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Explanation of the Hadith Where the Husband Spends the Night Angry With His Wife

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Shaykh Shafiur Rahman


There is a hadith that lists the three whose prayer will not ascent above their ears, and a wife who harms/ abuses her husband is one of them,  “There are three types of people whose prayers will not ascend further than their ears: a runaway slave until he returns to his master, a woman whose husband spends the night angry with her, and an Imaam (in prayer) who leads people while they hate him.”

So my question is, why is it that only an abusive wife’s prayer is not accepted, but an abusive husband’s prayer is accepted as normal. So if a wife hurts him her prayer is not accepted, but if the husband hurts her the same punishment does not apply, why? even though he did the same thing but his prayer is not affected at all.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


In the sight of Allah men and women generally have equal rewards and punishments for good deeds and bad deeds. Allah says;

“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.” (Quran 16:97)

When we want to understand the meanings or the conclusions of a hadith we shouldn’t look at it in isolation, but rather we need to also take into consideration what the Quran and other hadith say about the matter so we get a full picture of the subject.

We should also bear in mind that sometimes an instruction from the Quran or Sunnah may be dealing with a particular reality or particular characteristics in either gender of man or woman and therefore the instructions will be to address that issue accordingly.

For example, there are Quran verses that specifically instruct men to live with their wives with good treatment because it’s the husbands that have greater responsibility in marriage and hence more scope for them to do injustice towards their wives. It doesn’t mean that women don’t have to treat their husbands well or that women do not do injustice to their husbands but the instructions seek to address the prevailing norm or the most common scenario that needs attention.

The scenario in this hadith is most likely referring to the case where the husband wants intimacy and the wife refuses without any justifiable reason and therefore the husband sleeps upset or angry with his wife. This is mentioned in more authentic hadiths on the topic.

The mentioning of the angels cursing is to highlight the seriousness of the act and to deter women from doing this and therefore is a sincere exhortation.  According to some scholars, the reason why the wife is mentioned here is that in general (of course there are many exceptions) it is harder for men or men are less likely to bear patiently when their legitimate sexual needs in marriage are not fulfilled. And therefore this is advice or exhortation to women to aid their husbands in this regard and to fulfil their obligation when there is no legitimate reason not to do so.[1]

The real issue here is regarding not fulfilling the rights of a spouse in marriage without a genuine excuse. In shariah, the obligation to fulfil rights to intimacy in a marriage is equally binding on both the husband and the wife. Therefore if the husband were to do the same and withhold sexual intimacy without a genuinely valid reason he too would be blameworthy and sinful.

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Shaykh Shafiur Rahman

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

[1]وَفِيهِ الْإِرْشَادُ إِلَى مُسَاعَدَةِ الزَّوْجِ وَطَلَبِ مَرْضَاتِهِ وَفِيهِ أَنَّ صَبْرَ الرَّجُلِ عَلَى تَرْكِ الْجِمَاعِ أَضْعَفُ مِنْ صَبْرِ الْمَرْأَةِ قَالَ وَفِيهِ أَنَّ أَقْوَى التَّشْوِيشَاتِ عَلَى الرَّجُلِ دَاعِيَةُ النِّكَاحِ وَلِذَلِكَ حَضَّ الشَّارِعُ النِّسَاءَ عَلَى مُسَاعَدَةِ الرِّجَالِ فِي ذَلِكَ

ص295 – كتاب فتح الباري لابن حجر – قوله باب لا تأذن المرأة في بيت زوجها لأحد إلا بإذنه – المكتبة الشاملة الحديثة

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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