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What are the mutual responsibilities of both the wife and the husband in Islam?

What are the mutual responsibilities of both the wife and the husband in Islam?

Answer

The family is a single joint entity hence both spouses share the responsibility of caring for it. Among these are:

Cooperative parenting
It is not an easy task to parent and educate children to prepare them for their future responsibilities. This calls for the joint efforts of both parents who must teach their children to depend on themselves and use their competencies and abilities to the best of their ability. Children are the fruit of marriage and the ornament of this life. God the Almighty says: “Wealth and children are an ornament of the life of this world…” [18: 46].
Consequently, parents have duties toward their children, most important of which are:
• Parents are required to give an honorable and dignified life to their children starting from pregnancy until adulthood. Abortion is prohibited after ensoulment except in the existence of an overwhelming necessity such as to save the mother’s life, if the fetus is dead or cannot live after birth (if this is established by a trustworthy Muslim doctor). A mother cannot be coerced to terminate a pregnancy.
• A father must choose a wife with desirable characteristics. She must be religious, of good character and come from a good family.
• A couple must seek refuge in God the Almighty from the cursed Satan before engaging in intercourse. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If any of you wants to have intercourse with his wife, he should first say, ‘In the name of God, O Allah! Protect us from Satan and protect what you bestow on us [children] from him.’ If the couple is destined to have a child, Satan will never be able to harm him or her” [recorded by Al-Bukhari].

Parents also have certain duties toward their newly born child and these include:
• Give the the adhan [prayer to call] in the newborn’s right ear and the iqama [call to commence prayer] in his or her left ear.
• Give the newborn a name: The child must be given a good name and the dearest names to God are Abdullah, Abdul-Rahman, the prophets’ names and the names of their disciples. Undesirable names should not be considered. It is also recommended to give the newborn a kunyah [nickname] though it is prohibited to give one he or she might not like.
• The aqiqah [sacrifice for a new born]: It is held on the seventh day after the birth.
• The tahneek: It is the practice of rubbing a piece of softened date on the newborn’s palate.
• Congratulate the father by saying to him things like, ‘May God bless you with His gift to you,’ ‘may you give thanks,’ ‘may the child reach the maturity of years’ and ‘may the child be granted righteousness.’
• Shave the newborn’s head (whether male or female) on the seventh day and give away in charity gold or silver equal to the weight of the hair.
• Circumcise males on the seventh day.
• Support the children from lawful earnings.
• Give the child his or her father’s name and last name.
• A mother must nurse the newborn for two years [maximum limit for breastfeeding].
• Give the child tender care.
• The ruqyah: This refers to the healing words from the Quran. Totems and amulets are totally forbidden in Islam.
• Treat the child from any illness to preserve his or her health.
• Fathers and mothers must be good role models for their children.
• Treat male and female children equally without discriminating between them, especially when giving them gifts and grants.
• Good parenting for the physical and mental wellbeing of the child. This includes giving the child a good Islamic education and teaching him or her to seek righteous peers.
• Teach the child the Quran, Sunnah and acts of worship. It is important to teach a child to pray between seven and ten years. It is also recommended to teach the child archery, swimming and horse riding.
• Prove the child’s right to legal inheritance from either parent as prescribed by the Quran and Sunnah.
 

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