result, may not provide it as often as the wife would like.

A lack of affection can negatively impact her mental health and wellbeing. She may know her husband loves her, but reiterating it regularly makes her happy and she feels at peace.

In this respect, the Prophet of Islam has said:

The best among you is the best towards his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”

(Ibn Majah)

The Prophet being a man did not stop him from being loving his wives. Unfortunately, we have a warped view of masculinity today where men are labelled as ‘whipped’ or ‘on a leash’ (often by their own friends) because he chooses to show love to his wife, put off plans in order to be with his wife and attend to her needs.

This is an entirely incorrect perspective of being a man in the Islamic worldview.

Spouses are supposed to love each other and be a source of peace and tranquillity:

And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”

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(30:21)

A Respectful Husband

A wife is required to obey her husband in all halal and reasonable requests. Often, men will read ‘a wife is required to obey her husband’ and switch off after that. They grossly twist and misuse this to get the wife to do anything they want such as give him all her money, make her take her hijab off, hit her and so on.

A woman is not a second class citizen in the marriage. Like the husband she too is a human and feels everything a man does and arguably to a greater extent. A husband should make sure he is not abusing her and teasing and mocking her in front of family and friends (or at all). It might be a joke to him yet will lower the respect onlookers have towards the wife and cause her to hurt.

An Akhlaqi Husband

How many times have we read and heard the following saying of our Prophet?

I have been sent to perfect good character.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

Good character is the bedrock of the Islamic faith. There is a reason and wisdom behind the Prophet mentioning that as the mission of his Prophethood. It goes without saying a husband should treat his wife in the best of akhlaq especially during times of difficulty and when disagreements inevitably happen. He should always let his wife make her point, let her finish without interrupting and not shout or scream.

Amongst women, there is a popular saying that “chivalry is dead” in reference to a lack of a basic male code of conduct around women. Men of Islam need to bring this back. This ranges from holding the door open for her to planning date nights.

A Forgiving Husband

Everyone makes mistakes. Husbands should cut as much slack as possible for their wives. If they make a mistake, tell them where they went wrong politely and teach them how to correct it. Of course, this applies the other way too.

If a husband wants to be forgiven and dealt with leniently himself, both in this life and on the Day of Judgement, he should be oft-forgiving toward his wife and should not look for faults to complain about.

A Well-Groomed Husband

When seeking a spouse, a man will make sure he is in top shape and well-groomed. However, many men completely let go after marriage when it comes to health, fitness, grooming and hygiene.

It’s entirely unfair on the wife, whose decision to marry a man was influenced a little by his appearance, for the husband to make a 180-degree turn.

At any given time a husband should smell nice and look well-groomed!

An Attentive Husband

More than anything else, a wife wants her husband’s attention. No matter how busy work life is, a husband should always make time to spend with his wife and give her his full attention. Many a wife would happily forego a portion of the salary her husband earns if it meant she could spend more time with him.

Brothers, life is too short. Do not take your wife for granted and give her all the love and attention she deserves.

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