Obeying husband

Nov 24, 2022 | Marriage and Divorce


Is ta
What are rulings on obedience to husband
Like is it blind obedience or the wife interests are taken care of or is it just about husband …


Thank you for submitting your question, and I can completely understand your frustrations as unfortunately there are many women who have been treated like this. However, much of the treatment you have discussed above has nothing to do with Islam – it is the practice of a Muslim who will be made accountable on the day of Judgement for transgressing the rights of another.

Some of the things you have described go against the basic premise of marriage. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an: “They [Your wives] are a clothing for you, and you are a clothing for them.” This verse informs us of the foundational premise of a marriage: the coming together of man and woman to support one another for their worldly and religious needs. Husband and wife have a commensurate relationship with one another, carrying out different obligations and duties depending on their naturally observed characteristics.

Reading your submission, your overarching complaint is that Islam gives the man the right to sexual intimacy while the woman’s needs are neglected, and she must cater to the man’s sexual and other domestic needs.

Firstly, a woman has an established right to sexual intimacy, and her husband is obligated to have intercourse with his wife when she requests it.[1] Sexual intimacy is one of the cornerstones of marriage. Adult men and women have sexual needs – leaving this unregulated leaves the door to fitna open, which leads to societal and moral deterioration. Despite being together, men and women will stand in front of Allah alone. If their needs are not met, and they transgress the bounds of what is permitted, they will be made accountable for it. Therefore, a husband and wife should understand this and must support one another. This is what is meant by “a clothing for you” – they are your support system. A husband and wife should support one another in pleasing Allah and not displeasing Allah through sin; therefore, if one has a higher libido than the other, accommodations should be made to support them. Based on the above, your assertion that a wife has no rights to sexual needs is incorrect.

On emotional needs, the Qur’anic message is clear: Allah commands: “Live with them [Wives] according to what is fair and kind” [Q. 4:19].[2] In Islam, custom has a huge deciding role in regulating rights and needs. Fulfilling the emotional needs would fall under this provision and has the scope to be made a duty of the husbands as it is one of the most important things a woman seeks in a marriage.[3] Not addressing these needs appropriately opens the door to fitna, and therefore, a combined effort to address these issues is needed.

Psychological studies have repeatedly shown that women are more likely to leave relationships due to emotional negligence, whereas men are more likely to leave due to sexual inaccessibility.[4] We understand this to be correct from a religious perspective also, that men value sexual intimacy more, while women put more value on financial and emotional security. Returning back to the husband and wife as a clothing for one another, they must recognise these different needs and work together to ensure these needs are met.

Furthermore, Islam recognises that a woman has to sacrifice her life and body for the servitude of the family and children, and for that, Allah has elevated her position. Jannah lies under her feet, and her children must fulfil her rights, three-times. In a report from the Companion, the story follows that:

Sa’id ibn Abi Burda said, “I heard my father say that Ibn ‘Umar saw a Yamani man going around the House [of Allah] while carrying his mother on his back, saying, ‘I am your humble camel. If her mount is frightened, I am not frightened.’ Then he asked, Ibn ‘Umar? Do you think that I have repaid her?’ He replied, ‘No, not even for a single groan [of pregnancy]’.[5]

The status of a mother in Islam is unmatched, and her sacrifices are noted to such a degree that carrying one’s mother for tawaf when they are elderly does not even repay a single groan of pregnancy. At the same time, men have historically strived, sometimes working many jobs, to provide for their families, and their sacrifices must also be acknowledged. Providing for a family single-handedly is not an easy task and should not be degraded as “only giving financial protection”. These are the commensurate differences.

Yes, a woman’s father might be able to provide better than her husband, who is at the beginning of his earning potential, while the father is often financially secure and at the peak or end of his earning potential. This is a natural balance, as the father will not continue at this financial strength, while it is expected that a husband establishing himself in life will eventually solidify his earning. This is a moot point. Overall, it is not fair to judge all men because of the actions of a few. The Prophets were men, the Companions were men, and the many luminaries and scholars of our religious tradition were men. Similarly, your father is a man, and should Allah bless you with a son, he will also grow up to be a man. Every individual, man or woman, has the potential for good or bad, so we would only deprive ourselves of making such unfair judgements on fifty per cent of the population.

Lastly, I have empathy for the genuine frustration you have conveyed. However, I ask you to be careful with what you say. Some of the statements you have uttered above can be blasphemous and kufri, as you repeatedly blamed and accused Islam or Allah of oppression. These statements are completely inappropriate, and Allah’s refuge is sought.

As I end this response, reflect upon the basis of the marriage: companionship and support. Our teacher, Mufti Abdurrahman Mangera, has written a book on marriage which has had a very positive reception from the Muslim community. You can also refer to this for a full and comprehensive position on Muslim marriage, the legal schema which governs marriage and family responsibilities, and the various societal pitfalls Muslims may fall into that damage a marriage.[6] This book reads both as a fiqh-text and a self-help book, so you will benefit from this book!

May Allah rectify our position, strengthen our resolve and grant us patience.

[1] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 331) وَلِلزَّوْجِ أَنْ يُطَالِبَهَا بِالْوَطْءِ مَتَى شَاءَ إلَّا عِنْدَ اعْتِرَاضِ أَسْبَابٍ مَانِعَةٍ مِنْ الْوَطْءِ كَالْحَيْضِ وَالنِّفَاسِ وَالظِّهَارِ وَالْإِحْرَامِ وَغَيْرِ ذَلِكَ، وَلِلزَّوْجَةِ أَنْ تُطَالِبَ زَوْجَهَا بِالْوَطْءِ؛ لِأَنَّ حِلَّهُ لَهَا حَقُّهَا كَمَا أَنَّ حِلَّهَا لَهُ حَقُّهُ، وَإِذَا طَالَبَتْهُ يَجِبُ عَلَى الزَّوْجِ، وَيُجْبَرُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْحُكْمِ مَرَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَالزِّيَادَةُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ تَجِبُ فِيمَا بَيْنَهُ، وَبَيْنَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ بَابِ حُسْنِ الْمُعَاشَرَةِ وَاسْتِدَامَةِ النِّكَاحِ، فَلَا يَجِبُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْحُكْمِ عِنْدَ بَعْضِ أَصْحَابِنَا، وَعِنْدَ بَعْضِهِمْ يَجِبُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْحُكْمِ

بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع» (2/ 334): ويكره للزوج أن يعزل عن امرأته الحرة بغير رضاها؛ لأن الوطء عن إنزال سبب لحصول الولد، ولها في الولد حق، وبالعزل يفوت الولد، فكأنه سببا لفوات حقها، وإن كان العزل برضاها لا يكره؛ لأنها رضيت بفوات حقها، ولما روي عن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أنه قال: «اعزلوهن أو لا تعزلوهن إن الله تعالى إذا أراد خلق نسمة، فهو خالقها» إلا أن العزل حال عدم الرضا صار مخصوصا، وكذلك إذا كانت المرأة أمة الغير أنه يكره العزل عنها من غير رضا لكن يحتاج إلى رضاها أو رضا مولاها قال أبو حنيفة: الإذن في ذلك إلى المولى. وقال أبو يوسف، ومحمد: إليها (وجه) قولهما أن قضاء الشهوة حقها، والعزل يوجب نقصانا في ذلك، ولأبي حنيفة أن كراهة العزل لصيانة الولد، والولد له لا لها، والله عز وجل أعلم

[2] تفسير النسفي = مدارك التنزيل وحقائق التأويل (1/ 190) {ولهن مثل الذي} يجب لهم {عليهن} من الأمر والنهي {بالمعروف} بالوجه الذي لا ينكر في الشرع وعادات الناس

[3] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 331)  وَإِذَا طَالَبَتْهُ يَجِبُ عَلَى الزَّوْجِ، وَيُجْبَرُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْحُكْمِ مَرَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَالزِّيَادَةُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ تَجِبُ فِيمَا بَيْنَهُ، وَبَيْنَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ بَابِ حُسْنِ الْمُعَاشَرَةِ وَاسْتِدَامَةِ النِّكَاحِ،

[4]Wade, T.J and Justin Mogilski “Emotional Accessibility Is More Important Than Sexual Accessibility in Evaluating Romantic Relationships – Especially for Women: A Conjoint Analysis” Front Psychol. 2018; 9: 632. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5961442/

[5] «الأدب المفرد – بأحكام الألباني – ت الزهيري» (ص8): «عن أبى بردة قال سمعت أبي يحدث (بن أبي موسى الأشعري، اسمه الحارث وقيل عامر) أنه شهدابن عُمَرَ ورجلُ يَمَانِيٌّ يَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ – حَمَلَ أُمَّهُ وراء ظهره – يقول: إِنِّي لَهَا بَعِيرُهَا الْمُذَلَّلُ … إِنْ أُذْعِرَتْ رِكَابُهَا لَمْ أُذْعَرِ ثُمَّ قَالَ: يَا ابْنَ عُمَرَ أَتُرَانِي جَزَيْتُهَا؟ ‌قَالَ: ‌لَا ‌وَلَا ‌بِزَفْرَةٍ ‌وَاحِدَةٍ، ثُمَّ طَافَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ فَأَتَى الْمَقَامَ فَصَلَّى ركعتين ثم قال: يا بن أَبِي مُوسَى إِنَّ كُلَّ رَكْعَتَيْنِ تُكّفِران مَا أمامهما. صحيح الإسناد»

[6] https://www.whitethreadpress.com/publication/handbook-of-a-healthy-muslim-marriage/

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel