False statements regarding husbands rights
Q: I am a young Muslim trying to learn about Islam. I am confused about the rights a husband is given in Islam. Basically, in our patriarchal society that has adopted many myths/beliefs/practices from Indo-Pak culture and polytheistic religions, some of our clerics attribute certain rights to husbands that go against the fundamental principles of Islam.
For example, our clerics say that a husband has authority over his wife like a master has over his slave, whereas Islam clearly says that authority is for Allah alone and attributing authority to anyone else is shirk.
Secondly, our clerics say that a husband has the right to be obeyed as long as it doesn’t go against shariah. Whereas there is not a single Quranic verse or a single Hadith in Sahih Bukhari that a husband has such a right. Rather what is said in Quran is that both believing men and women are commanders to each other as they forbid what’s wrong and enjoin what’s good. Quran tells us in clear wordings that men and women are each other’s *partners* and a Muslim must always conduct his affairs with *mutual consultaion/shoora* So even if there are some non authentic/daeef/disputed ahadith about obeying husband, can they alone be used to make such a serious ruling that affects every house?
Thirdly, our clerics say that after marriage, a husband has more right over a woman than her parents. Whereas Quran makes it clear for every Muslim male and female that after Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger, parents have the most right over a person. The hadith by Al-Hakeem which goes like, “who has the most right over a woman…” has been classified daeef by many scholars, so again… can such disputed ahadith be given priority over clear cut verses of Quran? Fourthly, it is a very fundamental thing that humans have been given the will/choice by Allah to follow His path or not. But some clerics say that suddenly a husband gets the right to use force if his wife doesn’t obey him in any matter/or does something unIslamic, like he can shout at her, hit her or close her in a room/house etc. Whereas, Islam teaches us to give peaceful counseling to people who do wrong things, and pray to Allah for their well-being, perhaps Allah may guide them some time/days/months/years later towards the right path. So according to you, does a husband has the right to even force his wife to obeying him?
A: You have misunderstood the meaning of authority. To say that our Indo/Pak Ulama make these types of statements is also false and incorrect. We have been with the Indo/Pak Ulama and we have studied their books. They do not make these types of unscrupulous statements.
It will be better for you to study the books of fiqh. Since your knowledge is deficient and you have not studied the Qur’aan completely nor do you have the understanding of hadeeth entirely. Hence, it is safer for you to confine yourself to the books of fiqh.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)