Maulana Thanwi’s Equal Treatment of His Wives

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Hakimul Ummat, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh) went to great lengths in maintaining equality between his wives. Even in matters which do not require strict equality, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali (rahmatullah alayhi) exercised extreme caution so as to maintain the happiness of his wives. The following episode illustrates the great care he would exercise in his relationship with his wives

One day someone presented a beautiful piece of cloth as a gift to Hadhrat Thaanvi. Hadhrat liked the cloth much. He instructed the servant to go to the bazaar and purchase another piece of cloth of exactly the same kind. This he did because he had two wives. After much searching, the servant returned saying that such a cloth was not available anywhere in the bazaar.

Hadhrat Thaanvi took the cloth and divided it into two pieces, sending one piece to each of his wives. Someone there commented. “Now this cloth is of no ‘use to anyone. If the idea was to mete out equality, then you could have sent the cloth to one wife and the price thereof to the other wife” Hadhrat commented:

“Your thinking is not correct. Equality could not have been maintained in this way. Equality is necessary in every aspect so that there remains not the slightest doubt of inequality in the heart of any one of them.

When I refuse acceptance of a gift presented to me, I fear despite the valid reason (for refusing) because when I reflect, I discern a doubt of kibr (pride). This creates great fear in me. May Allah Ta’ala forgive me. It is very difficult to differentiate between istighna (independence) and kibr (pride). Both are so similar. Sometimes one is deceived (in attempting to differentiate between the two). Sometimes one thinks it to be istighna while in reality it is kibr. Only Allah can protect one (from this deception). In fact our every statement is impregnated with danger.

None of our conditions is devoid of danger. One should not be vain on account of one’s acts of ibaadat. Don’t think highly of the hour you had spent in thikr. It is not known whether it is accepted by Allah or not. While I am not issuing a fatwa, I certainly do give mashwarah (advice) that the management of the home affairs should either be in the control of the wife or the husband himself It should not be in the hands of others even if they are one’s brother, mother or father.

This is very hurting to the wife. Either the husband arranges the finances himself or entrusts this duty to the wife. After all, she is more entitled to this than others. The right of the wife is not restricted to only feeding and clothing her. For the sake of maintaining the happiness of the wife the Fuqaha (jurists) have decreed it permissible to speak even a lie. From this may be assessed the importance of keeping the wife happy. Regardless of how beloved a guest may be to me, I never insist that he stays longer than his wish.

When he wishes to take leave. I wholeheartedly consent. I do not insist that he eats. I consider such insistance to be very evil. To compel a person who is not hungry to eat is administering poison to him. The disease of forcing guest to eat is widespread. Generally people are under the impression that the right of Allah Ta’ala is not related to Haqqul Ibad (Right of people). It is thought that only the rights of people are involved. This is erroneous. Allah Ta’ala, in fact, has commanded the observance of Huqooqul Ibad (Rights of people), e.g aid the oppressed; refrain from gheebat; refrain from hurting others.

When these commands are transgressed, it involves violation of the right of people as well as violation of Allah’s right since it is He who has decreed these orders. His command was transgressed, hence, obtainal of pardon from people when their rights have been violated, is not sufficient. Taubah and seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala are incumbent. Generally, Allah Ta’ala forgives the violator when the person whose rights have been violated forgives However sometimes when His special and beloved servants (the Auliya) even forgive a person who had violated their rights. Allah Ta’ala does not forgive His right, but apprehends the violator (with His punishment).

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