THE IDEAL MUSLIM WIFE
Marriage in Islam is encouraged for those who have reached the age of physical and psycho logical maturity. It should not be unnecessarily delayed if there is a suitable partner available and the means to establish a family. Divorced people, widows and widowers are also encouraged to re-marry. Religious celibacy is strongly discouraged. Therefore although marriage is not a compulsory duty for all people under all circumstances and due allowance is made for those who do not have the capacity for marriage for one reason or other, the emphasis is nevertheless strongly in favour of marriage as the normal adult status.
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Shall I tell you the most precious thing a man can have? It is a righteous wife: when he looks at her he is pleased, when he tells her to do something she obeys, and when he is away she is faithful and loyal to him" [al-Hakim, who said it is sahih according to the conditions of al-Bukhari and Muslim].
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IDEAL MUSLIM WIFE
· Brings happiness to her husband
· Brings tranquility to her husband
· Brings stability to her husband
· Brings peace, comfort, and pleasure to her husband
· She makes a cheerful , pleasant , and secure home
· She must be faithful, trustworthy, and honest
· She wants to raise successful, courageous, intelligent children
· She may neither offend him nor hurt his feelings. 
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (Surah Tawbah:9:71)
Marriages can go wrong from Day one if the couple are not basically compatible. Prevention in this respect is better than cure. It is very important to try to ensure that one is looking for the right qualities in a marriage partner. The Prophet Muhammad said that "A woman may be married for four reasons - her wealth, her rank, her beauty and her religious character. Therefore choose the one with the religious character and prosper." (Hadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari:3457.)
The same applies in the choice of a husband by a woman. It is unwise for a woman to accept a man's proposal because he is handsome, rich or of high social status if he is lacking in good religious character. The first three are no guarantee of happiness. But a man of genuinely religious character is likely to observe the Islamic requirement of kindness to his wife, and to abide by Allah's laws with regard to his behaviour towards her. His consciousness of Allah acts as a restraint on selfishness. Whattever his weakness, at least he does not deliberately do wrong.
A girl or woman should pray regularly for a good husband. She should also find out as much as possible about the character and religious practice of any suitor, and her relatives should help her to get objective information. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also advised that a couple thinking of marriage should be given the chance to meet (in the presence of a relative) in order to ascertain at least basic compatibility. (See several Hadith from Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi. Nasai, IbnMajah.)
"Our Lord! Grant us wives and children who will be the joy and comfort of our eyes, and guide us to be models of righteousness." (Qur'an 25:74)
"Sincerity to whom?"He replied: "To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the leaders of the Muslims and to the generality of them." (Hadith from Muslim)
Sincerity is therefore closely identified with true religious belief. Sincerity towards her husband is an essential requirement for a wife. It underlines all her duties and manifests itself in many ways.
Firstly it implies having her husband's interests at heart and wanting only good for him.
Secondly it implies truthfulness so that her husband learns to trust her in word and deed. She would never tell him a lie even in a small matter because it will sow in him the seed of doubt about her trustworthiness in greater matters. Once trust has been shaken it is hard to rebuild it.
Whether or not a couple think they know about each other before marriage, it is after marriage that they become fully aware of each other's character, habits, moods, likes and dislikes. There is a period of adjustment after marriage. If all goes well, the idealistic, romantic and sometimes intoxicating love of the pre-marriage or honeymoon period then develops into another dimension - a more mature kind of love based on true knowledge and understanding of each other provided the partners do not behave in such a way as to kill love altogether.
To develop this permanent and lasting kind of love in marriage, a wife needs to study her husband so as to know how to please him. In addition to knowing his personal likes and dislikes she should be able to sense his moods and respond to them and to anticipate his needs - to know when he wants to talk and when he wants silence. It is this responsiveness based on sympathy and understanding, that creates lasting bonds between husband and wife.
They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.(Surah Al-Baqarah: 2:187)
"The world is a provision, and the best provision of the world is a virtuous wife." (Hadith from Muslim and Nasa' i.)
He is also reported to have said in elaboration:
"Should 1 not tell you of the best treasure of man? (It is) a virtuous woman: when he looks at her, she gladdens him; and when he tells her (anything) she is compliant; and when he is absent from her, she watches his (interest) ." (Hadith from Abu Dawud.)
The Home can be a heaven or hell, depending on what the couple makes of it. As the custodian of the day to day organization of the home, the wife sets the atmosphere and tone of the household.
She is expected to be orderly, active and cheerful.
While a Muslim wife is not legally required by Islamic law to cook and clean, she is the home manager and therefore responsible for ensuring that these essential jobs are done. If the husband can afford a servant or two he is expected to provide them to relieve the wife of heavy labour. Nowadays labour-saving devices are also available to ease the housework. If the husband cannot afford a servant or the wife is anyway accustomed to housework she is expected to contribute her own labour as a form of Sadaqah (charity) for which she will receive Allah's reward.
Muslims should bear in mind that there are three parties to an Islamic marriage: the husband, the wife and Allah, the Lord of both, who is a witness. The Qur'an repeatedly gives a reminder that "Allah sees all that youdo."
The submissiveness of the wife to the husband as mentioned earlier, is a recognition of his position as the head of the family - not in a servile relationship but with the spirit of dignified maintenance of harmony.
The husband is expected to be a responsible leader of the family, and his wife a responsible follower. If she is doing wrong he should tell her, and she should respond by trying to avoid repeating it.
"Paradise is the reward of a wife who pleases her husband until death." (Hadith from IbnMajah).
Before marriage a girl or woman naturally has a circle of female friends who are her closest confidants. These friendships are not dropped on marriage, but a wife should remember that her closet friend now should be her husband. It is not right for her to tell her friends all the details of her married life particularly the sexual relationship, which is entirely private. Nor should she pass on to others what her husband says in a private conversation. It is indiscreet and could do harm if his private remarks are passed on to become a source of gossip. If a wife cannot control her tongue and tells her friends whatever he says or does, she will soon find herself in trouble. If she wishes to be in her husband's confidence she must be capable of keeping confidential matters to herself.
If there is a problem between her and her husband on which she needs advice she should be cautious to task only a person of proven integrity who will give sincere counsel and will not gossip to others. In her public appearance a wife should observe Islamic principles of dress and behave modesty. She should avoid showing off her figure, her clothes or her jewellery. She should also avoid wearing perfume in public. Her dress should cover all parts of the body except the face and hands. It should be neither tight nor transparent so as to reveal the figure. It should not make her look like a man. They style and colour do not matter as long as the dress conforms to these Islamic requirements, and is not designed to attract attention.