Most Muslim men would like to be ideal husbands. And most Muslim women would, no doubt, like to be married to one. But, for some reason, the men are not ideal husbands, and the women will almost surely admit that they didn't marry one. So, why the discrepancy between our sincere aspirations and reality? Is it an inability on the part of the man, an impossible goal; or is it perhaps that we do not even know what an ideal Muslim husband is?
Wrong Concept of an Ideal Husband:
A look at the matrimonial section of an Islamic magazine will quickly demonstrate that many Muslim men and women do not know what an ideal Muslim husband is. Muslim men looking for wives advertise themselves as doctors, engineers, and financially secure. Muslim women appear to be on the lookout for an established professional or more likely a handsome MD. Rarely do Muslim men and women even mention character, religious convictions, and attitudes as a priority. At most, they might be mentioned as a sidebar. It seems that many of us believe that a man is an ideal Muslim husband if he is handsome, makes a lot of money, and comes from an influential family. And the divorce rate among Muslims continues to rise.
Standard of Judging an Ideal Husband:
As Muslims, we must base our judgment on what makes an ideal Muslim husband on the guidance of Allah and the example of Prophet Muhammad, not on the standards of a TV sitcom, the culture in which we were born, or our own materialistic mentality.
First Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband:
A major problem in some Muslim marriages unfortunately is the husband's hot temper and harsh behavior. Some even go so far as to abuse their wives. Dr. Quick gives a word of warning to these men who often come from cultures that teach them to be tough and macho. He says that there should be no violence between husband and wife and that Muslim men should not be the kind of tyrannical fathers whose children run away and hide when their father comes home. He says that we have to separate our non-Islamic cultures from Islam. The ideal Muslim husband will base his behavior on Islam, not on his Arab, American, or Pakistani culture.
Second Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband:
Another major problem in Muslim marriages is the husband's failure to consider his wife's opinions. In fact, the failure of the Muslim Ummah as a whole has to do with our failure in practicing the concept of Shura (consultation). People think that they are right and others are wrong. We will do much better if we consider the opinions of others and let them feel that they are a part of the decision-making process. Along the same lines, WE points out that if a woman makes a true (haqq) point, the husband should submit to it. He should in no way reject a point just because it comes from a woman. Demonstrating the huge difference between the way the Prophet (SAWS) dealt with his wives and the way Muslim men deal with their wives today.
Third Characteristic of an Un-Ideal Husband:
The failure to help in the house and to help with the raising of the children are well-known weaknesses of husbands. TheProphet Muhammad (SAWS) helped in the house, and Abdul Malik Mujahid says that a man cannot be an ideal Muslim husband, or even close to a good husband, if he leaves the responsibility of children completely to the mother. Khadija Haffagee tells the story of a father who took a three-month-old infant to pray with him and after the prayer did the 'tasbih" on the child's hand. This, she said, was training by the father. When we training our children, we should be careful not to raise sons with a double standard where they have no household responsibilities. If we do, they will likely grow up with the attitude that they don't need to do this kind of work --- that they are above it.
An Ideal Ex-Husband
Being an ideal Muslim husband, however, goes even farther than the marriage. Even after a divorce, a Muslim husband must strive to be the best ex-husband. A husband shouldn't be Mr. Kindness in marriage and then treat his wife badly in divorce, Dr. Quick says. He must divorce her in the best manner with good treatment.
Other Valuable Advises
An ideal Muslim husband has very little or nothing to do with the amount of money one has, physical beauty, or the prestige of one's job. Rather, it has to do with one's commitment to Allah, one's knowledge of and willingness to follow the guidance of Allah and the Prophet's example, and one's commitment to do righteousness even in difficult situations. The ideal Muslim husband should be humble, gentle, kind, considerate, caring, loving, open to good advice, willing to cooperate with others in the family rather than dictate rules, helpful in the house, involved in raising the children, and never abusive either physically or mentally.
No doubt, this is a very tall order. Becoming an ideal Muslim husband will certainly not be easy. It will take a jihad against 'jahiliyyah" thinking, selfishness, ego, vanity, anger, pride, and arrogance.