It is not compulsory upon the wife to do the housework

  • Author: Fatwa no. 86406
  • Publish date:09/06/2007
  • Sections:FATWA FOR ALL
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Question:

I'm a housewife. My husband refuses to help me with any housework, including changing baby nappy! Is it compelling on me to do all the work on my own or just a favour 'Ihsan' for him?

Fatwa:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The basis of conjugal life is mutual understanding and co-operation with each other. Using wisdom and good manners is compulsory to solve the disputes that may arise from time to time as to avoid ruining the family life and destroying the children's future.

Our advise to all men is to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) the leader and the head of all people who used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as any man does in his house. Therefore, helping the wife in the housework is considered among the noble manners.

At the same time a woman should take into consideration that her husband also struggles the whole day to provide food for his family. Generally, he comes back to his house tired and exhausted from his daylong work.

 

Al-Bukhari and Muslim may Allah have mercy upon them narrated that: 'Faatimah, may Allah be pleased with her (the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) came to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) complaining of what she suffered from the hand mill and from grinding, when she got the news that some slave girls of the booty had been brought to the messenger of Allah. She went to him to ask for a maid-servant, but she did not find him and she told Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, of her need. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) came, Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, informed him  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) of that. Faatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) came to our house when we had gone to our beds. (On seeing the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )), we were going to get up, but he said ‘Keep at your places,' I felt the coolness of the feet of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) on my chest. Then he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Shall I tell you a thing which is better than what you asked me for? When you go to your beds, say: Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) 34 times, Al-Hamdulillaah (all perfect praise be to Allah) 33 times, and Subhaanallaah (Glorified is Allah) 33 times. This is better for you than what you have requested.' Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said 'I never failed to recite it ever since.' He was asked, 'even on the night of the battle of Siffeen?' He may Allah be pleased with him said: 'No, even on the night of the battle of Siffeen.'


It is reported from Asmaa`, may Allah be pleased with her (the wife of Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him), said: 'I used to serve az-Zubayr, and carry out all the housework. I used to feed his horse with fodder and drew water and sow the bucket for drawing it, and prepare the dough'. It is also reported from her that she used to carry the date stones on her head from the land of Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, and it was at a distance of two third of a parasang (i.e. 2 miles) from her house.

The Muslim jurists have different opinions concerning the work of a woman in her house. The Majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion that serving one's husband is not compulsory rather it is only among the noble manners. Imaams Maalik, Ash-Shaaf`i and Abu Haneefah  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them support this. Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him cited that marriage contract enables a husband to enjoy his wife; it does not enable him to engage her in housework. he said that the above narrations describe only the high moral standards.

 

However, Imaam Abu Thawr  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'It is compulsory on a wife to serve her husband in every matter.'

Allah knows best. 

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