I don't know whether this makes me a Kaafir (Unbeliever) or what. But I cannot help thinking how extraordinary, how strange really, this saying of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is in the context of how things are in our world.
And how they always have been.
Men treating women the way they always have and the way they still do.
The Hadith I am thinking about goes something like this. Of course, this is my English Paraphrase of the original and the most blessed Arabic words of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Paraphrase generally means somewhat of a free and lose rendering of an original text from one language into another language. And that is what I am doing here.
So, the First Paraphrase of the Hadith is this:
best human beings are those
who treat their spouses in the best possible manner."
The Hadith in question can also be paraphrased as follows:
"The finest man among you is one who treats his wife the best."
I don't know if I have it in me to comment on this any further. But the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, himself suggested:
"Look at me,
see how I treat my wives.
My treatment of my wives is the best that can be."
Many Muslims fall short of this requirement of treating their wives in the best possible manner. Not because they are not good Muslims. But because they have not fully understood what is really at stake.
They seem to miss the point that prayers, fasting, Hajj and all that is one thing. But if you do not treat your wife right, and with the respect and dignity and kindness and love that every wife deserves, then all your Islam is not worth the piece of paper on which you may have jotted it down.
Oh yes, the words of that Hadith, the best I recall:
This, mind you, was in the 7th Century of the Christian Era! Not yesterday or today!
And there are still those in this world who do not think and believe that he is God's Messenger to the Human Race!
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!