RESPECTIVE DUTIES OF THE COUPLE
Marriage is a contract that implies the sharing of duties and responsibilities by the parties. The fundamental principle in matrimonial life is the conjugation of the sexes in a harmonious manner. Duties of either party have traditionally been established in communities. However, if they so wish, the parties may swap certain duties between themselves.
The Qur'an enjoins counseling in all sorts of disputes related to business or household affairs. There is no explicit indication in it as regards the management of affairs in the family. Should there be any misunderstanding between the couple; a council to be formed by family members shall find a solution to the problem.
In Turkey the amendment in the Civil Code has laid down the principle that the management of matrimonial life is shared equally by the parties. The former principle which said 'The head of the family is the Husband' has been abolished. Thus, the foundations of a democratic administration have been laid down.
POINTS THAT MAKE SPOUSES INFERIOR OR SUPERIOR TO EACH OTHER
And in no wise covet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts More freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things. (4/32)
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (4/34)
Man and woman have been created in such a manner that they complement each other by their comparative superiorities. The woman enjoys priority in bearing children, looking after them, and bringing them up; she is also supposed to be the pillar of the household affairs. The man who is physically stronger and much more daring compared to woman shall protect his wife against hostile attacks and is the mainstay of the economy.
These idiosyncratic divergences do not imply any superiority for either of them in terms of human rights. … And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (2/228) This verse had been interpreted keeping in mind patriarchal traditions which made man the head of the family. Man's advantage is his protective role over her. Otherwise none of them should be considered superior to each other. . And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (30/21)
Leaving aside their idiosyncratic differences, it is evident that there are women who have superior merits to men and men superior merits to women. Say: "Everyone acts according to his own disposition: But your Lord knows best who it is that is best guided on the Way." (17/84) Sexes should be resignedly thankful for God's gifts conferred upon them and avoid envying the characteristics of the opposed sex. Depending on the circumstances, however, the spouses may occasionally swap their roles. For instance man may take over his wife's chores such as looking after the children or helping her in the kitchen. She may also work outside her home to contribute to the household expenditures.
Good, upright and righteous women should be full of kindness and mercy and thankful for her husband's protection and generosity. Their chastity and good will will contribute to the welfare of her matrimonial life.
COUNSELLING IN MATRIMONIAL DISPUTES
… who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation … (42/38)
… and consult them in affairs (of moment)… (3/159)
Counsel is instruction or recommendation, especially when given as a result of consultation. The Qur'an enjoins that all administrative affairs be handled by consultation and counseling.
A family is the smallest unit of the social order which should be founded on a firm footing. In this, each family member has responsibilities. The management of household affairs is given to the charge neither of the man nor of the woman according to the Qur'an. In important issues the matter should be referred to a council formed by the family members. The major reason for the underdevelopment of certain communities is the lack of proper application of the Qur'anic principles.