MBH QnA Corner
Your Questions - July, 2017

“A wife can be replaced but a mother cannot! Therefore, listen to your mother and let her go if she wants!” 

This is a very common cross road for most husbands in the Indian sub continent and respond to such fatwas in a zealous manner and divorce their wives. How can I reconcile in such a situation?

Answered by: Shk Zafar ul Hasan

The Qur'ân and Hadith do stress upon being extremely kind and good to parents. In fact, the right of the mother is the greatest right in the universe. 'Â'ishah says I asked the Prophet “O Prophet of Allâh! Whose has the greatest right on a man?” So, the Prophet said, “The greatest right upon a man is of his father”. Then I asked, “ and upon  women?”  He said, “The biggest right on women is that of her husband”.

Another Hadîth puts it more clear. A person came to the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) and asked, "Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?" He  (Peace be upon him)  said, "Your mother". He again asked, ''Who next?" "Your mother", the Prophet  (Peace be upon him)  replied again. He asked, "Who next?" He (the Prophet  (Peace be upon him)  said again, "Your mother." He again asked for the fourth time, "Then who?" Thereupon he  (Peace be upon him)  said," Then your father." [Al-Bukhâri and Muslim]

Why is the Right of a Mother higher than that a Father?

There are three phases through which a child passes where only a mother can help. A father cannot offer this security.

  1. State of pregnancy:

Nine months a child remains in the womb of the mother and there is no other secure place. As Allâh said: "Then We placed it in a place of safety (womb), So We did measure, and We are the Best to measure."

  1.  State of delivery:

"and she brings him forth with hardship"

 Only a mother can endure the hardships of childbirth, during delivery, be it a normal delivery or an operation, small or big.  The father only waits outside the delivery room to listen to the good news of a child. But whose soul is getting out? Whose life is in danger? Of the mother. And how difficult is this time for the mother with a chance of losing her own life while saving her child?

  1. Stage of breastfeeding

    Allâh has not kept the capacity of breastfeeding in the father even of a sip of milk.

"and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty months". That is why the status of the mother is the loftiest amongst all the mankind.

The Obligation of a mother can never be repaid or compensated

Imam Bukhârî mentions in his famous book Adab Al-Mufrad:

There was a mother in Yemen who showed her wish to perform her last Hajj and her son agreed, but while mounting his mother on the camel, she used to be unable to maintain her balance. She was not capable of sitting on the camel. She was very feeble and old. The son thought of tying his mother to the camel while making her sit on the camel so that she does not falls. But the mother was so weak that she could not even bear the rope.

Finally, he mounted his mother on his shoulder and journeyed on foot all the way from Yemen to Makkah with the caravan of the pilgrims. He brought her to Minâ and Muzdalifah and made his mother complete her Hajj while carrying her on his shoulders. In the last moments when he was performing the Tawâf,  the circumambulation of Ka'bah, leader of the pilgrims, 'Abdullâh ibn 'Umar ibn Al-Khattâb was also there, sitting in a corner after performing the circumambulation.

He ('Abdullâh) heard the youngster saying, “I am your humble camel. If her mount is frightened, I am not frightened.” He was uttering just couplets during his tawaf while his mother was on his back. He was referring to his mother that Allah has given her such a ride which does not even gives her jerks.  Circumambulation is Dhikr and Adhkâr, an occasion of  worship. But that youngster was constantly reciting the couplets while carrying his mother on his shoulders.

'Abdullâh ibn 'Umar ibn Al-Khattâb (Allah be pleased with him) saw this and became very angry. He ordered people to bring him (young man) to him once he finishes his Tawaf. Abdullah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) asked him the reasons for his words. The youth narrated his entire experience. Then he put his question to Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him): "Do you think that I have repaid her rights?"

"No, not even for a single groan."

Abdullâh ibn Umar ibn Al-Khattâb responded “ No, by Allâh! Still, you have not repaid her. I say by swearing Allâh.” and he recited the verse, "and she brings him forth with hardship," and said, “You have not paid even for a single groan that your mother was experiencing in taking the breath at the time of the delivery and the worry she had about your life. Even her breathing was very careful in order to save your life.  

But in the case of a married woman, the biggest right upon her is of her husband, even greater than her mother

 On every human and child, the biggest right is that of a mother, even bigger than the father. But after the start of a marital life, Allâh has kept upon the wife, the biggest right of her husband. If Allâh would have kept the mother's right foremost upon a woman even after her marriage then the rights of her husband and her children would have been ignored, and thus her home would have been uprooted and it would have even made her children go out of tracks. If a mother leaves her own kids for serving her mother i.e the maternal grandmother of the children, then children would get ruined.  Keeping her home flourished and taking care of the kids and husband is such a high status that Allâh kept the husband's right higher rather than of the mother.

Dump your wife, she can be replaced but not your mother! An un-Islamic Ruling

Before erupting such an emotional volcano, one should focus on its consequences and end results. Yes, it's incumbent upon the husband to be dutiful to his mother. But using this verdict to divorce a wife by saying that wife can be replaced but not the mother is not a correct ruling.

  Many husbands respond to these fatwas in a zealous manner and divorce their wives instantly. Results are severe. Enmity between the two families with bitter hatred towards each other is two of them.

Such men, later on, refuse to take another wife because...

After witnessing and going through such awful scenes, and passed from such stages the man does not wants to get married again. The man worries that if he marries  again it could be a repetition of the previous crisis and thus he spends the rest of his life with his children in the state of fear and loneliness.  The verdict appeared to be Islamic but was it in a real sense?

The Principle of Qur’an in such situations

You will notice a very beautiful principle in Sûrah An-Nisâ'. Every Mufti or Scholar should take into consideration of the end result before he gives a verdict.

"There is no good in most of their secret talks except (in) him who orders charity, or commanding good, or conciliation between mankind, and he who does this, seeking the good Pleasure of Allâh, We shall give him a great reward."

Gatherings and meetings should have three purposes

"He orders Sadaqah (charity in Allâh's Cause),"

Meeting for giving charity during calamity or accident or for orphans and needy in distress.

"Commanding Good” and it includes Islâmic Monotheism and all the good and righteous deeds which Allâh has ordained. It is a regular need because people keep falling short in doing good acts or when ignorance is prevailing in them. A gathering for such issues will be good and blessed.

"or conciliation between mankind,"

Instead of adding fuel to the fights, extinguish it

The command of Allah in Sûrah Al-Anfâl speaks about standing up for justice.

"So fear Allâh and adjust all matters of difference among you,"

 If a fight takes place between a husband and a wife or mother and her daughter-in-law, father and son, two neighbors, brother, and brother or between two common believers, then your concern should be on how to achieve reconciliation between the both parties. Efforts should be on correcting the matters and not corrupting it, not of making parties, nor groups.

  The Prophet of Allâh (peace be upon him) says on this, “Shall I not tell you something that is better than the status of (voluntary) fasting, praying and charity?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “Reconciling in a case of discord, for the evil of discord is the shaver.”

A discord takes place between the two who fight. Removing this conflict, connecting the hearts, instilling the love, uniting them-the Prophet of Allâh said that it has a greater reward than your voluntary fast, prayer and charity. If you study the last part of Sûrah Hujurâtt:

"then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable."

The Rules of Justice

Justice means, there should be no taking sides or favoring anyone. No one's love, importance or status should make you commit injustice. Where partisanship comes,  matter gets complicated rather than being solved

"So make reconciliation between your brothers,"

How to jump over obstacles that incline us to commit injustice

  1. Whenever you sit to make a ruling, no one’s love should influence you and this includes even your parents. Loving parents is one thing and taking their side if they are wrong is another.
  2. Over look your hatred and enmity towards someone. Many people take such opportunities to revenge it out of enmity and hatred and instead of reconciling, speaking the truth, joining the people, one utters statements which help in pampering one's own anger.

Allâh has strictly ordered

"let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety"

Even if the seeker is a Non-Muslim against a Muslim take the side of justice, Allah has kept a lot of Blessings in it

It is said, before the division of the subcontinent, truly till justice remained with Muslims of the subcontinent, their status was exemplary. When we left this instruction, look what is our state!

This is an incident of  Muzaffar Nagar is a famous city, near Delhi. During the  British rule, a conflict arose in the city. Some Muslims usurped the land of local Hindus and decided to build a Mosque over it. The Hindus responded and created an obstruction claiming that it was their land and they would not allow construction of a mosque on it. The Muslims said, “we will definitely build it”.

When the conflict became intense, the case was petitioned in the court of British. After filing the case, the Britishers decided to reconcile between the two parties as they were neighbors.  The Britishers asked the Muslims to tell if there was any Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Muslim or any person in the entire neighborhood whose decision they would accept. The Muslims said, “No! In our sight, there is no such person. “ Then the Britishers asked the Hindus if there was any person in their neighborhood who if comes to pass a verdict and they would accept his judgment. With a single voice, the Hindus said there is an old Muslim in some neighborhood, Mian Muslim, of whose decision they would accept.

When police went to him the old man resisted and refused to go along. He said, "I have vowed and swore that till I am alive and can see, I won't see any Britisher. Because the Britishers conquered our land, killed many scholars, destroyed our mosques, shut down our centers-hence, I will not see such a cursed nation."

The police returned to the judge and reported about his reply and yet the judge asked him to come and give his ruling on the case without looking at the Britishers. After much insisting, the elderly man came. When he reached near the court and saw the British judge he turned his back towards the judge and turned his face opposite to him.

He walked reverse. The judge called out: "Your enmity is so sheer so how will you accept our decision on this issue? Thus, you yourself decide." The judge told about the land which the Muslims claim that it is theirs and want to construct a Mosque over it.  While the Hindus claim it is their land. The elderly man said, "Since my childhood, I have always seen the hold of the Hindus on this land and never witnessed the hold of the Muslims over it." As soon as this was said before the judge would have given the decision, all the Hindus screamed and proclaimed,

"Their Religion is so just! We all accept Islâm and commit  this land to an endowment while we, ourselves will construct a Mosque over it." This decision, till this day, is recorded in British journals.

Emotional outbursts should not be hurled while giving a just ruling

Whenever we sit for a reconciliation between couples,  we should avoid statements like "One gets mother only once and never again, Leave the wife and dispel her. Bring a second wife." such statements ruins the home. Instead, one should speak in order to create understanding and reconciliation.  If through justice, a Hindu can become a Muslim then why can't reconciliation take place between the spouses?

Allah has promised in Sûrah An-Nisâ': " if they both wish for peace, Allâh will cause their reconciliation." If both the spouses are sincere and worry for reconciliation in the domestic disputes, Allâh, due to the blessing of their decision, will cause reconciliation between the two.

Kindness and compassion can also cause a hindrance to justice

Consider this:  Two men come to you with their dispute, one is a rich man who has provided and is a high profile person, and on the other hand is an orphan a poor, in need of a single penny. If you have a human heart then instantly you will develop compassion for that poor orphan, beggar as he is a distressed human. But the truth is with the rich. He has no deficit of anything. But the truth is with him.

Here the compassion of that poor and needy orphan should not overpower your heart to make you get inclined to injustice. Allâh assures not to worry about compassion with them but worry about His command of doing justice.

During counseling or judging, always insist for tolerance of each other and caution about the future fallouts

If a person brings  a case of his wife saying that his mother and wife do not get along and alleges that his wife too is sharp tongue and the mother too is not ready to bear, this does not means that we issue a ruling to divorce the wife and bringing new one can be possible, but not a mother. Instead of this, we should urge the mother to be lenient and wife too should be patient.

They can be advised that Islâm has given both of them the right of living separately if a wife cannot get along with the parents, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law.

Staying separate with harmony is better than staying together and quarreling,

this is not forbidden. Fights, giving divorce and ruining homes are condemned. It is better you stay separate while living separately you can give the rights of the parents and on the same hand can keep your children and home happy. Instead of provoking words we should speak words of understanding. If our sight is on the consequences then such decision won't be made.

Only in a rare case divorce should be considered as a solution

If a rare matter comes of either keeping the wife or the mother, then in this case definitely the mother will be given preference. If parents are upset on the basis of religious, legal weakness then this will be relied upon.  If their displeasure is on the basis of illegal and illogical reason then it won't be relied upon.

May Allâh gives us the ability to speak and understand the truth and forever gives us the ability to solve the matter and save from partisanship, injustice, and deviation from the justice.