It is recommended that this page be read in conjunction with Women and Family, since this enables the reader to see the 'big picture' and gain an appreciation for how individuals' different roles in Muslim society work together in harmony. As such, each person has been given different roles, responsibilities and privileges by Allah in His ultimate wisdom, in accordance with how He has created humans.
In a school system such as New Zealand's, there will usually be one leader (the principal) who makes the major decisions for that school. If this wasn't the case, it would be chaos because "too many cooks spoil the brew" and it is impossible to please everyone, so someone has to have the final say. Ideally the leader will take into consideration the opinions of all those below him/her as well as his/her own opinion to make a ruling as to the best course of action for the people that s/he is responsible for. The leader also realises that they cannot single handedly manage all the different affairs under his/her responsibility, so they delegate different areas such as Maths, English, Counselling and Adminstration to different people under them. The leader will only be consulted when it is something very important that has a great affect on the people, which they must make a ruling on. Those under the leader's authority accept the leader's decision in respect of the fact that they are in charge.
In many ways a similar system operates in the Muslim family where the man is the leader of his household. He is ultimately responsible for important decisions that may need to be made in the family, such as where the family will live, where the children will attend school and so on. This does not of course mean that he cannot consult with and seek the advice of his wife and children, but that if there is any disagreement as to the best course of action, he will have the final say. It is normal that the man will delegate some of the decision making that involves the day-to-day running of the household to other members of his family. Therefore, the husband will often leave much of the decision making with regard to choosing the food, household items and clothing, up to the wife. The man's family accepts the decision because according to Islamic Law he has that authority over his household.
Having this responsibility also means that the man should not abuse his position and realise that he will be answerable to Allah on the Day of Judgement as to the decisions he has made.
In addition to the man's role as leader of the household, Allah has decreed that he is to protect and provide for the women. Thus, men are responsible for the household income and for ensuring that no harm comes to his family.
The man is also expected to go the mosque for five times daily prayer, as well as congregational prayer on Friday. He should involve himself in spreading the message of Islam and provide his wife and children with opportunities to educate themselves about their religion and worldly matters. If his family goes against what Allah has prescribed it is his duty to rebuke them and kindly advise them.
In the same way that Muslim women have been granted certain privileges, so too has the Muslim man. Specifically, a man has the privilege to:
Be respected and obeyed as the leader of his household and have the final say on matters such as choosing his children's names, spending of income etc.
Have his property taken care of by the women of his household in his absence
Not have any person he does not like enter his house in his absence
Modesty in dress is enjoined not just upon women, but also men for similar reasons. Men must cover themselves from their navel to their knees. It is preferable for them to also wear clothing that will cover their shoulders. Shorts that fall above the knee are not permitted. It is also desirable that they should cover their head (with a small cap or turban).
Among one of the most important aspects of a man's appearance is his beard. The the beard is one of the most outward expressions of a Muslim male and to not have one goes against the practices and advice of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The beard should be kept tidy and clean and the moustache should be trimmed so that it doesn't go over the lips.
A Muslim man is not permitted to wear silk or gold or clothing that is saffron in colour (since such clothing is customarily worn by certain groups of men who worship other gods and the Muslim should not imitate such people). A man's clothing should also not fall below the ankles and drag on the ground out of too much pride.