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Is it right for parents to want their child to marry for household help?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftisays.com
Assalamu Alaikum Dear Muftis,

I had a few questions in general about parents and ones marriage.

If one of the parents want you to get married just so they can get help around the house, is this right?

My main concern and anger is because I have mature brothers at home. I will only marry a girl who does full shar’ee purdah. Yet the main concern my mother has is that she gets help at home and my brothers just take a little care if my wife was around. So they have to hide in their own house.

I wanted to move out immediately after marriage yet keep full contact and home and fulfil my rights of being a son. Of course, sooner or later, I will have no problem with my parents living with us providing there are no issues with privacy such as brothers or even cousins etc.

My parents tell me that my thinking is wrong and it is totally correct for me to marry a girl so my mum can have a girl at home.

Please correct me if I am wrong but this is a very big reason why I am avoiding the entire marriage topic at home.

I know the muftis are busy on this site but if I can get a really simple reply, i’d be grateful.

Assalamu Alaikum

17/ May 2006:

Bismihi Subhanahu Wa-ta’ala
Assalamooalaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Respected Sister or Brother

The initiation of Marriage should never signify a servant entering the house. Intentions like these are more likely to cause friction and much heartache. Parents expecting such a thing is certainly not correct. Notwithstanding, our parents deserve utmost respect and when one discussing this subject, one should explain to parents with much love and understanding. Whilst obedience to parents is not absolute nonetheless respect for parents certainly is. More often than not, being excellent in manners, and loving with parents will win them over. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam said, ?I was only sent to perfect noble manners,? And, ?The most weighty thing on one’s scales on the Day of Judgement is good character.?

Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani elaborates on the wife’s rights. I have extracted the issue which concerns you below. Please do read the entire article for a full insight.

STATUS AND RIGHTS OF A WIFE IN ISLAM by Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani –
Sacrifices of the woman for your sake
The Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] has said in this Tradition. ?How tremendous sacrifice the woman has undergone for your sake. If the matter was just the reverse and it were said to you, you would have to leave your family. your parents, after your marriage what an awkward situation it would be for you. As for the woman she has become confined to a strange surrounding, a strange house and a strange person and that, too, for the whole of her life. That is why the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] said in his tradition: Will you not mind this sacrifice? Do take heed of this and treat her well and with love.

You have no claim upon them
Thereafter the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] has spoken a very serious sentence of far-reaching consequences. When the meaning of this sentence is explained to men they get annoyed. That sentence is:

“This means that according to the laws of the Shari’ah the only demand you can make of them is that they should live with you in your house”.

You have no other claim upon them Cooking is not the duty of a wife
From this Tradition the Jurists have deduced a ruling of delicate nature and which makes men annoyed. The ruling lays down that according to the Shari’ah it is not the responsibility of a woman to cook food for the household. For this purpose the Jurists have divided women into two classes. Women of one class are those who do household work, including cooking food in their parent’s houses. The other class consists of women who do not cook food in their father’s house where cooks are employed for this work. If after marriage a woman of the latter class goes to her husband’s house she is not at all responsible to cook food, religiously, legally, morally or otherwise. On the other hand, that wife may ask her husband to hire a cook for her as man is obliged to provide her with food along with other necessaries of life. The Jurists write:

“It is the responsibility of the husband to provide his wife with cooked food.”

The wife cannot be forced to cook food neither by force, nor by the law, because the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] has said in clear words:

“This means: You have a right to keep them in your house which it is not lawful for them to leave without your permission.”

With this exception the laws of the Shari’ah have imposed no responsibility on them.

However, If she belongs to the first category the one who used to cook food in her parents? house she too is not legally responsible to cook food i.e. she cannot be compelled by law to cook food. However, the responsibility falls on her only morally. In such a case the husband is responsible only to provide the food materials. Even then it is not her responsibility to cook food for the husband and the children. A wife in this class cannot ask her husband to provide her with cooked food. However, if she refuses to cook food for her husband and the children, the court cannot force her to do it. The respected Jurists have explained these problems at great length.

Serving the In-laws is not obligatory
There is another fact worthy of notice about which much negligence is observed among the people. When a wife is not responsible to cook food for her husband and his children, then she is more appropriately not responsible to cook food for the parents of the husband and his brothers and sisters. A custom has gained currency in our society that the parents of the son think that their right over the daughter-in-law has a priority over the right of the son. Therefore she is bound to serve them, no matter if she serves her husband or not. Such a misleading conception gives rise to quarrels and disputes among the daughter-in-law and other members of the family. The negative results of this conception are obvious to require any comments.

To serve In-Laws is a virtue for a woman
Bear in mind well that it is the responsibility of the son to serve his parents. It is, however, a matter of blessing and virtue for the daughter-in-law if she serves the parents of her husband willingly, as a righteous deed and source of reward for her in the Hereafter. The son does not have any right to force his wife to serve his parents in case she does not feel inclined to serve them of her own sweet will. It is also not lawful for the parents to force their daughter-in-law to serve them. As already mentioned, if the daughter-in-law voluntarily decides to serve her in-laws for the sake of recompense in the Hereafter she is welcome to do so. This will create happy and pleasant atmosphere in the household.

Appreciate the services of a daughter-in-law
If a daughter-in-law is serving his father and mother-in-law, she is doing favour out of her moral character because she is giving this service to them only of her free will and she is not in any way liable for such services. Her in-laws should, therefore, appreciate this voluntary service from her. They should try to requite her for this and encourage her. Ignorance of these rights and liabilities create various problems in social life which play havoc to the solidarity and welfare of families through quarrels and disputes. All these troubles are taking place simply because the people have banished from their minds the limits of these mutual rights and liabilities which the Holy Prophet [sallallaahu alyhi wasallam] has fixed in his Traditions.

A Surprising Incident
Hazrat Dr. Abdul Hai Sahib [ra] one day related a very wonderful event. He said that among his acquaintances, there was a couple who used to visit his assembly and receive spiritual training and instructions from him. One day both of them invited him to a dinner at their house. It was the habit of respected Dr. Sahib to utter at the end of the feast a few words of praise in favour of the lady who cooked the food just to encourage and please her. The lady who had prepared the food came and stood behind the curtain and greeted him. After replying to the greeting Dr. Sahib uttered a few words of praise and appreciation about the quality and taste of the food and the art of cooking. Dr. Sahib heard the woman sobbing from behind the screen. It was disturbing. Was there anything in Dr. Sahib’s words that pinched her? On being asked to state the cause of her grief and sobbing, she said, “I have been living with my husband for the last forty two years, but during this long period of association, I never heard from him a word of appreciation about my cooking. When I heard these words from you sir, I could not control myself from sobbing.”

The respected Dr Sahib used to relate this story in his assemblies off and on to emphasise that such callousness can never be expected from a husband who is able to realise that it is a great favour on the part of his wife that she is serving him so selflessly and faithfully of her own sweet will and is doing all this service for which she has not been made legally responsible by the Shari’ah. A man who thinks that his wife is a maid servant and has to serve him at any cost, has no need to drop a word of praise and appreciation if she is an expert cook and sincere worker.

The Husband should serve his parents himself
A question arises as to who should serve the parents when they are old, weak or otherwise helpless on account of sickness when there is none in the house except their son and his wife? Even in such a situation, the daughter-in-law is not bound, according to the Shari’ah to serve her in-laws. It is, however, a matter of blessings and virtue for her if she serves them of her own free will with the belief to please Allah and to receive reward in the Hereafter. The son should, however, realise that it is his responsibility to help and serve his parents personally or by employing a servant for this purpose. If the wife is looking after his old parents, the husband must appreciate this service and be thankful to her.

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(Mufti) Abdullah Patel
Halal Food Guide

Original Source Link

This answer was collected from MuftiSays.com, based in London (UK). It is one of the fruits of Darul Uloom London. Many ‘ulama are involved in answering the Q&A on the site, including: Shaikul Hadeeth Mufti Umar Farooq Sahib, Mufti Saifur Rahman Sahib, Mufti Abdullah Patel Sahib, Maulana Qamruz Zaman Sahib, Mufti Abu Bakr Karolia Sahib.

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