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Is it necessary for the wife to cook for her husband?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Assalam Alaikum warahamtullahi wa barakatuhu,

I hope you are well and in good health. I have two inquiries that a friend of mine asked me. I just need the answers with explanations and references. My first question is:

1.) Is the wife obliged to cook and clean for her husband?

2.) If she is obliged, is the husband allowed to divorce her if she does not cook or clean?

What are the rulings in the above cases and if moulana can provide a detailed explanation and references it would be highly appreciated. Jazak-Allah. Assalam Alaikum.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

1.) Marriage is not a technical partnership based on just the wife’s rights and the husband’s rights.

Marriage is based on love and understanding, give and take in addition to the rights bestowed upon each spouse. If the husband were to just give his wife the rights due to her and nothing else and if the wife likewise did the same and nothing further, it would never be a successful nor a happy marriage.

 

As long as there is mutual respect and a concerted effort to help out each other – the marriage will have an optimal chance for success and happiness. This can only be achieved if the work is divided in a balanced and fair way between the spouses so neither one is overburdened or overwhelmed with work.

 

The best example is the example of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). He (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) gave the work outside the home to Ali (radiyallahu anhu) and the work done inside the home to Fatimah (radiyallahu anha). This, in spite of her high rank as the leader of all the women in Paradise. 

 

The fuqahah have stated that if a woman is from an upper class family as a result of which she does not cook or clean considering them to be below her dignity then it is the obligation of the husband to provide for her the food, prepared and ready to eat. If however she does not come from such a family then it is wajib for he to perform the domestic duties of her house herself including cooking and cleaning. [i] [ii]

 

2.) Divorce is a very serious matter and should never be considered for such petty issues. Rather an extensive effort should be made to understand the root of the problem by going to a local scholar who is experienced in mediation between spouses.

 

The family of both the husband and the wife should also try their best to resolve the crisis by addressing any and all issues and settling them in an amicable manner.

 

However, in the end if the husband does divorce his wife, even if it is for such a petty reason, the divorce will be valid. [iii]

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Sohail ibn Arif,
Student Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

 

امتنعت المرأة) من الطحن والخبز (إن كانت ممن لا تخدم) أو كان بها علة (فعليه أن يأتيها بطعام مهيإ وإلا) بأن كانت ممن تخدم نفسها وتقدر) [i]

 على ذلك (لا) يجب عليه ولا يجوز لها أخذ الأجرة على ذلك لوجوبه عليها ديانة ولو شريفة؛ لأنه – عليه الصلاة والسلام – قسم الأعمال بين علي وفاطمة، فجعل أعمال الخارج على علي – رضي الله عنه – والداخل على فاطمة – رضي الله عنها – مع أنها سيدة نساء العالمين

رد المحتار على الدر المختار كتاب الطلاق باب النفقة ٣/ ٥٧٩ دار الفكر-بيروت

 بهشتي زيور حصة ٤، ص. ٣٢ تعميري كتب خانة [ii]

ومحله المنكوحة) وأهله زوج عاقل بالغ مستيقظ )[iii]

رد المحتار على الدر المختار كتاب الطلاق ٣/ ٢٣٠ دار الفكر-بيروت

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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