Duties of Husband and Wife towards Each Other
Fatwa No: 85308

Question

What are the responsibilities of a woman in Islam as a wife and man as a husband?

Answer

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  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Each and every male/female is required to do several obligations and duties. The most important obligation is to worship Allah, The Great and Almighty; i.e. to follow what He Orders and to avoid what He forbids.

The most principal manifestation and demonstration of worshipping Allah lies in: (1) performing the prayer, giving Zakat, fasting in Ramadan and performing Hajj, and (2) avoiding misdeeds such as Shirk (polytheism –which is the gravest sin) and other major sins and innovations.

There are obligations belonging to men and other obligations appertaining to women.

Man, as a husband, has to fulfill the following obligations towards his wife:

1) To treat his wife and children politely and kindly. This includes educating them, providing them with suitable housing, maintaining them, and treating them with wisdom and kindness, especially while dealing with something wrong.

He has to take a woman's nature into consideration while she is in her monthly period, confinement and so on. He has to keep her secrets and show the best moral treatment for the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “… Listen! You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone, you dislike, to trample your bed and do not permit them to let someone enter your home whom you dislike. Their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing.” [Al-Tirmithi, who classifeid this Hadeeth sound]

Another Hadeeth reads:

O Allah, bear witness that I declare inviolable the rights of the two weak ones: orphans and women.” [Ibn Maajah]

In a third Hadeeth from Mu'awiyah Ibn Haydah, who asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as to what is the right of a wife upon her husband? The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Feed her whenever you feed yourself, clothe her whenever you clothe yourself; do not beat on her face; do not abuse her and do not separate yourself from her except inside the house.” [Ahmad]

A fourth Prophet's  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) Hadeeth reads: “Treat women kindly. A woman has been created from a rib (the rib is crooked), and the most crooked part of the rib is in the upper region. If you try to make it straight, you will break it; and if you leave it as it is, it will remain curved. So treat women kindly.” [Al-Bukhari]

Al-Bukhari reported that ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her was asked as to what did the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) do when inside the house. She replied: “He used to remain busy serving and helping the inmate of his house, and when the time for the prayer would come, he would go out for the same.

On the other hand, a woman has to obey her husband, keep his secrets and wealth, and should not allow anybody to enter his home without his permission. Also, she has to do what pleases him as long as that does not constitute disobedience to Allah. Furthermore, she has to beautify herself for him and to be kind to him in word and in deed.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 85167, 90039, 88304 and 86618.

Allah knows best.

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