“Attractive Men Don’t Make the Best Husbands”
A lot has been said and written over the scandal of Anthony Weiner, the New York congressman who sent “dirty” photos to a woman of his acquaintance on the internet. His whole life has been probed into and his personality deeply analyzed, as can be expected whenever a public personality is involved in extra conjugal affairs.
An article which appeared in the Huffpost attempts to find out the reasons which might have driven her wife, Huma Anderson, to choose him as husband in the first place. Weiner has been a successful and attractive rich man. In an attempt to draw a lesson from the event, the author of the article concludes by agreeing that “attractive men don’t make the best husbands”.
And we quote,
“Guys who are rated as the most masculine—a billboard for a man’s good genes—tend to have more testosterone, and men with higher testosterone levels are 43 percent more likely to get divorced than men with normal levels, 31 percent more likely to split because of marital problems and 38 percent more likely to cheat. In other words, they may be better cads than dads.”
Findings of researches to understand the factors influencing a young woman in her choice of a would-be husband vary according to regions but most women would look for masculine traits in a man. Many other factors like financial security, social status and genetic considerations in the interest of the offspring come into play. Attractiveness is a determinant aspect but research tend to show that the more attractive a man appears, the less trustworthy he may be as husband.
Because they are handsome and attractive, they will naturally attract women. But not all of them have the faith and the spiritual strength to fight against temptation. In fact, the adage ‘all that glitters is not gold’ may well apply to such men. What would gold mean here in terms of religion? In other words, who are the men who would be a perfect companion for a Muslim lady? The answer looks simple: a true Muslim.
In other words, who are the men who would be a perfect companion for a Muslim lady? The answer looks simple: a true Muslim.
In Urdu language, there are two terms that beautifully help to differentiate, Surat and Serat. Surat is external beauty and serat is internal beauty. The perfect husband would be the one with serat rather than surat. There are exceptional cases when some men are endowed with both, like the Prophet (S) and Prophet Yousouf (AS) (Joseph).
Most certainly we do not mean that a Muslim young lady should choose the ugliest man on earth to get married with. We mean that physical beauty, while a bonus to have, may not last. But beautiful character insyaAllah will.
“You have in the apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the last day.” [Qur’an 33:21]
His guiding principle regarding the treatment of wives is encapsulated in these hadiths:“From among the believers are those who have the kindest disposition and are the kindest to their families- such are those who show the most perfect faith. The best among them are those who are kindest to their wives.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
“And enjoin on one another goodness towards women; verily they are married to you: you have no power over them at all unless they come in for a flagrantly filthy action; but if they are devoted to you, then seek no way against them. And verily, you have rights over your women, and they have rights over you.” [Tirmidhi, related by Amru b. al Ahwas]
It is reported that he told his companions that each one of them is like a shepherd for those whom the Almighty has entrusted under their responsibility. The shepherd not only takes care of his flock but he also leads it. The hadith finds echo in the verse of the Holy Quran:
“O you who have attained to faith! Ward off from yourselves and your families that fire (of the Hereafter) whose fuel is Human beings and stones.” [Qur’an 66:6]
As a husband the Prophet never acted harshly or violently. He never raised his hand against any one of his wives, but played with them as friends would do. He even consulted them on certain matters, was keen to hear their opinion and thus really deserved their love and respect. He was meek and gentle, but firm on principles. After the conquest of the oasis of Khaybar his wives demanded more luxury and comfort. He showed his displeasure by staying away from them until the revelation of this verse:
“O Prophet, say to your wives: If you desire but the life of this world and it’s charms, then come and I will bestow it’s goods upon you, I will release you with a fair release.
But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, then verily Allah has laid in store for you a mighty reward, for such of you as do good.”
The fact that all of them chose the Prophet showed their deep love for him and their readiness to obey him. A very interesting incident related in the sirah Rasul Allah of Ibn Ishaq (An early biography of the Prophet) illustrates the type of relationships he had with his wives. This incident would most probably not only shock people of his time but many Muslims of the present days.
The wife of Umar (RA) once answered back when the latter rebuked her. As he protested, she told him that the Prophet allowed his wives to answer back and added: “And there is one of them,” meaning their daughter (Hafsah), “who speaks her mind unabashed from morning until night.” Umar was very troubled and went to see his daughter who confirmed the words of her mother. Still in doubt, Umar went to see another wife of the Prophet and her own cousin, Umm Salamah and asked: “Is it true that you speak your minds to Allah’s messenger (SAW) and answer him with no respect?” She replied: “By all that is wonderful; what call have you to come between Allah’s messenger (saws) and his wives? Yes, by God, we speak our minds, and if he allows us to do so that is his affair, and if he forbids us he will find us more obedient to him then we are to you.”[pullquote_right]It was not lack of respect, but giving the same rights to his wives to express freely their views and establish true and genuine communication between husband and wives.[/pullquote_right]
It was not lack of respect, but giving the same rights to his wives to express freely their views and establish true and genuine communication between husband and wives. It is not possible to mention the numerous facets of the Prophet’s character that makes of him the perfect husband. Without being hen-pecked or giving way to all that his wives said, he developed a close relationship with each one of them that made them happy women.
Much has been said about duties of wives and women but so little about true Muslim behavior of husbands. In many countries women are treated as inferior creatures and sexual objects and their plight grieves us profoundly. Our prayer is that The Almighty (SWT) open the eyes and hearts of tyrannical husbands.
In matters of hearts, no one can give advice. We can only make du’a that our young sisters find the right person who will make them happy wives. The best thing to do before making a choice is to perform two rakaats and sincerely ask Allah (SWT) to make you meet the right person who will lead you here and in the Hereafter. Ameen.
Abdool Rahman Dauharry
Abdool Rahman Dauharry is Rector of Victoria College, Mauritius. Formerly, language and literature teacher, he also taught Islamic Studies at secondary level.