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Responsibility of a Husband over wife’s religious duties…

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.ca

As Salaamu ‘alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu Mufti Saab,

Hope you are in good health.  May Allah (Subḥanahu wa Ta’ala) keep you with us for a long time, Ameen.

Mufti Saab, after reading this recent fatwa of yours, I’m concerned about the following.

You have said in your fatwa:

“The Prophet ﷺ informed us, “All of you are responsible. All of you will be asked about their responsibility… The man is responsible for his family.” Hence, to some degree, the husband is accountable and thus punishable for the wrongs his wife does. However, the wife is not accountable or punishable for her husband’s wrongs.”

Does this statement (in bold) mean that the husband is responsible and punishable for the wrongs his wife commits even though the husband tries to find a way to correct her but he fails to due to either her stubbornness, her putting him down in some ways, unwilling to accept his correction, etc?

Jazakallahu khayran.



Bismillahi Ta’ala

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

As-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

May Allah reward you for your concern and eagerness to educate yourself about your responsibilities towards your family. Allah Ta’ala says:

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا

“O you who believe! Guard yourselves and your families (through guiding them towards faith and worship) against the Hell-fire…” (Sura Tahrīm: 6)

The husband will only be held accountable for the sins of his wife and children when he does not convey the message or take active responsibility to teach his children the Dīn and Islamic morals. He is only responsible for their education, nurturing and guidance.

If after making a sincere and proactive effort in their guidance and instruction, he will not be held accountable or punished if his children and wife do not listen to his advice or teachings or they are stubborn and show him ill-behavior. He will be rewarded by Allah Ta’ala for the hardship undergone in their tarbiya and ta’lim.

Allah Ta’ala says:

وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۚ وَإِن تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ إِلَىٰ حِمْلِهَا لَا يُحْمَلْ مِنْهُ شَىْءٌ وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰٓ ۗ إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ ۚ وَمَن تَزَكَّىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَتَزَكَّىٰ لِنَفْسِهِۦ ۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلْمَصِيرُ

“No one can bear another’s burden. If someone weighed down (by sin) calls for help to bear his load, none of it will be borne for him, even by his close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord in the Unseen and establish salat. Whoever strives to rectify themselves, does so for himself alone. And unto Allah is your final destination.”(Sura Fatir: 18)

However, you should take note that this does not mean he will be absolved of continuous admonition and giving advice. He is to advise them and continue to admonish them with love and concern. He should not have the attitude that, “O well. I told them, and that’s all I must do.”

Allah Ta’ala commands us to call the non-Muslims with wisdom and kind words, what then can we expect about or own families and our own flesh and blood? Do they not deserve to be admonished and guided to the truth as the unbelievers do?

أدْعُ إِلَى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom, and good advice, and argue with them in the most beautiful manner, verily your Lord He is more knowledgeable of who is misguided from His path, and He is more knowledgeable with the guided(Sura Nahl: 125)

Even in the stories of the messengers and prophets we see the example of the son of Nūh (alyhis salam) who despite being admonished and called to Islam by his father, chose the path of misguidance and kufr. Allah Ta’ala did not take Nuh (alyhis salam) into account, but rather punished the son, who chose a path other than that of Islam.

We also see the example of the wife of Lut and Nuh (alyhimas salam) who chose kufr over Islam and betrayed their husbands who were prophets. The prophets were not held accountable for the sins and misguidance of their wives, rather they taken into account for their own sins.

ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ

Allah draws an example for the faithless: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of our righteous servants, yet they betrayed them. So they did not avail them in any way against Allah, and it was said [to them], ‘Enter the Fire, along with those who enter [it].’ (Sura Tahrim: 10)

The jurists of Islam have even mentioned that if the wife is sinful and transgressing, it is not binding upon the husband that he must divorce and separate from her. Rather they recommend that he should admonish her and stay with her and vice versa[1].

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Maulana Tameem Ahmadi
Union City, CA.

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi

[1] الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) ، دار الفكر (6/ 427)
(قوله لا يجب على الزوج تطليق الفاجرة) ولا عليها تسريح الفاجر إلا إذا خافا أن لا يقيما حدود الله فلا بأس أن يتفرقا اهـ مجتبى والفجور يعم الزنا وغيره وقد «قال – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لمن زوجته لا ترد يد لامس وقد قال إني أحبها: استمتع بها»

This answer was collected from Fatwa.ca, which is a fatwa portal operated by Mufti Faisal al Mahmudi from Canada. 

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