My grandfather used to mention an old idiom which says,
“When one neglects his she-goat, she brings home a male-goat,”
which means that when a woman does not get her emotional
needs fulfilled, she responds willingly to someone else who
The point of this idiom is not to liken the man and the woman
to a male and female goat – Allah’s refuge is sought! – since a
woman is a man’s companion. If Allah has blessed the man with
a strong body, He has also blessed the woman with strong emotions.
How often do we see brave men and even leaders crumble
in front of the emotional prowess of a woman?
To deal skilfully with women one should discover the key to
her emotions. The Prophet would advise people to treat their
womenfolk with kindness and have regard for their emotions, so
that they may live with them in happiness. He advised fathers to
be kind to their daughters.
“Whoever looks after two girls until they have grown up,
he and I will be on the Day of Resurrection like this”, said the
Prophet as he joined his fingers together.
He also advised sons to look after their mothers. He was
asked, “Who should I honour the most?”
The Prophet replied, “Your mother, then your mother, then
your mother and then your father.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
He similarly advised husbands to look after their wives, and
went on to criticise those who anger or hurt their wives. Read
the words the Prophet said on his last pilgrimage in front of
a hundred thousand pilgrims, amongst them white, black, old,
young, rich and poor. He called out to them all and said, “You
must treat your womenfolk well! You must treat your womenfolk
well!” (Muslim and al-Tirmidhi)
One day, a group of women came to the wives of the Prophet
complaining about their husbands. When the Prophet
heard of this, he stood amongst the people and said, ‘A group of
women have approached the wives of Muhammad complaining
about their husbands. These husbands are not the best of your
people.’ (Abu Dawud, Sahih)
He also said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his
family, and I am the best of you to my family.” (al-Tirmidhi and
Ibn Majah, Sahih)
As a matter of fact, the religion of Islam has given so much
respect to women that wars were initiated, flesh was sliced and
heads struck off over a single one of them:
The Jews used to live side by side with the Muslims in Madinah.
They hated the fact that Allah had revealed the order of
hijab and that thereafter the Muslim women were covered. They
tried to plant the seeds of corruption, and attempted to unveil
the Muslim women, but failed.
One day, a Muslim woman went to a marketplace owned by
the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa’. She was a chaste and modest woman.
She visited a jeweller amongst them. The Jews saw her and disliked
the fact that she was chaste and covered. They wanted to
have a glimpse at her, molest her or flirt with her, as they would
do before Islam honoured women. They wanted her to uncover
her face and take off her hijaab, but she refused. The jeweller
therefore took an end of her garment and attached it to the end
of her khimar, while she was unaware. When she stood up, her
garment was raised, revealing her body parts. The Jews began to
laugh. The Muslim woman cried out, wishing they had killed her
rather than uncovering her body.
A Muslim man saw this happen, so he brandished his sword
and attacked the jeweller, killing him. In turn, the Jews attacked
the Muslim and killed him. When the Prophet came to know
about this, and the fact that the Jews had violated their pledge
with him, and molested a woman, he surrounded the Jews until
they all surrendered and conceded to his judgement.
When the Prophet decided to punish them in revenge
for the honour of a chaste Muslim woman being violated, one
of the devil’s helpers stood up − those who have no concern
for the honour of Muslim women and only care about satisfying
their stomachs and private parts. This leader of the hypocrites,
‘Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, stood up and said, “O Muhammad!
Please, treat my allies with kindness!” He said this because they
had been allied to him during the days of pre-Islamic ignorance.
The Prophet turned away from him and refused to concede,
for how could he forgive a people who wished to spread corruption
amongst the Believers?!
The hypocrite said again, “O Muhammad, treat them with
kindness!” But the Prophet , turned away from him, again, in
favour of defending the honour of the chaste Muslim woman.
The hypocrite then became angry. He placed his hand in the
pocket of the Prophet’s shirt and pulled him saying, “Be kind to
my allies! Be kind to my allies!” The Prophet became angry.
He turned around and shouted at him, “Let go of me!” But the
hypocrite refused and began to beg the Prophet to prevent
The Prophet turned to him and said, “They are yours,
then”, and decided not to execute them. However, he did expel
them from their dwellings in Madinah. Yes, a chaste Muslim
woman deserves no less!
Khawlah bint Tha’labah – may Allah be pleased with her – was
from the righteous companions of the Prophet . Her husband,
Aws bin al-Samit, was an old man who would often become angry
very quickly. One day he came back from a meeting and
spoke to her regarding an issue. She responded inappropriately
and they quarrelled. The man became angry and said, “You are
like my mother’s back!” and left the house enraged. To utter this
phrase during the pre-Islamic era of ignorance was considered
a divorce. This was not the case in Islam, but Khawlah did not
know the Islamic ruling concerning the issue.
Aws came back to his house to find his wife avoiding him
and keeping him at a distance. She said to him, “I swear by the
One who has Khawlah’s life in His Hand, you will never approach
me after having said what you did, until Allah’s Messenger gives
Khawlah then left to visit the Messenger of Allah and told
him what had happened. She also complained to him about how
she was treated by her husband. The Prophet admonished
her and advised her to remain patient, saying, “O Khawlah! He is
your cousin and an old man, so fear Allah with regards to him.”
She said in response, “O Messenger of Allah! He married me
when I was young, my stomach became flabby due to pregnancy,
and now, when I have become old and unable to have any more
children, he has divorced me! O Allah! I complain to you!”
The Prophet heard her words and waited for Allah to
reveal a verdict regarding her case, and while Khawlah was with
the Prophet , there came Jibreel from the heavens and
revealed unto the Prophet the ruling concerning her and her
The Prophet turned to her and said, “O Khawlah! Allah
has revealed a verse concerning you and your husband.”
He then recited: “Allah has heard the saying of she that disputes
with you (Muhammad) concerning her husband, and complains
unto Allah. And Allah hears your argument. Indeed Allah is
the Hearer, Knower...” until the end of the verses from the early
part of Surah al-Mujadilah.
The Prophet said to her, “Order him to free a slave.”
She said, “O Messenger of Allah, he doesn’t have a slave to
He said, “Then tell him to fast two consecutive months.”
She said, “By Allah, he is an old man who doesn’t have the
strength to fast.”
He said, “Then let him feed sixty poor people a wasq (160
kg) of dates”
She said, “O Messenger of Allah, he doesn’t have that to
He said, “In that case, we will help him with some dates.”
She said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will help him with some
The Prophet said, “This is very good of you. Go and give
charity on his behalf, and look after your cousin.” (Ahmad and
Abu Dawud, Sahih)
Glory be to Allah who granted the Prophet the quality of
gentleness and leniency, even when dealing with personal problems!
I myself have exercised gentleness and emotional skills with
my daughter and wife, and prior to that with my mother and sister,
and I have found it to be very effective indeed. No man honours
a woman except an honourable one, and no one demeans
a woman except a mean person.
A point to note...
A woman can be patient with her husband’s poverty, unattractiveness
and busy schedule, but she cannot be patient with
his rude behaviour.