Yes, when was the last time you raced with your wife???
You might mockingly or disapprovingly smile, yet the question remains, for it bespeaks an invitation to you to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, in his kind attitude toward his wives. If you claim to follow and love the Noble Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, Sunnah, in keeping a beard, cleaning your teeth with a Siwaak (tooth stick) and shortening your clothes to reach above the ankle, you are likewise required to emulate him in the way he treated his spouses .
Rasulullah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "He is the best amongst you who is the kindest towards his wives and I am the kindest amongst you towards my wives."
Thus, racing was a compassionate gesture of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, in order to be friendly and open with his wives.
'Aa'ishah [Allah be pleased with her] narrates that as a young and thin girl, she was once accompanying the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, on one of his journeys. He, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam asked his Companions to move ahead of them, which they did. He, sallaallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, then asked to race with her; she did and won. Some time later, after she had forgotten about this, she was with the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, on another of his journeys and he wanted to race her. She wanted to excuse herself, by telling him she could not, since she had gained some weight, but he, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, insisted. They raced and this time he won; so the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, laughed and said; "This [is] for that."
Some husbands contend that they do not race with their wives because they are too busy and have many responsibilities. Our retort is that by no means can they be busier than the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, who bore the responsibility of conveying the Message of Islam to the entire world. He also led the army in combat alongside running errands for his family and doing household chores. Nevertheless, all this did not stop him from twice racing with his wife 'Aa'ishah[RA] .
Other husbands might argue that the streets are not a suitable place for racing; so, they can surely take their wives away from people, on a picnic. Moreover, competition is not just in running. One can compete to win in a permissible electronic game or general knowledge quiz, in which one can ask each other questions and keep score.
A third group of husbands believes that such competitions may cause their wives to become too bold and eventually challenge them. This is not true, because the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, raced with his wife, so this is an act to be followed, for copying his behaviour with his wives can bring nothing but good. Also, modern research has established that being kind and easygoing with one's wife makes it easier for her to be mindful of you.
There are lessons to be learned from the aforementioned incident related by 'Aa'ishah concerning the Prophet's, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, kindness toward his wives.
1- The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was the one to ask for a race both times. This teaches husbands that they should take the initiative in such competitions. Wives may be too busy with housework or fear rejection or, as is the generally innate nature of women, be too shy to propose such an idea. However, on their part, they should try to urge their husbands when they see they are free and in a good mood.
2- A husband should not incessantly brag of superiority over his wife. We notice that the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, outran 'Aa'ishah after she had already outran him the first time.
3- Alternately, a husband should neither always deliberately lose for the sake of his wife or the competition would be meaningless. The factor that decided the win of 'Aa'ishah the first time was her youth and fitness, and when she put on some weight, the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, outran her.
4- A husband should remember that such competitions are just for amiability and fun. Neither of the spouses should get worked up or a row could ensue and the activity would lose its desired aim. This can be understood from the reaction of the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, who only cheerfully referred to his win to counter that of 'Aa'ishah's .