In order to establish the relationship between wife and husband on a sound and explicit base in accordance with a clear and defined religious principle, the Qur'an says:
"...and they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in a just manner..." Holy Qur'an (2:228)
Through this wonderful legal relationship, Islam builds the connection between the couple on the basis of an exact and just equation. The woman has her legal rights upon her husband, as also the man has legal rights upon her. In short, Islam has imposed certain rights upon both husband and wife.
Studying the marital relations in Islam we realize that Islamic laws advocating marital bonds between man and wife are based on affection, mercy, kindness and good treatment towards each other and consider the marriage contract as a sacred covenant.
How wonderfully Imam Ja'far bin Muhammad Al-Sadiq (a.s.), refers to this sacred contract! He says:
"When one of you wants to marry a woman, let him say to her: 'I accept the covenant taken by Allah': ... And then (a woman) must be retained in honor or released in kindness."
The religious texts and concepts define the rights of the wife upon her husband as follows:
a. Maintenance: The Wife has the right of being properly maintained by her husband and he is responsible for providing his wife with food, clothes, residence, medical treatment, adornment (as per his means) and other expenditures needed by the wife and becoming her social status, on one hand, and falling within the husband's financial means, on the other.
Allah the Exalted says: "Lodge them where you dwell, according to your means, and harass them not so as to straiten life for them. And if they are pregnant, then spend for them till they bring forth their burden. Then, if they give suckle for you, give them their due payment and enjoin one another among you to do good; but if you disagree, then let other (woman) suckle for him. Let him who has abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah has given him; Allah does not lay a burden an any soul, except that which He has given it. Allah will bring about ease after hardship." Holy Qur'an (65:6-7)
b. Good Treatment: The following verses of the Qur'an explain the sharing of affection love, confidence and respect with her.
"...and treat them (woman) kindly..." Holy Qur'an (4:19)
"...and then (a woman) must be retained in honor or released in kindness..." Holy Qur'an (2:229)
"And of His signs is this. He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy..." Holy Qur'an (30:21)
The Messenger (s.a.w.) said: "Verily the best of you is the best to his women; and I am the best of you to my women."
He (s.a.w.) also said: "May Allah bless the man who does good between himself and his wife; as Allah the Exalted has given him authority over her and made him her guardian."
Family life is the fountain of happiness and the source of love and affection. In the warmth of the home man finds his comfort and stability, and near his wife he feels pleased and secured.
The more affectionate the relations, the better the companionship between the couple and the deeper the feeling of peace, security and comfort in the souls of husband, wife and the children.
How exact is the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he says: "A man's words to his wife: 'I love you' would never go out of her heart."
Islam enhances good companionship with the wife, fulfilling her psychological and aesthetic inclinations and satisfying her sexual and instinctive desires so that all their marital dimensions may rub against each other.
It insists even further than that. Islam asks the husband to resort to every means and method that causes his wife to love him, physically, spiritually and instinctively, tying her tightly to him. Islam urges man to be keen on keeping himself good-looking and attractive to her, responding to her sexual desire, starting with foreplay for excitement so that he may reach climax with her simultaneously, as she is a matching partner to him in enjoying sexual pleasures. She is not a mere means for satisfying man's desire.
A Tradition says: "All the believer's diversions are futile, except in three instances: in paying court to his wife, as (only) these are true." "When one wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, one may not hasten her, as women, too, have their desires." "Three acts are considered to be rude: to accompany somebody without asking his full name; to refuse an invitation for a meal, or to accept it but refuse to eat and to start sexual intercourse with the wife before fore playing."
It is related that: The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) on entering the house of Umm Salama, smelled a strong perfume. He asked: "Is Al-Hawla here?" Umm Salama replied: "Yes, she is here complaining about her husband." Al-Hawla came out and told the Prophet: "My husband neglects me." He said: "Give him more, Hawla." She answered: "I leave no perfume without using it, but he still disregards me." He remarked: "If only he would know what he would get by approaching you!" She asked: "What would he get by approaching me?" The Prophet replied: "If he approached you, two angels would escort him and he would be like a man drawing his sword to fight for the cause of Allah. Then by having sexual intercourse, his sins would fall off him like leaves from a tree and when he takes the bath, his sins would wash off him."
Al-Hasan bin Al-Jahm narrates that he saw Imam Al-Rida (a.s.) with his beard dyed. So I asked him: "May I be your sacrifice, I see you have dyed." The Imam said, "Yes, embellishment increases the chastity of women. They abandon chastity when their husbands abandon embellishment." Then he continued "Would you like to see her as she would see you, without adorning herself?" Ibn Al-Jahm answered in the negative. The Imam replied, "That is it. The habit of the prophets is to be clean, to use perfumes, to trim the hair and to frequent their wives."
By the above quotations regarding rights of the wife upon her husband we can illustrate a clear picture of leading a good marital life and fulfill all aspects of the material, moral, instinctive and aesthetic relations between husband and wife.