No other issue has been of intense debate like the duties of a man in Islam. A responsible Muslim man is a man that is willing to take up all the responsibility Allah has assigned to him. The best example of a responsible Muslim man is the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The duty of a Muslim man is towards his mother, father, brother, sisters, wife and children. As soon as a man is of age, he is expected to care for all of the above mentioned relatives.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW): ‘Whoever is better-behaved is whole in his faith. The best among you (humans) is one who does well to his family’.

Many years ago, Arabia men were known to be promiscuous, carefree and adventurous. They were the diehard party types before the advancement of Islam. We should also note that the Arabs had little value for their female folks especially the Quraish. The Quraish were aggressive industrious people who lavished their wealth extensively. They were also idolaters and sacrificed their female babies to their gods; the women were also easily gambled away. Many women were victims of these sets of irresponsible men; women had to take up hard roles of caring for themselves and children. Yet, their survival was a risky business; many women while traveling through the dessert were raped and murdered. Many other women also resorted to prostitution. The dignity of women was not respected. Only women who come from wealthy nobility experienced a better life. Even those noble women were used as political tools for political marriages and espionage.

It is against the above background that one will appreciate the roles Allah ordained men to play over women.

“Prophet Muhammad (SAW): ‘Man is the guardian of his family, and every guardian has responsibilities towards those under his guardianship’.”

The Roles of a Responsible Muslim Man

  1. Salat: he is obligated as the leader of the house to lead his family in prayer. Even when he observes jamaah elsewhere, he is still expected to wake his family up and perform Subhi with them. He is to lead his family in faith and guard them towards the teaching of Islam. So a Muslim man is expected to have immense knowledge of Islam.
  2. Security: he is expected to be a strong man who can defend his family both physically and monetarily. Women were hardly permitted to go to war because of the danger; they were expected to be at home to ensure the education and nurturing of the future generation. For the security of the house, the man must provide guards if he cannot do that himself. He is expected to travel with his wife and other female members of his family to safeguard them from harms. Before the arrivals of modern vehicles, people moved across the desert on horses and wagons. A journey could last for months even years depending on the distance. The desert has its own dangers with respect to the desert dwellers and marauders who organize robbery and hijacked wagons. During these encounters, properties were stolen, women were usually raped or kidnapped, and people were injured and murdered. So it is essential for the man to be physically fit to defend his family and wards. In modern times, while some of the dangers have moved from the desert to the highways, the man should ensure the safety of the vehicles his family travels in. He is expected to house the family in a secure environment and provide their natural movement to their daily activities.
  3. Marriage: a Muslim man is expected to marry when he is financially capable, and if he is not, he is expected to fast to prevent himself from fornication.

And one of Allah signs is that Allah created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them and Allah put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”(30:21),

He is also expected to be compassionate towards his wife “Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stated: ‘the words of a man who says to his wife, ‘I love you truly’, should never desert her heart.’

A responsible Muslim man abstains from adultery and suspicion. The punishment for adultery is death. However, we are warned against making suspicions.

 “Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stated: ‘Whoever is better-behaved is complete in his faith. The best among you (humans) is one who does well to his family’.

4. Shelter:  a man is expected to provide housing for his family. He is supposed to offer different quarters for his parents and wife or wives; children are to be given different rooms as gender permits when they attain puberty. His brother is not permitted to share the same quarter with his wife. Housing is essential for humans since it protects against harsh weather condition and it is also a source of security

5. Food: the man is to ensure that his household is well fed. In the agrarian era, men owned farm which they cultivated for crops for consumption and sales. However, if they do not own a farm, they should be gainfully employed or be entrepreneurs to ensure that the basic needs of their families are fulfilled.

6. Chores: he is to assist his wife where he can. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did “what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.”

7. Finance: a Muslim man is expected to be hardworking and financially capable. The people depending on him are many, so he is expected to provide the financial security of the home. In fact, all the above responsibility will be more comfortable if he is financially sufficient. Ideally, he should bear the full financial burden of the house. However, if he permits the wife to work, he is only allowed to reach a mutual agreement with her on what she should remits. Nevertheless, such an amount cannot exceed ¼ percentage of her income. (Quran 4:13)

8. Contentment: a Muslim man must be moderate in spending; he is not expected to be extravagant or swayed by greed. He is supposed to be trustworthy.

And give to the orphans their belongings and do not substitute the defective [of your own] for the good [of theirs]. And do not consume their properties into your own. Indeed, that is ever a great sin. Quran 4:2

9. Parents: like earlier said a man’s duty extends to his parents. It is believed that the parent nurtured him when he was younger and it is his turn to care of them in old age. The blessings of parents on their children is immeasurable, and so man should ensure that they do not suffer any form of neglects in their old age. Any man that prevents his wife from working must provide for his in laws adequately

10. Divorce: it is the duty of a man to divorce his wife when he has fulfilled his role towards her and no longer feels love to her, even though Allah frowns against it. He is expected to exhaust all means to reconciliation through mediation and counselling from imams. If this fails, he can divorce his wife instead of abusing her physically, financially and emotionally.

11. Inheritance: since death is the ultimate. A Muslim man must know that the end will come. Due to all the aforementioned above responsibility of a Muslim. Allah granted him a fair portion of his parent’s estate. Since out of his cut he will still take care of his dependent irrespective of whether they have properties of their own. So Allah is but fair.

 Allah has commanded you regarding your children: for the male, what is equal to the portion of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [sole survival] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These portions are] an obligation [enforced] by Allah. Indeed, Allah is ever knowing and Wise (Quran 4:11)

 

Conclusion

It is ironic to see the modern man derail from his responsibilities. It is equally disheartening to see Muslim men participate in many acts of irresponsibility. A Muslim should know that Allah enriched the giver. In many situations we see and hear about how men neglect their responsibility to their family. They have derailed back to the Jaliyah period (the era before Islam) were such abominable mass conduct of irresponsibility was fashionable. This is a reminder for the Muslim Ummah that the path to Jannah carries with it lots of responsibilities.

When a man fulfils all his duties as lay down by Allah, and he follows the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). It will be easy for him to earn the respect of his household. It is only a responsible man that can lead his wife and family to Jannah. A man cannot choose at whims one aspect of the teaching of the prophet and Quran and neglects the others. If a man is responsible for his household, leadership will be natural for him. The people that are being lead are not blind to his faults. No human will willingly allow another to lead to hell. If a man wants respect from his household, he should be fair and practice love.

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Allah, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Truly, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful. (Quran 4:36)

References

  1. The Duties Of Men | Principles Of Marriage .., https://www.al-islam.org/principles-marriage-family-ethics-ayatullah-ibrahim-ami (accessed April 01, 2019).

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