Q&A (Fatwa)

#1118: On The Right Of The Husband Over The Wife As Regards Cooking Especially In The Month Of Ramadān

Assalamu alaykum. Please help me answer this. Assalamu alaikum ma, good evening.happy Iftar. Pls aunty help me answer this question: what is d punishment for a wife who refused to cook for her husband especially in this holy month and there is food stuff available. Someone asked me this question and I don’t know d answer.


Wa Alaykum Salam Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuh.

The matter about which you ask returns back primarily to the issue of Serving the husband in the home, if this was a right of the Husband bestowed upon him by the Shar’iah.

The Scholars are agreed that it is encouraged that she serves her husband but they differed as to the obligation of this service.

The position held officially in the Shaafi’i and Hanbali Schools is that it is not obligatory upon her and if she doesn’t do this she is not implicated in any sins toward Allah.

The position held by the Malikis, Abu Thawr, Abu Is’haaq and many other Imams is that it is obligatory upon her to render service to her husband in matters that are customarily known to be serviced by women in the community. And their proof for this is the Hadith in which the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam commanded Fatimah to do the house chores and Ali to do the works that are external to the house. Also for the fact that the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam used to command Aa’ishah or any of the Mothers of the Believers to cook in the house or to serve food. They also referred to the statement of the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam where he said:

لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا أَحَدًا أَنْ يَسْجُدَ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ ، لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأَةَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوْجِهَا

“If I were to command anyone to make Sujud to other than Allah then I would command a woman to make Sujud to her husband ”

This was recorded by Imaam Ibn Maajah in his Sunan and declared Sahih by Shaykh Muhammad Nasiruddin Al-Albaani rahimahullah in his Sahih.

This Hadith shows that if Sujuud were to be permissible then a husband from his wife would have been more deserving from anyone else implying the importance of subservience and service.

It is also known without a doubt that the wives of the Sahaabah served them and took care of their husbands. In fact, some of them served their husbands both indoors and outdoors. And Allah knows best.

Let it be known though that the Malikis are split in their ruling for Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah mentioned in Zaadu Al-Ma’aad that Maalik held that it wasn’t obligatory but a matter of Excellent Characters.

But by and large the stronger position is the Obligation of this on the wives but in accordance with the customs of the People as was mentioned by Ibn Taymiyyah in the Ikhtiyaaraat where he said:

وتجب خدمة زوجها بالمعروف من مثلها لمثله ، ويتنوع ذلك بتنوع الأحوال ، فخدمة البدوية ليست كخدمة القروية ، وخدمة القوية ليست كخدمة الضعيفة . وقاله الجوزجاني من أصحابنا وأبو بكر بن أبي شيبة

“And it is obligatory for the wife to serve her husband in the proportional norm of her status to his status, and this would varry from situation to situation. The service of a rural would not be the same service required by an urban woman. Likewise the service from a strong woman will not be the same as expected from a weak woman. This was mentioned by Al-Jawzajaani among the Proponents (of our School) and Abu Bakr bn Abi Shaybah”

Now, does Ramadaan have a specific obligation thereby adding to the obligation of service? The answer is no. Rather, Ramadaan presents opportunity to earn more rewards and for the woman to multiply her rewards in her service to her husband.

Therefore, we consider such a woman to be sinning if she refused to cook for her husband without a valid reason and what is obligatory upon you is to encourage her and to command her to be dutiful and subservient to her husband.
And Allah knows best.

Barakallahu Fikum
Jazaakumullah Khayran.

Abū Asim

20th Ramadān, 1442 AH.


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