The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
"Religion is sincerity." Someone asked:
"Sincerity to whom?" He (Peace be upon him) replied: "To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the leaders of the Muslims and to the generality of them." (Hadith from Muslim)
Sincerity is therefore closely identified with true religious belief. Sincerity towards her husband is an essential requirement for a wife. It underlines all her duties and manifests itself in many ways.
Firstly it implies having her husband's interests at heart and wanting only good for him.
Secondly it implies truthfulness so that her husband learns to trust her in word and deed. She would never tell him a lie even in a small matter because it will sow in him the seed of doubt about her trustworthiness in greater matters. Once trust has been shaken it is hard to rebuild it.
If a wife tells a lie to her husband to cover up something else she did, she only compounds her offence. She should in all circumstances repent sincerely to Allah and seek His forgiveness. She should then tell her husband the truth and seek his forgiveness unless the original offence is a matter that would put him into mental torment or destroy the marriage. In this case it may be more considerate towards him that she should repent to God silently within her own conscience a amend her behaviour in future".
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) directed people to forgive those who ask for forgiveness. The wife who sincerely repents, tells the truth and seeks forgiveness may be able to re-establish trust, but the shameless liar leaves her husband in a state of constant doubt, and unworthy of trust.
A good wife should therefore ensure by her behaviour that she establishes a high degree of trust her sincerity of word and deed, so that her husband confidence in her is strong enough to withstand any false rumour or slander. She should not throwaway that basic trust for any temporary expediency.
Another aspect of sincerity on the part of a wife is in supporting him in doing what is right and avoiding wrong doing. Allah says:
"And the believers, both men and women, are protecting friends of one another: they (all) enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and are constant in prayer, and render the zakah, and pay heed unto Allah and His Messenger. It is they upon whom Allah will bestow His grace: truly, Allah is Almighty, Wise." (Qur'an, Surah At-Tawbah, 9:71)
• This view on the permissibility of silence is based on analogy with a Hadith which allows for the use of a "white lie" someone who tries to reconcile two people who have become estranged:
"He is not a liar who reconciles two people, and speak good, and adds good from himself." (Hadith from Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)
The wife should herself be obedient and faithful to Allah and use her influence to help the whole family to live a righteous life. There should be mutual counselling within the family.
Long after the death of the Prophet's first wife, Khadijah, he used to praise her for her loyalty, good counsel and moral support throughout their married life.
Just as a good wife should be trustworthy, so she should trust her husband (unless she has clear first hand evidence that he is not to be trusted). She should avoid suspicion and spying on him or snooping among his possessions. The Qur'anic warning about these sins (Qur'an in Surah Al-Hujuraat, 49: 12) is addressed in general to all believers, men and women. They are particularly damaging within the close marriage relationship. If a husband senses that his wife is spying on him he loses the sense of freedom and security in his own home and may start to lock up his personal effects, thereby increasing the wife's suspicions. According to a Hadith the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said that reading someone else's correspondence without permission is a sin. Some wives actually drive their husbands away from home by their snooping and spying, and. it is distressing for children to realise that the parents whom they trust do not trust each other.
Having laid emphasis on the basic need sincerity, trustworthiness and trust, we shall move on to consider some other qualities in a wife that I mentioned in the Qur'an and the Hadith.
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