By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha
A husband has the right of ultimate authority of the home management since he is responsible for them and is accountable for all aspects of their maintenance. His leadership should be with justice, patience and wisdom. As Allah says in the Qur’an:
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. (An-Nisaa’ 4:34)
One reason among many for this degree of responsibility is that men are generally stronger and rational whereas women are generally weaker and more emotional, traits given to them by their Creator to serve their complementary roles in life and in the family.
A wife is required to obey the commands and instructions of her husband as long as these do not involve any instructions. `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) questioned him:
“Whose right is the greatest on a woman? He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘A woman’s husband’s.’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked: ‘Whose right is the greatest on a man?’ He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘His mother’s.” (Al-Hakim)
A wife must not demand from her husband things that he cannot afford, that he is not capable to produce, or tasks beyond his ability. A wife is required to protect the children and the lineage of her husband by protecting herself and being completely chaste. She should be a trustworthy guardian of his wealth. She should not leave her husband’s home without his prior knowledge and approval, nor allow any person who her husband dislikes to enter his home.
This is to protect the honor and harmony of the family, as instructed by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him):
“The best of women is the one, who, if you look at her you will be pleased with her, if you command her (to perform any lawful action) she will obey you, and if you are absent she will protect and preserve your wealth and lineage.” (Ibn Majah)
Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.