In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Love and intimacy for Muslims

by Umm Reem
Source: MuslimMatters.org

Filed under: Family,Featured,Lifestyle |

One day a sister dropped by to pick up something and saw me dressed up with make-up and jewelry, so she assumed I was going somewhere. When I told her I wasn’t, the reason I dressed up surprised her. I told her, “Because it is about time for my husband to return from work.” She said, “You still get ready for your husband?” “Yes, what do you mean “still”?!” I asked. She said, “I used to do that in the beginning of the marriage and then I don’t it anymore.”

Unfortunately this is a common scenario among many Muslim married sisters. In fact, one of the most common complaints husbands have against their wives is that the wives don’t beautify themselves at home.

I have personally observed many Muslim sisters stop taking care of themselves once they get married. Some married sisters only dress up when they go out and while others don’t even bother with that. For some, abaya and hijab become a perfect “cover up” for outside the house and a t-shirt and sweat pants become the perfect lounge-wear for inside the house!

Reasons Why Sisters Don’t Dress Up:
I cannot generalize the reasons why sisters stop taking interest in taking care of themselves at home, but I want to highlight 2 main points:

  1. Once married to a practicing brother, sisters assume their knight in shining armor won’t be interested in their looks but, rather, in their imaan. They believe their beauty lies in their “piety.”
  2. Husbands don’t express their desire in seeing their wives dressed up. Or, when their wives dress up, they don’t bother to compliment them, which confuses the wife into thinking, “He does not care.”

Beauty and Piety are Two Separate Characteristics:
Let’s remember, piety may add to a person’s inner beauty which may reflect through physical appearance; however, they both are independent characteristics.

There is no prohibition in looking good; in fact, to physically beautify oneself to please one’s husband and keep him happy is not only a praiseworthy act but also a means to earn reward from Allah azza wa jall.

When the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam was asked which woman was best, he replied, “The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command….” (Nasa’i)

Hence, sisters, please on a daily basis before your husband returns home:

  • Take a shower (make sure you are not smelling like food)
  • Change your clothes.
  • Wash your face with cleanser/scrub.
  • Put light make up on. Please don’t use the excuse, “I don’t know how to.”
  • Wear some jewelry.
  • Show some creativity with your hair. Remember frizzy hair can be taken care of with gel, mousse, hair spray, hair straightener etc.
  • Use your perfume everyday and not only when you visit a friend.

Moreover, try to get a facial done once in a while. If you can’t afford to, there are millions of products available at very reasonable prices for home facials/deep cleaning.

Dear sisters, abaya should not be used to cover up weight gain, and neither should the hijab keep frizzy/unkempt hair covered. I understand that a t-shirt and sweat pants are the most comfortable clothing but it needs to be changed before your husband get back home.

Husbands: Pay Attention & Don’t be Stingy with Words:

In the early days of marriage, since husbands are “new,” it is important to look good. As the time passes and the couple becomes more comfortable around each other, it is only natural to become more informal. I remember the first time I wore my glasses in front of my husband was after SIX months of our marriage!

Compliments are incentives for looking good. For non-hijaabis it is easier to stay focused about their looks since their appearance is visible in public.

On the other hand, once a person is covered behind abaya and hijaab, it is easier to become careless about one’s appearance; besides, “who is going to look?”. This is where a husband’s attention and compliments become essential.  A wife desires attention from her husband. If she feels her husband appreciates her dressing up and taking care of herself, it will encourage her to take care of herself. Hence, husbands please:

  • Pay attention to your wife on a daily basis
  • Show interest in her looks, clothes and her overall appearance
  • Encourage her by buying her clothes you would like her to wear
  • When she is dressed up, make sure you praise her.
  • When she is not, remind her gently

Marriage is a mutual bond of understanding and give and take. This issue, too, requires an effort on both sides.

And finally, it’s never too late to start young.  Parents, some advice for your young girls:

  • Train your daughters to take care of themselves from a young age.
  • Instill a habit of working out regularly so they become accustomed to maintaining their physique.
  • Allow them to wear jewelry at home and even let them experiment with make up so when they get married and should be adorning themselves for their husbands, the intimidation factor isn’t there. Wearing make-up and jewelry won’t become a burden, but rather a daily ritual.
  • Train them to dress nicely and keep a pleasant demeanor every day at home in front of their family.

By taking these subtle steps you prepare them for some lifelong habits that will only make their marital life more pleasant inshaAllah.

20 comments
Musleema
Musleema

Salam. Can I ask something? Can married Muslim women use hair straightener?

DustonBarto
DustonBarto

That reminds me of a handbook for women that I read once that was published in the 1950s in the USA. I dunno; I think if you've got romance in your marriage that an old T-shirt and sweatpants is sexy. My wife and I still squeeze each other when I come home from work, we talk and play with our daughter and share intimate moments. I'm more in love with her now than I was when we got married but we just express it in different ways. So we aren't pouncing on each other every day.... so what? She's in my thoughts all the times and when temptation comes along in the form of large-breasted and flirtatious vixens along my daily route there's not even a moment's pause before looking away and guarding myself for my wife. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I was not so resolved when we first got married but it's the truth. The longer we've been together the more a part of each other we have become. We don't need the sexualized appearance to be "turned on" because we're always "tuned in" to each other's thoughts and feelings.

Mariam
Mariam

PART 2

As Muslims we state La illaha illaAllah Muhammad ar Rasul Allah, but when it comes to the crunch we don't actually apply that. We actually debate the laws of the Lord of the Worlds and The Creator of Everything including our limited minds! LUDICROUS! philosophy. while i appreciate what you are trying to say, the only way that we can raise our status, love and beautify ourselves, inside and out, is with adhering to the Commands of The All Mighty that have been revealed to us through Quran and Sunnah. Our Creator Knows us and our short comings. Islaam should be our way of life, not for us to pick and chose what doesn't sit well with us. May Allah set Guide and Forgive us all, as without this we are doomed.

and Allah set Knows Best.

P.S. for those who wish to label...I am born Muslim,female,wife,mother,sister,university graduate and I work.

Mariam
Mariam

PART 1. Firstly, the overriding issue here is that a wife should beautify herself for her husband period...in whatever way the terms of their relationship defines that "beauty" (i.e. some guys don't like make up). The author is speaking on their own opinion/experience and relating that to Hadith. It should be taken as advice not criticism, for those of us who are paranoid about our behaviour in relation to our relationship with Islaam. @fatma @philosophy @bani aadam @Salwah Kirk @Maryam C. Romero @Zahra Summayah you are taking offence to a confirmed Sahih Hadith of our beloved Prophet sas (who never made statements according to his whims but from Divine Revelation), my ADVICE is to check your ego at the door and to re establish your relationship with the Deen as that is what makes our status rise in Islaam whether we are male or female. It would be understandable if you took offence to the authors "OPINION", but what that opinion is based on is a confirmed Sahih HADITH, which is what you seem to take issue with. But for you to speak against the words from Hadith that are CLEAR because it doesn't fit in with your opinion is scary.

SirSalwa Kirk
SirSalwa Kirk

Husbands as well as wives need to make themselves interesting for the other. This may or may not include dressing up. And the hadith that says the best of women are those who look good for their husband and obey his commands worries me a lot. If I allow for translation and a different time and place, and allow for the known kindness of the Prophet (saw), it does not seem so bad though.

fatma
fatma

i am appalled that such emphasis is placed on woman to look good, and it's only her role to provide love and intimacy and no mention is made of men and hygiene, yes I'm gasping! how about she reads a book and can have an intelligent conversation?

"When she is dressed up, make sure you praise her.When she is not, remind her gently"

like your training an infant or a dog ?

Maryam C. Romero
Maryam C. Romero

Why do we have to dress up all the time?! Cant we be tired from a fulltime job and children and housework that on our ONE day off we stay home (the other one is for errands) and want to relax and just be in our "house clothes"~ oh yeah as we are cleaning the house.

Faiza Limbadaa
Faiza Limbadaa

Making correction from the above post..to the women who study or work*....sorry for the mistakes :)

Faiza Limbadaa
Faiza Limbadaa

I believe this article refers to tbe home makers (refrain from using the word house wife) wives. Even to the the work n study, wen u r home on weekends, dress up for your husband instead of just dressinh up wen going out..i notice this with lots of married women and wen I ask them the reason, they say no one has time to do all that...

Zahra Summayah
Zahra Summayah

This article makes it sound like women are at home all day? Surely if studying or working then you get dressed to go out.

HawaDajan
HawaDajan

Assalamu alaikum,

I wanted to point out that it is haram to go out wearing perfume this is in reference to your comment about only wearing perfume when you visit a friend:

'Narrated AbuMusa: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If a woman uses perfume and passes the people so that they may get its odour, she is so-and-so, meaning severe remarks.' Sunan Abudawud Combing the Hair (Kitab Al-Tarajjul) [33:4161]. I understand your article is aimed at the general population of muslims but don't approve of haram actions fear Allah my sister, this is sincere advise.

philosophy
philosophy

(continues - part 3 of 3) I'm all for a woman looking and feeling beautiful. But rather than train my daughters to simply dress up for their husbands, i will be empowering them to believe in their significance and their inner beauty. Yes - i am muslim. Yes - i do look after myself every day and am often complimented on how well presented I am. And yes, i have daughters who are always well presented. But no....i don't do that to simply keep the man in my life happy but rather because it makes me feel good and because i value myself as a woman rather than just a wife.

philosophy
philosophy

(cont - part 2 of 3) Further, your article misses the real point - which is women beautifying themselves for themselves. Before we can go on a mission of pleasing our husbands, we must be at one with ourself and from that stems the desire to look after ourself. The reason why many women stop caring for themselves isn't because they are lazy....its because somewhere along the way they stopped caring for themselves and loving themselves for the wonderful human beings that they are. It is so easy to get lost in the modern juggle of motherhood, marriage and career.....telling women they should beautify themselves for their husbands is simply adding to their already full load. Instead, why not teach women to love themselves and empower themselves....out of that will stem the desire to care for themselves and that is a much healthier place to be than to feel obligated to shower, dress up, throw some jewellery on before hubby comes home while simultaneously making sure dinner is served and the kids are cared for. (cont further in part 3 of this comment)

.

philosophy
philosophy

Your article, while raising some valid points, over simplifies the issue. It is firstly based on the assumption that the wife is at home for the day, cooking and smelling like food and has the luxury of time to beautify herself for her husband before he returns home from work. The fact is that more and more women in general (and indeed muslim women) are now working out of the home, often returning home at the same time or in some instances after their husband. Secondly, it makes no mention of the man's parallel 'obligation' to also maintain his physical presentation and demeanour. Women, as much as men, want to feel attracted to their partners. (continues in further post below due to word limit)

Serena
Serena

I am a non-muslim and the reality is - the same scenario exists for non-muslim marriages as is described here for muslim marriages. Familiarity can often breed [no....not contempt] but laziness and it does indeed work both ways

bani aadam
bani aadam

I can imagine non-muslims reading this article and gasping...

A note to mention that this principle/behaviour goes the other way as well - men looking good and taking care of themselves for their wives.

Of course everything should be done in balance and in trying to avoid our already inflated consumeristic lifestyle.

MohammadAbdullahTariq
MohammadAbdullahTariq

@philosophy your philosophy disregards the emotions and feelings beauty of women can draw in men that literally has the potential to destroy communities, families, work places, schools etc. . That's why in Islam; women are asked to cover in front of (strange) men.

one should just read the novels, or watch sitcoms.

true everyone loves to be presentable but, in Islam, we believe that God counsels his believers what is best for them.

Because God knows, and any wise person would know that it is extremely difficult for most people (especially beautiful people) to draw the line between confidence from being presentable and confidence from the attention one gets from everyone at being beautifully presentable (i.e. attractive i.e. attracting attention ... being realistic here!).

For most people the pleasure of attention and good praise over comes or dilutes all other sincere aspirations or motives.

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