The stature of the Prophet's hadith, undeniably, constitutes as one of the sources that governs the human affairs; inclusive that of the women. The hadith pertaining to the women affairs include utterance, actions and
Keywords: Wifeprostratinghusbandfiqh al-hadith
In Islamic Law, hadith is the second most important source of reference after the Quran. It is also closely related with the Quran as it explains abstract (
Comprehensive understanding of knowledge on hadith is necessary as it covers two main elements namely
Translation: Deep understanding of the meanings of hadith is half of knowledge and knowing the narrators is the other half of knowledge (Al-Baghdadi, n.d.).
The statement by ‘Ali al-Madini clearly shows the importance of knowledge in understanding of hadith texts and this understanding is equal to the importance of knowing the narrators (
One of the issues that are often debated currently concerning the hadiths that these hadiths are claimed as saying the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had instructed that a wife prostrate to her husband. These hadiths are among several that are considered as disrespecting and degrading towards women (misogyny). However, does the correct interpretation of the hadith truly degrade women? Did the Prophet (p.b.u.h) convey the hadith without background context behind his speech?
To the best of the researcher’s reading, this topic has not been a subject of research by many researchers. However, it is undeniable there exist in the works of the previous and present scholars in respect of the hadiths that dictate the wives’ insistence to prostrate before their husbands ; among others is
The comprehension of hadiths is vital given the position to which it is accorded namely as the main reference in Islam, second only to al-Quran. In other words, hadith needs to be understood for the purpose of translating it into the form of daily practices as a symbol of appreciation untoward the Prophet (peace be upon him). As such, the understanding that meets the spirit and intention of the hadith is a pre-requisite. For that purpose, the hadith scholars had formulated guidelines to facilitate the efforts towards understanding the hadiths of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) that which is named
There are room though for debate when it comes to the comprehension of the concept of
The current scenario however sees that there exists literal interpretations by a certain quarter for example the feminists, the western scholars even the Muslim scholars themselves against hadith; which more often the case leads to inaccurate understanding that does not conform to the actual text and context of the hadith. To showcase the above observation, hadiths concerning women, specifically that of marriage are often fell victims to bias interpretations which lowers the dignity of women as wives and in so doing placing them as the second class citizen after the men. Among the famous hadiths that creates a lot of confusions as well as degenerative towards women’s status in family is one which reads that wife prostrates before the husband, giving an impression that absolute power lies in the husband, whom is the head of the family.
3.1. What does it mean by
3.2. How to comprehend the meanings of prostration of a wife before her husband from the hadith?
Purpose of the Study
4.1. To study the meaning of
4.2. To analyze the hadith of wife prostrates to husband.
This qualitative study relies solely on library research. This means data was collected from primary scriptures – from the books of hadith and
Definition of Fiqh al-Hadith.
The scholars are of different views in defining
Whereas, for numerous other scholars the likes of Ibn Hajar (2011), define the science as legislating rulings out of the meaning of the hadith or
The definitions collectively demonstrate that
Critiques on The Hadith of Wife Prostrating Upon Her Husband.
The rights of women in the domain of their household is one of the important issues often the centre of attention of the scholars or the community at large. The position of a woman as a wife is inherently construed to be subject to absolute power of her husband. The above observation, according to the feminists roots from dictates of the hadith of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) concerning women which they took as anti-women and derogatory. Their claim is seen as a form of attack on al-Sunnah.
There are some quarters of the community who are confused in understanding the intent of the hadith, resulting in them rejecting some of the hadiths including hadiths concerning the household matters. One outstanding hadith of such stature is the hadith of the wife prostrating before her husband which more often than not is misconstrued as demeaning the position of the wife. This is indeed a rushed conclusion arrived at without proper discourse detailing the true meaning from the perspective of
Hadith Text on Wife’s Prostration To Her Husband.
There are several main hadiths that touch on prostration of a wife to her husband; the three most important ones are as follows:
Hadith 1: Hadith narrated by Abdullah b. Abi Awfa:
Translation: Azhar b. Marwan narrated to us, Hammad b. Zayd from Ayyub from al-Qasim al-Syaibani from ‘Abdullah b. Abi Awfa he said: “When Mu‘adh b. Jabal came from Syria, he prostrated to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), who said, “What is this, O Mu‘adh?” He said: “I went to Syria and saw them prostrating to their archbishops and patriarchs, and I wanted to do that for you.” Rasulullah (p.b.u.h) said, “Do not do that. If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no woman can fulfil her duty towards Allah until she fulfils her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse” (Ibn Majah, n.d.).
Hadith 2: Hadith narrated by Qays b. Sa‘ad:
Translation: ‘Amr b. ‘Aun narrated to us, Ishaq b. Yusuf from Syarik from Ḥuṣayn from al-Sya‘bi from Qays b. Sa‘ad he said: “I went to al-Heerah (one of the states in Kufa) and saw them prostrating to a noble of theirs (i.e., a courageous knight who was prominent among them). I thought: ‘Rasulullah (p.b.u.h) is more deserving that people should prostrate to him.’ Qays b. Sa‘ad said: “So I came to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: I went to al-Heerah and saw them prostrating to a noble of theirs, but you are the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and are more deserving that people should prostrate to you. He said: “If you were to walk pass my grave, would you prostrate to it?” Qays b. Sa‘ad said: “I said: No” He said: “Do not do that. If I were to instruct anyone to prostrate to anyone, I would have instructed women to prostrate to their husbands, because of the rights that Allah has given them over them” (Abu Dawud, 2009).
Hadith 3: Hadith narrated by Hadith Anas b. Mālik
Translation: Husayn narrated to us from Khalaf b. Khalifah from Ḥafṣ whose uncle Anas b. Malik said: “A family of the Ansar owned a camel for watering their farm; the camel was suddenly difficult for them to tame and it ran so we could not ride it, so the Ansar came to the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, we have a camel for watering our farm, but the camel is suddenly difficult for us to tame and it ran so we could not ride it, when our crops and date trees are dry. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) said: “Stand up”, so they stood and entered the garden, the camel was at one side so the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) drew close to it and the Ansar said: “O’ Messenger of Allah, the camel may behave like a crazed dog and we fear that it may hurt you,” so the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “I have no problem with this camel,” and when the camel saw the Prophet (p.b.u.h) it walked to Prophet (p.b.u.h) and knelt down and prostrated to him. So the Prophet (p.b.u.h) touched the crown of its head and tamed it when it had never been tamed before. Thus the Companions said to the Prophet (p.b.u.h): “O Messenger of Allah, verily this animal has not been bestowed with wisdom but it prostrated to you whereas us the people who are bestowed with wisdom are more deserving to make prostration to you, so the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “It is not appropriate for anyone to prostrate to anyone else. If it were appropriate for anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have instructed the wife to prostrate to her husband, because of the great rights that Allah has given him over her. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if a husband has a boil oozing pus or blood anywhere from his feet to his head and the wife kisses and licks it clean, she has yet to do him full justice” (Ahmad, 2001).
These hadith were narrated by many Companions, including Abdullah b. Abi Awfa, Qays b. Sa‘ad, Anas b. Malik, Abu Hurayrah ,(Al-Tirmidhi, 1998) Aisyah, Mu‘adh b. Jabal,(Ahmad, 2001), Ibn ‘Abbas, Suraqah b. Malik, (Al-Tabarani, 1994) Ibn Mas‘ud (Al-Tabarani, n.d.) and a few others.
Among the rights of a husband that must be fulfilled by his wife as Allah SWT has said in surah al-Nisa’ verse 34 that men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. Such is the magnitude of a husband’s rights, thus the Prophet (p.b.u.h) instructed that wives make prostrations to their husbands if prostration to those other than Allah is allowed in Islam. The obedience of a wife towards her husband is also one of the reasons that will allow for her to choose which door of the Paradise she would like to enter from (Ahmad, 2001). Ibn Taimiyyah was asked about a wife who refused when her husband asked for her, and he answered that it is forbidden in Islam because a wife must fulfil the request of her husband. He went on to say: “No duty is bigger to a wife after her duties to Allah and His Messenger than those towards her husband” and he narrated the hadith on prostration of a wife to her husband (Ibn Taimiyyah, 1995).
Analysis of The Hadith Based on Fiqh al-Hadith
From the perspective of
Overall, there are a few contextual reasons (
In addition, the hadiths on prostration of a wife to her husband are not instructions, in fact, they prohibit people from prostrating to anyone other than Allah (Al-Qari, 2002). This can be seen through the expression of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) who used the expression “
Among the rights of a husband over his wife to the point that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) has conveyed the hadith to relay the greatness of a husband’s rights is for the wife to be obedient to her husband. The best of women are those who are constantly obedient, pleasant and do not oppose her husband so he would not harbour contempt for her. This is reflected in the words of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) as follows:
Translation: Abu Hurairah r.a. narrated that it was asked to the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h): “Who is the best of women?” The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: "The best of women is one that pleases her husband when he glances at her; obeys him when he commands her and does not oppose him and displease him in matters regarding her body and wealth” (Al-Nasa’i, 1986).
Furthermore, a woman’s place whether in the Paradise or Fire is also determined through her treatment towards her husband, whether she was obedient or disobedient to him, based on the hadith as follows:
Translation: From al-Husain b. Mihsan, his aunt had once come to the Prophet (p.b.u.h) for some need. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) then asked: “Do you have a husband?”. She said, “Yes.”. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) then further asked: “How are you towards your husband?” She responded, “I do not fall short in his service except with regard to what I am unable to do.” He said, “Then look to your standing with him, for indeed he is your Paradise and your Fire (Ahmad, 2001).
However, the obedience of a wife to her husband is not absolute because if the instruction of a husband is in disobedience towards Allah, then the wife must not fulfil the instruction, as the Prophet (p.b.u.h) has said that “there is no obedience if it is disobedience to Allah, verily obedience is only for good conducts” (Ahmad, 2001). Hence, the duty of a wife to be obedient to her husband is one of the rights of the husband which had made the Prophet (p.b.u.h) conveyed the hadith that appear as though he was instructing women to prostrate to their husbands, but the hadith are not actual instructions for wives to make prostration to their husbands.
Based on the discussion in the chapter of hadith analysis from the perspective of
This work is part of USM Short Term Research Grant: 304/PHUMANITI/6313200 which has been allocated for the researcher for research between 2015-2017 under the title The Study of Women’s Rights and Roles according to the Perspective of Hadith: Focus on Women’s Development in Malaysia.
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23 September 2019
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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, literary theory, political science, political theory
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Dahlan, N., & Shamsudin*, R. (2019). Wife Prostrating Upon The Husband From The Perspective Of Fiqh Al-Hadith. In N. S. Mat Akhir, J. Sulong, M. A. Wan Harun, S. Muhammad, A. L. Wei Lin, N. F. Low Abdullah, & M. Pourya Asl (Eds.), Role(s) and Relevance of Humanities for Sustainable Development, vol 68. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 586-594). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.65