s it Compulsory Upon The Wife to Do The Household Chores & Serve Her Husband – Shaykh Sulayman Ar-Ruḥayli
“May Allāh be good towards you Eminent Shaykh, is it correct to say that it is not compulsory upon the wife to cook, wash and other than that in her husband’s house, and whatever she does from (the different) service(s) for her husband is merely courtesy from her towards him; and is she sinful if she is disobedient towards him if she refused to tend to the household chores? May Allāh reward you with good.”
Shaykh Sulaymān ar-Ruḥaylī (حفظه الله):
“Al-ḥamdulillāh, as for what was mentioned in the question (i.e. it not being compulsory upon the wife to cook and wash etc.) then indeed some of the scholars of Fiqh have said this (i.e. held this view), but it is a subordinate (view).
This is because of two affairs:
The first affair (is that) Allāh said: ‘And live with them honourably.’ [Sūrah an-Nisā` 4:19] And He said: ‘And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable.’ [Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:228] And what is meant by the ‘urf (i.e. what was translated to mean ‘honourably’ and ‘to what is reasonable’ both found in Sūrah an-Nisā` and Sūrah al-Baqarah respectively) is that which is customary between the Muslims that does not contradict the laws of Allāh (سبحانه وتعالى). Therefore, it is compulsory upon the wife to associate with her husband based upon what is the common practise between the Muslims, which does not contradict the laws of Allāh. And indeed it has been the common practise between the Muslims (both) past and present that the woman serves her husband, and that the woman performs all the necessary tasks to serve her husband in her house. And how will the relationship be pleasant, and how will the relationship be based upon that which is customary between the Muslims if the woman did not perform her duties to serve her husband?! Therefore the statement of Allāh, ‘And live with them honourably.’ [Sūrah an-Nisā` 4:19] and ‘And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable.’ [Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:228] is a proof that it is obligatory upon the woman to do for her husband that which is customary without being wasteful or stingy (the Shaykh erred here but corrected himself afterwards). I mean without exceeding the bounds or being negligent. And verily we have mentioned that the common practise of the Muslims from the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) up until our time is that the woman serves her husband.
The second affair (is that) the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) commanded the woman to be obedient to her husband and he was emphatic in doing so (as) he said: ‘If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate herself before her husband.’[Reported by Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd and others and Shaykh al-Albānī deemed it authentic] because of the great rights he has over her. (In addition), if a man commanded his wife with an affair and she did not do it and by way of this he became angry with her, the angels of Ar-Raḥmān (also) become angry with her.
Therefore, if the husband commands her to serve him (i.e. to fulfil a task), it is mandatory upon her to obey him. This is with respect to the Islāmic verdict. It is the view of the majority (of the scholars) and it is correct.
(However) one situation is an exception from this, which is: If the custom was that the women did not serve (their husbands), then this is an exception since it has departed from the common practice. Therefore, if a woman was from a household where the custom in the country was that the members of this household or the women of this household because of prestige/nobility or something like that do not serve (their husbands), then she is exempted from this.”
Translated by Musa Shaleem Mohammed
Courtesy of mpubs.org