It is the firm structure of Islamic family life resting on the following four pillars that makes these values so enduring and enables them to outlive Western practices. They are based on Qur'anic regulations and the traditions from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), handed down from generation to generation.
1. Family life as a cradle of human society providing a secure, healthy and encouraging home for parents and the growing children.
2. Family life as guardian of the natural erotic desires of men and women, leading this powerful urge into wholesome channels.
3. Family life as the very breeding-place for human virtues like love, kindness, mercy.
4. Family life as the most secure refuge against inward and outward troubles.
An ever valid and never outgrowing aspect of Islamic family life is, however, that the strength of all the four pillars is made up by the system. And it must not be forgotten, that the benefits of family life are extended not only to blood relations but encompass also the world-wide family of Muslims, the Islamic brotherhood.
Islam considers the role of family as the unit of society. The Muslim family is the miniature of the whole Muslim society. The Muslim marriage is a contract in which both wife and husband have rights and duties. It is the husband’s duty to support his family completely, even if his wife is rich and economically independent. The wife has not to worry about earning a living.
Marriage in Islam
In the Qur'an, the marriage relationship is described as one with "tranquility," "love" and "mercy." Elsewhere in the Qur'an, husband and wife are described as "garments" for each other (2:187). Garments offer protection, comfort, modesty, and warmth. Above all, the Qur'an describes that the best garment is the "garment of God-consciousness" (7:26).
Muslims view marriage as the foundation of society and family life. In a practical aspect, Islamic marriage is thus structured through legally-enforceable rights and duties of both parties. In an atmosphere of love and respect, these rights and duties provide a framework for the balance of family life and the fulfillment of both partners.
Islam condemns domestic violence. Once a number of women came to the prophet, on whom be peace, to complain that their husbands had beaten them. The prophet announced that men who beat their wives are not good men. The prophet also said, "Do not beat the female servants of Allah." Allah knows that life is not always a bowl of cherries. And so He stipulates that a man must be kind to his wife even if he happens to dislike her (Qur'an 4-19). Allah offers a good reason as to why men should not dislike their wives. Allah says that He has placed much good in women (Qur'an 4:19).
Domestic Violence, continued
In this regard the prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said that no believing man should hold a grudge against a believing woman. So what is a husband to do if he dislikes some things about his wife? This is bound to occur, since no human being is perfect. The prophet instructed that men should look for the agreeable traits in their wives rather than focus on their faults. (See Saheeh Muslim, chapter on advice relating to women).
The prophet also advised men that if they wish to benefit from marriage they should accept their wives as they are rather than try to straighten them out and thus end up in divorce.
The way a wife should be treated
The prophet equated perfect belief with good treatment to one's wife when he said: "The most perfect believer is one who is the best in courtesy and amiable manners, and the best among you people is one who is most kind and courteous to his wives" (see Tirmidhi, chapter on the obligations of a man to his wife). Finally, the prophet, the best example of conduct said: "The best among you is the one who treats his family best."
Some of the last words of the prophet delivered during the farewell pilgrimage enjoins that men should hold themselves accountable before Allah concerning the question of how they treat their wives. Therefore his advice to all men, is as follows: "You must treat them with all kindness."