Explanation of the verse And live with them (women) honourably

Explanation of “And live with them honourably.” [an-Nisa’ 4:19].

a) al Qurtubi commented:
فأمر الله سبحانه بحسن صحبة النساء إذا عقدوا عليهنّ لتكون أْدْمَةُ ما بينهم وصحبتهم على الكمال، فإنه أهْدأُ للنفس وأَهْنَأ للعيش. وهذا واجب على الزوج ولا يلزمه في القَضَاء. وقال بعضهم: هو أن يتصَنّع لها كما تتصنَع له.
. قال يحيى بن عبدالرحمن الحنظلي: أتيت محمد بن الحنفية فخرج إلي في مِلْحَفَة حمراءَ ولِحيتُه تقطُر من الغَالِية، فقلت: ما هذا؟ قال: إن هذه المِلحفة ألقتها علي امرأتي ودهنْتني بالطِّيب، وإنهن يشتهين منا ما نشتهيه منهن، وقال ابن عباس رضي الله عنه: إني أحِب أن أتزينّ لامرأتي كما أحِب أن تتزينّ المرأة لي. وهذا داخل فيما ذكرناه.

Allah ordered to be good to women, when doing nikah with them so that the relation remains the best. This is relaxing for the Nafs and the life becomes happier. And this is obligatory upon the husband and there is no blame [on him] in [adopting a] concession [or mutual agreement of compromise from his wife]. Some (scholars) said: “A Man should beautify himself for his wife, like his wife beautify herself for her husband”.

Yahya bin Abdul Rahman al Hanzala said: I went to Muhammad bin Hanafiya and he came out wearing a red shawl and his beard was full of fragrance, I asked him about it, he replied: this shawl is given to me by my wife and she wore me fragrance. They (the wives) desire same from us as we desire for them.

Ibn Abbas ra said: “I love that I beautify myself for my wife just like I love that she beautifies herself for me.”[The athar is in Sunan al Bayhaqi]. Whatever we have mentioned before is included in it. (end quote)

b) al Alusi commented
{ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ } أي خالقوهن { بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ } وهو ما لا ينكره الشرع والمروءة، والمراد هٱهنا النصفة في القسم والنفقة، والإجمال في القول والفعل.
{And live with them}, means having good conduct with them, and {in kindness.} refers to what is not known to be reprehensible in the Sharee’ah or by common virtue. What is meant here is to be just with them in terms of spending the night with them, providing for them, and treating them in a good manner in deed and word.” [End of quote Ruh al Ma`ani islamweb]

c) Ibn Katheer said:
” أي : طيِّبوا أقوالَكم لهنَّ ، وحسِّنوا أفعالَكم وهيئاتكم حسب قدرتكم كما تحبُّ ذلك منها ، فافعل أنت بها مثله كما قال تعالى : ( وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ ٱلَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ )
i.e., speak kindly to them, treat them well and pay attention to your deeds and your appearance as much as you can; as you would like her to do for you, do the same for her. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable”[al-Baqarah 2:228] (end quote)][Islamqa]

d) Imam at-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) commented:
ولكن عاشروهنّ بـالـمعروف وإن كرهتـموهن، فلعلكم أن تكرهوهنّ، فتـمسكوهنّ، فـيجعل الله لكم فـي إمساككم إياهنّ علـى كره منكم لهنّ خيراً كثـيراً من ولد يرزقكم منهنّ، أو عطفكم علـيهنّ بعد كراهتكم إياهن.
Live with them honourably, even if you dislike them, for perhaps if you dislike them but you keep them, Allah may bring about a great deal of good through your keeping them despite your disliking them, such as children with whom He blesses you through them, or making you compassionate towards them after having disliked them. [Tafseer at-Tabari (8/122)] Islamqa

e) Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
قال الله تعالى { وعاشروهن بالمعروف } ، ومن المعروف أن يسكنها في مسكن ، ولأنها لا تستغني عن المسكن للاستتار عن العيون ، وفي التصرف والاستمتاع وحفظ المتاع
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… and live with them honourably…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19]. Part of that means providing them with accommodation, because she cannot do without proper accommodation to conceal her from people’s eyes and so that she may go about her business, relax and her keep her belongings in order. (al-Mughni, 9/237) [Islamqa]

He said:
“If the wife cannot do household work because she belongs to a family of high status or she is sick, then it is an obligation to provide her with a maid: {…and live with them in kindness.}[Quran 4:19]; and among living with the wife in kindness is to provide her with a maid, and since she is always in need of a maid, then offering her a maid becomes like spending on her.” [Islamweb]

f) It says in Kashshaaf al-Qinaa‘ (5/463):
فإن احتاجت الزوجة إلى من يخدمها لكون مثلها لا يخدم نفسها أو لموضعها ولا خادم لها لزمه لها خادم لقوله تعالى : (وعاشروهن بالمعروف) ولأنه مما يحتاج إليه على الدوام … ولا يكون الخادم إلا ممن يجوز له النظر إلى الزوجة ، إما امرأة أو ذو رحم محرم
“If the wife needs someone to serve her, because a woman like her does not serve herself or because of her high position, and she has no servant, then she is entitled to a servant because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “and live with them honourably” [al-Nisa’ 4:19], and because it is something that is needed all the time. But the servant should only be someone for whom it is permissible to look at the wife, either a woman or a relative who is a mahram. End quote. (Islamqa)