In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
I was totally 'off guard' during a 'tazkirah' (Islamic lesson) recently when the 'ustaz' (religious teacher) who was preaching, lambasted some women especially wives for aiming to be 'soleh' (pious). Perhaps I was 'day dreaming'; that's why I was blur to what the 'ustaz' was trying to convey. Well, what's wrong for wanting to be 'soleh' in life?
The 'issue' caught my heart. I opened up my mind and ears; I heard the 'ustaz' told this story: "It was about 3.00 am. A husband woke up; his hands searched for his wife who he thought was on bed. She was not around. Where could 'the woman' be? whispered the husband.
"After 'his eyes searched' the dimmed light-room, he found his wife in a white 'telekung' (praying veil used by Muslim women during prayers) at a corner of the room,performing her 'solat sunat tahajjud' (recommended prayers perform at the wee hours of the night).
The 'ustaz' said some husbands did not mind with their wives doings but some became angry. He said it was not proper for a woman to perform recommended prayers without informing her husband. Perhaps the wife would like to be closer to Allah SWT but she must do it with knowledge.
In performing 'ibadah sunat' (recommended obligations), a wife must first inform her husband. A 'hadith' mentioned that a woman does not fast while her husband is present without his permission, except in Ramadan. (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
The 'ustaz' said, the characteristics of a pious husband (soleh) and pious wife (solehah) is slightly different eventhough top priority of both are to seek the pleasure of Allah SWT. A wife must understand she is not required to be 'soleh' but 'solehah'.
For example a 'solehah wife' will not leave her home without her husband's permission even if it (the action) is regarding good deeds (becoming pious) to be closer to Allah SWT such as going to the 'masjid' for prayers and attending Islamic classes. Women are advised that performing prayers at their homes are better (more afdal) than at masjids and doing in in their rooms are better than in the open section of their homes such as the living rooms. Thus it is wrong for women insisting going to the masjid to be more pious compared to those who are not.
Women are not recommended doing 'congregational activities' but they are rewarded handsomely if they do things that fit and suit their physical being, emotional and abilities. Asma bint Yazeed r.a. once came to Rasulullah s.a.w. as an ambassador of the ladies and said; "Men have surpassed us in rewards through juma (Friday prayers), congregational prayers, visiting the ill, participating in funeral prayers and protecting the borders of the Islamic State." Rasulullah s.a.w. sent her with the message "Your adorning and beautifying yourselves for your husbands and your strivings to please your husbands and your obedience to the wishes of your husbands equals these actions (juma, jihaad etc.) in rewards."
Thus a wife must have knowledge regarding her duties and executes it accordingly to the examples shown by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him - s.a.w.), his wives, daughters and companions.
A husband too must have knowledge regarding his duties which is much broader in scope such as regarding his friends and brothers in Islam, his society, his country, the 'ummah' and of course he is in charge of his wife, his children, his parents, his relatives and so on.
Scholars have made in clear about the characteristics of a pious wife (solehah) and a pious husband (soleh). Regarding a 'solehah' wife, they said her priority is to seek the pleasure of Allah. She tries acquiring the qualities of a good wife by following the examples of the Prophet s.a.w. and obeying what is commanded in the Book of Allah. Complete obedience and adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w. and the Qur'an is the best of a woman’s qualities. - Al-Islaah Publications
The Prophet in a 'hadith' said a woman is married for four reasons: for her wealth, for her fame, for her beauty and for her religion. So marry one for her religion and you will win. (Narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim)
Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands) and guard in their husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their honor, husbands property, etc) (Qur'an 4:34)
An-Nasaii narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. was asked “Who are the best of women?” He replied, “The one who pleases him (her husband) if he looks at her, obeys him if he orders (her) and does not subject her honor or money to what he dislikes.”
Ibn Hibban narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said, “If a woman prayed five prayers, fasted in Ramadan, protected her honor and obeyed her husband; then she will be told (on the Day of Judgment): enter Paradise from any of its (eight) doors.”
If a woman harms (in any way) her husband, then his wife in Paradise tells her: “Do not harm him, May Allah fight you, he is only staying temporarily with you. Soon he will come to us.” (Narrated by Imam Ahmad and At-Tirmithi)
If a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses till he slept while angry, then the Angels will curse her till the morning. (Narrated by Imam Muslim)
Allah does not look to the woman who does not appreciate her husband while she cannot stand his departing her. (Narrated by An-Nasaii)
Any woman who asks her husband for divorce for no reason will not smell the fragrance of Paradise. (Sahih Al-Jamii)
The Prophet s.a.w. said, “If I were to order anyone to bow down to other than Allah, I would order the wife to do so for her husband. By the One who owns the soul of Muhammad,if a wife does not fulfill her obligations towards her husband, then she will not have fulfilled her obligations towards Allah.” (Narrated by Imam Ahmad)
Regarding the characteristics of a pious husband (soleh) scholars said on the Day of Judgment; Allah will ask men if they fulfilled their obligations towards their families. They who fear Allah will do their best to direct the way their wives and children live by educating himself and his family to living according to the Sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w. and the Holy Qur’an, the final word of Allah.
The Prophet s.a.w. said, “The best of you is the best one to his family.” (Narrated by Imam Al-Tabarani)
To share food with her, to provide her with (decent) clothes as he provides himself, to refrain from smacking her, and not ignoring her but in the house. (Narrated by Imam Ahmad)
One should not hate his believer wife. If he dislikes some of her attitudes, he would (surely) like others (attitudes). (Narrated by Imam Muslim)
Woman was created from a bent rib and will not be made straight for you on one way (that you like). If you want to enjoy her, you enjoy her while she is still bent. If you want to straighten her up, you will break her. Breaking her is divorcing her. (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Do (volunteer) fasting (some days) and do not fast (in other days), pray at night (some nights) and sleep (in other nights). Your body has a right on you (to rest), your eye has a right on you (to sleep), and your wife has a right on you. (narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Fear Allah in (treating) women. (Narrated by Imam Muslim)
Be advised to treat women righteously. (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing that Allah brings through it a great deal of good. (Qur'an 4:19)
The Prophet s.a.w. said,”A Dinar (a currency) that you spend on your family, a Dinar that you spend on a poor person and a Dinar that you spend in the sake of Allah. The one that carries the most reward is the one that you spend on your family.” ([Narrated by Imam Muslim)
The Prophet s.a.w. said to Saaid ibn Abi Waqqas,”Know that no charity that you give whether small or large, for the sake of Allah, but you will be rewarded for it, even the bite (of food) that you put in your wife’s mouth.” (Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim) - ES
Based on the characteristics discussed, a husband should strive to be 'soleh' while a wife to be 'solehah'. A 'soleh wife' goes against the teaching of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and would bring much discomfort and stress in life (especially to her family) in this world whats more in the Hereafter!