Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم:
The Perfect Husband
Sayyid Bahraam Hussain Shah Attari Madani
In the life of the Final Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, we can discover the ideal illustration of how a husband should treat his wife. Muftī Aḥmad Yār Khān NaꜤīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes:
The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم serves as a universal example for every person, regardless of their role or status. For those with wives and children, it is essential to remember that they may have only a limited number of family members, while the beloved of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم had nine wives, numerous children, grandchildren, sons-in-law, male and female workers, dependants, and guests. Despite this, he treated everyone in the best of manners and abundantly remembered Allah.
All qualities which can be envisaged for the best husband can be found to the degree of perfection in our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
Let us now read some select facets of his marital life, which highlight how he was the greatest husband to his blessed wives.
The homes of his wives
A wife's essential right is for her husband to provide her with appropriate accommodation, sufficient food, and adequate clothing. When the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم arrived in Madina, he had homes built for his blessed wives next to Masjid al-Nabawi. At that point, Sayyidatunā Sawda and Sayyidatunā ꜤĀʾisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا were in his marriage, which is why only two homes were built. As the other blessed wives joined him, further homes were constructed.
Providing for his blessed wives
Our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم possessed the highest degree of trust in Allah Almighty, and he disliked storing anything for himself. However, when it came to his family and dependants, he would stock up on a year’s worth of grain for them, just as it is mentioned in the hadith: “The property of Banū Naḍīr was from that wealth which Allah Almighty was to bestow upon His beloved صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم; the Muslims neither utilised their horses nor their camels to attain it. These goods were specifically under the authority of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He would take a year’s worth of expenditure for his family from this wealth, and spend the rest in purchasing riding animals and weapons for battle.”
Just as it is the husband’s responsibility to spend on his wife and feed her, he is also rewarded for this. It is mentioned in a hadith: “Whatever you spend for the sake of Allah, you will be rewarded for it, to the extent that there is reward for the morsel that you place in your wife’s mouth.”
“If a man gives his wife water to drink, there is reward in that too.”
Another hadith also explains how the dinar spent on one’s family is more rewardable than spending in Allah’s way, freeing a slave and giving to the destitute.
Love for his noble wives
Before the arrival of Islam, women were often viewed with disdain and subjected to hatred, being deprived of their rightful value and significance. However, with the advent of Islam, women were granted their true status, and honour was bestowed upon them. Islam recognized and elevated their worth, declaring them to be the best provision. This sentiment is supported by various hadith, such as: “This world is but ˹an abode of˺ provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.”
He had love for his pure wives and would express this too, such as when he said regarding Sayyidatunā Khadīja رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا, “I was granted love for her.”
The affection he held for his revered wives was so profound, that he would promptly join them at meals, ensuring they never experienced any sense of inadequacy. This is evident from the following hadith below. The mother of the believers, Sayyidatunā ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states:
During my monthly cycle, I would drink water and then give it to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He would place his mouth on the very spot where my mouth had touched and drink from there. And during the days of menstruation, I would eat meat from a bone and then give it to him, and he would put his blessed mouth in the place that my mouth had touched.
Good conduct with his honourable wives
In the Era of Ignorance, wives endured the most dreadful treatment, and sadly, it appears that our society still grapples with similar issues. Tragically, we observe various forms of injustices inflicted upon wives, including physical and emotional harm, deprivation of their rightful dowry, neglecting their rights, causing mental distress, sending them to their parents’ house over petty issues, confining them within their homes with no communication, public humiliation, physical abuse, and, shockingly, even instances of fatal outcomes.
However, those who correctly observe the pristine teachings of Islam and live by the spirit of the Muhammadan Way are protected from these unbecoming acts, for Islam has denounced such acts of injustice and stipulated kindness and respect for women.
Our Merciful Lord states:
وَ عَاشِرُوۡہُنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ ۚ
And deal with them kindly 
Our Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم treated his blessed wives and daughters with utmost compassion. He stated:
خَيْـرُكُمْ خَيْـرُكُمْ لِاَهْلِهٖ وَاَنَاخَيْـرُكُمْ لِاَهْلِىْ
The best from among you is the one who is the best to his wife, and I am the best from you to my wife.
Choosing to fulfil the rights of his wives
His noble conduct towards his wives was such that he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would give equal attention to all of them and spend the same amount of time with each of them. Sayyidatunā ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا narrates, “The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was equal when dividing time between his wives, and would say in the court of Allah Almighty, “Dear Allah! This is my division regarding what I have control over. Do not take me to account in relation to what You control, and that which I do not.”
He had nine wives, and whenever he split his time among them, he would return to the first one after nine days. Therefore, each night, the pure wives would gather at the home of the blessed wife where the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was staying.
Drawing lots among wives
When the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم intended to go on a journey, he would draw lots among his wives, and take along with him the one whose name came out. Muftī Aḥmad Yār Khān NaꜤīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه comments:
The manner of doing this (drawing lots) was that the name of each wife would be written on a piece of paper and folded, and then a child was made to select one of them. The one whose name was chosen would accompany him on the journey. There are many other ways of drawing lots too, but this is most common. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم took it upon himself to do this; it was not a divine injunction. He was not obliged to split his time equally among his wives even in the home, let alone during travels.
The reality is that it is not necessary to give them turns; one may take whomever he wills and leave behind whomever he wills. Some wives are preferable when it comes to taking care of the home and others are desirable when it comes to preparing for travel. However, it is still recommended (mustaḥabb) to draw lots. This action of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is a proof of it being recommended.
Helping around the house
Our Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the king of both realms, and if he wished, he could have lived a life of ease and luxury, providing his noble wives with all of what the world contains. However, he chose to lead a simple and humble life. His humbleness was such that he would help his blessed wives around the house.
Sayyidatunā ꜤĀˈisha رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا was once asked, “What did the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم do around the house?” She رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا replied, “Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would remain occupied in household tasks, but when the time of prayer would arrive, he would leave for prayer.”
From this aspect of his life, we learn that there is absolutely nothing wrong or demeaning about a husband supporting his wife in household chores. Rather, it is something which was carried out by the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. It is, therefore, unfortunate that this is something viewed negatively in our society. In fact, if a man, for the sake of bringing joy to his wife, is seen helping her out around the house, he is labelled a ‘hen-pecked husband’ or ‘slave to his wife’.
Some people have a habit of making demands of their wife. They cannot even stand up to get themselves some water, even though it requires minimal time and effort. Recognising their wives as fellow servants of Allah, such men should display compassion and mercy towards them. Instead of solely giving orders, they should also serve their wives, occasionally offering them water to drink or any other act of kindness. Sayyidunā ꜤIrbāḍ b. Sāriya رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates: “I heard the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saying, ‘When a man gives his wife water to drink, he is rewarded for it.’ So I went to my wife, gave her some water to drink, and informed her of what I heard from Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.”
In any case, instead of paying attention to what people have to say, for the sake of gaining Allah’s pleasure and earning reward, one should extend their hand of support to their wife in household chores. Not only will this result in increased love within her heart, it will lead to the house becoming an abode of peace and harmony.
Light-heartedness and cheerfulness
Just as our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was light-hearted and cheery with his noble Companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was also like this with his family, and his light-heartedness did not contain anything except the truth.
Sayyiduna Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ states, “From among all the people, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was most cheerful towards his wives.”
Bringing joy to his wives
He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would bring happiness to his blessed wives and be mindful of their feelings. Sayyidatunā ꜤĀˈishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا narrates, “I would play with dolls when I was with the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, and my friends would come to me. When he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم entered, they would leave. So, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would send them towards me and they would play with me.”
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once saw the dolls of Sayyidatunā ꜤĀˈishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا and asked, “What is this?” She replied, “They are my dolls.” He asked, “What is it that I see among these dolls?” She responded, “It is a horse.” He then asked, “What is on the horse?” She رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا replied, “Wings.” He asked, “Do horses have wings?” She replied, “Have you not heard that Prophet Sulaymān عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام had a horse with wings?” Upon this, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم smiled so widely that she saw his blessed molar teeth.
Commanding his wives to veil themselves
There is no doubt that the blessed era of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was a time of great goodness and blessings. His noble wives hold a revered position as the mothers of this nation, and they are held in the highest regard. Despite this elevated status of his wives, he emphasized the importance of them covering themselves modestly.
Sayyidatunā Umm Salama رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا narrates that she and Sayyidatunā Maymūna رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا were once in the presence of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم when Sayyidunā ꜤAbdullāh b. Umm Maktūm رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ arrived. As the verse of veiling had been revealed at that time, he said, “Cover yourselves before him.” Sayyidatunā Umm Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا said, “O Messenger of Allah! He is blind; he can neither see us nor recognise us.” The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, “Are both of you also unable to see? Are you not looking at him?”
Greeting his wives
Just as it was his sacred habit to give salam to everyone outside the home, be they young or old, he would also be the first to give salam. Whenever he returned home, he would greet his wives with salam, pray for them and inquire of their well-being. 
This aspect of his noble life teaches us that when a man enters his home, he should greet his wife. It is unfortunate that despite having deep connections with one another today, husband and wife are deprived of this great etiquette of giving salam. The person who is greeted with salam receives a supplication of peace, it brings about blessings in sustenance, and it puts an end to disputes within the home.
Muftī Aḥmad Yār Khān NaꜤīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه mentions:
When entering the home, place the right foot inside the door first and recite “بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ”, then enter the home whilst greeting family members with salam. If there is nobody at home, say, “اَلسَّلامُ عَلَیْکَ اَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ وَرحْمَۃُ اللہِ وَ بَرَکاتُہ ٗ”. It has been observed that some elders recite “بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ” and “قُلْ ھُوَ اللہ” when entering the home for the first time at the start of the day, as this leads to harmony within the home, as well as blessings in sustenance.
Waking his wives for worship
In order to further improve the lives of his pure wives in the Hereafter, he would encourage them to carry out acts of worship and wake them at night. Sayyidatunā Umm Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا narrates, “The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم awoke one night and said, “Glory be to Allah! Many tribulations have descended tonight and many treasures have been opened! Awaken those in their rooms.”
When the last ten days of Ramadan would arrive, he would strive even more in worship. He would stay awake at night and encourage his family too.
Consulting with his wives
Despite possessing the highest level of intelligence and wisdom, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would take into consideration the views and suggestions of his blessed wives, and even accept their counsels. Even when the first revelation came to him, he consulted with the mother of the believers, Sayyidatunā Khadīja رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا.
When the Treaty of Hudaybiyah took place, the deep understanding, wisdom and excellent counsel of Sayyidatunā Umm Salama رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا played a major role in resolving the situation. At that time, the noble Companions رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُم were hurt and upset due to being prevented from performing Ꜥumrah, and nobody was prepared to offer their sacrifice and take off their iḥrām.
So, she made the following suggestion to the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, “O Messenger of Allah! Do not say anything to anybody. Offer your sacrifice, have your head shaved and remove your iḥrām.” Thus, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم did this. Observing this, the Companions رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْھُم also offered their sacrifices and removed their iḥrām after shaving each other’s heads.
Domestic life holds a significant place in a person's overall life, serving as a crucial indicator of their practical and moral standing. It is a realm where one's true character and virtues are often revealed. It is uncommon for anyone to be flawless in this regard, which is why many people tend to keep their domestic affairs private and prefer not to disclose them to others. It is only the faultless Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم whose private life is known to all; it is unmatched and worthy of imitation.
May Allah Almighty, for the sake of the beloved Prophet’s blessed life, grant us the ability to treat our families well, particularly our wives and daughters. Āmīn.
 Shan-e-Habib al-Rahman, pp. 158 - 159
 Sharḥ al-Zurqāni ʿala al-Mawāhib, vol. 2, p. 185; Seerat-e-Mustafa, p. 182
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 4575
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 1295
 Musnad Imām Aḥmad: 17195
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 2311
 Sunan al-Nasāˈi: 3229
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 6278
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 692
 Al-Quran, 4:19, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān
 Sunan Ibn Mājah: 1977
 JāmiꜤ al-Tirmidhi: 1143
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 3628
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 2593
 Mirˈāt al-Manājīḥ, vol. 5, pp. 82 - 83
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 676
 MajmaꜤ al-Zawa'id, vol. 3, p. 300, hadith: 4659
 JāmiꜤ al-Tirmidhi: 1997
 Fayḍ al-Qadīr, vol. 5, p. 229, hadith: 6865
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 6287
 Sunan Abī Dāwūd: 4932
 JāmiꜤ al-Tirmidhi: 2787
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 3500 & 3502
 Mirˈāt al-Manājīḥ, vol. 6, p. 9
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 115
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 2024
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 3
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri: 2732