. . . They ( wives) are your garment and you are their garment . . . (Qur’an, 2:187)
While the “family” is the foundation of civilization and society, the relationship of husband and wife and defining their mutual rights and duties is the foundation of family-life. This is a very difficult problem; human beings have been trying to unravel this knotty problem since the beginning of humanity – and the result is a never-ending conflict of theories and a mass of irreconcilable views and opinions; and this con-fusing state of affairs seems to worsen day by day. In various places and at various times, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been going up and down in cycles like a merry-go-round.
Space does not allow us to give here any detail; but history has clear evidence to show that whenever the sphere of activities of women was enlarged the only result was unmitigated disaster and a decayed society.
Every so-called liberty brought a reaction of horrifying suppression; and every unchecked excess resulted in suffocating restrictions. Maintaining a balance between extremes is the law of nature and nature does not hesitate in severely punishing those who break its laws.
Even now there is a war of ideas, a conflict of ideals, going on in this subject between East and West – or, more correctly, between Islam and the non-Islamic world. The real cause of the conflict is that the anti-Islam forces are either un-willing or unable to decide what are the “Natural” spheres of activities for man and woman, and what are the aims and objects of a married life. If these two points are clearly defined, then there is no danger of anyone going astray.
The Rights of the Husband
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they (i.e., men) support them ( women) from their means. . . (Qur’an, 4:34)
This ayah covers in a nut-shell all the principles of domestic life. As mentioned earlier woman is, by nature, the weaker sex. As such she should not be expected to struggle for a livelihood; instead man should provide for both. If `home’ is a kingdom, then husband is the King, and wife his Prime Minister. This ayah points to these facts. Let us look minutely at these phrases