During one of the sisters’ seminars we organised in UCH, our mother of the day, Dr. Adeyemi, was asked if it’s OK to marry a man of a lower level of education or social class. She said it’s not advisable because there will be issues especially if the woman rises to a managerial position and becomes extremely wealthier than him. We all grumbled that, eh! this mummy has come again o!  What if they love each other sincerely? What about the story of  Khadijah (ra) and the Prophet of Allaah (saw)? Blablabla… Now I understand what she was trying to say; it’s all about the issue of submissiveness.

After my post yesterday, a brother messaged me. He said, “those elderly spinsters, widows and divorcees you mentioned, are they really available?” I was shocked because, even without thinking for too long, I could mention two or three people I know personally. I told him there’s one sister I know who is a highly successful career woman. Then he asked, “Will she be submissive?”. I had to tell him that I couldn’t answer that one o, he has to find out by himself.

So, I started asking myself why this issue is coming up so often? Why is it always linked with social class and educational level? Who is a submissive wife? Is there any standard scale for measuring submissiveness? Well, in my own opinion, submissiveness can be very subjective. What Mr. A considers submissiveness, might be considered as arrogance by Mr. B. Also, Mrs. X might see a certain behaviour as an act of submissiveness, while Mrs. Y sees it as foolishness. This is why couples are strongly advised against comparing their lives with that of others. What is OK by you and your spouse, should be left that way. If something works for you, stick to it. Understanding lo matter!

Allaah says:
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence, what Allaah orders them to guard… ”
Quran chapter 4 verse 34.

Allaah (Subhaanahu wata’ala) has simply summarised the rights and responsibilities of both spouses in this single ayah. In short, it takes two to tango. Submissiveness is not sensible in the setting of physical, emotional and financial abuse. The wife must be devoutly obedient while the husband, simultaneously, leads, provides for, maintains and protects her. Whichever side the balance tilts to, there will be problems…

WaLlaahu Ta’aala A’alam

Khadijah Sanni-Tijani


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