A Jahili Mother’s Advice To Her Daughter On Her Wedding Day

A Jahili Mother Advice To Her Daughter On Her Wedding Day

The following is an advice from a Jahili[1] mother to her daughter on her wedding day. It reflects a great and mature experience, and concisely puts in a nutshell the most important actions that a woman should consider in order to please her husband. 

Umm Ayas Bint ‘Awf Bin Muslim ash-Shaybani was given in marriage to ‘Amr Bin Hijr, the king of Kindah[2]. Shortly before her wedding, her mother Umamah Bint al-Harith took her aside and told her:

“O my daughter! If the advice were to be left off the virtuous and well-mannered, you would be in no need of advice. However, the advice reminds the forgetful and guides the wise. And if a woman were to forsake marriage because of her parents’ wealth or their fondness of her, you would be in least need for marriage. However, the women have been made for the men, and for them were the men made.

O my daughter! You are now departing from the climate where you lived, and the nest where you grew, to an unfamiliar domicile and companion. By virtue of you husband’s custody, he is now a watcher and master over you. So be a maid to him, and he will surely be your servant. Be his earth (in submission), and he will be your sky (in protection). Preserve for him ten qualities, and they will be a treasure for you:

  1. Submit to him by showing contentment (in regard to what he gives you).
  2. Listen to him and obey him in the best manner.
  3. Guard where his eye looks, so that it will not fall on anything ugly from you.
  4. Guard what his nose smells, so that he will not smell from you but the best aroma.
  5. Respect his meal times, for the attack of hunger is a cause for rage.
  6. Respect his sleep times, for the disturbance of sleep is a cause of annoyance.
  7. Safeguard his wealth by employing good judgment.
  8. Care for his children and servants by employing good planning.
  9. Do not disobey any of his commands, for if you do, you would bring resentment into his breast.
  10. Do not disclose any of his secrets, for if you do, you would not be secure from his revenge.

Furthermore, do not display joy when he is worried, nor sadness when he is happy, for this will breed hatred. And remember, my daughter, that the more you please him, the more he honors you. And remember that you will not attain what you desire from him unless you give preference to his likes over yours.”

[Recorded in al-Aghani by al-Asbahani (partially included in Tuhfat ul-‘Arus, pp. 9192).]


[1] Pre-Islamic

[2] A Yamani tribe.

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