“The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives,”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi Sahih]
“The best of women is that who pleases her husband when he sees her, obeys him when she is commanded, and who does not secretly betray him with regards to herself and her money in that which he dislikes.” [Tabarani, Sahih]
Islam defines a society based upon submission to Allah and none other. The building block of this society is the family and hence the relationship between husband and wife. It is then no surprise that the Prophet(SAW) called marriage as half the deen and his ahadith are laden with values about marital life. The above two ahadith outline the best of men and women and interestingly, both are centered around the institution of marriage.
An analytical look at the psychology of men and women would tell us that men inherently are more aroused visually while women are more into emotional affection. Hence, when a woman dresses to please her husband (in contrast to dressing up to rock the party!), it triggers dopamine secretion in the brain and he associates her with pleasure and reward. The same happens when a man deals with his wife with kindness and affection. Another general psychology of men, is to command respect and obedience (provided he’s a man and not a replica of the kind of men he watches on TV). It is nothing new to find a man angry at his wife simply because she did something that he disliked (even if it wasn’t really bad). It is built in the system of men. They are offended easily. On the contrary, Allah has made the woman more immune to sudden outbursts and is generally more forgiving.
The quest for “gender equality” today has unfortunately tattered the social fabric and in the process, the very fundamental block of the Islamic way of life. Dressing to please the husband is now considered degrading because she is not “his private property!” Apparently the feminist discourse is happy with a woman being “public property” when she dresses to please her co-workers or smiles and talks gently as a receptionist or even “owns her sexuality”(#MyChoice). But, dress to please her husband? Noway, sir! And yes, you should take orders from your boss. It’s you job after all. But obey your husband? “I’m not a slave!” Then there are men who are kind with people in the public sphere but the worst imaginable, inside their homes. If you track the rise of feminism in Muslim societies, don’t be shocked to discover that it was a response to some real injustices done to women (from the Islamic perspective, not the feminist one). Whatever happened to “best to your wives”! (Have a look at the Sunnah of men at home) On the other side of the spectrum are men who are “broad minded” and “modern” and wouldn’t care what their wives do. “She’s free to do what she wants!” Whatever happened to Qawwamiat! We seem to have forgotten that Qawwamiat is part of being good to your wife: to be responsible for all her affairs.
Interestingly, however hard the society may try to prove them “equal”, the psychology of both the genders still behaves the way Allah made it. The woman, if she doesn’t experiences the feeling of being wanted at home, looks for it outside. The man, in the absence of a wife who is waiting at home to make him happy, now prefers to spend his time “elsewhere”. If only our role models changed. If only we tried to be less like the Brangelinas and more like Muhammad(SAW) and Khadija(RA)!