The relationship between Muslim spouses is anchored on affection and mercy and not on ardent love, desire and passion. It is a relationship which is based on quiet love (affection) and mutual mercy not illusions of love which fail to withstand reality or romantic fantasies which fail to create a successful marriage.
Allah Azawajal says in the Quran “And of His Signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.” [Quran 30: 21]
Look at the wisdom of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, when he addressed women and said, “If one of you does not love her husband, she should not tell him about this, because only a few homes are based on love; rather, people live together by virtue of good morals and Islam.”
Nevertheless, this does not mean that we are encouraging people to neglect emotions between spouses or bury feelings and sentiments between them.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, (may Allah exalt his mention), gave us the best example of loving his wives. It was narrated in the pure Sunnah (tradition) that the Prophet ﷺ deliberately drank from the same spot his wife ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, drank from out of love. During his final illness, he used her Siwaak (tooth stick) and died while he was reclined against her chest, between her neck and bosom. What kind of love is nobler and more sublime than this?
Romantic love can be very strong and emotional but for many it does not last. Real and pragmatic love on the other hand can withstand tests and trials thrown its way. It is impossible that one adapts the powerful emotions in romantic love. This love seems like a cake, a person enjoys eating it [while it lasts], then it is followed by a period when the taste disappears. While real love means sharing the concerns of daily life and cooperation for it to continue; within this framework of cooperation, the possibilities are endless.
The role of the husband is to protect and guide his wife while also looking out for her affairs. To complete this task properly and to embody the role, he must have both authority over and obedience from his wife. The analogy here is if you work in a company and you have someone under your management, you must have the authority to order this person to do tasks otherwise the company will not work harmoniously.
The example of the husband and wife is even more important than this as the husband cares for his wife much more than a manager to his subordinate and a husband has bigger responsibility for his wife and her well being. It is clear that the difference in authority in the marital relationship is not indicative of a difference of worth, as Allah clearly states: –
“The nobler among you in the sight of Allah are the more muttaqi (righteous) among you.” (49:13)
The next part of the verse tells us that the wife must guard her modesty and her husband’s honour/affairs especially in his absence.
“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to the husband), and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard” (4:34)
The above verse reminds us that the relationship of husband and wife is one of differing roles, rights and responsibilities.
“The wife’s rights (with regard to their husbands) are equal to the (husband’s) rights with regard to them, although men are a degree above them; and Allah is Almighty, Wise.” [Quran 2:28]
“Consort with them graciously. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good. (4:20) “
In today’s life of hustle and bustle, the family unit is becoming fragile by the day. Divorces are on the rise, and Muslims can no longer claim that divorce is rare among them or even much less than its prevalence among non- Muslims. May Allah safeguard us and our families.