Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation


Are my akada aware many women in some communities have their meals only after their husband has been served?

Those women dare not take their nourishment before their spouse.

In the psyche of those women, a woman sharing a dish alongside her husband is a taboo and a sign of lack of humility.

One may argue the delay of a woman’s meal until her husband has had his is Sunnah.

If a woman understood the rights of her husband over her, she would remain standing until her husband has consumed his food. ~> The Messenger of Allah

Yes, it is Sunnah. However, it is a verbal, hypothetical and theoretical Sunnah.

The practice and reality is the Messenger of Allah dined along with his wives, as did his Companions.

The wives of the Prophet and female Companions, sometimes, enjoyed their meals before their spouse returned home.

One of the principles of the Sharee’ah is the precedence of the practice over the verbal.

Another principle is the reality takes priority over the hypothetical.

Essentially, provided the couple is present at mealtime, a woman and her husband taking their meal together is the stronger and recommended Sunnah.

In the absence of her spouse, a woman can and should have her nutrition before her husband, unless she wishes to wait to share the food with him.

A woman can eat with her husband and with others he dines with or with her brother. ~> Imam Malik [1]

It is also a real, practical and recommended Sunnah for parents and children to dine together.

There is nothing ‘western’ or ‘modern’ about a child dining at table with a parent.

Children should not be driven away when the father – or any adult – sits for his meal.

Umar bin Abu Salamah, the stepson of the Messenger of Allah and the son of his wife Umm Salamah, narrated his dining experiences alongside the Prophet:

I ate a meal with the Messenger of Allah. [2]

Anas bin Malik, another young child and the son of Umm Sulaim, explained:

A tailor invited the Messenger of Allah to a meal which he had prepared. I went along with the Messenger of Allah. [3]

Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr, the younger brother of Aishah had a meal experience along with more than a hundred adults. [4]

On a specific occasion, a refreshing drink was presented to the Messenger of Allah some of which he drank.

The Sharee’ah stipulates any passage of refreshment be done on the right-hand rule.

At his left were elderly men and at his right sat a young boy.

Do you permit me to hand the drink to these men? the Messenger of Allah asked the young boy.

Absolutely not! was the boy’s response. I will not grant anyone preference over me in anything I deserve from you.

The Messenger of Allah handed the boy the rest of the drink. [5]

There is equally nothing ‘western’ or ‘modern’ about a man entering the kitchen to assist his spouse with the cooking.

A man can prepare the meal all on his own, if he wishes.

A couple who shares any fraction of the mutual love and understanding between our Salaf and their spouse will determine the path their marriage follows.

One’s relationship with one’s spouse need not comply to the neanderthalic conventions of some present day Muslims to whom nuptial mutual love and understanding is as alien as a man being humane to his wife.

Moreover, a woman can disobey her husband’s instruction to prepare a meal.

Umm Dharr did.

Abu Dharr, in the presence of a guest, repeatedly asked his spouse to serve them some food.

She refused until the voices of the couple were raised.

Abu Dharr, resigned with these words:

All right! Women have neglected the words of the Messenger of Allah “A woman is a crooked rib. Whoever attempts to straighten her will break her. Whoever persuades her gently, will find love and abundance.”

Umm Dharr quietly and meekly brought some stew dish. [6]

If the husband sincerely emulates our Salaf in words and deeds, not only when he gets his way, but also when he does not, and possesses an iota of the serenity of our Salaf, he will find a softer way to convince his spouse into obedience.

To conclude, any woman who chooses to remain hungry until her husband has had his fill of the dish she prepared is entitled to her choice.

A woman who sits to have dinner with her spouse and children acts within the emphasized and prevailing Sunnah.

[1] Imam Malik. Al-Muwatta. Bk 49, Num 49.10.35

[2] Saheeh Bukhari. Vol. 7, Bk 65, Num 289

[3] Num 291

[4] Num 294

[5] Al-Muwatta. Bk 49, Num 49.9.18

Saheeh Bukhari. Vol. 7, Bk 69, Num 524

[6] Imam Bukhari. Adab al-Mufrad. Ch. 31 Guests And Spending. Sub 317. Num 747



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This entry was posted on July 4, 2013 by in Human Rights.


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