An informative video by Sound Vision entitled "The Ideal Muslim Husband" was produced to discuss what Islam has to say about the characteristics of the ideal Muslim husband and his role, responsibilities, and rights in marriage.
Most Muslim men would like to be ideal husbands. And most Muslim women would, no doubt, like to be married to one. But, for some reason, the men are not ideal husbands, and the women will almost surely admit that they didn't marry one. So, why the discrepancy between our sincere aspirations and reality? Is it an inability on the part of the man, an impossible goal; or is it perhaps that we do not even know what an ideal Muslim husband is?
Wrong Concept of an Ideal Husband
A look at the matrimonial section of an Islamic magazine will quickly demonstrate that many Muslim men and women do not know what an ideal Muslim husband is. Muslim men looking for wives advertise themselves as doctors, engineers, and financially secure. Muslim women appear to be on the lookout for an established professional or more likely a handsome MD. Rarely do Muslim men and women even mention character, religious convictions, and attitudes as a priority. At most, they might be mentioned as a sidebar. It seems that many of us believe that a man is an ideal Muslim husband if he is handsome, makes a lot of money, and comes from an influential family. And the divorce rate among Muslims continues to rise.
Standard of Judging an Ideal Husband
As Muslims, we must base our judgment on what makes an ideal Muslim husband on the guidance of Allah and the example of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, not on the standards of a TV sitcom, the culture in which we were born, or our own materialistic mentality.
Participants on this Video
Using examples from the life of the Prophet, the words of the Holy Quran, and personal experience, a panel of Muslim men and women - Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Abdallah Idris Ali, Dr. Ingrid Mattison, Khadija Haffagee, Mariam Bhabha, and Abdul Malik Mujahid - talk about the qualities of a Muslim husband and the Muslim family.
Main Contents of this Video
They discuss such matters as a husband taking advice from his wife, communication within the family, the husband's helping the wife in the house, consultation (Shura) within the family, being a good example for the children, overlooking bad qualities in one's wife and focusing on her good qualities, and sharing the responsibility of raising the children.
First Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband: Hot Temper
A major problem in some Muslim marriages unfortunately is the husband's hot temper and harsh behavior. Some even go so far as to abuse their wives. Dr. Quick gives a word of warning to these men who often come from cultures that teach them to be tough and macho. He says that there should be no violence between husband and wife and that Muslim men should not be the kind of tyrannical fathers whose children run away and hide when their father comes home. He says that we have to separate our non-Islamic cultures from Islam. The ideal Muslim husband will base his behavior on Islam, not on his Arab, American, or Pakistani culture.
Second Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband: Egoistic
Another major problem in Muslim marriages is the husband's failure to consider his wife's opinions. In fact, Abdallah Idris Ali says that the failure of the Muslim Ummah as a whole has to do with our failure in practicing the concept of Shura (consultation). People think that they are right and others are wrong, he says. We will do much better if we consider the opinions of others and let them feel that they are a part of the decision-making process. Along the same lines, Dr. Quick points out that if a woman makes a true (haqq) point, the husband should submit to it. He should in no way reject a point just because it comes from a woman. Demonstrating the huge difference between the way the Prophet dealt with his wives and the way Muslim men deal with their wives today, Abdallah Idris Ali tells the story of the time when Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was sleeping under one cover with his wife Ayesha, and he asked her permission to get up to pray.
Third Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband: Unhelpful
The failure to help in the house and to help with the raising of the children are well-known weaknesses of husbands. The video makes it clear that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, helped in the house, and Abdul Malik Mujahid says that a man cannot be an ideal Muslim husband, or even close to a good husband, if he leaves the responsibility of children completely to the mother. Khadija Haffagee tells the story of a father who took a three-month-old infant to pray with him and after the prayer did the 'tasbih" on the child's hand. This, she said, was training by the father. Dr. Quick warns that when training our children, we should be careful not to raise sons with a double standard where they have no household responsibilities. If we do, they will likely grow up with the attitude that they don't need to do this kind of work - that they are above it.
Prophet: An Ideal Father
As a beautiful example of a healthy father-child relationship, Abdul Malik Mujahid tells the story of how the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, used to stand up for his daughter Fatima, kiss her, and give her his seat when she came to him. This was in an age when people preferred sons and looked down on having daughters. With this simple act, the Prophet showed us how to express love and affection for our children - an essential quality for an ideal Muslim husband.
An Ideal Ex-Husband
Being an ideal Muslim husband, however, goes even farther than the marriage, Dr. Quick points out. Even after a divorce, a Muslim husband must strive to be the best ex-husband. A husband shouldn't be Mr. Kindness in marriage and then treat his wife badly in divorce, Dr. Quick says. He must divorce her in the best manner with good treatment.
Other Valuable Advice
This video goes beyond just talking about an ideal Muslim husband and deals with ways to improve the family. It attempts to prevent many marital problems by advising young people who want to get married. After informing them about what makes an ideal Muslim husband, it cautions them to be concerned about these qualities - not just the material aspects - when considering a prospective spouse.
In fact, what emerges from the video is that being an ideal Muslim husband has very little or nothing to do with the amount of money one has, physical beauty, or the prestige of one's job. Rather, it has to do with one's commitment to Allah, one's knowledge of and willingness to follow the guidance of Allah and the Prophet's example, and one's commitment to do righteousness even in difficult situations. The ideal Muslim husband should be humble, gentle, kind, considerate, caring, loving, open to good advice, willing to cooperate with others in the family rather than dictate rules, helpful in the house, involved in raising the children, and never abusive either physically or mentally.
No doubt, this is a very tall order. Becoming an ideal Muslim husband will certainly not be easy. It will take a jihad against 'jahiliyyah" thinking, selfishness, ego, vanity, anger, pride, and arrogance.
Full of excellent advice, encouragement, and wisdom, this video should help any Muslim husband to improve. Although there are no guarantees that he will ever become an ideal Muslim husband, it will, InshaAllah, start him on the way.