Aloofness: His Strictest Reprimand
The Prophet showed immense patience when one or more of his wives behaved emotionally in his presence, whether in public or private.
He never called them names, nor did he ever lift a finger to strike any one of them, even when they’d make him very angry.
The most severe method of ‘discipline’ or reprimand that he used when he was angry at one or more of his wives, was ignoring them (not talking to them) and not visiting them in their private quarters, for a certain period of time, which meant that he turned away from them sexually as well.
This proved to be a very effective method of correcting his wives when they angered him for reasons disliked by Allah and not endorsed by Islam.
He Was Not Controlling
Many new brides confess to receiving a clear list of “don’t’s” from their husbands as soon as the nikah ceremony is over, even before the wedding flowers have wilted.
Examples of such restrictions that husbands place on wives immediately after the wedding, citing their superior Islamic rights over them as the reason, are: You will not talk to your male colleagues and cousins. You will not go to any social gathering without me. You will never take up a job or career. You will visit your parents only once a week/month/year. You will not invite thatannoying girlfriend of yours to our home. You will delete your Facebook account. You will not gain weight etc.
Such restrictions from new husbands are a sign of an underlying insecurity that manifests itself in the form of paranoid possessiveness, irrational jealousy, and an attempt to exert an extreme level of control over their wife – thwarting and suppressing her movement, her halal hobbies and interests, and even her bubbly personality.
The reason that husbands usually provide for such strictness, is the superior rights afforded to them by Islam, as their wives’ guardians/maintainers, to put such restrictions on them for the overall good of the home.
However, the real reason is their fear of losing her love, loyalty, focus and obedience. The prime example of this is when a righteous girl, who habitually observes all the limits of Islam from even before her marriage, becomes a target of manipulation and control from her husband.
A clear test of whether a husband possesses true gheerah (praiseworthy jealousy) or is just controlling, is whether or not he obeys the rules and restrictions of Islam himself.
Since Allah has ordered us in the Quran to always take Prophet Muhammad as our role model, we should recall when he (if ever) tried to control his wives in such a way?
Advocate of Foreplay During Marital Intimacy
In some cultures, manliness is equated with certain manners, beliefs and habits that border on arrogance and uncouthness that is prohibited in Islam, e.g. overeating and belching loudly; picking unnecessary fights with other men; swearing, and regarding women with disdain and contempt.
Men who have such a mindset consider the act of showing patient gentleness towards their wives before and during sexual intimacy, as an antithesis to being manly, assertive, powerful and “in control”.
The Prophet however, made it very clear to Muslim men that they should not climb on top of their wives like animals, without arousing them first with foreplay, using loving words and kisses.
Conclusion: A Loving Family Man
While many fathers and husbands might be loving and tender behind closed doors, they hesitate to display care for their wives and daughters in public, especially in front of other men. Not so was the Prophet!
The Prophet openly showed love for his daughters. He would kiss and secretly converse with Fatimah in front of others. Contrast that to the negative reaction some modern-day Muslim men show to the good news of a daughter’s birth – a reaction similar to the one showed by pagan Arabs during the era of ignorance.
Chivalry, honesty, integrity, fairness, justice, gentleness, compassion, and empathy: the Prophet embodied all these positive qualities in his cordial and successful relationships with the women in his life; qualities that we all should try to acquire and incorporate into our own lives.
First published: December 2013