ONE night, a man was angry that his wife had raised her voice when speaking with him. How could she disrespect him? How could she be-little him?
This man, convinced that his wife had crossed the line, decided to go and complain about her to a man who had much knowledge about Islam and to see what he would have to say about this woman. He went to Umar ibn Al-Khattab. As the man was just about to knock on Umar’s door, he stopped in his tracks. He heard a voice coming from inside, a woman’s voice. It was Umar’s wife, she was speaking loudly and her voice overrode her husband’s.
That was Umar ibn Al-Khattab in there, the fierce ruler of the Muslim Empire that had stretched East and West, and his wife was freely and confidently voicing her opinion and discussing important matters with him.
The man, feeling ashamed of his own intolerance towards his wife, hurriedly retraced his steps and decided to leave. The man stumbled and his footsteps were heard by Umar ibn Al-Khattab who opened the door and asked his nighttime visitor, “Have you come to visit me?”
The man sheepishly replied, “I came to complain to you that my wife had raised her voice at me, but I found that you too have what I have.” What was Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s response?
He said, “She washes my clothes, sweeps the floors, cares for my children, and cleans my house, when Allah has not commanded her to do so, but she volunteers to do all that. Shouldn’t I tolerate her if she raises her voice?”
Both partners; the man and the woman, in every household endure so much and they each have their share of demanding responsibilities. None is perfect; we slip and we make mistakes. Can’t couples cut one another some slack for their shortcomings? Wouldn’t our marriages last longer if we reacted just like Umar ibn Al-Khattab did when his wife was venting off some stress and expressing her grievances?