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 The Woman as Daughter

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PostSubject: The Woman as Daughter   Sat May 18, 2013 10:48 am

The Woman as Daughter

In pre-Islamic times, the Arabs used to be disheartened and annoyed with the birth of girls, so that a father, when informed his wife had given birth to a girl, said, "By Allah she is not as blissful as a son; her defence is crying and her care is but stealing!" He meant she could not defend her father and her family except by screaming and crying, not by fighting and carrying arms. She also cannot be good to them and care for them except by taking from her husband's money to give to her family. Their traditions allowed the father to bury his daughter alive for actual poverty, or for expected poverty, or out of fear of a disgrace she might bring upon them when she grew up. In that context, the Qur'an says, denouncing and derogating them: "And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned. For what sin was she killed? [Surah 81:8-9]

The Qur'an also describes the condition of fathers when daughters are born: "And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief ! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision". [ Surah 16:58-59]

Some ancient laws gave the father the right to sell his daughter if he wished, while others allowed him to hand her to another man who would either kill her or own her if the father killed the other man's daughter.

When Islam was revealed, it decreed a daughter-like a son-was a gift from Allah, to be granted to whomever Allah wishes of His worshippers:

"He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He will, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He will Or He bestows both male and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able to do all things. [ Surah 42 : 49 - 50]

The Qur'an has illustrated in its parables how some of the daughters could be more remarkable in their influence and more immortal in memories than many male offspring. We have a good example in the story of Mary, daughter of `Imran, who was chosen by Allah from all other women and purified. Her mother who bore her had wished the child to be a male to serve Allah and to be of the righteous: "(Remember) when the wife of `Imran said: "O My Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (from all worldly work; to serve Your Place of worship), so accept this, from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing." Then when she delivered her (child Mary), she said: "O My Lord! I have delivered a female child, "-And Allah knew better what she delivered,- "And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge with You (Allah) for her and for her offspring from Satan, the outcast." So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with a goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner. [ Surah 3:35 - 37]

The Qur'an led an uncompromising campaign against those cruel people who kill children-whether male or female. Allah says in the Qur'an: " Indeed lost are those who have killed their children from folly, without knowledge". [Surah 6:140] And He says: " And kill not your children from fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin. [Surah 17:31]

The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) of Islam made Paradise the recompense of every father who conducts himself well with his daughters, has patience in raising them, provides their moral education, and observes Allah's commands concerning them until they come of age or until his . The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) made the place of the father in Paradise next to him. Muslim has transmitted on the authority of Anas: "the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, `Whoever sustained and protected two slave-girls until they came of age, on the Day of Judgement, he and I will be and then he put his two fingers together." It was phrased by Al-Termithy in the following manner: "Whoever sustained and protected two slave-girls, he and I will enter Paradise like these and lie joined his forefinger to the next finger."

Ibn `Abbas transmitted that the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, "A Muslim who has two daughters whom he treats well when they accompany him or when he accompanies them is admitted to Paradise". [ Transmitted by Bukhari in Al Adab Al Mufrad (77); Ibn Abu Sheiba, 8/551; Ahmad which is corrected by Sheikh Shaker (2104); Ibn Majah (3670); and others.]

Some prophetic traditions stated that such a recompense-i.e. admittance to Paradise-is also granted to the brother who sustains and protects his sisters (two or more). Other traditions stated that these heavenly rewards are granted to anyone who treats the female sex well, even if she is one. On the authority of Abu Huraira: "The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, `Whoever had three daughters and showed patience in their keeping, their pleasure and displeasure, Allah admits him to Paradise for his mercy over them. A man asked, `And what about two daughters, O Messenger of Allah? He said, `And two daughters as well." Another asked, `O Messenger of Allah, what about one daughter?" He said, `And one daughter as well". [ Transmitted and its authority amended by Al-Hakim, agreed upon by Al-Zahaby, 4/176] Ibn `Abbas recounted, "Whoever had a female who was not buried nor insulted by him, and had not preferred his male children to her, Allah admits him to Paradise. [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud, 5/5146; and Al-Hakim who corrected it 4/177, approved by Al-Dhahaby.]

In `isha's narration which is transmitted by the two sheikhs, the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said, "Whoever suffers any mishap due to keeping his girls, but still treats them well, they will be protection for him from the Fire of Hell. [ The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan), as approved by the two Sheikhs (1688)]

With these open and authentic texts, with the enhanced and repeated good news, the birth of girls is no longer a fearful burden nor is it a bad omen. On the contrary, it is a blessing to be thanked for and a mercy to be desired and requested because it is a blessing of the Almighty and a reward to be gained.

In that way Islam nullified forever the custom of burying girls who now have a great place in the heart of the father.This is shown in what the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) says about his daughter Fatima, "Fatima is part of me; what makes her angry, makes me angry". [ Transmitted by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Al-Masur ibn Makrama, The Concise Comprehensive Book of Sound Hadith (Sahih al-Jame' as-Sagheer) and its supplement (4188).] And, "Fatima is part of me, what makes me sad, makes her sad, and what pleases me, pleases her". [ Transmitted by Ahmad, Al-Tabrany and Al-Hakim on the authority of Al-Masur as well. Ibid. (4189). See Ahmad 4/323,332; Al Tabrany 20/25; Al-Hakim 3/158 who amended its authority which was approved by Al-Zahaby.] And "`surely my daughter is part of me; I fear what frightens her, and I am harmed by what harms her". [ Transmitted by all the six. See The Concise Book of Traditions (Mukhtassar As-Sunna)by Al-Munzery, Hadith (1987).]

We feel the effect of this in Islamic literature, as a poet says in the following lines:

But for the soft girls in cats" downy fur,

Who have taken their smoothness,

I would have been in great, great trouble

On this vast earth and wide.

Surely when our children are among us,

They are the apples of our eyes surveying the earth;

If the wind blows on any of them,

My eyes will never close.

As to the father's control over his daughter, it does not exceed the limits of moral education, exactly as her brothers. He asks her to pray when she is seven, but raps her if she does not pray when she reaches ten. He has to separate her and her brothers at that age [ They should not sleep together in the same bed or bathe together as little children do.] and obliges her to follow the Islamic code of conduct in dressing, adornment, going out and talking. Her upkeep is obligatory on him according to his religion and law until she marries. He does not have the power to sell her or make her the property of another man by any means. Islam has annulled the selling of free persons, whether male or female, in any form. If a freeman bought or owned a daughter who had been a slave for another, she should be freed as soon as he owned her, whether he likes it or not, according to Islamic Law.

If the daughter has her own money, the father should keep it for her. A father is forbidden to marry his daughter to another man in exchange for being allowed to marry that man's daughter, which is called in jurisprudence as a "vacant marriage" due to its lack of dower, which is the right of the daughter, not the father.

In addition, the father has not got the right to marry his daughter to a man she hates and does not approve of. He must have her opinion of the man she is going to marry, whether she agrees or disagrees. If she has been married before, she has to utter her consent clearly. If she is a virgin and overcome by shyness, it is enough to listen to her silence, which is a sign of consent. If she says, "No," then he has no power to force her to marry someone she does not want.

The two sheikhs have transmitted on the authority of Abu Huraira, "A widow cannot marry unless she gives her consent, nor the virgin until she is asked permission. They asked, O Messenger of Allah, how can she give her permission? He said, By her silence". [Agreed upon The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan) (895)] They also transmitted on the authority of ` isha who said, "I asked the Messenger of Allah, `Are women asked their affairs?" He said, `Yes." I said, `The virgin when she is asked feels shy and remains silent!" He said, `Her silence is her permission". [Agreed upon The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan) (895)] For that reason the learned say that the virgin should know that her silence is permission. On the authority of Khansaa" bint Khaddam Al-Ansari said: "her father got her married though she was not a virgin, and she hated her marriage. When she went to the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him), he annulled the marriage. [Transmitted by all except Muslim.] On the authority of Ibn `Abbas, a virgin girl came to the Messenger of Allah and mentioned her father got her married while she was unwilling. The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) gave her the choice. [ Transmitted by Ahmad (2469), amended by Sheikh Shakker; Abu Dawud (2069); Ibn Majah (1875) and Ad-Daraqatny vol.3, (56)] From these Traditions (Hadith), we have an indication that the father is not distinguished from another as he is obliged to ask his daughter and it is a necessity to have her approval. According to Sahih Muslim and others, "A virgin is asked," which means she must give her permission and approval. On the authority of `Aisha, a girl came to her saying, " My father married me to his nephew to raise himself (in status) through his mean act, and I am unwilling." isha said, `sit until the Prophet comes." She told him and he sent for her father who gave her the choice. She said, "O Messenger of Allah, I approved of what my father did but I wanted to know if woman had any word in the affair:". [ Transmitted by Al-Nisaai in the Book of Marriage, chapter `The Virgin is Married Unwillingly by her Father; 6186-7.]

Obviously, the Prophetic Traditions illustrate permission for both the virgin and the woman who was married before as a condition of the marriage contract. If the father or the person in charge marries the widow or divorcee without her permission, the contract is invalid and revocable, as in the story of Al-Khansaa bint Khaddam. As to the virgin, she has the right to choose; if she wishes, she gives her permission; if not she refuses, which annuls the contract, as in one of he previous Stories. [See Nail Al-Awtar, 6/254-256] What is of great interest is that Islamic Law commands the consultation of the mother in the marriage of her daughter so the marriage can be completed to the satisfaction of all concerned parties. On the authority of Ibn `Umar, the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said, "Take woman's permission about their daughters". [ Transmitted by Ahmad and ascribed to Ibn Umar (4905); researched by Ahmad Shaker, Abu Dawud (2095); and others.] In this context, Iman Abu Sulaiman Al-Kattaby has some valuable remarks to add, as comment on this Hadith, in his book Landmark of Traditions (Maalem as-Sunna), which should be conveyed for their moral sense and integrity. He writes: The counsel of mothers in the affairs of their daughters is not because they have a say in the marriage contract, but it is also that the daughters feel secure and have intimate relationships with their mothers, which is longer lasting for companionship and more effective in bringing their daughters and their husbands together, if the principle of the contract is based on the mutual satisfaction and desire of mothers and daughters. But if it is other than that, one would not get away safely from their harming effect ( i.e. rousing daughters against their husbands), and the potential cause of adversity to fall upon them.

Moreover, mothers are closer to their daughters; they listen more to what they say. For these reasons, their consultation concerning the marriage of their daughters is appreciated and Allah is more knowledgeable.

He adds: It could be for another reason in addition to what is mentioned. A woman might come to know through her special relation with her daughter and through her private conversation with her a matter which could invalidate the marriage contract. It could be due to an illness which makes her unable to perform her duties as a wife. For this reason, the Prophet's words, "The virgin should not be married except through her permission which is silence", as she might be shy to disclose her agreement and to show her desire in the marriage. Therefore her silence indicates her being free from a deficiency that prevents intercourse, or a reason which is only known to her and which does not permit marriage. And Allah Almighty is more knowing. [ See The Concise Book of Traditions (Mokhtasser As-Sunna) by Al-Munzery; The Landmarks of Traditions (Maalem As-Sunna) by Al-Khattab; Edification by Ibn Al-Qayyim 3/39, researched by Ahmad Shaker and Mohammed Hamid Al-Fiqy.]

We add here that the mother may know from her daughter's secrets that her heart is tied to someone else. If that person proposes and is suitable, then he should have the priority, as in the Hadith, "Nothing is better for those in love than marriage". [ Transmitted on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Ibn Majah (1847); Al-Hakim and corrected on Muslim's term 2/160, agreed upon by Al-Dhahaby and Al-Baihaqi 7/78; Al-Tabrany, Tammam and others. It is mentioned by Al-Albany in the "authentic ones" (624).]

If the father has no right to marry his daughter to one she does not like, he has the right that his daughter should not get married without his permission, according to the Hadith by Abu Musa, "No marriage without the guardian," and for the Hadith [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud (2085); Al-Termithy (1101); Ibn Majah (1881); Ahmad 4/394,413, 418. Other words mentioned in the Hadith are transmitted by Al-Munzery in The Concise Book of Traditions (Mokhtasser As-Sunna), and by Ibn Al-Qayyim, see Hadith (2000).] on the authority of `Aisha, "Any woman who marries without the permission of her guardian, and her marriage is void." This was said three times. [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud (2083) and (2084); Al-Termithy (1102) who improved it; and Ibn Majah (1879).]

Abu Hanifa and his companions believe that a girl has the right to marry herself, even without her father's permission or that of the guardian, on the condition that the husband is suitable for her. The above Hadith is not mentioned in their writing, but they illustrate it in their views by what is found in the Qur'an referring to marriage: "do not prevent them from marrying their former husbandsuntil she has married another husband" there is no sin for you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e. they can marry)." In these verses and in others, marriage is attributed to women. Allah forbids preventing a women from seeking marriage as it is a right which she is capable of managing, and so it should be accepted of her. Abu Hanifa put as a condition that her marriage has to be to a suitable husband, otherwise the responsible persons have the right to object. In the case of a woman marrying with the permission of the guardian but without his attendance, it is permitted by some jurists though the general consensus puts the presence of the guardian as a condition, otherwise her marriage is void.

The knowledgeable

Ibn Qud'ma said:

If the contract is validated by a ruler, it is not allowed to be annulled. The judge here has a special point: the contract is annulled when it is against a text. The ruler has the priority because it is a negotiable matter, and so his verdict is not annulled, exactly as giving the right of pre-emption for the neighbour. The text (i.e. "No marriage without the guardian") has been interpreted variously and is approved by some and objected to by some.

This is according to Ibn Qud,ma's deep knowledge and fairness, may Allah be pleased with him. However, to be tactful and discrete, the marriage should be accomplished with the agreement of all parties concerned, the father, mother and daughter, so as not to leave the opportunity for gossip, enmity, and quarrelling, whereas Allah has legislated marriage to promote love and mercy.

It is required of the father to choose for his daughter a good man who makes her happy and who finds happiness in her company. The father should concentrate on the man's morals and faith, not on materialistic and earthly matters. He should not put obstacles in the way of the marriage if a suitable man proposes. The Hadith says, "If the person who satisfies you in morals and faith comes to you, let him marry (your daughter). If you do not, you will create sedition on the earth and widespread corruption". [ Transmitted by Al-Termithy (1084); Ibn Majah (1967); Al-Hakim whose amendment was accepted by Al-Dhahaby 2/165 on the authority of Abu Huraira; Al Baihaqi 7/82 on the authority of Abu Hatim Al-Mazay; Ibn Adeyy on the authority of Ibn Umar improved in The Concise Comprehensive Book of Sound Hadith (Sahih al -Jame' as-Sagheer) and its supplement (270).] Thus, Islam has taught the father that his daughter is a " human being" before anything else. She is not a "commodity" to be offered and given to the one who pays more, as in the case of many ignorant and greedy fathers continue this practice until today. The Hadith says, "It is the good fortune of a woman to facilitate her engagement, to facilitate her dower, and to ease her womb-i.e. her delivery". [ Transmitted by Ahmad 6/77; Ibn Hayyan (4095); -Hakim 2/181 who amended it on Muslim's terms and approved by Al-Dhahaby, on the authority of isha and improved in The Concise Comprehensive Book of Sound Hadith (Sahih al -Jame' as-Sagheer) and its supplement (2235).]

The Woman as Wife

According to some ancient beliefs, a woman was consign impure being created by Satan. One should, therefore, escape from her and turn to a monastic life of self-denial. Others considered the wife to be an instrument of pleasure for man, a cook for his food or a servant to his house.

Islam came to abolish the monastic state of life and retirement from the world. It urges marriage and considers the state of marriage as one of the signs and proofs of Allah in the universe: "And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect". [Surah 30:21]

When a group of companions wanted to retire from worldly life and devote themselves to the worship of Allah, fasting the whole day, spending the whole night in worship and deserting women, the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) denounced their life saying, "Are you the people who said such a thing? By Allah I am the most fearing of God among you, the most pious, but I fast and then break my fast, I wake up at night to worship Allah and I sleep, and I marry. Whoever does not follow my way (Sunna), he is not one of us". [ Transmitted by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Anas The Pearl and the Coral (Al-Lu'lu' wal-Marjan) 2/885]

Islam has made a good wife the best treasure a man can have in his life, after belief in Allah and following His commands. She is considered the key to happiness. According to the Hadith, "the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) told `Umar, shall I tell you the best a man can treasure? It is a good wife. If he looks at her, she gives him pleasure; if he orders her, she obeys; and if he is away from her, she remains faithful to him". [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud in the authority of Ibn Abbas in "Zakat 2/1664; Al-Hakim who amended it 2/333, approved by Al-Dhahaby.] The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said, "The world is delightful and its greatest treasure is a good woman". [Transmitted by Muslim on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Amr (1467).] He also said, "Whoever is granted a good wife, he is helped to follow half his religion, let him obey God in the second half". [ Transmitted by Hakim who amended it on the authority of Anas 2/161, approved by Al-Dhahaby and reiterated by Al-Munzery in Inducing and Intimidating (Al-Targheeb wal-Tarheeb). See The Selected (Al-Muntaqa) 111101. It is also related to Al-Tabrany in Al-Awsat as well as Al-Hathamy in AI-Majmu' 41272. Abd Ar-Rahman did not know the transmitter on the authority of Anas, Al-Hakim knew it was Al-Oqba Al-Azraqi, reiterated by Al-Dhahaby and mentioned by Al-Albany in The Authentic Traditions (625).] He also said, "There are three things that cause happiness and three things that create misery for the human being. A good wife, a good house, and good transport cause happiness. A bad woman, a bad house and bad transport cause his misery". [ Transmitted by Ahmad, Al-Bazzar and Al-Tabrany in Al-Kabr wal-Awsat on the authority of Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, as Al-Hathamy said in Al-Majma' 41272. It is mentioned by Al-Munzery in Inducing and Intimidating (Al-Targheeb wal-Tarheeb), who said it was transmitted by Ahmad through authentic support and by Al-Tabrany, Al-Bazzar and Al-Hakim who amended it.] The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) also said, "Four things if granted to any person, he is granted the best of the world and the afterlife: a thankful heart, a tongue that mentions Allah, a body that patiently endures misfortune, and a wife that does not seek his betrayal or his money. [Al-Haythamy said 4/273 it was transmitted by Al-Tabrany, Vo.11(11275) in Al-Kabr wal-Awsat on the authority of Ibn Abbas.] In another version, "does not seek sinning against him " Islam raised the importance of the woman as a wife and considers her fulfilment of matrimonial duties as jihad (struggle for the sake of Allah). Al-Tabrany transmitted on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, the following Hadith: "A woman came to the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) and said, `O Messenger of Allah, I am the woman's messenger to you. There is no woman among them-who knows it-but none of them wishes my coming to you." She then presented her case and said, `Allah is the Lord of men and women, and is their God, and you are Allah's messenger unto men and women. Fighting for Allah (Jihad) is meant for men; if they succeed, they take their due and if they die martyrs, they are alive (in the afterlife)and are provided for by Allah. So, what equals their deeds in our obedience to Allah?" He said, "Obey your husbands and perform your duties. A few of you do that. [Al-Haythamy in Majma' Al-Zawaaed 4/305, 306; it is transmitted by Al-Tabrany; and Al-Bazzar transmitted a similar Hadith.]

Islam has declared rights of the wife on the husband, and has not made her a mere puppet. On the contrary, it establishes for her more than a protector and observer: firstly, by giving her the Muslim's faith and piety; secondly, the conscience of the society and of its wakefulness; thirdly, a Law and commitment to it.

The first of her rights is a dower, which Islam obliges the man to give to the woman as a symbol of his desire, in marrying her and of wanting her. Allah says: "And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure remit a part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful)". [Surah 4:4] The expression "with a good heart" signifies the dower as a gift and is not a price or in return for the pleasure he gets from her, as some people have insisted.

So, where can we find this in other civilisations, where a woman pays a sum of her own money though, by nature, the man requests her more than she requests him?

The second of her rights is maintenance. The husband is required to provide his wife with food, clothes, a place to live and medical treatment according to his environment, conditions and income. The wealthy have their own measure, whereas the poor have theirs. The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said stating the rights of women, "You are obliged to provide them with food and clothes honourably". [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud (1905); Ibn Majah (3074); Al-Doramy in Kittab Al-Mannish p.440 on the authority of Jabber; Ahmad 5/73 on the authority of Abu Gara Al-Raqashi's uncle.] Honourably here means what is conventional according to people of faith and honour, without extravagance or meanness. The Almighty said:

"Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him". [Surah 65:7]

The third right is living with them honourably. The Almighty said: "And live with them honourably". [Surah 4:19] It is a collective right which is comprised of all around good treatment in all aspects of the husband/wife relationship such as good manners, a flexible attitude, sweet words, a smiling face, a pleasing playfulness and an amusing mien, etc. The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said, "The most faithful believers are the best in manners and the most gentle of their own people". [Transmitted by Al-Termithy on the authority of Abu Huraira (1162).]

Ibn Hibban transmitted on the authority of ` isha that the Prophet said, "The best of you is he who is the best to his family, and I am the best to my family". [Transmitted by Ibn Hibban Charity (El-Ehsan) Vol. 9 (4177).]

The actual biography of the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) has proved his gentleness towards his people, his excellent conduct with his wives, to the extent that he used to help them with their housekeeping. The extent of his playfulness is shown when he raced ` isha twice; she won the race once and he won the second time. He then said, "Tit for tat". [Transmitted by Ibn Majah (1976) on the authority of isha.]

In return for these rights, a wife is obliged to obey her husband in everything except disobeying Allah. She is obliged to take care of his money, not to spend it except with his permission; and of his house, not to allow anyone in, even though they be a relative, except after asking him. Such duties are not too burdensome, nor unfair, in return for her rights. Therefore, every right has a duty in return. It is fair of Islam that it did not make all the duties a woman's concern nor a man's concern. God Almighty says: " And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable". [Surah 2:228]

Therefore, women have as many rights as they have duties to perform. Of the laudable words transmitted are those telling of Ibn `Abbas standing in front of a looking glass to straighten his appearance and arrange his ornamentation. When he was asked about it, he said, "I adorn myself for my wife as she does for me." Then he recited the noble verse: "And they have rights (over them) similar to what is reasonable. [Surah 2:228. This is a wonderful example illustrating the deep Qur'anic knowledge of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all.
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