Recently, the global Muslim blogosphere went on the usual defensive, as news of a “Muslim” media professional beheading his wife in a murderous rage
did the rounds of all major news websites. Once more, allegations of Islam being a religion of barbarians and terrorists were allayed and refuted by Muslims, at times successfully, but at other times, perhaps a bit in vain.
We must realize that deducing the doctrine of a religion by looking at random contemporary examples is a mistake in itself. We must go back to its original teachings in order to get the real picture of what it entails for its adherents. The true role-model of Islam can only be presented by Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم], the paragon of Muslim character, conduct and virtue. Allah says about him in the Quran:
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful example (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the final Day, and remembers Allah much.” [33:21]
The simple reason for Prophet Muhammad’s [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] success in every sphere of life was his dexterity at human relationships. Perhaps the most volatile and delicate human relationship is that between a husband and wife - the only relationship between a man and woman based on sexual attraction, companionship and love, that is allowed and recommended in Islam. The reason why so many similar relationships between men and women outside marriage break up so often, is that primarily, it’s partakers do not understand it’s intricacies and requirements pertaining to human behavior.
Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] understood women. He knew that women are created physically beautiful and attractive, but also possess volatile, easily-aroused emotions, resulting in natural behavioral shortcomings, which their husbands will just have to learn to take in stride throughout their lives. He knew that patience, a wise selection of words, and restraint from losing his temper, are mandatory qualities for a husband to possess, in order to enable him to effectively deal with his wife’s intermittent bouts of irrational thinking and emotional instability.
I once heard someone remark, “When I was a single young man, the prospect of having multiple wives was fair-seeming, for obvious reasons; a few years after marrying my wife, however, I now wonder just how
the Prophet Muhammad could have possibly handled up to nine wives at one time, when I can sometimes not handle even one!”
Perhaps no narration displays the Prophet’s expertise at handling his wives’ outbursts as well as the hadith
Narrated Anas Bin Malik: “While the Prophet was in the house of one of his wives, one of the mothers of the believers sent a meal in a dish. The wife at whose house the Prophet was, struck the hand of the servant, causing the dish to fall and break. The Prophet gathered the broken pieces of the dish and then started collecting on them the food which had been in the dish and said, “Your mother felt jealous.” Then he detained the servant till a (sound) dish was brought from the wife at whose house he was. He gave the sound dish to the wife whose dish had been broken, and kept the broken one at the house where it had been broken.”
(Notice how the narrator has abstained from mentioning the names of the Mothers of Believers in order to cover their faults/shortcomings!)
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 152
Picture this scenario happening in an average house: a woman breaking another’s crockery piece (and we all know how passionately women feel about their crockery pieces! Even their own child is scolded for accidentally breaking a cherished utensil.), laden with food the latter had freshly cooked, in an envious rage; this is in fact, a scene depicted often in modern soaps to spice up the plot! How would you expect an average husband witnessing such an action to react? - Probably by also losing his temper and screaming angrily, “What have you done? Are you out of your mind?!”
The wise steps that Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] took, however, to satiate his wife’s envy and to prevent the situation from turning into a domestic battle, are detailed below:
- He refrained from rebuking her or shouting at her before others. This would have undoubtedly humiliated her. Instead, he calmly offered a simple explanation for her behavior to onlookers (i.e. his companions, including the narrator): “Your mother felt jealous.” Note how he referred to her with a respectful title before the assembled group. With this simple statement, he gave her leeway for being a human being - and a woman, at that - who got affected by her innate human emotions.
- He physically remedied the situation by cleaning up the mess himself. This indicates his humility and greatness of character. He could have asked her, or one of his younger companions, to clean up - the narrator is Anas Bin Malik, who was much younger than the Prophet and dedicated for his service, yet the latter did not ask him to do the cleaning-up. He didnot ask his wife to do it either - knowing her angry state and not wanting to humiliate her by making her clean up before an audience - he humbly did the job himself. What a great model for every man! A husband cleaning up a dish broken by his wife, without even being asked!
- He executed justice, and arranged for compensation, by asking his wife to replace her co-wife’s broken utensil as well as its contents. That is, despite his patience and forgiveness for her angry outburst, he made her compensate the wife who had been unduly wronged for an action that was very praiseworthy in itself: preparing and sending them a meal.
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