Every couple going through this phase has one or more fear or worry about what the future holds for them in marriage life after nikah. I have talked about my fears and insecurities many times with H and he has shared some of his with me too. Most of the time, we talk about it to get some assurance. But sometimes, we share them to find solutions together, or just to let each other know that we are going through this together.
One of the things that I have shared with H is that I tend to secretly question Islam’s view or ruling about the roles of husband and wife in marriage. In Islam, the husband is placed in a higher hierarchy than the wife. It is not equal. The husband has a responsibility and authority over the wife. As a woman, of course I tend to find this unfair. A lot of things about Islam and its history, places more importance and emphasis on the male. Actually, a lot of things in the world in general place more emphasis on the male, but it seems like it is true even in our religion.
For example, why are there no female prophets? Are women incapable to lead a community? Why must the wife obey the husband, but the husband do not have to listen to the wife? Why is a wife considered derhaka when she goes against her husband but not the other way round? Why must the responsibility of providing nafkah only fall on the husband? Why can’t it be equal? Why must the husband prioritise his parents over his wife, but the wife must always put her husband first, even over her own parents? Why do angels curse the wife until sunrise just because she refuses to have sex with her husband for one night?
I know I sound like a feminist. But I guess I care more for equality? I mean I agree that men and women are not created equally. We have our own strengths and weaknesses that are meant to complement one another. But I was not very convinced with the difference when it comes to authority, power and hierarchy of men and women in Islam.
Anyway, so I voiced this out to H. I am sure many girls have similar sentiments. Afterall, no one likes to feel disadvantaged or oppressed. But his response changed my perspective slightly. Like many guys, his first response is to feel annoyed. Basically he questioned back whether women really think that men have it easier. He reminded me that the responsibilities that come with being a husband come with huge accountabilities in the Hereafter. It can be a really big burden, which not everyone can bear. If you can’t even bear your own sins, what makes you think you can bear the sins of your wife and your children? So it made me realise that agreeing to marry is itself a huge responsibility for men. With this contrast between the responsibilities of husband and wife, it is actually much much much easier for women to enter Jannah than men. In fact, I could sense a tinge of envy in H.
The nafkah that must be provided by husbands include shelter, food and clothing. In Singapore, it is almost impossible to let the husband pay for our BTO, bills, food, groceries and clothes/shoes/bags/tudungs all by himself. So whatever that the wife contributes, is a form of sedekah. When HDB deducts our CPF for the monthly instalments, the husband’s portion is his obligation, but the wife’s portion is a form of charity. Imagine the amount of charity the wife contributes to the family, and the amount of unfulfilled obligations accumulated by the husband. Now this scenario makes it look like the husband is the disadvantaged one.
In a nutshell, this realisation made me more grateful to be a born as a woman. The husband may be more empowered with all the authority, but it comes with huge responsibilities. On the other hand, the wife has much lesser responsibilities, but is given more opportunities to do more charity. Afterall, marriage is an amanah. These responsibilities and obligations are our tickets to Jannah. The best that we can do is to make our journey easier by helping each other fulfil our duties.
On another note, we are now less than 100 days away WOOHOO!