Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I saw a post online that if my wife doesn’t wear hijab, that I am a “dayyuth”. Is this true?
I want to maintain a proper level of jealousy, but I do not want to tell my wife what to do as if I am her father.
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, I hope you’re well insha’Allah.
Ghayrah (الغَيْرَةِ) carries the meaning of protective jealousy, honour, and earnest concern. It is a positive trait, especially in a man in regards his female family members. The dayyuth (الديُّوث) is its opposite, generally referring to a man who has no protective jealousy and honour over his female family members, whilst also carrying a specific meaning, which we will discuss below.
Man and Woman
The relationship between the sexes is as old as mankind itself, for it was in the Gardens of Paradise that man and woman were forged to co-exist in intimate harmony. That this innate pairing and bond between the two sexes is of the Divine Will and Wisdom, is highlighted in God’s oath, in Suratul al Layl,
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَىٰ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّىٰ وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ
By the night enshrouding, and the day resplendent, and [by] Him Who created male and female. [92:1-3]
God does not make an oath by His creation except for that it is a Sign to be reflected upon and honoured, and upon reflection, one’s thoughts return to the Creator of those Signs. We were made and placed on earth in pairs of male and female, and the thrust and success of every pious community is the conservative preservation of this union and keeping away from anything that will break it down. One of the key attributes in preserving the marital bond of men and women is the presence of ghayrah.
God tells us in the Qu’ran, ‘Men are the protectors and maintainers of women.’ [4:34]. Out of His infinite wisdom, this is the general and natural order that God has chosen for the mutual co-existence of the sexes in this world.
The word ‘قَوَّامُونَ’ in the verse carries the meaning of protector, caretaker, and guardian. To be a protector or guardian over someone necessarily demands a strong sense of responsibility, and is associated with the qualities of honour, dignity and correct moral conduct. These are essentially intertwined with the attribute of modesty, which in turn, is a fundamental aspect of one’s very faith, for the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Modesty is a branch of faith.’ [Muslim].
As such to have true ghayrah, protective jealousy and honour, is to fulfil and uphold one’s sense of duty and honour, as well as preserve and instil modesty and deep faith. This not only applies to oneself, but also the honour and respect of others, as its presence provides limits and boundaries between right and wrong, particularly in regards human interactions and relationships. The most important of these being the relationship between man and woman.
We mentioned that having ghayrah places limits and boundaries between what is right and wrong, upholding moral conduct and self-respect. Because of this, what initially begins an individual trait which is concerned with one’s immediate family, potentially becomes a societal value, as it upholds the moral integrity of the community at large and prevents social depravation from occurring.
When I was in Kerala a few years ago visiting a ‘conservative’ and scholarly community, one of the reoccurring issues that locals and scholars mentioned was that in recent years the area had experienced an unprecedented amount of cases concerning adultery and some cases of children being born out of wedlock. The chief reason given for this was because husbands spent extended periods abroad in the middle east to work and earn better wages. Although there could be many more factors to consider, it certainly seems that the absence of any ‘protective’ element in the family unit had a significant part to play in the crisis.
This is why scholars have said ‘خير فيمن لا غيرة له لا’, ‘There is no good in a person who has no protective jealousy and honour’ [Kitab al Kaba’ir]. We could extend the saying to ‘There is no good in a community which has no protective jealousy and honour,’ because individual parts make the whole.
Lest it be misconstrued, this is not meant in any way as a form of patronising women or a tool for gender oppression, and nor should it be used by men to do as such, but rather, it is an attribute which should stem from earnest solicitude and care. It is a valid and necessary condition for mutual respect and love between men and women, forming individual dignity and self-respect, maintaining the cohesiveness of the family structure, upholding the moral integrity of society, and preserving one’s faith. Without this ‘protective’ element, relationships, self-worth, family, morality, and piety, inevitably fray and unravel.
Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah, summarised ghayrah and what we have discussed in the following words, ‘The foundation of the religion is ghayrah, and the one without ghayrah is one without religion, for ghayrah protects the heart and enlivens the limbs and shields one from evil and lewdness, and lack of ghayrah kills the heart so that the limbs die, so that there remains not even shielding from [the minor things]. And the example of ghayrah in the heart is the example of the strength that shields one from sickness and fights it off, so if the strength leaves, he will be faced with the sickness, and will not find anything to protect himself from it, so it will establish itself [within him] and destroy him.’ [Al Da’ Wal Dawa]
The Ghayrah of God
The attribute of ghayrah and the ‘setting of boundaries’ due to it, is also affirmed for God and the Prophet ﷺ, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘By Allah, I am more jealous than him [Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah], and Allah is more jealous than me. It is because of His protective jealousy that Allah forbade immoral deeds, both open and secret’ [al Bukhari],
He ﷺ also said, ‘Allah has protective jealousy, and the protective jealousy of Allah is provoked when the believer does something that Allah has forbidden.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim]
Ghayrah in Practice
It’s important to note here that what we mean by protective jealousy is not a man’s overbearing oppression of his female family members, nor being suspicious, irrationally jealous, or narcissistic, nor being oppressive for purely cultural reasons without any basis in sacred law.
What we are referring to is a dignified and rational sense of honour and chivalry, based on sound religious values, which enables a person to ensure that the moral limits of the religion are not transgressed.
In practice, that means that husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons, should have a strong sense of honour and responsibility over their female family members, particularly when it comes to public interaction with the opposite sex.
To do this, it entails that a man knows the boundaries that the religions asks to be put in place, and this is bought about by studying fiqh. Without this, mistakes and transgressions are often made. He should also study something of manners and purification of the heart, in order that his actions and decisions are coupled with the spirit of Islam and the sunna of the beloved Prophet ﷺ, not just the letter of the law devoid of heart. He himself must practice what he preaches, ensuring that he is a guard and protector over himself, protecting his own eyes, limbs and heart, when it comes to interactions with the opposite sex and sins in general.
A man who lacks ghayrah is lacking an essential part of moral and religious integrity and respect. A specific word was used by the Prophet ﷺ for a particular type of person who lacks ghayrah is ‘al dayyuth’.
The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Three types of people will never enter Paradise; the dayyuth, the woman who resembles a man [in dress], and the one addicted to alcohol.’ [al Nisa’i, Ahmad]. When asked what ‘a dayyuth meant, the Prophet ﷺ replied, ‘The one who does not care who enters into his wife.’ There are various other similar narrations.
The word dayyuth then, specifically refers to a cuckold, which is a man who permits and does not care if his wife has sexual intercourse with other men.
Some scholars restrict the meaning of dayyuth to this meaning. However, other scholars took the meaning of dayyuth to be more general, and applied it to ‘any man who does not have ghayrah over his female folk’. [al Zawa’jir].
Al Mulla Ali al Qari stated, ‘Al dayyuth is the one who is content with illicit intercourse of his female folk such as his wife, bonds maid, or female relative, or [content with] sexual foreplay [with other men], and every other type of sin, such as drinking alcohol, neglecting to take the purificatory bath etc. Al Tibi said, ‘It is the one that sees in his womenfolk evils, and he has no protective jealousy and honour over them nor prevents them.’’ [Mirqatul Mafatih]
Ibn al-Qayyim also said, bringing in the concept of chivalry, ‘The dayyuth is the vilest of Allah’s creation, and Paradise is forbidden for him [because of his lack of ghayrah]. A man should be ‘jealous’ with regards to his wife’s honour and standing. He should defend her whenever she is slandered or spoken ill of behind her back. Actually, this is a right of every Muslim in general but a right of the spouse specifically. He should also be jealous in not allowing other men to look at his wife or speak with her in a manner which is not appropriate.’
It should be noted from the description of the dayyuth that there is a strong sense of having no ghayrah over one’s female family members, and not caring about what they do and what is done to them in sexual matters. If one goes by the general meaning adopted, then it encompasses all acts and types of sin. As such it would also apply to men who allow and are pleased with their wives’ not covering appropriately in public or content with their free mixing with men in general.
However, this is different to a situation where the man really does care about how his wife (or other) carries herself in public and sincerely desires that she follow the dictates of the religion, however, the wife refuses to do so, or is not at a stage where she feels she wants to or can. This may be due to a number of reasons and factors that need to be considered and discussed.
In the situation you described, the main issue seems to be that your wife is not observing hijab. Given everything we have mentioned, below is some practical steps to move forward:
1. Supplicate to Allah with sincerity to guide yourself and your wife to that which is pleasing to Him.
2. Tell your wife how you feel and you would like her to wear the hijab. Don’t worry about ‘sounding like her father’, you are her husband and in many ways more important when it comes to matter of ghayrah than a father. Don’t be aggressive or forceful, but make it clear where you stand on the matter and why.
3. Ask her if anything is preventing her from wearing it. Discuss these open-heartedly and try to find resolutions that work for her. It’s also important to remember that for many people it is necessary to instil meaning before you expect form to take place. What I mean by this is that for some people they need to understand the ‘why’ of a situation and their hearts need to be nourished and inspired to love Allah and the Prophet first, before they are ready to make external religious observations such as the hijab, praying etc. It is worth considering this and how to go about it.
4. Seek out good company of religious people, and go to religious lessons or events, bearing in mind your wife’s like and dislikes and temperament. Don’t be forceful and preach, and be selective of friends, events and places you go to. Let positive surroundings affect her outlook rather than constant verbal reminders.
4. In the meantime, dislike it in your heart each time she leaves the house without hijab.
5. Learn and practice the religion yourself so she can see that you are moving forward and benefitting. Couples often follow each other, and if you truly love each other, you will both desire to connect on the deepest level of a relationship, which is the spiritual level.
I wish you all the best, warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.