Defining a Good Husband
by Hassen Laidi
question we try to raise in this feature touches us in many
ways. Whether we are contemplating marriage ourselves, are
concerned about a daughter or sister, or thinking about the
general welfare of our community, we often find ourselves
asking: what makes an ideal husband? And I hope that you will
find the answer provided in this feature to be interesting and
useful. There are, however, two points which I would like to
bring to your attention.
first has to do with the misconceptions or stereotypes of the
ideal husband. In the Western society, for example, the ideal
husband is often portrayed as a handsome superman who drives a
bright sports car and always ready to do great feats. Or as a
kind gentleman who constantly gives flowers to his lady and is
ready to carry out all of her wishes. For Muslims, one finds
announcements in the matrimonial sections of Islamic magazines
to be somewhat different, but not entirely. There, one reads
about Muslim men looking for wives presenting themselves as
doctors, engineers, and financially secure; and discovers that
national origin is being held at high preference. Character,
religious trait and attitudes are not typically listed as
hadeeth of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, which
said, "If a man whose Deen is acceptable to you comes for
marriage, then marry him (your daughter or sister),"
seems to have little relevance as to how we decide about what
makes an ideal Muslim husband. These misconceptions create
false expectations that are partly responsible for the
discrepancy between our sincere aspirations and reality, and
the continuing rise in the divorce rate among Muslims.
second point is about the meaning of 'ideal.' Because Islam
concerns itself with the practical and the sensible more than
with the ideal and the perfect, 'ideal' should be used to
reflect 'good' more than 'perfect'. Islam does not provide
detailed descriptions of good husbands; instead it gives
general outlines of what it expects of him. It treats marital
relationship as a partnership and pays a great deal of
attention to the problems that will arise between married
couples. A good husband then is one who tries his best to live
by Allah's orders in all matters of marital and family life.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, said, "The best
among you is the one who is best to his family, and I am the
best among you to my family." So, whenever he makes a
choice, the good husband chooses the one that has more 'good'
in it. Does that make him perfect? No. He makes mistakes, but
whatever happens, he corrects mistakes by going back to
Allah's rules and being truthful to them. It is that simple.
know of many people who were looking for a husband with an
"ideal combination of qualities," but in a few
years, things boiled down to one thing: if the husband did not
have taqwa, there was no limit to how bad things could get.
This is a subject that deeply touches our Muslim community and
one that should be brought under light. Do you know of other
stories, successful marriage stories? Please write to us about
them, and any feedback or comments you may have.