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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Progressions Magazine

The Role Of Husband & Wife

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


The relationship of the poor and misguided African-American husband and wife is at a critical point in this society. Regarding their relationship, they will not get any answers from Ann Landers, from television soap operas, or magazines, such as Psychology Today, etcetera. They must get these answers from the pure sources of God. When we as a people do that, we will all be successful.

Those of us who accept this religion will be in a good situation if we can get the faith and courage to do what God requires of us, and not question what He has put in the Qur'an. In fact, this applies to all of the poor, uneducated, half educated and misguided masses of Americans, regardless of race or color. But those I am addressing at this time are the African-American people in particular.

This world has given us ideas on how to make a good relationship impossible with each other. There are corrupt business people in this society who do not want a good relationship between husband and wife. They want to keep the relationship unsound in order to exploit it, because if there is a good relationship between them, this means there is a discipline in the family, there is a sensible household in which these corrupt business people will not be able to sell all of their junk and excesses. They will not be able to dictate the mind and spirit of such a household.

There are people in this society who make the man think he is a macho man, a superman. In fiction they show the man knocking holes through walls and pulling up trees with his bare hands. They make him look so tough, and then the woman is told, "Now, no matter what you do, he'd better not strike you. If he does, he better not come into my court." This society has excited the man to become a little boy, showing off his muscles and strength, and at the same time he is told his wife is his boss.

This scheme is designed to destroy the proper roles of husband and wife, and to deny them dignity. Neither role can be clearly established when husband and wife are fighting over rights. My advice to the African-American woman is to change her attitude and not to try to match muscle with the man. They should not threaten him with the Judge that has made himself god.

Most of our Judges today are not men anymore, they just read laws. Many of them are out of touch with family life and family responsibilities. Their law training has made most of them think they are god, and many do not feel functionable until you bring them somebody to lord over. There are many Judges who are anxious for the woman to drag her husband into court so that he can lord over the matter and treat the husband as a child.

The African-American woman has the above situation moreso in her life than any other woman, and it came about during the days of slavery before she had access to the courts as a citizen. During those days, the Master would tell her, "If that nigger gives you any trouble, let me know and I'll give him a lashing." And right before the man's wife and children, the Master would beat him like a boy. That is the kind of thing the African-American man must overcome, and he cannot do it without the help of the woman.


Equality of Roles

The Muslim must accept what God says in the Qur'an, that He has given man a superiority over the woman in terms of physical physique, and in wealth that he is able to amass. But the same God says, "And in terms of rights, He has given women rights over men, and He has given men rights over women." In the matter of education, Prophet Muhammad in elevating the status of women said, "It is a duty of the State to educate both male and female," Now there is no way for a learned man to advocate equal education without advocating equal and dignified roles in society because education leads to equality of roles in society.

It takes nothing from a more educated woman to give the man that margin of physical and wealth producing superiority. She may be a college graduate, and he may not have finished elementary or high school, but she should not carry an air of superiority over him that destroys the home. The man must be left with some respect and dignity. It should shame a woman to treat her husband in such a way. She should never marry a man she cannot respect.

If there is to be a change for the better for the African-American men, the women will have a great role in that change. If the women fail to help him, the man is finished. Many of our men are not accepting their responsibilities to be husbands and fathers, and in many instances, it is because their women are not trying to help make it possible for them. The woman must encourage the man and show him respect when he does something that merits her acknowledgement. But it is so hard for our women to admit when we have done a little good.

If the husband and wife have differences, they should do what is asked of them in the religion. They should let God settle their disputes. Let His Word in the Qur'an settle their differences. We are told in the Qur'an, "And if you differ in a matter, bring it to God and His Messenger." You should take it to the authority of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). See how he lived and how he discharged his responsibility—how he acted under different situations. But, how are you going to bring it to God? You bring it to Him with your heart, with your faith. And to get an answer, you get it from the Qur'an, and when you see the answer, don't take it out on each other. God says to the woman, "God has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to God. And God (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you; for God hears and sees (all things)."


Man's Lost Womanhood

A man may insist that certain things such as pork should not be brought into the house. If his wife is a Muslim, she should support him because the responsibility is on her when it comes to what is cooked and served in the home. When it comes to what color paint is going to be on the wall, if it be wall paper or bare walls, rugs or linoleum on the floor, that is for the woman to decide as long as the man can afford it. If a man starts tugging with a woman in matters like that, she can wear him out. And believe me, she can wear him out.

Some men act as though they long for lost womanhood. They want to take over the woman's role. If he had milk glands, he would nurse the baby. The woman can't say anything to the children without him getting involved. He wants to decide everything. He'll say, "Wait a minute. Now I think the boy ought to do. . .". A man should not disrespect the rights of his wife to instruct the children in their presence. That is terrible. If he decides everything, then where is her responsibility? If you say she is the woman of the house, then you should let her decide household problems or household things. How can she be the woman of the house when you are deciding all household situations, making all of the judgments? Some men want to tell their wives what to cook and how to cook it. Prophet Muhammad said, "The best of you is the one who is best towards his wife." You must learn to give and take. That is the key. And if you will do that, God will bless you with a better relationship.

I hope we can accept what God has prescribed for us and stop imposing ourselves upon each other as authorities and almighties. When you make a demand of each other, be sure it is allowed in the Qur'an and in the sunnah (practices) of the Prophet (pbuh). Then don't present it as your demand, but say, "God demands this of us, darling." You will have a much better relationship if you do that. We must always remember that our first relationship is with God. And if you are still in your normal state, you have the fear of God in you by nature. Our next relationship is with God's creation. If you study Qur'an and the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and follow them, you will be the most excellent of people in your treatment of each other, and in your treatment of God's creatures.