First of all, it is to be stressed that the woman is recognized by Islam as the full and equal partner of the man in the procreation of humankind. He is the father, she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is not less vital than his. By this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect. She is entitled to equal rights, she undertakes equal responsibilities, and she has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner.

Moreover, the relations between the spouses in Islam should be based on tranquility, love and mercy. Allah says, (And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.) (Ar-Rum 30:21) And He says, (Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments….) (Al-Baqarah 2:187) Commentators on the Qur’an understand this to mean that husbands and wives are for mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection.

Tranquility, love, and mercy summarize the ideals of Islamic marriage. It is the duty of the husband and wife to see that they are a source of comfort and tranquility for each other. They should do everything physically, emotionally and spiritually to make each other feel happy and comfortable. They must care for each other. They should not harm or injure each other, either physically or verbally. In order to increase the tranquility and comfort in their relations and in their home, they should love each other and be merciful and kind to each other.

The eminent Muslim scholar Dr. `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor, Professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an at Al-Azhar University, states,

In fact, Islam has honored woman and granted her an equal status with man. Moreover, a woman can excel a man by obeying Allah, drawing near to Him, and perfectly fulfilling her religious duties. Here, it is worth mentioning that the first one to believe in the message of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (may Allah be pleased with her). Fatimah, the daughter of Allah’s Prophet, is the best of all women on earth (in all generations). Moreover, many women have made great contributions to Islam and Islamic history has witnessed many of women’s honorable stances.

It is not permissible for the husband or any other person to treat women except in a good and kind manner. They cannot say to them anything but only good and kind words. A husband who treats his wife in the manner stated in the question is contradicting Islamic teachings. Islam enjoins husbands to treat their wives kindly. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Treat women nicely…” and “The best amongst you, are the best for their wives, and I am the best of you for my wives.”

I would like to ask the husband referred to in the question from where he brought the statement that “a woman should never be listened to unless she invites her husband to prayer or fasting.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to seek the counsel and advice of his wives, play with them, travel with them, listen to their opinions, and fulfill all their rights. Here, we can review the well-known stance of Umm Salamah, the Mother of the Believers, when the Muslims concluded the Hudaibiyyah Peace Treaty with the polytheists of Makkah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered his Companions to slaughter their sacrificial animals, but they were too depressed to do that. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave instructions in this regard three times but with negative response. He told his wife Umm Salamah about this attitude of his Companions. She advised him to take the initiative, slaughter his animal and have his head shaved. Seeing that, the Muslims started to slaughter their animals and shave their heads. The advice of the Mother of the Believers in this situation was very good and highly appreciated.

We also know that many women have wise opinions and ways of conduct that lead to much goodness in all fields of life. Therefore, I advise the husband referred to in the question and others who behave like him to give up their arrogance and reconsider the lack of their knowledge of the religion and to treat their wives as full human beings. A Muslim should treat his wife with extreme gentleness and love and seek her advice in all his affairs, as this enables one to lead a happy and well-organized life. Almighty Allah says, (And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness…) (Al-Baqaraqh 2:228)