Broken Bowls and Flowing Tears: Prophet Muhammad as Husband Extraordinaire!

Bismillah

Recently, the global Muslim blogosphere went on the usual defensive, as news of a “Muslim” media professional beheading his wife in a murderous rage did the rounds of all major news websites. Once more, allegations of Islam being a religion of barbarians and terrorists were allayed and refuted by Muslims, at times successfully, but at other times, perhaps a bit in vain.

We must realize that deducing the doctrine of a religion by looking at random contemporary examples is a mistake in itself. We must go back to its original teachings in order to get the real picture of what it entails for its adherents. The true role-model of Islam can only be presented by Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the paragon of Muslim character, conduct and virtue. Allah says about him in the Qu’ran:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful example (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the final Day, and remembers Allah much.” [33:21]

The simple reason for Prophet Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) success in every sphere of life was his dexterity at human relationships. Perhaps the most volatile and delicate human relationship is that between a husband and wife – the only relationship between a man and woman based on sexual attraction, companionship and love, that is allowed and recommended in Islam. The reason why so many similar relationships between men and women outside marriage break up so often, is that primarily, it’s partakers do not understand it’s intricacies and requirements pertaining to human behavior.

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Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) understood women. He knew that women are created physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives. He knew that patience, a wise selection of words, and restraint from losing his temper, are mandatory qualities for a husband to possess, in order to enable him to effectively deal with his wife’s intermittent bouts of irrational thinking and emotional instability.

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I once heard someone remark, “When I was a single young man, the prospect of having multiple wives was fair-seeming, for obvious reasons; a few years after marrying my wife, however, I now wonder just how the Prophet Muhammad could have possibly handled up to nine wives at one time, when I can sometimes not handle even one!”

Perhaps no narration displays the Prophet’s expertise at handling his wives’ outbursts as well as the hadith below does:

Narrated Anas Bin Malik: “While the Prophet was in the house of one of his wives, one of the mothers of the believers sent a meal in a dish. The wife at whose house the Prophet was, struck the hand of the servant, causing the dish to fall and break. The Prophet gathered the broken pieces of the dish and then started collecting on them the food which had been in the dish and said, “Your mother felt jealous.” Then he detained the servant till a (sound) dish was brought from the wife at whose house he was. He gave the sound dish to the wife whose dish had been broken, and kept the broken one at the house where it had been broken.”
(Notice how the narrator has abstained from mentioning the names of the Mothers of Believers in order to cover their faults/shortcomings!)
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 152]

Picture this scenario happening in an average house: a woman breaking another’s crockery piece (and we all know how passionately women feel about their crockery pieces! Even their own child is scolded for accidentally breaking a cherished utensil.), laden with food the latter had freshly cooked, in an envious rage; this is in fact, a scene depicted often in modern soaps to spice up the plot! How would you expect an average husband witnessing such an action to react? – Probably by also losing his temper and screaming angrily, “What have you done? Are you out of your mind?!”

The wise steps that Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) took, however, to satiate his wife’s envy and to prevent the situation from turning into a domestic battle, are detailed below:

– He refrained from rebuking her or shouting at her before others. This would have undoubtedly humiliated her. Instead, he calmly offered a simple explanation for her behavior to onlookers (i.e. his companions, including the narrator): “Your mother felt jealous.” Note how he referred to her with a respectful title before the assembled group. With this simple statement, he gave her leeway for being a human being – and a woman, at that – who got affected by her innate human emotions.

– He physically remedied the situation by cleaning up the mess himself. This indicates his humility and greatness of character. He could have asked her, or one of his younger companions, to clean up – the narrator is Anas Bin Malik, who was much younger than the Prophet and dedicated for his service, yet the latter did not ask him to do the cleaning-up. He did not ask his wife to do it either – knowing her angry state and not wanting to humiliate her by making her clean up before an audience – he humbly did the job himself. What a great model for every man! A husband cleaning up a dish broken by his wife, without even being asked!

– He executed justice, and arranged for compensation, by asking his wife to replace her co-wife’s broken utensil as well as its contents. That is, despite his patience and forgiveness for her angry outburst, he made her compensate the wife who had been unduly wronged for an action that was very praiseworthy in itself: preparing and sending them a meal.

The reader might think that perhaps such petty jealousies were the norm among Prophet Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wives. Nay, they got along amicably otherwise, with mutual respect and sisterly love. Just like normal women, though, they had their human weaknesses and moody phases. I have personally noticed that women are very competitive as far as cooking is concerned. It is amusing to note even biological sisters and mother-daughter pairs making some less-than-nice comments as far as cooking skills are concerned. The reason I am bringing this up is so that we may realize why our Mother threw that dish in the first place.

Once a person’s brother’s wife served their whole family an Italian recipe they ate only at restaurants. He started raving about it from the first bite, going on and on in front of everyone until his own wife – not at all an envious type – started shooting daggers at him from her eyes. To that he replied, “I praise yours too when you make it, don’t I?”

A mother went visiting at her daughter’s in-laws. The latter graciously started praising her daughter’s cooking and culinary skills, to which the mother promptly piped up, “She has taken all my recipes.”

A guest graciously praised the cooking of a daughter-in-law before her mother-in-law. The latter commented sarcastically, “Well, that’s because she has been trained very well (by her mother).”

Therefore, it is no surprise that one wife felt angry when her co-wife sent a sample of her cooking to the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) during her turn with him. However, as I said before, his co-wives got along very well otherwise. The following narration depicts a humorous incident that once took place between two of them:

Mother of the believers, ‘A’ishah [with her, may Allah be pleased] narrated: “Once, Sawdah visited us and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sat down between me and her, one leg in her lap and the other in mine. I made then Khazira (a dish of bran in meat broth) and told her: “Eat!” She refused. I said: “If you don’t eat I will stain your face with Khazira,” but she insisted not to eat; therefore, I put my hand in Khazira and painted her face. Seeing that, the Prophet laughed and gave his share in Khazira to Sawdah and told her to stain my face; so, Sawdah stained my face and the Prophet laughed.”
[Al-Albani, Al-Silsila Al-Sahihah: 7/363]

Notice how one wife cooked a meal for another when the latter visited her house in the Prophet’s presence. She was keen to serve her co-wife, which is commendable. The Prophet’s wisdom in dealing concurrently with two of his wives in this situation becomes obvious in the following ways:

– The Prophet physically sat in such a way that neither wife would feel ignored or preferred over the other.

– He executed justice, by making the wife who became the mock “victim”, return the action meted out to her.

– He immediately gave her his portion of food to do this.

– He laughed constantly to make light of the situation, ensuring that no one took it too seriously.

As a husband, do you laugh with your wife? Do you play games with her? Do you make light of her routine moods, outbursts and tantrums? Does it appear possible to you that a man who would truly follow the role-model of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) could ever mistreat his wife?

Mother of believers, Safiyyah Bint Huyyiy narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to Hajj with his wives. On the way my camel knelt down as it was the weakest among all the other camels, and so I wept. The Prophet came to me and wiped away my tears with his dress and hands. The more he asked me not to weep, the more I went on weeping.”
[Musnad Ahmad, Vol.6, p. 337]

Again, he is the epitome of the caring, loving husband – coming to his wife on seeing her upset, wiping away her tears of sorrow, and insisting that she stop weeping. You have to keep in mind that he had all his wives with him during the afore-mentioned journey, yet he became alert when one of them was hurt. He did not ignore her, nor did he brusquely tell her to stop crying to save face before the crowd. He showed concern and love for her publicly.

Some husbands, it is sad to note, behave very awkwardly with their wives in public. They think it is embarrassing to show affection or to smile and laugh with their wife in front of onlookers, especially other men. It is as if their wife becomes a cause of shame for them in a public setting, which is why they become very business-like and stiff with her. Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), however, in his considerate and loving treatment of his wife during Hajj, sets an example of how an ideal Muslim husband should be.

If Muslim men were to follow Prophet Muhammad’s exemplary behavior with their wives today, perhaps we Muslims as a whole, would need to work less hard on defending Islam in face of skeptics’ critical onslaughts. Perhaps Prophet Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) kind and affectionate conduct, humble demeanor and spotless character are the reasons why there are more and more women willfully turning to Islam, with each passing year?

130 / View Comments

130 responses to “Broken Bowls and Flowing Tears: Prophet Muhammad as Husband Extraordinaire!”

  1. Noor says:

    “He knew that women are created physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives.”

    No offense to you brother, but this line REALLY bothered me. “natural behavorial shortcomings”? excuse me? and what’s man’s excuse for his sudden changes of temper? his testosterone? or also volatile behavior?

    i take offense that only women’s hormones affect them and that women are naturally irrational. this sort of thinking really is terrible.

    Sorry if that’s not what you meant, but the way you wrote it, one can easily infer so.

    • Hassan says:

      Then there is no excuse to be irrational??

      • Noor says:

        Of course there are. For men and women! But this article makes it seem like women are the irrational ones ALWAYS because it is in their bodies to be so. Therefore men are always rational and always must put up with lowly women who can’t control themselves.

        • I think you’re reading more into the article than there is – sis Sadaf never stated that men are “always rational,” she just brought up an example of a husband who dealt with his wives in a beautiful manner, a manner that all Muslim men should be trying to emulate! And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

          • Noor says:

            Then she should have been more articulate rather than paint women with a wide brush.

  2. ibn alHyderabadee says:

    i thought sadaf was a sister….

    jazakAllahu khayran

    masha’allah enjoyed the article…

    please write more…

  3. Farzana says:

    I agree with Noor. Good article, but poor language. Sis. Sadaf doesn’t usually write like this.

  4. Syed says:

    Salaam o Alaykum,

    This was a good article that had many relevant points, as a married man I can definitely see the points the author is trying to allude to. You guys should seriously stop making a mountain out of a molehill. There was nothing derogatory and it points to faults that both females and males have i.e. emotionalism and anger. Take the good from it and overlook what you don’t like. There is a huge problem of scepticism and belittling others when one tries to do something good. What happened to Husn Zan.

  5. Anonn says:

    The tone of this article really ruined the message. Disappointed.

  6. Asiya says:

    Assalamualykum ,

    Jazakumallahu khairaa for an excellent article.What an excellent example do we have? Our propet sallalahu waliassalam was perfect in every aspect.So many lessons to learn from him.We can learn so many things from a single hadith .Jazakumallahu khairaa sister .

  7. Arshada says:

    Excellent article. Brought forth aspects of the Prophet’s (s) life that are often not talked about. Love to read more about this by the author.

    Those who are making a big deal about something small, you might have strengthened the point of the author by making such a comment. :)

    • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî says:

      lol.

    • Amatullah says:

      Those who are making a big deal about something small, you might have strengthened the point of the author by making such a comment. :)

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Noor says:

      Well that’s just rude. You’re right I should just shut up and not express my opinion because being a lowly and emotional woman, I have no rights to do so even if I find it belittling and insulting. Thanks for showing us your own patronizing tendencies in your reply as well.

      • Sister, I think you’re overexaggerating here – no one is stating that women are “lowly and emotional” nor that we have “no right to express opinions”! Sister Sadaf was presenting examples from the Seerah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); and other examples which she gave are anecdotes from her own experience in her society.

        As to the former, I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with it… are we accusing our beloved Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of considering women to be “lowly and emotional,” of never allowing his wives or daughters or female companions to speak, think, and express opinions, of being patronizing towards women?

        And as to the latter, they are true examples – personally I’m not really a fan of using anecdotes as evidence to make a broad point, but to accuse sister Sadaf of being anti-woman and considering women to be ‘lowly and emotional’ is pretty patronizing itself, don’t you think?

        • Noor says:

          Like I as earlier: “Then she should have been more articulate rather than paint women with a wide brush.”

          I have no problem with her examples, just her interpretation of them to mean that women have automatic shortcomings and lack logic in general.

        • intellect1429 says:

          Sister Zainab,

          I actually don’t believe it was Noor’s intention to misinterpret our Beloved prophet’s words. Honestly when I also read “…resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives”, I actually couldn’t recall a time when the prophet (saw) explained that women’s husband just have to “put up with women”. I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, and I’m not a scholar, so tell me if I’m wrong by by above statement.

          I just don’t think that Noor is claiming Sadaf as being anti-woman. She, like myself was just taken back by that (what can be perceived as) a poorly stated sentence. And, I also don’t like it when someone is attacked viciously for sharing their feelings about a certain topic.

          • Khair, insha’Allah… I guess we’re of different wavelengths here and just see things quite differently.
            In any case, I apologize for any misunderstandings and wounded feelings that may have resulted. May Allah forgive us all for our natural shortcomings ;)

          • intellect1429 says:

            My apologies too Sr. Zainab and to any one else for any misunderstanding.

  8. Mohamed Al-Jazeri says:

    Great Article. Good insights and thoughts about the ahadith mentioned. BarakAllahu feeki.

  9. Sadaf says:

    Bismillah

    Well, first things first, yes – I am a sister. :-)

    “He knew that women are created physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives.”

    I respect people’s opinions on this piece and am sorry to have turned you off. I would, however, like to point out a couple of Prophet Muhammad’s [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] own statements regarding women, which allude to these so-called “natural behavioral shortcomings”.

    I will not go into the fiqhi details of explaining these ahadeeth, however, as I am no scholar. I have read several scholars’ explanations of these statements/ahadeeth, though, and would just like to add that, after getting married and experiencing the physical harships of child-rearing, and repeatedly witnessing my husband’s extremely patient, rational demeanor/stance in situations which rendered me an emotional, sobbing mess, I would say that I completely, wholeheartedly confirm and testify to the correctness of these of Prophet Muhammad’s statements about women. Before marriage, I just submitted to the fact that he must be 100% right in what he says about us — but nevertheless, I sometimes did feel confused when feminist, rebellious thoughts such as “Why does Islam say this about women?” came to my mind. But after getting married, I have experienced the truth of his words first-hand. Truly, nothing except the Haqq came from his tongue, may Allah’s peace be upon him.

    Here is what he has said:

    Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said:
    Woman was created from a bent rib. If you want to enjoy her, you enjoy her while she is still bent. If you will try to straighten her, you will break her.”
    [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim]

    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
    Once Allah’s Apostle [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] went out to the Musallah (to offer the prayer) of Eid-al-Adha or Al-Fitr. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.”
    [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
    The Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said, “Isn’t the testimony of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.”
    [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

    As for the scientific facts; women have two hormones, men have one. Women’s hormones go up and down during the month, causing mood swings and obstacles in rational thinking. Women go through more physical hardships. Allah has also deliberately made them more emotional because, these very emotions enable them to nurture children and maintain other familial relationships. You will hardly find men working as nannies, daycare providers or preschool teachers. Why? Among other things, because women’s emotions and the double-dose of hormones allow them to bear, and rear, one bawling, spitting-up, pooping infant after another.

    Again, sorry if I offended any of you, but I do not retract. My married brothers would probably understand the message behind this article better, because they haveprobably also experienced their wives’ emotional outbursts; and have found themselves scratching their heads and wondering, “Okay, now why is she upset with me this time?” :)

    *Sigh* Why do I have a feeling of an impending storm?

    • Amad says:

      Perhaps the fact that it is hard for some women to accept that they are *generally speaking* more emotional than men is because of the emotional hormone itself?? :) (and I have no idea why that emotional is considered pejorative… I mean there are varying degrees of sensitivity and emotion even among men).

      I mean men are called all sorts of things, including insensitive, non-committal, liars, and other generalizations, but I don’t see men bursting out a masculine club?? What’s wrong in being different? If we weren’t different, I am quite sure I wouldn’t want to marry a manly-woman (referring to the emotional sense here, not physical)!

    • Amatullah says:

      Sadaf, jazaaki Allahu khayran for stating the truth!

      If i remember correctly, those ahadeeth use the word “aql”, which means not only intelligent but also reasoning. So women are more deficient in reasoning. I think we all know that women act out of emotion, therefore have a lack of reasoning sometimes. How many times have we seen a mother do something for her child based on her emotions instead of reason? I’ve seen it many times :)
      Women have to go through menstrual cycles, pregnancy, post child birth, menopause…subhanAllah, of course we’re hormonal :)

      Alhamdulillah Allah ta’ala has made Jannah easy for us women….check this out:

      قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عبد الرحمن بن عوف
      إذا صلت المرأة خمسها و صامت شهرها وحفظت فرجها وأطاعت زوجها قيل لها ادخلي الجنة من أي أبواب شئت

      On the authority of AbdurRahman ibn Awf who said, The Prophet sal Allahu alayi wa sallam said, “When any woman prays her five, fasts her month, guards her body and obeys her husband, it is said to her: Enter paradise from whichever of its doors you wish.” (Ibn Hibbaan, Ahmad, Saheeh according to shaykh Albaani in Jaami’ Sagheer)

      Find a hadeeth like that pertaining to men :) (ps- you won’t)

      • Noor says:

        For you hadith saying that women are deficient in mind, please read this http://www.ourdialogue.com/answers/articles.php?action=show&showarticle=1657

        or Green Childs response.

        It clearly shows he doesn’t mean that women are deficient, it was related to the situation, as always. Maybe you should read the context of hadiths rather than say them out without knowing more, particularly ones that can be used to hurt or belittle a woman.

        • Amatullah says:

          I’m not sure if you are responding to me or Sadaf, but I wanted to ask a simple question….Who wrote that article you linked? I know I speak on behalf of myself and Sadaf when I say that we do not interpret ahadeeth to our own whims and everything we have written is based on what we have learned from our teachers.

          Also just a reminder for myself first and foremost, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whenever kindness is added to something, it adorns it; and whenever it is withdrawn from something, it leaves it ugly.” [Muslim]. Imam Nawawi says again: To be soft-spoken is such a quality that by virtue of which a man is not only endeared to people but also to Allah. And by being bereft of it, he not only becomes a contempt incarnate in the eyes of people but also with Allah.

          There is nothing wrong with disagreeing, but we can do so in a gentle way without being accusatory or derogatory. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam overlooked a bedouin urinating in the House of Allah, I’m sure we can be more gentle with our fellow brothers and sisters with regards to a simple article?

    • Noor says:

      No offense to you, but I frequently find the men in my life acting irrationally and I cannot figure them out either. Men can be just as hormonal and irrational. I think it is belittling for you to think it is only women.

    • Noor says:

      For you hadith saying that women are deficient in mind, please read this http://www.ourdialogue.com/answers/articles.php?action=show&showarticle=1657

      or Green Childs response.

      It clearly shows he doesn’t mean that women are deficient, it was related to the situation, as always. Maybe you should read the context of hadiths rather than say them out without knowing more, particularly ones that can be used to hurt or belittle a woman.

    • mcpagal says:

      Salaam sister Sadaf, I didn’t know how to reply to your other comment so I’ll stick it here:

      Allah says in the Quran (43:18):

      “(Do they then like for Allah) a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women), and in dispute cannot make herself clear?

      Is that also a “misinterpretation”?

      Ermmm… yes? When I covered the tafsir of these ayat I was told that this described the view of pre-Islamic Arabs, not the Quran, of women – they thought of them as weak, irrational and shallow, yet they attributed daughters to Allah – they were giving Him something they themselves disliked. It’s better explained when you read this ayah with the one before it, which mentions that when they (the pre-Islamic Arabs that is) were given news of a baby girl, their faces would darken with rage. Obviously, this behaviour is not condoned by the Quran.

      “As for the scientific facts; women have two hormones, men have one.”

      Sorry, what? I haven’t studied this or anything, but human beings have tons of hormones regulating their systems. Even if you meant specifically sex hormones (in which case you should have said!), all types are present is both males and females, just at different levels. Yes, women have testosterone, and men have oestrogen. I might be talking rubbish here, but I hope not.

      Anyway, hormones aside (please), men and women still have their own personalities. Women are not all smiling epitomes of patience, and men are not all alpha-male competitive stone hearts. Yes, women have mood swings at their time of the month – but it’s still within their control. It doesn’t really make sense to say that women are irrational, emotional and quick to anger over petty things and then say that they are also patient and perfect to raise children. Who wants an irrational person raising their kids? They might set fire to them to spite their mother in law! :D

      • Sadaf says:

        Wa alaikumussalam Sister.
        Totally off the topic, but…..is your age 17 -22?
        :)

        • mcpagal says:

          It is indeed.

          Also off topic: were you educated in Pakistan by any chance?

          • Sadaf says:

            Just click! (I am guessing you must have, already)

            I clicked too, but did not find anything in your blog that’d indicate your age..so I guessed.

            I am not replying to argue just for the sake of arguing or for getting my last word in, and I am sorry you found some words/ideas offensive/irksome, but can you reflect for a minute and just give some leeway to the fact that you still have to experience marriage(and perhaps also your friends’ marriages) to maybe understand the message behind the ahadeeth regarding the husband-wife relationship, that have been quoted? Just maybe; isn’t that a faint possibility?

            My last bit on this thread.

      • iMuslim says:

        Sorry, what? I haven’t studied this or anything, but human beings have tons of hormones regulating their systems. Even if you meant specifically sex hormones (in which case you should have said!), all types are present is both males and females, just at different levels. Yes, women have testosterone, and men have oestrogen. I might be talking rubbish here, but I hope not.

        Dear McP… as a clinical student, you should know better than to talk about such matters without doing the research. I mean, what if I started going on about root canals, and saying “I haven’t studied it or anything, but I’m sure they can be done with a Black & Decker drill bit. It’s all the same, innit?”. ;)

        Women do have androgens (one of which is testosterone), but they produce it in much lower concentrations, which is why we do not typically exhibit the same testosterone induced behaviours that men do. In fact, women who produce too much androgen (e.g., those with PCOS) or are too sensitive to androgen action, display a more male physiology, including increased growth of facial hair (some poor women even have to shave their ‘beards’ every day, subhanallah).

        The same goes in reverse. Men also produce small quantities of oestogens and progestins via the adrenal gland (as opposed to ovaries in women), but androgen action is dominant. Male chemical castration is a technique that is being experimented with in some parts of the world, as a ‘cure’ for sexual aggression in men (e.g., rapists, paedophiles, etc). It works by countering androgenic activity. One drug is actually a progestin (i.e., a chemical that has similar effects to the human hormone, progesterone, which is responsible for regulating female fertility).

        So, it goes to show that the sex hormones do have a very real affect on how we think, and behave.

        • mcpagal says:

          I was hoping you’d correct me doctorji! We had to cover this in first and second year, so I’m extremely rusty, but I checked online and with my [sciencey!] sister first. From what you’ve said, it still seems very unscientific to say that women have two hormones, men have one and women’s emotions and the double-dose of hormones allow them to bear, and rear, one bawling, spitting-up, pooping infant after another.. I wouldn’t normally be so pedantic (ok, well… maybe), but this paragraph had “As for the scientific facts” at the beginning!

          I understand that hormones have effects on thinking and behaviour, and would like to clarify that I don’t necessarily think of ’emotional’ as a negative quality – it’s the suggestion that women are unstable and irrational, and men need to learn to put up with this, that I find… irksome.

  10. mcpagal says:

    Salaam, I love hearing these stories of Rasulullah (saw) – so different to what many cultures teach. It’s obviously not just for husbands either, patience and understanding are so essential for any relationships.

    I have to agree with some other commenters though – the tone of this article is really (but probably not intentionally) patronising. Women aren’t strange bags of hormones that need to be treated like children or favourite pets. I’m referring to comments like:

    “women are created physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives.”

    “I have personally noticed that women are very competitive as far as cooking is concerned.”

    “in order to enable him to effectively deal with his wife’s intermittent bouts of irrational thinking and emotional instability.”

    I don’t agree that this is something small – it’s an attitude of thinking that women are somehow lesser beings that can lead to horrible cases of domestic abuse like the one mentioned at the beginning of the article.

    • Amad says:

      I don’t agree that this is something small – it’s an attitude of thinking that women are somehow lesser beings that can lead to horrible cases of domestic abuse like the one mentioned at the beginning of the article.

      Huh?
      I didn’t get that at all from the article. I really want to understand how being more emotional is being “lesser beings”. Men are less sensitive *typically*… are they lesser beings too?

      And pls tell me if it isn’t more common for women to be jealous of other women, and having emotional outbursts, relative to men? At the same time, men have less than praiseworthy features of being insensitive and not being emotional enough. I don’t get the issue here. I would also be interested in knowing the correlation between negative comments and marriage status… I suspect those who are married see the points better (just my insensitive, manly-bold opinion).

      • Sadaf says:

        No, brother, I see it too. Perhaps this post should be tagged “married people only”? The more comments are made, the more I see a pattern. Actually, the whole article is based on the husband-wife relationship, come to think of it.

        I personally think Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] was the best husband in the whole of mankind! I mean, what could be sweeter than picking up the mess his wife made in anger, and making an excuse for her behavior to his companions!

        • mcpagal says:

          Salaam, I apologise for any offence caused. I’m not married, perhaps when I am (inshallah) I will start having irrational, emotional outbursts and will look back and be glad that I can blame it all on my feminine nature :P

          I have lost my train of thought slightly (being nowt but a woman, my brain is not built for debating rationally) – but I have a problem with generalising about genders and using one’s ‘nature’ as an excuse for behaving badly. “I just cut up my sister’s favourite dress, because I’m a woman prone to emotional outbursts!”. No dear, you did that because you can’t control your jealousy. “I just punched a hole in the wall because I’m filled with manly rage!”. Err, no, you need to rein in your anger.

          How many of these traits are due to upbringing and societal norms, not nature, anyway?

          • Hassan says:

            Yes, may be some scholar can clarify if emotional outbursts are not sin for women? Men can be irrational in anger, so can women due to hormones or whatever. Does it justify the actions?

          • Amatullah says:

            Mcpagal, you bring up a good point…I remember I shared my notes regarding this in a previous post. Qalb, Fuaad and Sadr: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/02/11/the-heart-fuaad-qalb-and-sadr/

            Allah says in surah Israa:

            إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
            Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah).

            Allah ta’ala uses fuaad to describe the heart; showing that even those emotional outbursts we have are not a reason for us to sin and that we will be questioned about it. Check out the article for more background inshaAllah.

            Allah knows best.

          • Noor says:

            lol

            i think some replies don’t see how this comment is largely sarastic.

          • Sadaf says:

            Allah says in the Quran (43:18):

            “(Do they then like for Allah) a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women), and in dispute cannot make herself clear?

            Is that also a “misinterpretation”?

            Allah describes the female gender as someone who is brought up in ornaments and is “not clear” in a dispute.

            I rest my case. :)

      • vindicated says:

        I didn’t get the impression that the author tried to belittle women or anything either, the article just pointed out some general differences between the genders. They may or may not relate to you in particular. But that doesn’t mean the article itself is ‘humiliating’ and ‘offensive’.

        Really, I agree- we love to make mountains out of molehills.

        • anonymous akhi says:

          yeah. just your typical feminists raising the red alert over trivialities. something we should all learn to ignore.

          • Amad says:

            anonymous akhi,
            I don’t think it is fair to broad-brush concerns as being typical feminist motivated. It may be more related to one’s own experiences, or even misunderstanding of what has been stated in this post. I can see why sisters may find generalizations disliked, even though I disagree. That is because while there are many exceptions, generalizations are meant not to cover every case. Again, it is okay to discuss and argue, but if we can avoid labels, that will help make the conversation more fruitful and more focused on substance.

    • Hassan says:

      Should not women be treated like women? Or you want them to be treated like men?

      • mcpagal says:

        I think men and women should act like servants of God, and treat each other with respect. Hormones and biology are not an excuse for being stupid.

        • Amad says:

          McPagal, biology is like the #1 excuse for married women to get a free pass after being stupid… you really don’t want to take it away, do you :)

          P.S. joke. kind of.

          • mcpagal says:

            lol, maybe I do! Only pregnant/menopausal women should get more leeway – they’re going through some crazy stuff, them.

            I wouldn’t like to excuse my own bad tempers because I am female. I also wouldn’t like my [hypothetical] husband to laugh indulgently and go ‘Aww, lookit you having a typical female strop! Lucky I’m manly enough to take it in my stride!’.

            The hadiths in the article showed the best way to deal with anyone annoyed – address their complaint, without taking sides, and show some understanding and patience. I pray that I’m one day able to emulate that inshallah, with the men and women in my life.

        • Hassan says:

          I agree, they should not, but as Amad suggested then there is no free pass anymore

          • Noor says:

            There never really was a free pass, imo. Opening the door is all I’ve ever seen and most brothers barely say salam.

  11. Green Child says:

    Here are some quotations on the “equality” or “equity” of men and women in islam – just so people don’t start hating on the article.

    [http://www.ourdialogue.com/answers/articles.php?action=show&showarticle=1657

    My daughter keeps asking me about the Hadith that women are deficient in mental ability and in religion. Could you please explain it? Why does the Prophet, peace be upon him, say that most women will be in hell?

    Your daughter is not alone. Many are those who question the meaning it conveys. This is largely due to the fact that the Hadith is quoted only in part and the relevant statement is cited out of context. People always attribute to the Prophet, peace be upon him, the suggestion that women are inferior to men on grounds of a deficient mind and lack of faith. This is far from true.

    Let us look at the Hadith in full: “On the occasion of Eid, either that of sacrifice or that of ending the fast, the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to the prayer place, and then went to speak to women and he said: “Ladies! I have not seen people deficient in mind and religion yet can get away with a rational man’s mind like any one of you.” They asked: “How are we deficient in mind and religion, Messenger of God?” He said: “Is it not true that a woman’s testimony counts as half that of a man?” When they answered in the affirmative, he said: “This is her mental deficiency. Is it not true that when a woman is in her period she neither prays nor fasts?” They again answered in the affirmative. He said: “This is her religious deficiency.” [Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

    To start with, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was speaking to a congregation of women on a joyous occasion. Exemplary in his care for others, particularly his companions, and kind and compassionate as he was, it is inconceivable that he would insult them by such a statement, if he meant it as a statement of fact, like some of us do. The Prophet, peace be upon him, simply used this phrase “deficient in mind and religion” to alert them to what he wanted to say to them. The Prophet, peace be upon him, frequently uses such a method, inserting some words that may not be relevant to the point he wants to stress, so that they serve to attract the attention of his audience. Furthermore, his statement expresses amazement at a well-known situation, when a man is infatuated by a woman to the extent that his behavior changes in character. He may be wise and intelligent, yet he could easily behave in a way that is inconsistent with his intelligence and wisdom when he is so infatuated. This is a case where a woman who is generally weaker than a man can control him.

    The Hadith mentions that the Prophet’s women audience asked him to clarify what he said. His clarification pinpoints certain aspects that suggest no inferiority whatsoever. The mental deficiency is related to the fact that in certain cases, two women witnesses are required in place of one-man witness. This has to do with the role of each of the two sexes in Islamic society. It is no reflection on a woman’s mental ability. As for religious deficiency, the Prophet, peace be upon him, states the fact that a woman is exempt from prayer and fasting when she is in menstruation. While God gives a woman the reward for prayer and fasting as if she has done them, since she stops only because of her condition and in response to God’s orders, still the fact that she does not fulfill these duties means that her worship is less in terms of what she offers. It does not mean that she is a lesser believer.

    As for a relevant statement of fact in this regard, the Prophet, peace be upon him, says, “Women are full sisters of men.” In the Arabic text, the Prophet, peace be upon him, uses here a word, which implies total similarity and equivalence. Hence, the Prophet’s statement suggests no inferiority attached to women. The Qur’an and the Sunnah assign the same duties to both men and women, and promise them the same reward. If this does not mean the same status, I would like to know what does.

    May I add here that the translation of this Hadith as quoted by you is wrong, because it splits the relevant sentence and gives the Prophet’s words in such a way that they appear to make a statement of fact. This is wrong, as I have explained.

    As for the other part, a full translation of it goes as follows: “I have seen hell and I have never seen any thing more horrific than what I saw then. I also saw that the majority of its dwellers are women.” They asked: “On what grounds, Messenger of God? He said: “By their denial.‚ They said: “Their denial of God?‚ He answered: “No. Their denial of their spouses and their denial of kindness. You may be kind to one of them all the time, but when she finds fault with you she says: I have never received any kindness from you.”

    To start with, the Hadith does not say that most women are in hell. It says that the majority of hell dwellers are women, which simply signifies that more women fail in this worldly test than men. Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, points out their failure, which is not based on denying God. Rather, it is denying kindness, particularly in marital situations. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has pointed this out in more than one Hadith, warning women against grumbling and frequent complaints. He is also warning them here against denying kindness by their husbands, highlighting a failing that is often expressed in denying past kindness.

    The Hadith shows that women can easily avoid such a destiny by being fair and appreciative of kindness. They should always be grateful to God for what He has given them and also be appreciative of any kindness done to them by others, particularly those with whom they live, be they their husbands, parents or other relatives.]

  12. aarij says:

    Jazakillahi khairan. Amazing article!

  13. salafFollower says:

    Assalamualaikum,

    I find it interesting that when we talk about gender ‘equity’ in Islam the conversation always begins with discussing aspects of this *world* but always ends up being about the Hereafter!

    I am not interested in knowing if Islamically, men and women are equal in regards to their reward in the akhira and in regards to deed and taqwa, but from the prespective of their place and role in society *in this world*.

    In order to give a rational and comprehensive response to feminsists etc. we need to stop arguing from the prespective of akhira and piety and instead show why and how women are better off in an Islamic society vs. Westenr society. For example, in an Islamic society:

    1. Are women able to think independently and have control over the major decisions in their lives e.g. career, education, marriage etc.?
    2. Are women able able to be financially independent from the men in their lives?
    3. Does society provide women with a support structure to avoid/escape physical and emotional abuse or to suffer it in ‘patience and gratitude’?
    4. Are they given the same opportunitiies as men to reach their potential physically and intellectually?

    But of course, the reponse will be ‘we don’t practice Islam’. I am not asking if this is possible in a Utopian islamic khilafah. I am asking if an Islamic society can provde this in the real world, or even has the goal of providing it.

  14. I don’t think the point of the article is that being prone to a behavior excuses mistakes made from such inclinations. I believe the point is that the inclinations exist, that’s it.

    Siraaj

  15. As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh,

    I thought it was a great article which brought up some beautiful moments in the life of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) – so jazaakiAllahu khairan sis Sadaf for it! :)

    As for the statements which rubbed some people the wrong way, well… let’s just say that there was a time not so long ago that I would’ve been really offended by it also :D but now, alHamdulillaah, although it still does irritate me a tiny bit, it’s not as bad as before.
    Why?

    Because aside from the fact that Allah and His Messenger know best, and have informed of us of these things already, I’ve been taking a psychology course, and just finished reading a book titled “The Female Brain” – written by an American clinical psychologist. The book is humourous yet full of facts about how the female brain changes and is affected from birth until death. The cold truth is that females ARE bags of hormones – the only time that we are ‘stable’ is as children, between the ages of (approximately; forgive my atrocious memory) 3 – 10.
    The author of the book made a great point: Women are women, biologically, psychologically, and emotionally; any attempt to think and behave otherwise is detrimental to our own personal growth and potential, and to society itself.

    This is how Allah created us… and y’know what? That’s fine! Allah created men with their own host of faults, whether it’s incredible stupidity with regards to thinks which should be really, really obvious, their caveman-like mentalities, or their tendencies to be ridiculously childish about the smallest issues. Admit it: the same women who have issues being called emotional often have no problem calling men big babies (which they are).

    Basically, Allah created both men and women differently, with their own faults, shortcomings, and strong points… and there is no shame in that. Both men and women can be/ are emotional, strung-out, hormone-ridden, etc…. so now everyone can feel equally good (or bad) about themselves :)

  16. Maybe the next article should be about a great woman who put up with an emotional man :)

    • Noor says:

      hear hear!

      I know from experience that men can be just as irrational and hard to console, knowing men in their teens to their autumn years.

      • The example of Aasiyah, wife of Fir’awn, is one fantastic example that should, insha’Allah, not result in a flamewar about the genders :)

        (By the way, I totally agree about the irrational men… haha!)

    • Asiya says:

      Assalamualykum Sr.Zainab,

      Excellent point. Where did our beloved prophet sallahu wahissalam go when the first ayah was revealed?Did he go to meet his friends or to his uncles? He came home to his first wife Khadija radhiallahuanha.Khadija radhiallahuanha reminded him of his good nature and then they went to warqah nafwal..

  17. Muna says:

    I have been reading this blog for a while now and I must say that this article crosses a line, its like somthing a simplistic Saudi sheikh with a caveman mentality would write. I don’t see how this piece could be perceived as inoffensive, wallah I’m no radical feminist, but nonetheless I felt my blood boiling over reading it, “natural behavior shortcomings”, are you serious????

    Honestly, that a Muslim female in the twenty-first century would wholeheartedly buy into the notion that a woman is nothing but an irrational, amusing creature to be tolerated by her husband is infuriating, if that’s so then why on earth get an education and go through college if at the end you’re just going to have to play dumb for some man with issues and who has no self-confidence as to appreciate a wife who is able to rationally think for herself.

    This isn’t to say that a woman should check her emotions at the door, absolutely not, inherently feminine values such as love and compassion are to be celebrated, Henry James put it beautifully when he refers to the female as the “human vessel”. So instead of using a woman’s inner humanity to degrade her, Muslims should be working on instilling these values in society overall, there’s nothing shameful about a man who embraces his femininty and rhetoric such as the author’s and those who agree with her reinforces an uncivilized mentality where men are the true thinkers and women are just pathetic little fools not to be taken seriously. If that isn’t insulting then I don’t know what is.

    • Amatullah says:

      The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam referred to women as vessels as well.

      رفقا بالقوارير
      be gentle with the glass vessels.

    • Hassan says:

      but nonetheless I felt my blood boiling over reading it, “natural behavior shortcomings”, are you serious????

      quite ironic

    • vindicated says:

      I think this comment also ‘crossed a line’ in terms of the behaviour that is expected in a ‘civilized’ society.

    • Amad says:

      Muna, perhaps I can understand your angst at the choice of words… but would you find it offensive if the article talked about men as being more likely to be unfaithful? Generally speaking that is a natural behavioral shortcoming in men, as is having less patience than women. As a man, I admit that readily, and I think most men would nod, “yeah that’s us”…

      As for choice of words, perhaps we shouldn’t call it shortcoming but instead maintain a positive context, as in “men tend to be more emotionally composed than women, generally speaking” instead of “women are less emotionally composed than men”… same message but the former is more neutral than the latter. As is, “women tend to be more faithful and compassionate than men” than saying “men are less faithful”.

      I think one thing that I continue to learn from blogging is that the choice of words, even if conveying EXACTLY the same message, matters so much that it can have completely opposite effects. And anchor points are important. If you spin the anchor positively, that is saying that x is better in some respects than y, then it may be more acceptable than saying that y is worse than x. Lessons for all.

      • Hassan says:

        What about ahadiths? Am I right to assume that some people are finding the words of our beloved prophet Muhammad PBUH (narrated by apparently cave mentality Saudi Sheikhs) to be offensive as well?

        • Noor says:

          Please don’t be silly. We all know how easy it is for everyone from sheiks to terrorists to make hadiths and quran quotes to mean something they don’t and use them to offend. Though I’m not saying that’s what she did. I think her interpretation is wrong.

    • Why hate on Saudi shaykhs? Are there no simplistic Egyptian, African, Malay, Indonesian, or Desi Shaykhs?

      Siraaj

      • Amad says:

        Desi Shaykhs wear nice salwar kameez and that amazing kulla/turban… highly sophisticated and chique in my opinion… far from simplistic.

        • Muna says:

          @Amatullah: Thanks for mentioning that hadith, I had heard it before but never really made the connection, I always love it when I find echos of Islam in the best of western thought.

          @Vindicated: So I get angry reading a post degrading women on a respected Islamic blog that I happen to like, aside from the fact that I genuinely disagree with the premise of the article its also bad PR.

          @Amad: Of course I wouldn’t find a post about men cheating offensive, that men cheat at a highly disproportionate rate is well documented, its a fact, there’s no need to be PC about it. Whereas showcasing certain traits about women and completely disregarding others as so many hardline clerics do- especially Saudi ones- can easily be construed as offensive. Yes men and women are very different and that’s a wonderful thing but we need to stop casting women as stupid. Being feminine is a blessing and its not something to diminsh, and any moevement that tried to defeminize women has and always will fail, for heaven’s sake even Gloria Stinem wears heels now! But being able to formulate a rational argument and having a deep interest in world affairs and other non-feminine related topics is also important and I always feel Muslim clerics never emphasize that. So the issue is not semantics here, its about whether or not Muslim girls should be told to be overly feminine to the exclusion of all else- that’s just not fair in this day and age when we’re always told to do well in school and achieve as much as we can and then hear that we need to project stupidity.

          @Hassan, Siraj Muhammad: I don’t think many are aware of how much of a corrosive effect modern Saudi clerics have on Muslims, their fanaticism really turns people away from Islam, I stopped listening to them, they are too corrupted by politics and Wahabist thought. I grew up listening to lectures by these people and it was usually traumatic, Syrians and Egyptians are much more enlightened when it comes to clerics from the Middle East. Also they don’t grow their beards as long which makes them come off as less intimidating…And I agree the turban is much more “chique” than the Saudi sheikh dress code, lol.

          • So what distinguishes you from a racist, given your remarks?

            Siraaj

          • Amad says:

            that men cheat at a highly disproportionate rate is well documented

            modern Saudi clerics have on Muslims, their fanaticism really turns people away from Islam, I stopped listening to them, they are too corrupted by politics and Wahabist thought…Syrians and Egyptians are much more enlightened when it comes to clerics from the Middle East.

            I find it interesting that you take issue with stereotyping, yet you resort to it quite generously. I especially find your Saudi vs. Syrian vs. Egyptian clerics comparison quite amusing… and not really grounded in reality. There are good and bad apples in every nation’s clerics. For every fanatic Saudi one, you can find a fanatic Egyptian one… I think you get the point.

            You had a good argument on choice of words in the article, but you lost your credibility (at least in my eyes) when you started drawing your own blanket conclusions. What is good for the goose then should be good for the gander, don’t you agree?

    • Noor says:

      thank you so much for this comment. glad someone agreed with me.

  18. banafsaji says:

    Love it! Instead of looking at it as a put down on women, look at it as how men are supposed to show patience with their better halves.

  19. Umm Ibraheem says:

    jazakAllah khayr sr. Sadaf, nice article!

    I didn’t think it was demeaning to women at all. We are emotional. What’s wrong with that? Maybe the sisters were offended because they weren’t thinking of it in the husband-wife scenario. Also – to be fair, generally men are more hot-tempered…generally.

    mashaAllah beautiful article :) Would love to read more articles like this.

  20. bro says:

    What an amazing individual our Prophet Muhammad Salalhu Alayhi Waasalam was.

    • Amad says:

      subhanAllah I agree…
      If my wife threw a plate of food, I don’t know what I would do… but I wouldn’t be picking up the broken pieces– probably walk away seething! I mean (S) didn’t use any harsh language, let alone hit his wife (which he never did)… any husband who pictures himself in this position can see what incredible patience this involved. And this would also be a more effective “silent rebuke” than any other means of verbal or physical action… amazing indeed…

  21. Arif Kabir says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I really enjoyed this article and it reminded me of a talk that I had once heard by my Imam – he was mentioning that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam was a very caring and romantic person and this should be a lesson for those who believe you gotta be “rough and tough” to be a “firm” believer.

    The example that he was using for the talk was of the first wife of the Prophet – Khadijah radhiAllahu anha. Even after she died, the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam never forgot her and he would consistenly remember her. Aishah radhiAllahu anha reported, “I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadija (although) she died before he married me, for I often heard him mentioning her, and Allah had told him to give her the good tidings that she would have a palace of Qasab (i.e. pipes of precious stones and pearls in Paradise), and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would send her women-friends a good share of it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 58, Hadith 164),Subhanallah… Even after her death, he remembered her and throughout his life, he would give her friends meat everytime he would slaughter a sheep.

    In another incident, years after Khadijah died, he came across a necklace that she once wore. When he saw it, he remembered her and began to cry and mourn. His love for her never died, so much so, that his later wife A’isha became jealous of her. Once she asked the Prophet if Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet replied: “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”

  22. Kashif says:

    mashallah. indeed it was a brilliant article. may allah give us all the tawfeeq to follow the footsteps of the prophet.. ameen.

  23. ibnkhalil says:

    Assalam o alaykum JazakAllah khair Sister Sadaf for a nice article.

    The article mirror’s some of Shaykh Jibaly’s books on marriage; “Closer then a garment-four part series”.

    I am appalled to read some of the comments by some people. Unfortunately, the reality is that feminism has seeped into us Muslims and has caused some men/women to take on the dangerous idea that men and women are equal. Men and women are not equal.Tthe ahadith quoted above prove this point. Allah has also spoken about this in the Quran. (2:228,43:16 and 4:34). These verses show without a shadow of a doubt that men and women are unequal and there is a deficiency in the womanfolk. This does not mean they are lesser human. In fact Allah put a whole chapter just about women in the Quran. (Try finding one about men- you won’t).
    They are our mothers, daughters, sisters and other kin. They are to be respected, loved as shown by the beautiful example of our Prophet(SAW).

    The Western thought of feminism has destroyed the Divine balance in individuals which carried on into families and then into the entire society. Therefore we see many perversions in the West and those who follow this evil movement.

    Just a suggestion, perhaps one of the MM authors can write something on feminism and its effects on a Muslim and why it is dangerous. Because that is the base of the issue which is plaguing us and creates unnecessary discussion.

    Wallah u alam

  24. B says:

    Typical marriage-related article on MM. Completely disconnected from reality on the ground. What is the purpose of this article? Is it to show men an example to follow? Do you really think an unjust abusive man would alter his behavior by reading the aforementioned stories? When a man acts like an animal towards his wife, it’s not because he didn’t hear about the gentleness of the Prophet pbuh. In fact, most men who physically abuse their wives, claim to really love them and their wives would testify to their ‘sweetness’ in times of peace. When you dig deep into the psyche of a guy like that, you would realize that the problem is really about his insecurity.

    Your article is a prime example of the near-sightedness of Muslims (…especially Imams) when it comes to addressing marriage issues. Not everything can be solved by pasting a couple of ahadeeth and verses.

    I mean (S) didn’t use any harsh language, let alone hit his wife (which he never did)…

    He did strike Aisha (ra) on her chest, and she felt pain, “…He struck me on the chest which caused me pain,” http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/004.smt.html#004.2127

    Now what?

      • Safia says:

        Salaam,

        Not to speak for anyone, but I think the point of pasting that hadith was not because the person is making an argument about the Prophet being abusive, but to show how many times there is little real life benefit in these types of cut and paste verse and hadith articles when addressing a complex subject like marital dysfunction. I understand the author was trying to provide examples of the Prophet’s gentleness, and that is appreciated, but I hope she and the other writers really understand some of the criticisms being written and take it into consideration the next time something like this is addressed.

    • Amad says:

      Typical marriage-related article on MM. Completely disconnected from reality on the ground.

      Could it be possible that your sense of the ground-reality is not shared by others? Isn’t that a matter of perspective too? And when you say “typical”, isn’t that an unfair broad-brushing?

      What is the purpose of this article?

      I think the purpose has been mentioned a few times.

      Your article is a prime example of the near-sightedness of Muslims (…especially Imams)

      Especially Imams? Perhaps it is because we don’t like what they have to say?

      • B says:

        Let me start from from the bottom up. “Especially Imams? Perhaps it is because we don’t like what they have to say?”. Your average Imam spends a few years reading on jurisprudence and memorizing evidence for the different legal opinions out there. Does your average Imam receive training on issues such as, marital abuse, domestic violence, drug addiction? No. That’s because his training is geared towards preparing him to become a scholar, someone who can give legal opinions and NOT counseling. So when a troubled couple seek an Imam, he recites the verses that he had memorized and asks the wife to be patient and asks the husband to be gentle. End of session.

        “And when you say “typical”, isn’t that an unfair broad-brushing?” – You have this article and the previous articles by Haytham. Do I need to say more? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, just like my question, “What is the purpose of this article?”. So you don’t have to answer those ;)

  25. SH says:

    JazakAllah khair for the article. When I read it I didn’t think it was offensive to any gender. I don’t see why we have to think so hard on matters like this. Sometimes this can happen, so just take the subtle truth, and better yet, the article even if it did mention some ‘shortcomings’, it focused on the role of the husband, so let’s take the big picture and enjoy it.

  26. Sista says:

    Lovely reminder and very well-written in my opinion.
    Jazakamu Allah Khair. :)

  27. mirza says:

    assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah, felt like going through fiqh of love class in a single reading of this article. jazakumullah kheir for this reminder. many men in khatira today agreed to when i narrated it to them, as part of first fi sabilillah, then self learning, then learning self confidence and public speaking and ended up giving example through 33:21 and narrated most of the points from this article; many of them enjoyed it mash Allaah; may Allaah benefit us from this knowledge that benefits, and prevent us to think about (un)necessary information that does not.

    my eight year old nephew asks me why do you have to change 15 subjects in your 5 minute talk. like first you spoke of romance ( prophet being kind and affectionate to his wives, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam), then food, then dinner invitation, then plate, then camel then… lol, that was cute perception from an 8 year old, again jazakumullah kheir for the article.

    may Allaah ta’la give that tawfik to the masculanist men to be more affectionate and loving and understanding towards their spouse thinking highly of them and let her raciprocate with the learning something from ummahatul mumineen behavior.
    after all we are doing this for sake of pleasure of Allaah Ta’la; if that is not the case, then something big is wrong in our accepting this deed ( of marriage and aftermath);

    Umar RadiAllahu anhu said, not all marriages in madina are based on love, some of them are based on mercy.

    so love and mercy , we learn , are essential ingredients required by each spouse, each day every day towards each other, trying to please Allaah T’ala.

    mean it when you say you love her/him. with your words and action; one person sends flower to his wife every week. ( was he a florist? no.); just mean it, it will take us long way through communication which is needed.

    communication is shortest distance between two people.

    ps its not what we say or do people remember, they say, its what you made them feel; barakallahu feek.

    • Jawharah says:

      Wa alaikum asalaam,
      I could be wrong about this, but regarding Sayyidina ‘Umar (Radiallahu Anhu), a women came complaining about her marriage during the time of khilafa. And he stated to the effect of “Marriage is made up of love and mercy; when the love dies, let there still be mercy.” My point is, that all marriages should start all with love for each other, but as time goes and things happen maybe the love with fade, but there should still be mercy… Allahu ‘alam! :)

  28. Jawharah says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    That was an awesome article mashaAllah! :) SubhanAllah…the patience and love Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had was something we seriouslyyy need to aspire…

    I understand the sensitivity on the part of some of the sisters, although I myself am all aware of female irrationalities as well as male irrationalities. It swings both ways for me. I’m not even married, and I won’t deny that there are moments where I have moodswings, although I do try to keep it calm.

    I think there are some men forget to practice on the sunnah of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and do get angry very easily. Hence the reason why Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said a hadeeth to the effect of: “The best of you are the best to your wives..” It was reminder to them! And that is why in his last moments he reminded the ummah to look after their women. Because he knew the men of this ummah could slip in their duties… It wasn’t to insult men, it was to push them in the right direction.

    And I think this article was intended to remind our brothers to practice a sunnah, rather than to make the sistas feel hurt…

  29. bintwadee3 says:

    I’m truly shocked at the lack of adab displayed by some readers. I understand that some may have read into “physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings” and took it as, to put it bluntly, “women are good for nothing except looking good, and they’re such pains, it can only take someone as amazing as the rasool صلى الله عليه و سلم to deal with them justly.” Or something along those lines. I have full faith in the author to know that is not what she implied or meant to imply, at all.

    With all due respect, this article was not about equalty. It was about the messenger’s صلى الله عليه و سلم “dexterity of human relations”, and how he dealt with certain aspects of his life. The author used proofs to highlight his wives at points in which they did not react to their usual standards in a specific situation. They were human, as we are. You can’t expect them to be flawless perfection. The author is not going to sit down and remark on all the great things women can or are able to do, or posess the ability to do but refrain from doing so for whatever reason, simply to “prove” that “women are not lowly beings”. There’s no ground for justification.

    Reflecting upon the article, I totally saw where Sr. Sadaf was coming from. Women as a whole are *naturally* more emotional than men. You feel sympathetic when you see a women crying. You don’t question it. But if you see a man blubbering on the street hysterically, you either think “wow he must have it bad” or “dang, whats his problem”, or “pull yourself together man!” They’re societal norms. That doesn’t mean women should cry all the time and men should never cry. PLEASE do not assume this. Emotions tend to cloud a person’s judgment. If your daughter was caught shoplifting – lets say it was something HUGE – would you, as a mother, honestly hand over her daughter to the authorities (in an Islamic state) and watch her hand get chopped off? Most likely no, she wouldn’t. She would beg, and plead and BAWL at it. Our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said that if his beloved daughter, Fatima, had stolen, he would have been the one to cut off her hand. May Allaah bestow upon us that much eemaan, or even 1/2 as much. Ameen.

    Men are more rational thinkers. My psychology teacher even said “women think like this” -she draws a scribbled mess all over the board- “and men think like this” – drawing a straight line. Women have to analyze (almost) every aspect of every thing.” A+B= C, But maybe A * Y/J = C too”. Whereas men are like “well A+B=C, okay got it”. This is, again, the majority.

    I can go all night with examples, but frankly, I see no reason to do continue.

    @Sr. Sadaf: Jazaakillaahu khayr. That was a great article. May Allaah bless your family in every aspect of deen, dunya, and aakhira. And may the relationship between you and your husband take on a likeness of the Prophet and his wives. Ameen.

    • Sadaf says:

      How sweet of you to give me such a lovely du’aa! Wa iyyaaki kadhaalik!
      May Allah bless you with even more. Ameen.

  30. Jawharah says:

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Awesome article sister! I really enjoyed it. Jazakillah khair.

    I understand why some of the sisters were offended. However, personally, I have experienced irrational outbursts from both sides, men and women alike. I myself am not immune to mood swings, and I’m not even married, so I sure hope it doesn’t get worse with a potential marriage! Yikes.

    Anyways, Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in his infinite wisdom did state in a hadeeth: “The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to their women.” And in his last days, he did remind the men of the ummah to look after their women. Hence, men are not perfect, and we all are aware of that.

    Also, while reading the article I felt that the sister was more getting at reminding our brothers to practice a sunnah by being patient and loving and humorous to their wives, rather than trying to get at the sisters. We kinda should try to look at the intent behind the message before getting offended… :)

  31. Timur says:

    Assalamun Alaykum
    thank you for the great article. i personally believe that if we followed our Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him) in all of our affairs there would be no problems at all. and i think the article shows how great husband He(pbuh) was. i couldnt read all the comments but i think we Muslims should be wise enough not to make it a gender issue. there is a beautiful lesson for everybody in the hadiths mentioned above. May Allah unite the Ummah

  32. Anon says:

    Looks like Sadaf struck a nerve…lol.

    I think a psychologist once put it best when they said: ‘women are slaves to their emotions, and men are (sexually) incontinent’.

  33. Nadeem says:

    JazakAllah sister Sadaf for the insightful article. Im disappointed with most of the criticism put forth. Overall it was a very nice article highlighting the example of the Prophet as an ideal husband. As a medical student, the clarification about the hormones thing by the sister is pretty plausible from a physiological point of view. Men have to deal with (the main) testosterone hormone levels whilst women have oestrogen/progesterone going in waves throughout the monthly cycles. I agree, women do have to go through a heck of a lot biologically. I have to admit the wording ‘shortcomings’ can seem slightly condescending at first, but its more to do with the wording chosen by the writer I reckon. The negative points people raised are really not that big a deal considering the main intention and idea the author is wanting to put foward. Anyway, more of an issue is being made out of something thats..well not really an issue in the first place. See the bigger picture, its a GOOD article, yeesh!!

  34. iMuslim says:

    As someone with a PhD in Molecular Endocrinology (specifically, I worked on the hormone progesterone, which has important functions in female fertility), I find it a bit easier to appreciate the biochemical differences between men and women, and not become as offended when they’re presented to me straight up. It’s a matter of biology, people. Read some medical textbooks and face the facts. We are wired differently, and alhamdulillah for it.

    And from personal experience, I regularly undergo periods of ‘irrationality’ – i.e., once a month, a few days before menstruation (sorry to ick out the guys with mention of such things), I often become a blubbery mess. I have found myself crying for no real reason.

    “Mum, you ate the last doughnut…?” {eyes water, lower lip quivers}

    Seriously. Though I admit it probably wasn’t a doughnut, it was definitely something as trivial as that.

    We can all dance around these issues, being as PC as we like, but if you’re not prepared to face up to your own physical make-up, you’re denying yourself the opportunity for personal growth. The only way to become stronger, is by appreciating your weaknesses, and not being ashamed of them.

    No-one – no sheikh, blogger or random commentator – is going to make me feel bad for being emotional. I consider it a gift from Allah. However, every blessing in this dunyah comes with a catch – that’s just how things are. So the ability to care, empathise and nurture for other people, comes with the downside of having to experience the odd bout of irrationality.

    Or perhaps we should all adopt the Vulcan philosophy of repressing every base emotion, so that we may pursue the path of pure logic? And we all know how much fun Vulcans can be, eh? Point made. (I love that I can be more open about my Trekkiness, now that Star Trek the movie has gained wide, popular appeal. Alhamdulillah!).

    • Green Child says:

      “Mum, you ate the last doughnut…?” {eyes water, lower lip quivers}”

      That is ridiculously hilarious!!!!

      Thank you for that opportunity to crack a good laugh!!!

    • Sadaf says:

      if you’re not prepared to face up to your own physical make-up, you’re denying yourself the opportunity for personal growth. The only way to become stronger, is by appreciating your weaknesses, and not being ashamed of them.

      So well said, masha’Allah! My thoughts exactly.

      “Mum, you ate the last doughnut…?” {eyes water, lower lip quivers}

      Oh subhan Allah, you and I are SO alike! It is definitely something even less trivial than a doughnut that often releases the twin-dams for me. :)

  35. B says:

    Safiamany times there is little real life benefit in these types of cut and paste verse and hadith articles when addressing a complex subject like marital dysfunction.

    Well-said.

    I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that women are not emotional, but pointing out that fact doesn’t really help a distressed marriage. In fact, most abusive men would blame their acts of abuse on the emotions of the woman. “She made me hit her” is a very common phrase among abusive men.

    My final message to the author: Read up a few books on abuse and domestic violence and then write an article if you really intend on putting something fruitful out there. Rehashing these verses and ahadeeth rarely works. Simply because dysfunctional marriages are cross-cultural and cross-religious, it’s something that is much deeper than taking the face value of a Hadeeth.

    • Noor says:

      Thank you so much for this comment, as this was also my concern. When you start putting verse into it, in a very simplified manner, it can turn into an excuse for belittlement or pain.

      • saabirah says:

        Should that deter us from quoting qur’an and hadith? Surely the problem is with the person who is (ab)using the texts in which case do we not say anything in fear of giving them ammunition? :-S That does not make sense. We can’t please everyone nor can we apply sadd adh-dhara’i to such extreme measures.

        • Noor says:

          That’s not what I meant. I meant to agree with this line:

          “many times there is little real life benefit in these types of cut and paste verse and hadith articles when addressing a complex subject like marital dysfunction.”

  36. Sumera says:

    I must be the rare few (or so people would have you believe) who don’t lose lucidity during the onset of menstruation. Or who don’t turn into Godzilla.

    No PMT/S symptoms here.

  37. anon says:

    Is it just me, or are most who were not even slightly offended or thought this was a good article—–men?

    Hmmmmmmmmmm

    • Hassan says:

      What to be offended by knowing how great our prophet Muhammad PBUH was and how we should try to follow his example?

      • anon says:

        That’s ridiculous and isn’t what I meant nor what the ones who disagree are mean. Please don’t put words in anyone’s mouth. No one said anything like that, please re-read their comments if you still don’t get it.

    • Amatullah says:

      Is it just me, or are most who were not even slightly offended or thought this was a good article—–men?

      actually…no.

      • anon says:

        Actually yes. Don’t see any male comments offended by this. Thanks.

        • Amatullah says:

          Go through the comments again and see how many sisters were offended (same few who commented numerous times) and how many sisters enjoyed the article.

          I for one, as a sister, LOVED it. Barak Alahu feeki Sadaf :) May Allah ta’ala unite you and your family with the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in Firdaws, Ameen.

  38. Muslimah4good says:

    After reading this very typical article, it’s apparent that a typical response is expected, which is
    Brothers jumping with joy
    Sisters being defensive

    I am quite tired of reading articles always talking about women being jealous by nature, as if jealousy is only a female product? I always ask, why associate jealousy with women only when we know as a fact that men are more possessive and jealous (oh I’m sorry, to be precise, in case of men it’s not called jealousy, it’s called GHAIRAT (attack on morality), they are just lucky that they don’t have to face a situation where they have to deal with co-husbands.
    Allah chose women to deal with this type of trial because women are, by nature, more PATIENT, ENDURING and TOLERANT! Our Creator knows that they can deal with it, men CAN NOT!
    Sharing one’s spouse is not fitra or human nature, it’s not natural and it’s very obvious that regardless of one’s gender, he or she will feel jealous and hurt when it’s about sharing one’s spouse.
    Allah made one spouse for Adam, and by default, it’s our fitrah to feel that burn in the heart when it comes to sharing the spouse, please don’t blame female hormones, mood swings for that feeling.
    I am also quite thrilled to see that lately, most of the articles dealing with co-wife issues are written by women, and maybe I am the only one reading between the lines?

    Over all, I loved reading the hadiths and stories about our mothers (may Allah be pleased with them). Next time, please be careful with your choice of words. I do believe that sister had good intentions behind this article, the only problem was that she limited her outlook to very biased, male oriented theories and interpretations (excluding the hadiths) only.

  39. mirza says:

    to those who have problem with anything in above article; write your own, come up with your own articles and then compete and let audience decide if choice of words bothers you so much,
    Allaah created us the way we are and we appreciate our haves and have nots; if you have it , good al Hamdulillah, if you don’t good al Hamdulillah ala kulli haal~ why tirades of personal heart burn spread on author; each issue family problem is unique and different, all this article is suggesting from the beautiful example of rasulullah to learn from them; each one of has our limitations, why bother? eat some ice cream, and cool down.
    assalamualaikum

  40. AsimG says:

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    Why is no one really trying to understand the other side?
    Alhamadillah, I loved sis Sadaf’s article, BUT I can see why people are offended.

    Many are saying “you don’t understand because you aren’t married”
    To this I say:
    “you don’t understand because you’ve never seen or been a woman being abused”

    Do you have ANY idea how badly our Muslim sisters are being treated around the world?
    I’m not just talking about western accounts of Afghani women, I’m talking here IN AMERICA!

    Go tell these sisters that they are “irrational” as their husbands (who were forced upon them by arranged marriages) treat them like garbage.
    Go tell these sisters that they are “too emotional” as their husbands beat them.
    And they will never leave those husbands because it is their job to “obey”.

    I’m not making this stuff up. These are not “rare cases”. In fact, if I were to show you these sisters, you would not believe me because they look and act so normal. A facade that is oh so hard to maintain…
    We are not just talking about village women, we are talking about educated middle age professional women!

    So with this background, do you not see how certain words trigger certain responses?
    How exactly do you expect sisters to swallow hadiths like ‘women are deficient in religion’ and ‘women make sujood to men’ (badly paraphrasing here) when all that they have seen of Islam is “religious” fathers/uncles/men in general dominating and abusing women.

    In this day and age there needs to be hikmah in how we talk about our sisters in Islam. Rather than speaking of where they are weak and how they need to improve, we should speak more of where they are strong and how brothers need to improve!

    The sister who has lived in an Islamic environment lives in a certain bubble and the sister who comes from a not so Islamic environment comes from another bubble.

    Both need to be popped in order for there to be an understanding. Look at the other side and see where they are coming from!

    This article is good and has a valid points (no one can deny those hadiths, they are truth), but so too do the others sisters who are tired of everyone ignoring the reality of women in today’s world.

    We need to go back to the stories of Asiya, Maryam, Sumaaya, Fatima, Khadijah, Aisha (May Allah be pleased with them all!) and show what status Islam TRULY gives to women.

    I apologize if I offended anyone…

  41. AsimG says:

    And to the other side who was offended by Sis Sadaf’s article:

    Chill out. She said nothing offensive. Do not try to bring a flawed secular understanding of the role of men and women to the table.

    We are not feminists, we are not secularists, we are Muslims! And it is the Qur’an that is our guidance and is is the example of Prophet Muhammad (s) that we look to.
    Get beyond words that make you “uncomfortable” and look at the whole picture.

  42. AsimG says:

    Oh with all respect, to the brothers (who are not doctors) speaking about science and hormones:

    Please stop. Let sisters like Amatullah and IMuslim speak for themselves.

    Comments on how the way women are responding to this article are proofs to their emotional state are derisive and offensive.

  43. Tombstone says:

    Article- Good

    Comments- senseless and waste of time

  44. ali mamoo says:

    aw man…i cudnt wait to reply to the hormonal comments….just learnt that stuff lol… but I guess more qualified individuals were swift in their enlightening of the masses alhamdulillah.

    Nevertheless, the article was a heart softner for my hard heart alhamdulillah. its definitely a must read for both married and unmarried bros.

    jazakAllah khair for this!

    (PS you can totally notice some aspects of the personality of a person (potential spouse) by seeing their reaction to this article lol …)

    But Allah knows best. May Allah swt make us all firm upon the most correct path and make us love ONLY that which is beloved to Him and make us hate ONLY that which He dislikes. Ameen!!

  45. LOL, I think sometimes we invest too much of our life and energy into online debate. I’m offender #1 on this, but just saying, man, it’s wack.

    Siraaj

  46. Amatullah says:

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran everyone for your comments. We ask Allah to bless sister Sadaf and make us among those who follow the sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in all aspects of our lives. Ameen.

    Comments closed :)

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