Justice in Social Relations
Part (1): Marriage
According to the views of the Religious Authority, Sayyed
Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah
A major component of social justice is the justice in matrimonial
relations. Allah has given the wife certain rights over her husband and
given the husband similar rights. Each party has to give the other his
In this respect, it is known that the woman has the right to be
provided by her husband for all her basic needs, food, clothes, shelterÖ
etc and even some of the luxuries Let him who has
abundance spend out of his abundance (86:07) according to his
abilities and the wifeís needs.
The husband is just with his wife if he treats her kindly:
O you who believe! it is not lawful for you
that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not
straiten them in order that you may take part of what you have given
them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency, and treat them
kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while
Allah has placed abundant good in it. (04:19). The husband might
feel, in some cases and due to certain external or momentous factors,
that he dislikes his wife. In this case he should not let this feelings
dominate him. Rather he has to study the issue from the point of view of
what is good and bad for him, since he might be wrong in evaluating the
consequences of any action he takes.
Moreover, Allah wants the husband to give the wife her rightful dowry;
He should not deny her this right or pressurize her to forgo it. He says:
And if you wish to have (one) wife in place of
another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from
it anything; would you take it by slandering (her) and (doing her)
manifest wrong? And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each
other, and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?
(4:20-21). This means that justice in this domain is a firm
Moreover, jurist's Fatwas might vary with respect to sexual rights.
The well-known Fatwa among them is that the woman has a right of once
every four months. But we believe that the right of the woman is equal to
that of the man. This means that just as the woman should give her
husband his sexual rights whenever he needs them, the husband too has to
give her this right whenever need be; that is of course without causing
any harm and in the absence of any legal or physical hindrance.
Allah says: and they have rights similar to
those against than in a just manner and the men are a degree above them.
(This degree has to do with divorce).
Thus, the man has a right to have a sexual relation with his wife in
all circumstances unless there is a legal excuse. She has to oblige and
she cannot leave the house if he needs her to satisfy his needs. But
there is no such need we advise the woman, as a precautionary measure,
not to leave the house without the husband's permission in accordance
with the view of Sayyed Al-Khouie (May Allah bless his soul), while other
jurists believe that she does not have the right, under any
circumstances, to leave the house without her husband's permission.
It is also impermissible for the man to hit his wife at will that is
without a justified reason. Such as when the man comes home to find, for
instance that his son is dirty, or that he does not like the food, or
that she would be tired and asleep while he wants her to make him a cup
of coffee. Such a mentality reveals that many men feel that their wives
are slaves, while a woman is a human being just like a man.
Form a legal point of view a man does not own his wife through the
marriage contract. This contract is a contract like any other made of
articles with some binding to this party while others are binding to the
A husband or a wife might think that he/she owns her/his spouse. This
is not true. Both remain equal human beings that are government by the
contract they agreed on.
There are men who send their wives to their parent's houses. But this
is impermissible, just as it is impermissible for them not to provide
food, clothes, and health care for their wives. Wives too should not
leave their houses just because they are angry. It is true that sometimes
they might be hit or treated violently. And in such cases they are
allowed to leave. But husbands are not allowed to throw them out; if they
do, they still have to provide for them. If they do not then this right
becomes a kind of debt. This is only just. Moreover, a woman is not
allowed to hit her husband if he is weaker than her, and this is also
based on the rule of equality in rights.
Allah has laid down the basis of the matrimonial relationship on two
principles: keep (them) in good fellowship or let
(them) go with kindness. Those who
want to preserve their marriage ought to do so through good fellowship,
giving each party his right, and those who want to terminate it, should
do so in kindness and not through pressures and the like. This is the
theme of justice that should regulate the marriage.
Part of the kindness Allah calls for, is in the issue of housework
which if stipulated in the marriage contract that the woman should
undertake to do it then woman has to, but if not, then the woman has the
choice. But usually when the man treats his wife kindly and lovingly the
woman would gladly do the housework but when he hits or curses her or her
family then how could she serve him. Marriage is an institute that serves
the future and the society. Thus, whoever wants to marry, be it a man or
a woman, should do so as a human being.