Rights and Responsibilities : What Your Imam Didn’t Tell You About Marriage

So, a brother says to me, we hear you, be good to our wives, be romantic and all that, but how can we do these when they’re not doing this and that. And more specifically, how am I going to want to come home early and spend time with her when I don’t feel appreciated and she’s always nagging?

This is a common point of contention among marriages, no – scratch that – this is normative line of reasoning in all forms of relationships in life. So in this post let’s put things in perspectives, and let’s forget marriage, and focus on the individual. As my big sister in Islam, Mrs. Kudirat Lawal Adesina likes to put it, life is about rights and responsibilities.

As Muslims, we operate on this premise of give and take in all of our relationships. For example, in our relationship with Allah, Lord of the universe, we affirm His rights of ‘ La ilaaha Illa llah’ by fulfilling our responsibility of total servitude to Him – Islam. And we expect that in return He without doubt will fulfill our rights to not be punished if we obey Him.

Where it gets tricky and sticky is when we turn to the relationships between the creations. As a husband you did nikkah with your wife as a proclaiment of assuming rights and responsibilities towards her, as well as she did too. But the twist here is because you are marrying under the rights of Allah, your responsibilities towards her is not contingent on the fulfillment of your rights by her. No. Your responsibilities towards her is sanctioned by Allah – that’s what happened when you did nikkah. Sorry if the imams didn’t tell you.

Simply put, in Islam, that she’s not fulfilling her own responsibilities towards you is not an excuse for you to withdraw your love, attention, and care. That she went, for example, on strike in the ozza room, is not a reason for you to stop being her protective armor. It’s not a reason to stop the stipends.

What we’re saying here is we have to stop all these victim mentality. She did not do this, so I’m not doing that. If he doesn’t do this, I won’t do that. It’s childish. Do your own part. Focus on your own responsibilities, and see how this will bring about change in the house. It’s ever easy to project.

Now, apply this way of thinking to other relationships in life. Do your part. Focus on your own responsibilities. Sooner or later, the person will reciprocate, or fall off your radar. In either case, it will be a win-win.

أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ ۚ

O You who believe, fulfil your obligations…يَا
-Sura Al-Ma’idah, Ayah

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