Is it obligatory upon the wife to be of service in husband in his house?

Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allaamah, the Sincere Advisor, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori – may Allaah preserve him – on the 5th, Rajab, 1440H


Questioner says: Is it obligatory upon the woman to work in service of the house of her husband, cook for her husband and to be dutiful to him in his house?


This subject is a place of differing, but the differing of the opposite opinion is incorrect, meaning from the angle of that it’s not obligatory upon the woman to be dutiful towards her husband, dutiful in that which does not oppose the legislation and in that which there is no harm to her, because the Prophet ﷺ said:

“If I was to order someone to prostrate to another, I would of ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband.”

It is from perfecting the living together that the husband looks after his wife and suffices her and seeks treatment for her, while the Jurists mention that it’s not obligatory upon him to seek treatment for her, but it’s from perfecting of the living together and perfecting the being good to one another and perfecting the marital life that he takes care of his family,

“All of you are shepherds and all of you are going to be asked concerning your flock, the man is a shepherd in regards to his family and he is going to be asked concerning his flock”

And he is not to be negligent in the regards to her and she is not to be negligent in regards to him and there should be working together,

(وَتَعَاوَنُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلْبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلْإِثْمِ وَٱلْعُدْوَٰن)

“Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.”

And that which is from Al-Birr and Al-Taqwa and obedience to Allah, is the obedience between the spouses, the obedience of the woman to her husband in that which there is no difficulty.
Look at the life of those families which have in it obedience, likewise advise and directing to good and good manners between the man and his wife.
Upon this was the Prophets life in regards to his wives, his ﷺ mannerisms was that of the Quran and likewise teaching,

(يَٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ قُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱلْحِجَارَةُ)

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones”

With what are you going to ward from the fire?
With what are you going to ward your children from the fire?
And likewise your wife from the fire?

Except that it is the obedience of Allah and to teach them the religion of Allah, and to warn them from disobeying Allah, and likewise to find from you gentleness and from her gentleness, the Prophet ﷺ said:

“If Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, wants good for a household, He enters gentleness upon them”

And the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Perfecting the manners and perfecting being a good neighbour and connecting ties of kinship flourishes the homes and increase the longevity of one’s lifespan.”

And the Messenger ﷺ said:

“Whoever wishes that he increases his lifespan and expands his sustenance then let him connect the ties of kinship.”

And kinship is applicable upon the near kindred and upon the children so let the houses flourish with the obedience of Allah and good manners and good dealings, and gentleness between the spouses and the between the children and between the sons, and beneficial legislated conductings without severity and harsh-heartedness.

(وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلْقَلْبِ لَٱنفَضُّوا۟ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَٱعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَٱسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِى ٱلْأَمْرِ)

“And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.”

This is what Allaah, the Exalted the Most High, said.

And the summary is:

(لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ)

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad ﷺ) you have a good example to follow.”

So it’s befitting that a person learns the mannerisms of the Messenger ﷺ, and steps into his ﷺ footsteps.

(وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمْ عَنْهُ فَٱنتَهُوا۟)

“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).”

There is no better example than that of the example of the Messenger ﷺ, if a person was to tread upon it he would find that there is no better example due to the statement of Allah :

(لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْءَاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًا)

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad ﷺ) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.”

Yes, this is that which is correct in this subject, like it has been declared to be most correct by Ibn Ul-Qayyim in Zaad Ul-Ma’ad and likewise in other sources, that it’s befitting for her to pay attention to her husband and to maintain him and for him to pay attention to his wife and to maintain her, as for disputes and quarrelling :

“I don’t have to be dutiful to you except in the affair of the bedroom only.”,

And “I don’t have to pay for your treatments when you become sick, go to your guardians for this.”,

This is a distasteful life.

In the western countries (they eat individually) she got a plate and he got a plate.
Their spousal affair is difficult, she comes and leaves, without his permission, a distasteful life, what type of living is this…?, the religion of Allaah does not agree to this.

Translated by:
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani

Original Fatwa: