How the Prophet ﷺ treated women

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This subject has been something that I have been pondering over for a while. I started to wonder what where the men misunderstanding? Why do men treat women so badly? After reading this you should have no doubt that those ‘men’ who treat women badly are going against the founder who they claim to follow!

So what should we do in these moments of darkness? Look to the light that was left for us by the blessed Prophet ﷺ because there is no better exemplar he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

 

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,

 

خيركم خيركم لأهله وأنا خيركم لأهله

 
“The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” (Al-Tirmidhi 3895).

In a report by Ibn ‘Aaskir in Tarikh Damashiq has the following,

 

خيركم خيركم لأهله وأنا خيركم لأهله ما أكرم النساء إلا أهانهن إلا لئيم

 
“The best of you are the best to their families. I am the best to my family. No one but an honourable man honours women and no one humiliates them except the vile.”

 

Ibn Majah reports a similar hadith.

 

أخرج ابن ماجة في سننه عن عبد الله بن عمرو أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال:خياركم خياركم لنسائهم

اسناد صحيح
Abdullah ibn Umar  reports that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “The best of you are the best to their womenfolk.”

 

In a hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,

 

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خلقا وخياركم خيارهم لنسائهم

 
“The most complete believer in faith has excellent character. The best of you are those who are the best to their womenfolk.”

 

Ibn Hibban

 

These hadiths have similar words yet they all hold the same meaning. The best people are those who treat their women the best. Honouring women is Sunnah and opposite is not part of the character of whom we claim to follow.

 

If a man wants to build his treatment of women then let him build it upon honouring women. Every woman is someone’s daughter, mother or sister. When you harm one, you harm one or more of these groups. If you harm a woman then be prepared to be exposed for your vileness, on the day of judgement.

 
Do not touch me!

 
In the Shafi and Hanbali schools, when a man touches an unrelated female, evenaccidentally, it breaks his ablution/wudu. It does not in the Hanafi school. I am not sure about the Maliki School. Therefore, a large amount of scholars say, you cannot even touch a woman that you have no direct relation. Meaning a woman who is not related to the man by coming from the same immediate family or related by marriage or offspring. Even if a man touches his wife, in the Shafi School, it breaks his ablution.

 
The above is an accidental touch without desire and of course touching an unrelated woman with desire is unlawful. Anything beyond that is also unlawful.

 
Do not look at me!

 
This should be sufficient for you to realise that you should not be looking or touching an woman who is not related to you. Brothers need to be aware that lowering our gaze has more importance now than ever because of the media. Forty hadith about lowering gaze can be viewed by clicking here. An immoral society is more profitable than a moral one.

جرير بن عبدالله قال: سألت رسول الله صلى عليه وسلم عن نظرة الفجاءة فأمرني أن أصرف بصري

رواه مسلم

وعند أبي داود أنه قال له. اصرف بصرك

Jarir Ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that, “I asked the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was asked about the sudden glance. So he ordered me to avert my gaze.” Muslim. Abu Dawood reports, “Avert your gaze.”

 
Is this hadith enough? This counts for all women regardless of their background!

 

So how was the Prophet ﷺ with women?

 
He ﷺ was natural, respectful, attentive and gentle. He ﷺ listened to their needs and helped them. He ﷺ did not scream ‘WOMAN’ and run away like some of you. He ﷺ spoke with respect, kindness and softness. He ﷺ never made a woman feel uncomfortable or ashamed or intimidated by his presence. How many men make women feel small? Why do they lie so much to them? If you do this then you are as close to the practice of the Prophet ﷺ as Australia is to England! The other side of the world, not even close!

How many brothers respect their mother alone but treat other women badly. What about the ones who are not from your family? Then wrongly try to justify it by saying its okay because my family will never find out. You are in big trouble because you cannot have your girlfriend outside and a wife at home. Come home and pretend that your wife does not exist. Your wife might not be your choice and you may have been coerced into the marriage. However, you have children now and they are your responsibility. If you mistreat the mother, the children see that and sometimes the mother takes it out on the children. Most children who fight at school are doing that because people fight at home. You have no right to walk out on them and leave them. You have to make the best of it now. Do not tell me you sleep in separate beds but you have two kids!

Divorce is only an option when there is nothing else left. You have exhausted all other options or there is abuse that does not cease.

 
In the Shammail of Imam Al-Tirmidhi (329) according to Anis ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that a woman said to the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him), “I have a need (help) from you.” He replied,

 

اجلسي في أي طريق المدينة شئت أجلس إليك

 
“Sit in any path of the city of your choosing and I will sit (help) with you.”

 
Why is this significant? Because the female companion had mental problems as one of the commentators mention. Yet, this did not stop the Prophet ﷺ from helping her. Look how people treat those with mental problems now? Yet, this period of history humanity was inthe dark ages. Then a light from Medinah shined as an example for humanity, the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

One of his ﷺ wives struggled to get onto a camel because of her size and the blessed Prophet ﷺ would allow her to put her feet on his knees, in order to climb onto the camel. Thats respect that does not exist with many men.

 

Al-Hakim reports from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said,

 

كان رسول الله ﷺ لا يسأل شيئا إلا أعطاه او سكت

 
“The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was never asked for anything except that he gave it or was silent.” Imam Ahmed 3/190, Al-Hakim 2/130

 
It was of the nature of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) to give whatever they had.

 

Beat them?

 
We have spoken before about the treatment of women so view that by clicking here.

 
Al-Tirmidhi reports from Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said,

 

لم يكن رسول الله ﷺ فاحشا ولا متفحشا ولا سخابا في الاسواق ولا يجزي بالسيئة السيئة ولكن يعفو ويصفح وما ضرب بيده شيئا قط إلا أن يجاهد في سبيل الله ولا ضرب خادما ولا امرأة وكان يحب التيمن في طهوره إذا تطهروفي ترجله إذا ترجل وفي انتعاله إذا انتعل وكان يقبل الهدية ويثيب عليها وما كان يسرد كسردكم هذا ولكن كان يتكلم بكلام بين فصل يحفظه من جلس

 
“The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was not obscene, offensive, he did not scream in the markets, he did not repay evil with evil, but he forgave and pardoned, he never beat anyone with his hand except when struggling in the path of Allah. He never beat a servant or a woman. He would begin with the right side for purification, the feet when making a journey, when putting the shoes on. He accepted gifts and wore them. He did not speak like you speak rather he spoke slowly (with gaps) so that those sitting with him could memorise them.” Al-Tirmidhi in Shammail 175. Al-Tirmidhi 2016.

Is this not strange that he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) never beat a woman? It is not strange at all, it is the truth, he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) never beat a woman, ever. Hang on what about the ayah, “Beat them.”? There is no person who understood that Quran better than the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him), right? Yet he did not beat any of the women of his house ever. So what does it mean? It means admonition not beat, in accordance to thirteen Quranic commentators. So that cannot be ignored! Only an ignoramus beats his wife up and uses the book of peace to unjustly justify his vileness.

 

Another point here, he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) did not beat servants. This must have been commonplace at the time and this is why his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) wife is mentioning it here. Wives know their husbands better than anyone else. This is not the only time that one his wives have given a great testimony about him (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). Do not forget the testimony of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) when revelation came.

 

قيل له ما حق المرأة على الرجل فقال يطعمها إذا طعم ويكسوها إذا اكتسى ولا يقبح الوجه ولا يضرب إلا ضربا غير مبرح ولا يهجرها إلا في البيت

 
He (Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)) was asked, “What are the rights of a women over her man (husband)?” He replied, “Feed her when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not be harmful to her face, do not strike her except a strike that does not bruise and do not leave her except in the house.” Abu Dawood, Al-Nisa’i in Al-Kubra and Ibn Majah.

Do not ‘leave her except in house’ means do not leave the woman alone for extended periods of time.

 

Abu Dawood has a narration with the following:

 

لا تقبح الوجه ولا تضرب

 
“Do not harm the face and do not strike.”

 
This is the hadith that explains that women cannot be struck except that which does not bruise. Everyone knows that women bruise easily and it does not take much. So it means you cannot strike a woman without bruising her. This hadith is the commentary about ‘beat them’ in the Quran. Only insane men misunderstand it to mean beat their wives. Let us get one thing straight that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) never beat any of his wives, ever. So if the ayah meant ‘beat’ then that would mean that there was a Quranic passage that was not practiced, which is impossible for the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

So what does it mean? It means give admonition. I hope that I have made it clear that beating a wife is a crime and if you do it then expect punishment in the world and afterlife.

Also look at the hadith you see that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was illustrating to the questioner that he should treat his wife like he treats himself.

 

أخرج مسلم في صحيحه في سننه عن جابر بن عبد الله قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:اتقوا الله في النساء

 
Muslim reports in his authentic collection from Jabir ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Fear Allah in your treatment of women.”

 

Does that finally clarify it?

 

Men are responsible

 

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَاء

 
“Men are responsible for the welfare and guardianship of women in all aspects.” (Quran Nisa 4:34).

The Quranic verse above explains a lot to us and we will delve into them now. First, let us look at the possible translations of this passage. We have the following possibilities: men are the maintainers of women, men are in charge of women, men are the protectors and maintainers of women, men are the caretakers of women, men are guardians of women, are all valid possibilities. Although this highlights the difficulty in translating the Quran because taking one meaning is not sufficient to explain what the Arabic contains.

 
Muhammad Asad in Message of the Quran said, “qawwām is an intensive form of qā’im (“one who is responsible for” or “takes care of” a thing or a person). Thus, qāma ‘ala ’l-mar’ah signifies “he undertook the maintenance of the woman” or “he maintained her” (see Lane VIII, 2995). The grammatical form qawwām is more comprehensive than qā’im, and combines the concepts of physical maintenance and protection as well as of moral responsibility: and it is because of the last-named factor that I have rendered this phrase, as “men shall take full care of women.”

 

In Hans Wehr dictionary (p.936) states Qawwam as, ‘manager, director, superintendent, caretaker, keeper, custodian, guardian ‘ala.’

 
The Arabic word qawwam is an intensive form not just meaning responsible but even more responsibility than that. I must admit that my limited English might not be able to explain that totally.

 
The possible translation for this verse might be: “Men are responsible for the welfare and guardianship of women in all aspects.” (Quran Nisa 4:34).

 
Do you see how one word has so much meaning and that this whole text could discuss the different meanings of that one word. The depth of the Quran is intense.

 
Imam Al-Tabari’s (may Allah show him mercy) commentary on the verse:

 

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَاء }: الرجال أهل قيام على نسائهم في تأديبهن والأخذ على أيديهن، فيما يجب عليهنّ لله ولأنفسهم؛ { بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ }: يعني بما فضل الله به الرجال على أزواجهم من سوقهم إليهنّ مهورهنّ، وإنفاقهم عليهنّ أموالهم، وكفايتهم إياهن مؤنهن. وذلك تفضيل الله تبارك وتعالى إياهم عليهن، ولذلك صاروا قوّاماً عليهنّ، نافذي الأمر عليهنّ فيما جعل الله إليهم من أمورهنّ

 

Nisa 4:34

 

“Men are the maintainers of women,” men are those people who found their women upon upbringing in manners, take from their hands, from that which is necessary for the sake of Allah and themselves. “From the virtues that Allah has placed upon one over the other,” meaning the virtue that Allah has given men for their wives from their bridal price and bridal gift, spending their wealth upon them, and sufficing them from provisions. This is the virtues that Allah has given the men over the women and therefore it became maintenance. They are given this matter over them because Allah placed them to take care of this matter.”

 

The father is responsible for all his children and especially his daughters. This passage has no time placed on it. The father’s responsibility for the daughter finishes upon the father’s death, not when she gets married! Then if the woman is married then her husband. If she is not married in this order: father, brother, grandfather or another male relative.

In some cultures, it could be argued that the woman is more than capable to look after herself. Some women actually are better at being responsible than many men. You could also say that women are the maintainers of men!

 
This is something that mother in laws should bear in mind too. When her son gets married to his wife, he is bringing a daughter into the home. Not a daughter in law but a daughter.

 
This is also where we find all the rights the wife has in marriage. The right to: housing, food, clothing and care. The woman has more rights, in a marriage, than a man!

 

وجاءت هند إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالت : يا رسول الله ، إن أبا سفيان رجل شحيح ، وليس يعطيني من النفقة ما يكفيني وولدي . فقال : خذي ما يكفيك وولدك بالمعروف. متفق عليه

 
Hind came to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man and does not give me what suffices as expenditure for me and my child.” He said, “Take what suffices you and your child with goodness.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

This hadith explains to us that a woman can take from her husband’s wealth that which suffices her and her children. The wife has a right to expenditure for food etc but that does not give her the ability to steal money more than her needs. It has to be for basics and nothing more like an ipad!

 
This is further illustrated in the following hadith:

 

فقال : { اتقوا الله في النساء ، فإنهن عوان عندكم ، أخذتموهن بأمانة الله واستحللتم
فروجهن بكلمة الله ، ولهن عليكم رزقهن وكسوتهن بالمعروف } . رواه مسلم ، وأبو داود ، ورواه الترمذي

 
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Fear Allah in your treatment of women: they are your helpers, you take them by a trust from Allah, copulation is lawful by the word of Allah, they have a right to against you to provide them with provision and clothing, with goodness.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi)

 

رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لا تكرهوا البنات فإنهن المؤنسات الغاليات

احمد و الطبراني
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Do not dislike daughters because they are the most valuable companions.” Reported by Imam Ahmed and Al-Tabarani.

 
This hadith also indicates how important daughters are to parents. You could ask, what about the sons? Well, most cultures exalt their sons and belittle their daughters. What the sons do is always gold and whatever the daughter does, is always soil. Even if the daughter is the one who works and puts bread on the table. This is also a point to mothers in law. Your daughter in law is someone’s daughter and should be treated with the respect and kindness that you treat your own daughter. ‘Dislike’ is mentioned but nothing more is also allowed like actual harm. The least dislike is not allowed never mind anything more or worse.

 

Do not approach your women like animals send a message a kiss

 

The following hadith is of interest to married men.

 

قال صلى الله عليه و سلم:لا يقعن أحدكم على امرأته كما تقع البهيمة وليكن بينهما رسول. قيل و ما الرسول؟ قال القبلة والكلام

 

He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Not one of you should go to his wife like an animal befalls an animal; let there be a message between you.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the message?” He replied, “Kiss and speech.” (Al-Daylami).

 

This is an important speech for married men. Rather than fall upon their wives like a ton of bricks, speak but what kind of speech? Beautiful speech that praises them, as well as the husband telling them how much they love them. Why, because women love to hear that from their husbands. That is a massive lesson for the blokes, please pick it up! As well the kiss because many women regard the kiss of paramount importance. So here these two important facts are highlighted and these are two things that excite the woman that can be done by her husband. Disclaimer you cannot do this with other than your wedding partner!

 
Aware of change

 

قال صلى الله عليه و سلم

استوصوا بالنِّساءِ خيرًا، فإنَّهنَّ خُلقْنَ مِن ضِلَع، وإنَّ أعوجَ شيءٍ في الضلع أعلاه، فإنْ ذَهبتَ تقيمه كسرتَه، وإن تركتَه لم يزلْ أعوج، فاستوصوا بالنِّساء خيرًا

للبخاري

 

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Be good to women because they are created from rib, its uppermost is curved, if you move to straighten it then it will break, if you leave it then it will remain curved; so be good to women.” Al-Bukhari.

 

Women were created from the rib of Adam (upon him peace). But this is not an excuse to say women are bent! Because the man would be more bent because he has seven parts of the rib and the woman has one! Rather look at the words. Goodness can change someone but harshness towards a woman will break her. Abuse and harshness breaks a woman but at the same time to train her towards nobleness is good but with kindness, not abuse. Women do change after marriage and that is generally the case, unless she is Ms Rambo. So you have to change now!

 
Look at what the woman gives up for her husband. She leaves her childhood home to and takes up a life of looking after you and your children. Without so much as a thank from you, most of the time.

 
He loved women because of their mercy

 
Anis (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,

 

حبب إلى من دنياكم النساء والطيب وجعلت قرة عيني في الصلاة

 
“Beloved to me of your world are women, perfume and my joy was made in the prayer.” 
Imam Ahmed, Al-Nisai and Al-Hakim.

 

Why are women mentioned here? The problem is when we try to understand within a modern context. So let’s put this into the correct context so we can understand this properly. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was brought up by women mostly. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was brought into this world by his blessed mother Aminah (upon her mercy). Then his wet nurse was Halimah and then after returning to his mother. She passed away and then he lived with Abu Talib whose wife Fatimah was like a mother to him. So for this reason he (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) loved the trait that all good mothers possess, mercy. He(may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) saw great examples of the mercy of the mothers in his formative years. This is not about other issues that people might think. Mercy was the great characteristic of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) because he was a mercy to the universe.

 

 

 

With his wife’s

 

There was an incident that causes some problems in the household of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). Rather than react harshly or in an unbecoming manner. He (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) took a step back and examined the situation. After a while, there was peace but these things occurred so we know what to do.

Take a step back, seek advice but most of all be kind. Look at the statements of his (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) wife Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said that he never hit a woman, slave or child. Why was this significant? Because it occurred in that time and thus illustrated what a noble character, he has (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

 

 

 

Umar’s change

 

Ponder the change in the character of our master  Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). Before Islam, he was an extremely harsh towards women. Even beating one of his female slaves severely. (All sins were forgiven after accepting Islam only rights of others remained). But we see a complete sea change in his character after the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) taught him. So during his caliphate one of the Ansari men came to visit him and could hear Umar’s wife complaining. Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) was sat quietly taking it all in. Imagine the leader of the Muslims of an empire that reached China, Egypt, parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the entire Arabian peninsula was sat getting a toasted ear by his wife! What made him change? The catalyst for change was viewing the best of creations character(may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) with women. Learn this lesson! He had learned from the character of the Prophet
(may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and was putting it into practice.

 

 

 

Strange games men play and conclusion
 

 

Now that you have digested all this information, it is time to agree to something. It is time to agree that humankind has a lot to answer for on the Day of Judgment, when it comes to the treatment of the women in their lives. I find it strange that people are digging their own graves when they mistreat the women they come into contact with. You have no excuse because you have the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) as the ultimate example. Yet you have chosen to follow the worst example of the worst of humanity by beating and harming your wives. The harm you have caused women outside the home, with your girlfriend out on the town, with your wife at home cleaning your dirty clothes. You all have a lot to answer for. It makes me ashamed to be a man when I read such revolting behaviour that such men give women.

 

We need to improve and all we need to do is look at the example of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) and realise that is what we are missing in our character.

 

In the report of Ibn Majah,

 

الصلاة و ما ملكت ايمانكم

 
“Prayer and what your hands possess.” These words were said in the illness from which he passed away,

 

الصلاة و ما ملكت ايمانكم

 
“Prayer and what your hands possess.” He continued to say it until his tongue ceased.

 
These are the final words of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). What would your final words to be to your people? Would it not be the most important thing for them? Would it not be out of concern for them? What does right hands possess mean? Its symbolism for women. So the final words before the best of creation left the world was to maintain our prayers and take care of our women. I hope that this is making sense and that you finally see what I do. That you as a father, husband, grandfather, male in laws, brother or son; have a massive responsibility towards your womenfolk.

Do not oppress them or make them fear. Rather to help and support them in whatever they need. This is not only about your women folk but you have to be kind to other women too.

Its the Sunnah (practice) of the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) to be good to women. Or is this mere lip service without any practice?

Treatment of women click here

Women’s reward in paradise click here

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