The scope of the duties of the wife in respect to the family and home, according to verses, traditions and the civil law
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The beauties of God's command

   The fall of Adam together with Eve, this harmonious and compassionate couple from heaven to the earth was a covered fact that the holy Quran disclosed with its eloquent, fluent and pleasant words and revealed the mystery of harmonious peace and ascension for humans thanks to marriage. This descent was unpleasant and had the bitter taste of the temptation and deception of their cunning enemy Satan. It was painful for the first couple and this fall from grace to the earth caused them both psychological distress. However, they were able to display a beautiful picture of their ascension as a result of being proper spouses, partners, and counterparts and examples for human beings. The first cauple are a pleasant experience of returning to God owing to unity and mutual understanding, and set a good example for all thoughtful perfection seeking couples up to the Day of Judgement.

   The beautiful tradition of marriage has been an innate and natural affair in the life of human beings from the very beginning. Consequently, it has been recommended in all righteous civilized societies and it is quite manifest for all human beings that the soundness and security of the society depends on the soundness and security of the family.

   In the pervious chapters we examined several subjects including the family and its relevant relations, and the scope of the duties of men towards the family according to verses of the Holy Quran, traditions, civil law, and family law. Now we want to examine the scope of the duties of women regarding the family according the verses of the Holy Quran, traditions, civil and family laws.  

   We begin with discussing the duties of the wife and the cases of violation of duties according to traditions and the behavior of the holy prophet (P) which are in the from of commands and prohibitions. The great number of traditions in this respect similar to those about the duties of men requires that women's duties should be classified in categories.

The first category of traditions: The beauty of the wife's honorable conduct.

   This category includes the texts that refer to the behavioral models of women, which consist of two sections.

   Since 'mother' is the basis of the formation of the identity of the family, and even the social personality of the spouse and children are influenced by her deeds, the felicity and wretchedness of the family is also ascribed to her. This is why in traditions the wife has been mentioned as the best ornament and the greatest prosperity for a competent and righteous man. And the elites and leaders of the world consider their own worth and values the result of the efforts, virtues and proper training policies of their mothers. Some of these traditions follow:

  1. Koleiny (R) narrates a tradition from Imam Reza (P), "no advantage is better for a man than a wife whose sight and companionship causes joy and happiness of the spouse, and in the absence of her husband she observes faithfulness and protects the sanctuary of herself and the family and protects his property.
  2. Imam Sadegh (P) says, "a man said of the holy prophet (P), " I have a wife who welcomes me when ever I arrive at home, and if she sees that I am unhappy says, "what is the cause of your grief? If you worry about your provision in this word, another is responsible to provide your subsistence, but if you are concerned and worried about the next world, may God multiply your sadness and anxiety." The holy prophet (P) said, "O’ men, God has representatives and agents on the earth, and this lady is one of them and deserves to receive half the reward of a martyr.
  3. A tradition from Imam Musa Ebne Ja'afar (P) quoted by Varam Ebne Abifaras, states that the 'jihad' (struggle in a holy war) for a woman, is her honorable care of her husband. There is the reward for one year of devotion, fasting during the day and staying up for prayer at nights, for the wife who offers her husband a drink of water. And for every drink of water she serves him God will grant her a city in paradise and forgive seventy of her sins.
  4. Sokuni narrates a tradition from Imam Sadegh (P), "the best wife among our followers is the one who has the best temperament".
  5. Abdullah Ebne Sannan quoted from the holy prophet (P), "the worst of your wives is the one who lacks valuable qualities, is bad natured, obstinate and disobedient, is considered lowly by her tribe and kinsmen, while she considers herself dear and great, does not perform her duties towards her husband and violates his rights while at the same time she has the most submissive and humble character towards others".
  6. Jamil Ebne Dorraj quoted from Imam Sadegh (P), "any wife who disappoints her husband and says she did not enjoy any benefit in his companionship and in their common life, will ruin her good deeds by such behavior".
  7. Shaikh Sadugh (R) quotes from Imam Sadegh (P), "if a wife hurts and offends her husband, her prayer and good deeds will not be accepted by God even though she devotes all her time to performing prayer and fasting, and also ransoms slaves and gives alms, till she gives up this behavior and tries to accompany, assist, and please her husband". Then he added, "the husband too, will totally ruin his good deeds and will be punished if he oppresses or injures his wife". According to another tradition the holy prophet (P) said, "do you want me to introduce who the worst men among you are?, they said: "yes, and he added, "the worst man among you is the one who lacks a plan and policy for living, is a miser, ill-mouthed, and eats alone, does not help his family, beats his wife and slave so that his family seek refuge in others, and his behavior causes him to be cursed by his parents". Article 1103 of the civil law is about honorable conduct, which has been discussed previously.

The second category of traditions:

   This category includes various texts, which forbid the wife from beautification and adornment when appearing among those who are not legally related to her on the one hand and recommend and emphasize their cleanliness, neatness, beautification and adornment at home and in the presence of the husband on the other hand. The religion of Islam approves this behavior and urges the wife to observe and perform this duty without any extravagance. This recommendation by Islam is due to its positive effects on the individual, social and family life and its valuable role in the wholesomeness and security of society. Some of the advantages and positive effects of the observance of this duty follows:

The first advantage:

   Since the novelty and beauty creating Lord loves beauty, and women are the manifestation of the attribute of beauty, adornment is more proper for women. Of course the concept that man does not need to pay attention to cleanness and neatness of appearance is a vain and false idea which is strongly rejected by Islam and differs the opinions of our Lady, the daughter of the holy prophet (P) and the Innocent Imams (P). The prophet of God himself not only had a clean, neat, and pleasant appearance, but also paid special attention to perfume so much that his perfume expenses exceeded his living expenses. According to a tradition he says: "an unclean and untidy person is a bad and disapproved servant of God". And according to a tradition from Imam Reza (P) he says, "it may sometimes happen that a man's wife loses her chastity due to her husband's carelessness in his appearance.

The second advantage:

   Related women’s cleanliness and adoring herself is that performing this function is compatible with her natural instinct of adornment, beauty and charm. Islam has taken this into consideration which is a natural tendency, but it has given it a moderate and balanced form. Therefore not only has it given the woman the priority to utilize and enjoy all kinds of ornaments, but has also charged the husband with providing them. Islam has also permitted the use of certain ornaments only for women and prohibited them for men, for instance using gold or pure silk, or shaving facial hair which causes their faces to resemble those of women. It has been recommended that women beautify themselves and wear jewelry all the time and never separate them from themselves.

The third advantage:

   is that besides creating moral and spiritual love and affection, it causes mutual confidence and assurance that both are doing their best for the mere pleasure of each other. Consequently, neither does the wife think of a man other than her husband nor the husband of another spouse or woman but her. And this feeling and confidence brings about a security that pervades all aspects of the family and strengthens it on the basis of a good relationship and of mutual confidence and trust, and according to the holy Quran each of them becomes the protector of the interests and a source of pride and prestige for the other.

The fourth advantage:

   Social security and soundness is the soul of the society. If the woman disregards her principal duties concerning the family, instead of being the source of peace and security for the family, society, and history, she changes to an undesirable element not only depriving herself from freedom and security but also leads the society to insecurity. She has neither inward satisfaction nor the family's satisfaction nor does the society value her suitably or value her human station. She becomes an agent in displaying modern ignorance and descends from the climax of honor under God's servitude and human nobility as well as from the enjoyment of a virtuous marriage. Under the name of false freedom, she submits herself to disgraceful slavery, which not only ruins the family foundation, but in its worst form has a bitter and humiliating aftermath. Smuggling of women to spread prostitution is published as statistics in the global media and international organizations. Unfortunately, the providers of this business for these dark, dismal and corrupt companies are mostly girls and women from the third world.

The third category of traditions:

   This category argues about the positive and honorable duties of the wife in the family.

  • 1) According to Imam Sadegh (P) the holy prophet (P) said in response to a woman who asked about the duties of the wife towards her husband, "the wife must use her best perfumes and wear her best cloths and ornaments for her husband".
  • 2) Jaber Ebne Abdullah Ansari quotes the holy prophet's (P) comment about the righteous wife, "the best wife is the one who is kind and chaste, dear and respected by her relatives and flexible and obedient to her husband, beautifies and adorns herself when she is with him but protects herself from others.
  • 3) Muhammad Ebne Muslem quotes from Imam Bagher (P), "it is proper for a wife to pay attention to her appearance even if it is only by wearing a necklace and not to stop dying her hands even if she has to make ablutions when her hands are dyed with henna".
  • 4) Asbagh Ebne Nabateh quotes from Ali, the commander of the faithful (P), that near the time of the end of the world which is the worst of ages there are women who refuse to maintain their chastity and modest attire and appear naked. They transgress the bounds of religion and move towards corruption. They are inclined to lust and passion, hasten to seek pleasure and attempt to legalize the illegal "and then he added", they will be inhabitants of the fire forever".

The fourth category of traditions:

   This category includes the traditions in which the loyalty of the wife towards her husband is emphasized. Disregarding the obligations of the marriage contract by the wife is considered an offense and sin and any illegal relations with any one except the spouse is strongly disapproved. This duty is mutual and is not specific to the wife.

  1. According to a tradition from the holy prophet (P) the worst and the most evil doing woman is the one who lacks values and virtues, is obstinate, a mischief-maker, rebellious and ostracized by her relatives for her evil deeds. Also she s one who feels great inwardly but is abased publicly, is reluctant to associate with her husband but easily accessible to others.
  2. Muhammad Ebne Muslem quoted from Imam Sadegh (P), "God does not speak with three groups. One of them is a woman who places her husband's bed at another man's disposal".
  3. According to a tradition from Ali, the commander of the faithful (P) he says, "do you want me to introduce the worst woman to you?" they answered "yes". Then he said, "a woman who has sexual intercourse in her husband's bed with another man and even more shameful is that she imposes another man's child upon her husband. She is a servant at whom God will never look with favors nor will He speak to her on the judgement day nor will He forgive her.

   We have read in the holy Quran the verse, "Maryam the daughter of Imran who preserved her womb, so we blew in it of our spirit". If we have not yet noticed the part that the chastity of this great lady played in the advent of a personality like Jesus, the Spirit of God (P) this manifest verse makes clear several realities in the system of creation. First, whatever values the righteous people of the world possess is the consequence of woman who plays a universal role which has worldwide influence. Secondly, from the viewpoint of law the reason for the value of Jesus is having a mother like Mary (P) and the opposite is not true, although having a righteous child is the source of the greatest pride for the mother. Thirdly, the chastity of a woman is the source of the survival of her character in the history of humanity forever.

   Fourth, the extent of the value of a woman is directly proportional to the extent of her obedience to God's commands and her chastity. Finally a mother who is concerned about and thinks of the good of her children will never commit evil and corruption.

The fifth category of traditions:

   The reasons for the compliance of the wife. In this category several points are emphasized:

  • 1) Emphasis on compliance, particularly by the wife, and yielding herself with her husband.
  • 2) Not to refuse having sound conjugal relations, that is intercourse, between husband and wife.
  • 3) To avoid conjugal relations or seeking sexual pleasure in public and social environments or where there are sensually desirous eyes. In Islamic culture, the main objectives and duties of the couple are these characteristics: Namely the woman's nobility, family interests, and the wholesomeness of the society leading us to understand the philosophy of many of the religious decrees which are prescribed precisely along the lines of attaining these objectives. Therefore any sort of sexual enjoyment outside of the family is strongly forbidden. But within the family, conjugal relations and full enjoyment of the married couple of each other is permitted and lawful.

   Examination of these points makes it clear that willingness and providing the satisfaction of the spouse for her husband merely to satisfy his sexual instinct is foremost to show humble obedience to the All Wise Creator's command. Second, it is to show pure love, and faith to the sanctities of the home and create confidence and respect for herself and her spouse’s personality. Third, to strengthen the marriage covenant and show fidelity to a heavenly vow and to fulfill the woman's duty torwards creation.

 Note. In the case of specified compliance obligatory for (sexual intercourse) of the wife, if she has a legal or rational excuse or if it is against the custom, for instance, menstruation or disease which makes intercourse impossible or may harm her, the excuse is plausible and does not cause Noshuz (that is violation of the husband's rights.) Some traditions of this category follow:

  1. Tabarsi quotes in his book Makaremul Akhlagh from the holy prophet (P), "it is not proper for the wife to go to bed unless she shows her inclination to be intimate with her husband so that is she lies under a single covering with him and undoes her dress and places a part of her body touching his. In this case she has done he duty. "Anyhow this means that with fine specific actions she should attract her husband, and bring about his desire so that he may become satisfied and be happy with her".
  2. Muhammad Ebne Muslem quotes from Imam Bagher (P), "the wife must not deny her husband even if she is on horseback". (Riding a horse is not a special case but it is only an example of a woman's performance of daily work or a trip.)
  3. Jaber Ebne Abdullah Ansari quotes from the holy prophet (P), "the worst woman is the one who denies her husband in private from sexual enjoyment…".
  4. Imam Bagher (P) says, "the best wife is the one who strips herself of modesty for her husband when they are alone".

The literal meaning and the type of Tamkin compliance

   It is an infinitive article, which has several meanings as follows:

   To accept, to shake hands, to establish, to give energy, to strengthen, to respect, to obey, and to be able to.

   In the Islamic texts and traditions Tamkin is:

  1. Specific willingness of the wife to engage in sexual intercourse with the which is his Islamic right after the marriage contract with husband.
  2. General compliance, which means the wife's yielding towards her husband in the common married life other than the specified compliance. For example, the husband may restrict and supervise his wife's leaving the house and her association with others, he can choose their dwelling place in order to maintain the interests of the family, unless he has signed a condition in the marriage contract stating the right to choose their dwelling place is with the wife. Of course, the husband's supervision should be based on the family and not be arbitrary in the form of commands and domination as previously discussed in detail.

The sixth category of traditions:

   This category deals with the cases of general willingness of the wife and describes the Noshuz. Some examples follow:

  1. Bad behavior
  2. To refuse to cooperate and assist to strengthen the foundations of the family.
  3. To leave the house without husband's agreement.
  4. To refrain to live in the house chosen by her husband for their common living.

   In the next essay we will discuss these cases in detail from viewpoint stated in the civil law.

  1. Sa'adan Ebne Muslem quotes from Imam Sadegh (P), that the holy prophet (P) said to women in the tradition of allegiance, "listen! O women, I accept your allegiance only if you do not associate anything with God in worship, do not steal other people's property, do not commit adultery, do not kill your children, do not slander one another and do not disobey your husbands in proper and common affairs. (In this tradition compliance and towards the husband is conditioned by the term common and proper, that is the husband does not have the right to demand anything of his wife which is against the commands of God and the holy prophet (P), or the common law and customs or behavior of the righteous).
  2. Imam Sadegh (P) said, "if a woman performs the five daily prayers, fasts during the month of Ramazan, goes to Mecca for pilgrimage, performs her duties towards her husband, and believes in the Imamat of Ali and his eleven successors (P), then admission to paradise becomes an obligation for her from any door she chooses.
  3. Imam Sadegh (P) said, "the best wife is one who is scented, and a good cook, observes the principle of Maruf that is both her almsgiving and her economizing is based on what is moderate and common. Such a woman is an agent of God on earth who will never be desperate or regretful."
  4. At the end of the tradition of 'ascension', the holy prophet (P) said, "prosperous is the wife who has been able to satisfy her husband".

What is concluded and inferred from this collection of traditions is along the line of the words of God in verse 34 of Surah Women:

" الرِّجالُ قَوّامُونَ عَلي النِّساءِ بِما فَضَّلَ اللهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلي بَعْضٍ وَ بِما اَنْفَقُوا مِنْ‌ اَمْوالِهِمْ فَالصّالِحاتُ قانِتاتٌ حافِظاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِما حَفِظَ اللهُ وَاللاّتي تَخافُونَ نُشُوزِهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ في المَضاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَاِنْ‌ اَطَعْنَكُمْ‌ فَلا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبيلاً اِنَّ اللهَ كانَ عَلياً كَبيراً"

" the good women are therefore obedient guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded;".

   This implies that righteous women equipped with the weapon of faith, who think of the interests of the family along the path of God's servitude, that is, when they are with their husbands and their families in the house they perform the duty of infusing God's love and compassion into the home and family and are a source of peace and relief for them. In the absence of their husband they perform the heavy task of guarding the prestige of the family and stabilizing moral virtues in the home. If God has relieved her of working outside the house and exempted her from tackling difficulties and anxieties in the society, and inside the house has charged her with no apparent heavy duties since, household work is not an obligatory duty for her, this is because she is responsible for the creation and maintenance of peace and relief in the home. If this duty is not property fulfilled, the husband will not be able to perform his duties outside of the house. If the inside of a body is not in order, in good health and organized, the external part will not be stable and orderly either. Of course, this does not mean that we ignore the social presence of woman and prohibit her from performing necessary and suitable activities. In addition to playing the important roles of being a mother and spouse, she must also do her duty in solving scientific, political, economic and social problems of the seocity as has been realized and practiced by our outstanding religious examples. This can be seen when one examines the life of the holy prophet's daughter (P) who is the best and worthiest wife and mother at home. According to our late Imam Khomeini, "from a modest mud house, human beings are introduced whose light and brilliance overspreads the heavens and earth. They are also unique in the field of science and reflection of divine verses. Her eloquent and fluent speech in the mosque of Madina is an example, and reveals the fact that the world has not witnessed anyone like of her in the various fields of history, sociology, philosophy, the rise and decline of nations, philosophy of the 'principles of faith' and the 'secondary precepts the religion', the position of leadership, the functions of devotion and sincerity. This proves that woman's duty is multidimensional".

   Summary of the duties and obligations of the wife according to verses and traditions:

Obligatory duties

  1. Honorable conduct.
  2. Specific compliance to her husband. (Intercourse)
  3. Purity and chastity both in the presence and the absence of her husband.
  4. Avoiding leaving her husband's house without his permission and agreement.
  5. Cleanliness, neatness, hygiene, beautification adornment and jewelry, good appearance, aiding in the theoretical and practical advancement of the family, and at the same time undertaking the roles of mother and spouse.
  6. To live in the house prepared by her husband for common married life (unless it is stated otherwise in the conditions stipulated in the marriage certificate.)
  7. Not giving away the husband's property without his permission.

Non-obligatory duties

  1. To compromise as far as possible in order to maintain the interests and peace of the family.
  2. To avoid whatever causes her husband to be hurt or offended.
  3. To be a good aid for her husband in order to enable him to face difficulties and ups and downs of life.
  4. To practice patience and piety for they are sources of abundance and benefit.
  5. To avoid shame and shyness in the presence of her husband in private.
  6. To prefer to perform the recommended devotions with her husband's permission, and between performing these types of devotion and union (intercourse) with her husband, choose the latter if her husband shows inclination.
  7. To be patient and tolerant towards her husband’s injuries and bad habits.
  8. To perform the internal housework as far as possible in order to cooperate with her husband.
  9. To try to elevate the values in the house and establish them in practice.


The scope of the duties of women according to the civil law:

   These duties are also stated in two sections in the civil law and the wife's willingness wards to her husband is also divided into two parts by the civil law like in the verses and traditions, that is specified willingness (intercourse) and general compliance, (the necessary points have been stated in the previous essay.) In general compliance the duties of the wife are of two categories: the first category are those, which are common between husband and wife the observance of which is obligatory for both after concluding marriage contract. They are as follows:

   The common duties of the husband and wife according the civil law of the Islamic Republic of Iran, article 1102 states, "as soon as the marriage contract is correctly concluded, the marriage relationship beings and the mutual rights and duties of the couple are established". The common duties resulting from the marriage contract consist of four paragraphs."

  1. Honorable conduct:

   The first duty assigned to the couple by the civil law is acceptance by the two parties to have honorable conduct towards each other as stated in article 1103; "the wife and husband are enjoined to have honorable conduct towards each other". This honorable conduct and mutual understanding in behavior and companionship is based on proper relationship, which forms the foundations of married life. This has also been emphasized in several verses in the holy Quran. Realizing the principle of love and compassion and maintaining peace and tranquility in the home and preparing the ground for the desired promotion and advancement of each member in the family are the results of the wife's willingness to the take care of these responsibilities. It should be noted that the exact determination of cases of misconduct or honorable conduct by law is impossible and since each individual follows his own special type of culture and customs and habits, it is not possible to give a uniform and standard definition for honorable conduct by the legislature. Maintaining the sanctities of the home and family, the influence of law, and obligation to implement its provisions without moral support is impossible and the intervention of government officials and the judiciary has seldom been able to settle family disputes and solve their problems. The more the family center is immune from the raid of legal quarrels and conflicts, the more it will enjoy stability and strength, and its members will enjoy a better character. The training, prosperity, and personality formation of those brought up by the family depends on the policy and conduct of the wife and mother. Therefore the practical obligation and moral conviction to adopt honorable conduct by the wife in all aspects will bring the best results to the family.

The influence of the mother's conduct on the society:

   When God wills to present to the world righteous beings such as Jesus and Moses (P) he first prepares the ground and paves the way, for instance, by granting a daughter like Maryam (P) to a righteous couple such as Imran and his wife. The mother of Maryam who had passed her pregnancy term in the hope of bearing a son, had solemnized a vow with God to offer her child to serve at the temple if she might have a son was then granted a daughter. She said, "O God' I have borne a daughter!" She was, however, instantly aware of another fact and said, "since my Lord is All knowing, what He has prescribed for me is certainly better and it may happen that this daughter may play a better part in the world than the son I wished for". Therefore she immediately says, "O God I will name this daughter Maryam (female worshipper), and I ask thee to grant her values and I hope that her womb will bring offspring into existence who will be immune from the offensive of Satan". And in this way the training and fostering of Jesus (P) begins from the very moment of her pregnancy. She brings up and trains such a daughter whom the prophet Zakariyah (P) envies and admires. God says in the holy Quran, "if the mother is righteous God will fully grant her prayer and wish, and brings about for her the best results in the world".

   Some reflections on the mother's intentions, prayers and supplications, and conduct in the Quranic verses: the holy Quran reveals surprising mysteries about creation and function of a woman in verses which are the best examples for any intelligent person:

  1. The supplication of righteous mothers is surely answered by God.
  2. The conviction of a mother to choose a good name is effective in the good conduct of her child, since we have in narrations that, "the names descend from heaven".
  3. They should enjoy sound mind and have hope in the vast compassion of God both in belief and practice and also during supplication.
  4. It may sometimes happen that one's prayer is not answered by God according to one's wish but the All Wise Creator prepares the ground for the acceptance of His servant's prayer and fully pleases him/her.
  5. The best time for the supplication of a mother to God is during the time of the delivery of her child. God bestows special favors and blessings upon the mother due to her tolerating the pain and the suffering of the delivery of the child, which are not granted to His other servants, one of which is the reward of martyrdom.
  6. When the mother intends to bring up her child properly for the mere pleasure of God, for this divine intention He will grant her good results and benefits in both worlds, which pleases both God and the mother.
  7. The proper cooperation and assistance to strengthen the family foundation

   According to article 1104 of the civil law, the couple must cooperate and help each other to strengthen the foundation of the family and the training of their children. According to article 1178 the parents are responsible to the extent of their capacity for the appropriate upbringing of their children and must not leave them idle and alone. By "strengthening of the family" what is meant is the common attempt of the couple to blend their conduct and characters in a way that fosters mutual understanding and growth of a sincere relationship. This causes their unity and consequently the strengthening of the marriage ties. The foundation of the family, the strengthening of which has been assigned to the couple by law is the mutual love and affection of the husband and wife which guarantees the maintenance of the family and chastity and piety of each one in the couple. The Holy Quran has a beautiful comment in this respect, "if the mother suffers and takes troubles for children the father also must assume responsibility and should not hesitate or fail to attempt to earn their livelihood". Also to establish balance it says, "each one in the couple are responsible depending on their capacity". If the mother fails to perform her duties it leads to a decrease in maintenance and if the father shrinks from performing his obligations and causes distress and constriction for the wife, she can resort to the court for help or appropriate action by the judge.

  1. Common dwelling.

   According to article 1114 of the civil law the wife must dwell and live in the house her husband chooses as the place of dwelling unless this choice has been granted to the wife in a condition stipulated in the marriage certificate. The husband, should consider the social status and dignity of the wife, and on the other hand, the capacity of the husband should be taken into consideration by the wife. It is obligatory for the wife to live in the house prepared by her husband (although it is located in a place other than the place of her birth and upbringing) and if she refuses she has no right to receive alimony. This is also regarded as one of the cases of the wife's violation of the rights of the husband called Noshuz. But if according to the conditions stipulated in the marriage certificate the wife has been granted the right to choose the dwelling, the husband must provide a residence where the wife pleases or suggests, because he has accepted the condition and has delegated this right to his wife. The rule "no harm" and "exception in leaving the husband's house" which is provided for in the law must be observed in the choice of dwelling. Article 1115 states that if the living of a wife in a house involves fear of physical of financial harm or the loss of prestige for her, she can choose a separate dwelling and if this suspicion is proved, the court will not permit the wife to return to her husband's residence. As long as the wife is excused from returning to his house the husband must pay her maintenance. Concerning the fear of loss of prestige, it is stated in law books as follows, "loss of prestige is the fear of the wife that as a result of shouting and abusing of her chastity by the husband, the attention of the neighbors and passers-by is attracted and is a cause disgrace for her. Also is included if the husband brings inappropriate people around the house and the wife fears that their association with her husband may harm her reputation in the social environment.

Determination of the residence by the court before settlement of the case    

   According to article 1116 of the civil law, "as long as the dispute is not settled in the above-mentioned case, the residence of the wife is determined by mutual agreement, and in the case of disagreement the court will decide after consultation with close relatives of both parties and in the absence of relatives the court will determine a safe residence for the wife. This article means that if the wife leaves her husband's house because of the rule of "no harm" this does not imply that the wife has the right to choose her residence as long as the court does not settle the case. But a safe residence will be determined for her by mutual agreement of the couple or close relatives or the court.

  1. Faithfulness of the wife towards her husband.

   Although there is not any direct statement about this common duty of the couple in the civil law, the silence of the legislator is because this case is quite obvious for every Muslim, man or woman. In other words the shame and disapproval of disregarding this duty in the Islamic religion has removed the necessity for its insertion in the civil law. Considering the severe punishment which penal law has prescribed for this offence, we find that committing this violation is not only a refusal of moral commands but a severe punishment. The payment of damages in addition to the severe punishment in the next life is due to the transgressing of the boundaries of God. Because it is very difficult to prove this offence and many conditions apply regarding circumstances and evidence, examination of this kind of punishment and its manner of implementation in Islam implies the message that by penalty, only punishment is not meant. It is the creation of psychological and social safeguards in the soul of the society against its related ills and harms, the result of which is nothing except evil and corruption.

   The maximum punishment for adultery requires several conditions 1) The person must be married, 2) The person does not have access to his/her spouse, 3) The person must know the law, 4) The person must be a Muslim, 5) The person must be sane, 6) a woman must not be pregnant, 7) a woman must not be breastfeeding, 8) The person must either state four 4 times or four 4 just people in the same session must state that they have witnessed the actual act of intercourse. Imam Ali (P) the commander of the faithful recommends repentance before making this statement is four times. It is almost impossible for four just people to witness illicit sexual intercourse between two people.  

     The manner of implementing penalty is not only meant for the punishment of the individuals but prior to it this, is aimed at warning them against and prohibiting them from committing any offence. It is surprising that modern human beings are so deeply absorbed in their humanistic views and beliefs which disregard any sort of restriction in sexual affairs as discrimination occasionally suggest and freedom of all kinds of sexual relations and raise the issue of discrimination during international conferences and conventions. They are so shameless and immodest that they do not respect the sanctities of the home and family in their ipinion and regard the prohibition of adultery as a denial of freedom.

   It should be stated that in many countries in the west, after marriage the couple have certain obligations which are necessary to fulfill in order to maintain and continue common married life. But feminism is gradually trying to eliminate any law in this regard. For instance in the French law although the wife and husband are not equally punished for this offence, if a wife betrays her husband she is always condemned to imprisonment the husband's penalty never exceeds the payment of damages. This is when he has continual relations with another woman in the common residence of the couple. It should be noted that in the Islamic penal laws, first of all there is no difference between the husband and wife in punishment, and secondly it is not regarded as a private right. In some countries this case will be dealt with only if the spouse complains or resorts to the court, but if the spouse ignores or forgives the offender the prosecution will be stopped and the case will end. Where as in Islam, in order to maintain the sanctities of the home and the wholesomeness of the succeeding generations and society, it is considered a public crime and being indifferent to it and ignoring it is considered disregarding and transgressing the bounds of God. Therefore the implementation or suspension of punishment does not depend on the spouse's demand or forgiveness but in order to maintain the interests of the society, penalizing this kind of offence is at the discretion of the Islamic judge.

The specific duties of the wife:

   This is not directly stated in the civil law but article 1108 says, "if the wife refrains from willingness to have relations with her husband she will have no right to receive maintenance". Refusal to perform this duty in the civil law is the equivalent of the term Noshuz in jurisprudence, and Noshuz and Tamkin and their various types have been dealt with in detail in the pervious essays.

   The issue the wife leaving her husband's house without his permission and agreement, is often protested and criticized in the field of law and according to humanistic views is regarded as a sort of restriction against the freedom of a woman or infringement into the position of the wife by the husband's supervision. In law books the compliance of the wife means not leaving the house without her husband's permission.

   This is among the cases of general compliance and is regarded as the result of the husband's authority after marriage. Therefore in dealing with the results of the husband's authority it is argued that the husband can supervise the association of his wife with others and forbid her from actions and behavior which threatens the wholesomeness of the home and family life in order to maintain the interests of the family. The focal point in Islam is the interests of the family.

   However, he does not the right to prohibit her from association with her close relatives or from performing obligatory religious or social duties arbitrarily or without any plausible reason. Although based on a misconception, some people think that Islam has left the way open for the husband to do as he pleases and has prescribed some restrictions for the wife. This is a mistaken theory and unjust accusation against the laws of Islam, which stem from a male-centered attitude and a subservient concept of woman. Islam is neither male-centered nor woman-centered. The axis of Islamic law is truth-centeredness on the basis of human nobility and the interests of the home and family. Women are inclined to the truth, the agents of values and responsible towards their family and society. The Holy Quran says,

"Men supervise and support women". This is not an advantage for the man, rather it is a duty and a responsibility. In performing this duty man is not left free but he has been restricted through many limitations and conditions mentioned in many verses.

  1. a) It tells men to take responsibility and manage their family affairs. This position is regarding the performance of their duties concerning the family. It does not mean that man is the ruler and can do whatever he pleases.
  2. b) Another major condition that forms the axis of the family law in the Holy Quran and is obligatory for both husband and wife, is observing the principle of "Maa'ruf" that means honorable and proper. Emphasizing this principle is the continuation of the principle of, "Recommend good and forbid evil", in social life. Therefore, man does not have the right to command or impose upon the wife anything beyond the limits of what is 'honorable and proper'. Even in the matter of allegiance of the women to the holy prophet (P), which is a social affair, the Holy Quran restricts him to " امر به معروف و نهي از منكر " "recommending good and forbidding the evil". While he has the status of infallibility, this verse implies another fact, that no ruler or authority must trespass the limits of Maruf " معروف" the principle of what is "proper" (being honorable) and that his authority and power should not lead him astray. Furthermore, he should not take any actions, which will lead him astray or without observing the principle of "good". On the other hand, women must accept anything, which is in the scope of her duties within the limits of Maruf “معروف" the principle of what is “proper or good”, and this is the meaning of the valuable concept of truthcenteredness.
  3. c) Another condition frequently repeated in the Holy Quran is:
  4. Abolition of any sort of damage and/or of violence, slander, force, or evil by man towards his wife. Among them is the following verse,
" لا تمسِكوهُنَّ … "

"You exceed the limits, and whoever does this, he indeed is unjust to his own soul; and do not take Allahs communications for a mockery,"

This means the family center enjoys a circuit wherein the fire resulting from insecurity and the violation of the rights of others by a member returns to burn him/herself.

  1. One must refrain using God's verses for his/her own convenience and selfish objectives and desires.

     We realize from the collection of verses that the husband can not command and exert his personal opinions on his wife outside the commands of God and the principle of what is "honorable", nor can the wife accept her husband's orders if they are outside the realm of God's commands and the principle of what is "honorable".

   Concerning the exceptions to the rule of seeking permission from husband according to the traditions are, "except in pilgrimage to Mecca, or Zakat, or doing good to the parents, or connection with close relatives". Only precisely within the circle of Divine commandments can the husband rule the wife on anything, not on anything which is outside of this. If God commands performing acts of worship, hijab, doing good to parents, or relationship with relatives, the husband should not forbid his wife from performing these acts, except when there is a more important rational consideration of the interests of the family or if a vow has been solemnized in this regard by the wife and she has the obligation to perform it.


The role of the husband's permission in the occupation of his wife:            

   According to article 1116 of the civil law, "the husband can forbid his wife from choosing an occupation or industry which is against the interests of the family, the prestige of his wife or his own prestige. That is affairs which cause weakening of the family foundation or disturb the training, education, and maintenance of the children or the social prestige of the couple, or confuse the economical order of the home and family". Of course the proper determination of family interests in case of the disagreement of the couple cannot be considered the exclusive right of the husband, because he may occasionally take advantage of this authority.

Justification of the difference present in the civil law concerning the wife's occupation:

   Since according to the civil law, earning a livelihood is the responsibility of the husband, there are some differences in the legal system concerning their rights and the nature of occupation between the husband and wife. On the other hand, due to specific duties that civil law, common law, and nature have assigned to the mother, there are in practice some restrictions for her in choosing an occupation. For example, according to the article 169 of the civil law concerning nurturing by the mother, since the child needs the mother’s milk and presence more than anything else, all social occupations regardless of their importance do not exempt the mother from this duty. The father is always responsible for their livelihood, and any occupation that is not compatible with the duties of motherhood and cause separation from her child or threaten the family should be legally examined from the legal point of view.

Authors: Zahra Ayatollahi
Content Type: Article
Keywords: Family - Home
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