The relationship between the husband and wife is a very tender, loving and pure relationship. They are in reality the "garb" of one another. Thus, it is the duty of each to be protective over the life, property and modesty of one another. It is necessary for them to realise and understand their mutual duties as a couple. They are two bodies joined by the soul.
The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated that if a husband was pleased and content with his wife when she passed away, then she will enter Paradise. The explanation of one Hadith is that if a husband passes the night displeased with his wife, she invokes upon herself the Curse of Allah and the Angels. In another hadith, the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, "If I had commanded prostration for any other than Allah, I would have commanded the wife to make Sajdah to the husband." However, since Sajdah is none but for Allah, a woman cannot prostrate to her husband but she should be obedient towards him.
The husband is the provider and protector of his wife. He should thus fulfill her needs and keep her pleased. "The best from amongst you is he who is best to his wife." (Hadith) If there is a conflict, the husband should not be hasty to give her Talaaq (Divorce), but should cool his temper, think carefully and take the opinion of elders before making any decisions as Talaaq is not something which is liked. The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated: "From those actions that are Halaal, the most disliked is Talaaq."
The wife should also be patient with the husband. She should show her gratitude for anything that he does. She should understand him and not be lavish with his wealth. She should always be neatly attired and loving. She should love and respect his family. That house in which there is daily conflict is living hell and that home in which there is love and respect is a blessed home.
The Laws of Shari'ah: If a man passes away, the wife may give him Ghusal, but the husband cannot give his deceased wife Ghusal, nor can he touch her deceased body without a cloth. He can, however, see her face. It is common in the public that the husband cannot carry the wife's Janazah or lower her into the grave. This is false. He may see her face, carry her Janazah and lower her into the grave.
A Husband Duties towards his Wife
It should be remembered that husbands, who never bother for the sustenance of their wives, commit a severe crime of depriving Allah’s SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala creatures of their rights. Such people would be dealt with severely in the Court of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala. The Holy Qur’an says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means.” [4:34]
The husband should not beat up his wife without her committing a most severe crime. The Messenger of Allah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam has said: “Nobody should beat up his wife as he does beat up his slave. He should make love with her later some time.”
However, if the woman commits a bigger crime, the husband can beat her not in vengeance but with the intention of reforming her and as a warning. While beating, he should take care that she should not be hurt seriously. The Books of Fiqha have mentioned that the husband can punish his wife for four things:
a). If the husband orders his wife to decorate herself with ornaments and legitimate make-up but she disobeys and remains dirty.
b). If the husband invites her to bed and she refuses without any legitimate reason.
c). If she does not take bath to purify herself after menses.
d). If she abstain from performing Salaah without a legitimate reason.
In the above circumstances, the husband should first persuade the wife. If she does not agree to comply with his requests, he may threaten her. If she still does not obey him, he can beat her barring her face. He should not beat her so severely to the extent of a fracture or a severe wound.
The husband should express his full confidence and trust in his wife and, to prove this, he should hand over the domain of the house to her so that she may feel dignified and involved. The Holy Prophet of Islam SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam has said that the woman is the guardian and caretaker of her husband’s house and Almighty Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala will take an account from her in this regard on the Day of Judgement.
The husband should never share the secrets of her wife with others. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam has said: “Worst is the person in the sight of Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala who goes to his wife and then discloses her secrets and lowers her status in the eyes of others”.
If the husband faces some trouble because of the misbehaviour of his wife, he should try to avoid her and keep patience. Woman’s arrogance and foolishness is a natural phenomenon. The Glorious Prophet of Islam SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam has said: “Woman has been created from the bent rib of Adam Alaihis Salam. If somebody tries to make the bent bone straight, it will rather break instead of becoming straight”. Similarly, if someone tries to set his wife right, there will be more a chance of separation instead of improvement in her nature.
The husband should not confine his wife within the four walls of his house. She should be taken to her parents and relatives from time to time provided these visits do not bring any trouble to the peace of his house.