What are the duties of a husband to his wife?

Details of the Question
My wife complains a lot about me spending too much time for praying and performing ibadah. I spend 11-12 hours a day at work and 6-7 hours sleep. I only get to spend 2-3 hours with my family. Remaining time (about 2-3 hours) is spent in performing ibadah and reading books. Please kindly explain her Rights and My Duties in the Light of Quran and Sunnah. Thanks
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to your calculation, you allocate two or three hours for worshipping and reading books. It is a normal thing. It is not so much as to complain about. However, during the weekend holiday, you should allocate a bit more time for your family and win their hearts.

Extremes in both sides (excess and deficiency) are not appropriate in anything including worshipping. What is desired and recommended is the moderate way, not the extremes.
As a matter of fact the same judgment is made in the hadith and the same criterion is recommended:

The most virtuous kind of worshipping for Allah is the one which is moderate!

Moderate worshipping does not cause a person to fail to carry out his obligatory responsibilities. It does not cause a person to ignore his wife and children. On the contrary, it reminds a person to give everybody their due; it ensures the maintenance of that chance.

Although the truth is as we have mentioned above, the young person whom we are going to write about did not have such an attitude. Although he had just got married, he performed fasting even in the hottest days of the summer and prayed until morning. That is, after fulfilling his obligatory responsibilities, he performed a lot of nafilah (supererogatory) prayers; he neglected his wife by doing so.

His considerate and patient wife did not complain about his situation thinking that it would not last long and tolerated it. However, her husband had the intention of continuing that state. Therefore, she felt obliged to tell Hazrat Umar about the situation. However, she did not know how to tell him about it and what words to use.

She found a style of expressing herself and went to the presence of the Caliph. Ka’b, the famous jurist, was with the Caliph.

She plucked up her courage and spoke:

– O Leader of the Believers! I have such a devoted husband that he fasts throughout the hot days of summer and prays until morning in short nights. He always does them without interrupting!

The Caliph became pleased to hear that there was such a young person.

– How blessed is your husband. He worships during these long days and short nights all the time; we should congratulate such a young person.

The woman left without saying anything because the caliph was pleased with what he heard although she meant to complain about it.

However, Ka’b, the Qadi (judge) of Basra, opposed it:

– O Leader of the Believers! Have you congratulated the husband of that woman? The woman complains about it to you.

The Caliph was hesitant:

– No, she did not complain, she apprecited him.

They argued whether it was a complain or not. Then the Caliph sent for the woman.

– Now tell me the wife of the devoted husband! Did you complain about your husband or did you speak so because you appreciated him?

– I did not appreciate him O Leader of the Believers! I complained about him. I am like other women. I have normal and natural needs. However, he does not have an issue like that. He fasts during the day and performs prayers till morning. He is interested in nothing else; nothing else keeps him busy. He is not even aware of my existence.

When what Ka’b had said turned out to be true, Caliph Umar turned to him:

– What will you say for that woman O Ka’b? You diagnosed; so, you will show the treatment.

– O Leader of the Believers! Bring me the husband of this woman and I know what I will say to him.

They brought the young man to their presence. Ka’b gave him the following advice:

– O young man who fasts all day and performs prayers till morning! Know it very well that what you do is excess. Excess is not good at anything including worshipping. It is not recommended. The best of deeds is the moderate one.

Kâ’b continued as follows:

– You must not neglect your wife for days from now on. You must definitely be with her once in four days. If you do not be with her at least once in four days and insist on leaving her alone, the rewards that you receive as a result of your worshipping will not eliminate the responsibility of leaving her alone.

Listening to that advice from Ka’b, the Islamic jurist, the young man thanked him and left. The Caliph asked Ka’b:

– O Kâ’b! Now answer my question; how will you find evidence for your fatwa in the presence of Allah when you die? How will you explain your sentence, “You must definitely be with your wife once in four days”?

Kâ’b answered it easily:

– O Leader of the Believers! Does Allah, the Exalted, not say in the Quran that a man can marry up to four women? – He does.

– What does it mean? It means a woman can be alone, without her husband, for three days. The fourth day will be her turn. It means the husband must not leave her alone for a long time; he must be with her at least once in four days. If they had needed fewer than four days, Allah would not have permitted marrying four women.

– The Caliph, Hazrat Umar said, “This answer is better than your diagnosis”. Gazing at Ka’b, the Caliph added:

– O Ka’b! Get ready for a journey. Now you are the Qadi of Basra! You have been appointed.

Ka’b, who corrected the excessive behavior of the young man and made it moderate, was the Qadi of Basra until he died.

Ahmed Şahin

Questions on Islam

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