Traditionally, within marriage, women are expected to be the homemaker and caregiver to their children, while men are expected to work and be able to financially support his wife and family. In Islam, men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and with what they spend out of their wealth (Sura 4:34a). The traditional structure of Islamic society is based on complementary roles as the man is seen as the protector and provider for his family and its imam, religiously speaking. The woman is the real mistress of the household, in which the husband is like a guest. Her primary duty is to raise the children and attend to their earliest learning (Nasr 191).
Muhammad described the importance of mothers in the hadith. One famous account is “A man asked the Prophet: ‘Whom should I honor most?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother.’ ‘And who comes next?’ asked the man. The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother.’ ‘And who comes next?’ asked the man. The Prophet replied: ‘Your mother!’ ‘And who comes next?’ asked the man. The Prophet replied: ‘Your father.’” Islam teaches that the primary role played by women is to be mothers and mothers are considered the most important part of the family, though not the head of the family.