Umm Saad observes some qualities of the Prophet’s (saw) excellent character that showed up in his marital life. Let us look at them one by one.
Allah says in the Quran: “…and live with them in kindness, even if you dislike them perhaps you dislike something God has placed much good in.” (An-Nisa 4:19). The Prophet (sa) said: “The best among you is he who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
He was even kind to the relatives of his wives. An old woman came to the Prophet (sa) and he smiled at her, showed her respect, and asked her, “How are you? How have you been doing?” She answered, “I am fine, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O, Messenger of Allah.” When she left Aisha (rta) asked, “Why did you welcome this old woman so warmly in a way that you do not welcome anyone else?” The Prophet (sa) replied, “She used to come and visit us when Khadeejah was alive. Do you not know that honoring the ties of friendship is a part of faith?” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (sa) was so keen to keep his wives happy that he would call Aisha (rta) to enjoy some innocent kinds of entertainment.
Aisha (rta) reports that on one occasion, the Prophet (sa) was sitting, and he heard some noise from people and children outside. There was a group of people gathered around some Abyssinians who were dancing.
He said: “O, Aisha, come and see!” I put my cheek on one of his shoulder and looked through the gap. Then he asked, “O, Aisha, have you had enough? Have you had enough?” I said: “No, just to see how much I meant to him and I saw him shifting his weight from one foot to the other.” (Nasai, Bukhari and Muslim)
Once, the Prophet (sa) asked his family for some food, which he could eat with bread, they told him, “We have nothing apart from vinegar.” He asked them to bring it and said: “How good a simple food is vinegar.” (Muslim)
One of the charactistics of the Prophet (sa) is that he never criticized food, if he liked it, he ate it and if he did not like it, he simply left it. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Umar (rta) said: “We Quraish used to have control over our women. When we came to Madinah we found a people whose women had control over them, and our women began to learn from those women.
One day my wife was angry with me, and was arguing with me. I did not like this but she told me, ‘Do you not like my arguing with you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet (sa) argue with him. They get angry and keep away from him all day until night falls.’ So, I went to see Hafsa (Umar rta’s daughter) and asked her, ‘Do you argue with the Prophet (saw)?’ She said: ‘Yes’. I asked her, ‘Do you get angry and keep away from him until night falls?’ She said: ‘Yes’.
I said: ‘The one who does that is doomed to loss! Do you not fear the anger of Allah on account of the anger of his Prophet (sa)? Soon you will be condemned! Do not argue with the Messenger of Allah, and do not ask him for anything. Ask me for whatever you need.'”
Umar (rta) came to the Prophet (sa) and told him about the conversation he had with Hafsah (rta), and the Prophet (sa) just smiled. (Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Nasai)
Conversations between the Prophet (sa) and his wives should not be assessed as that of a prophet and his wife, but as between a man and his wife; after all they were human beings.
Narrating an incident, Aisha (rta) said: “I came to the Prophet (sa) with some Harirah (a dish made with flour and milk) that I had cooked for him, and told Sawdah (rta) (Prophet’s saw other wife) – as the Prophet (sa) was sitting between me and her – “Eat.” She refused; so, I said: “Either you eat or I will fill your face!” She still refused, so I put my hand in the Harirah and dubbed her face with it. The Prophet (sa) laughed, put some Harirah in her hand and told her: “Do the same to her!” In another report: He lowered his knee (moved out of the way) so that she could get even with me, then she took some and wiped my face with it, and the Prophet (sa) smiled. (Al-Haythami 4/316, Al-Muntakhab 4/393, Kanz al ummal 7/302).
Once, Aisha (rta) was talking very boldly with the Prophet (sa). Abu Bakar (rta) happened to come and he grew so angry at his daughter’s behaviour that he wanted to beat her but the Prophet (sa) prevented him. After Abu Bakar (rta) had left, he remarked, “See, how I save you.” (Abu Dawood)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) never demanded or bothered his family members. In spite of a challenging and time-consuming mission he managed to run many of his own errands. His wives reported that he would often sew his torn clothes, repair his worn out shoes, milk his goat. (Ahmad)
Fairness and Steadfastness
Prophet (sa) was easy going in other matters, but was very firm in the matters of religion. Once during the course of conversation, Aisha (rta) described a woman as short. The Prophet (sa) interrupted her and said that this amounted to back biting. (Masnad Ahmad)
Sense of Justice
Aisha (rta) stated,” Allah’s Messenger (sa) used to divide his time equally amongst us and would pray, ‘O, Allah, this is my division in what I posses, so please do not hold me to blame for the division (of affection) which only you control.'” (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidhi)
In another statement Aisha (rta) related that when Allah’s Messenger (sa) was ill he called all his wives and said: “Verily I am no longer able to visit all of you, so, if you do not mind that I remain with Aisha, please allow me to do so.” (Abu Dawood).
Allah says in the Quran: “Men are in charge of women by (right of) what (qualities) Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard…” (An-Nisa 4:34)
This position of Qawwam (maintenance) means the man is completely responsible for his wife. It is indeed a difficult one. But every Muslim can find a solution to all challenges of his marital life from our beloved Prophet’s (sa) own exemplary role as a husband.