The relationship between man and woman and among the members of the family, are so important that the Qur’an has described in clear terms its minutest details and has spoken in details relating to this important topic. Thereafter the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has explained fully those points. The edifice of the entire human civilisation stands on the relations between man and woman and on the domestic life of man. If the relationship between man and woman is sound, smooth and one discharges the rights of the other, then the affairs of the household shall run smoothly and the children shall be brought up on the right lines and this ensures the betterment of society on which stands the edifice of the social living as a whole. On the other hand, if the household affairs are mismanaged and there are differences and disagreements between husband and wife the children are affected adversely and you may very well imagine about the standard and character of the nation manifested by such spoilt and ill-mannered children. The rules and regulations governing this aspect of the society are called family laws or household regulations. In view of their importance, the Holy Qur'an has dealt them in details:
Is the woman born of crooked Rib?
The Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has set a nice example for this - an example that is unique in its effect and import. Some have explained it by saying that first of all Allah created Hazrat Adam (Alaihis salam) then He created Hazrat Hawwa (Alaihas salam) (Eve) from his rib. Some learned men have said by way of explanation that the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has compared a woman to a rib which is crooked to see but its beauty and health consist in its crookedness. If anyone tries to remove its crookedness by straightening it, it will break and cease to be a rib. To restore to its previous state, it will have to be made crooked then joined together with plaster. The same idea has been beautifully expressed in a Tradition:
“That is, if you want to straighten it, you will only break it. And if you want to enjoy it you may enjoy it despite its crookedness.”
The Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has, thus set a wise example that its crookedness is its beauty and health which will be destroyed by straightening it.
It is not a defect of woman
Some people use this saying against women as being their defect in a woman. In other words, they say that since a woman has been created from a crooked rib, so is she crooked in her conduct and character, by her nature. This is, however, not the meaning of the Tradition of the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
The deviousness of women is natural
It needs to be borne in mind that Almighty Allah has created man and woman, each with different tendencies and attributes. On account of this difference between the nature and temperament of the two, man thinks about a woman that she is opposed to his masculine nature and sentimentality, although this natural tendency of a woman against a man's natural bent and tendency is not a defect. It is the natural requirement of her nature that she should reflect in her character some innocent crookedness. That is why the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: If you find in a woman something which is against your natural tendency on account of which you think that she is crooked, do not condemn her on this account; rather ignore it by thinking that it is the natural demand of her nature. If you want to straighten her she will break; if you want to benefit by her you can do so despite her crookedness.
"Negligence" is a part of beauty in a woman
Today the times have changed; as a result the values have also changed. A defect in a man is more often looked upon as a point of virtue and beauty in a woman. If we go through the Holy Qur'an carefully we shall see what, is generally considered a defect in a man is considered a point of beauty in a woman. For example, it is a defect in man to be ignorant and negligent, on account of which he is unaware of what is happening in the world. A man has been entrusted with the affairs of the world. To discharge these he needs learning and awareness. If he is devoid of these qualities and abilities, he is faulty and defective to this extent.
As for a woman, negligence has been considered by the Qur'an as an item of beauty for her.
Allah has said: “Surely, as for those who slander virtuous, negligent believing women.” (Surah An-Nur, 24:23)
The word "negligent" meaning that they are unaware of what is happening around them in the world. The Qur’an has considered here "negligence" or "unawareness" as an attribute of beauty. It is obvious from this that if a woman is ignorant of the affairs of the world, duties, excepted, this is not a defect but an attribute of beauty as described by the Qur'an.
Do not try to straighten her bent by force
Thus we see a defect in man is not considered a defect in woman and what is not a defect in man is sometimes looked upon as a defect in woman. A man is, therefore, not allowed to be harsh to a woman and misbehave with her if he finds her behaving in her womanly way. The very meaning of her comparison with a rib is that, by nature, she should be different in temperament from you. So now do not try to straighten her by force.
The root cause of the entire conflict
The above is based on a Tradition of the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Who can claim to know more about the nature of man and women than the Prophet of Allah? He diagnosed the root cause of all the conflicts between man and woman. Man insists that a woman should be exactly like himself in all her behaviours. This is not possible as she has been created different from him.
Be conscious of her good habits
In another tradition of this chapter Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhyAllahu ‘anhu) has narrated; (Sahih Muslim-Book of suckling chapter consel about women)
In this Tradition the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has mentioned a wonderful principle that a believing man should not hate a believing woman altogether. In other words, the man should not condemn her totally on the false plea that she is no good. If she has some undesirable traits in her conduct she must have in her some desirable traits also.
The first principle which the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has taught is that when two persons live together, some habit of the one is pleasant and some other habit unpleasant to the other. If the woman has some unpleasant habit in her, then do not condemn her on account of that habit altogether, rather look for and remember her pleasant habits and thank Almighty Allah for them. If you follow this practice it is quite possible that the hatred in your heart for the dark side of her conduct and character may gradually lose its severity and importance.
Man, in fact, is ungrateful. If he finds any defects in her he totally changes his opinion about the person concerned and forgets about his good qualities. In view of those few faults and defects, he is always critical about him and misbehaves with him. Such attitude is unreasonable.
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