Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Must I Obey My Husband in His Request That I Read Certain Books in Order?
Am I allowed to read books like The Ideal Muslimah? Or other Islamic books that I find interest in? Every time I ask my husband, he suggests that I read The Beginning of Guidance and the seera (biography) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), first, which I’ve read briefly before and not too random topics.
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being concerned about your husband’s requests and increasing beneficial knowledge.
Obedience to the husband
It is obligatory to obey one’s husband in all permissible things, so you should make an effort to do so. You will also be surprised that obeying your husband in what may seem like paltry things will actually increase his love and respect for you. This will make a bond that cannot be broken and will lead to him giving you more freedom and movement. The books that he recommends are priceless, and you would certainly be doing yourself a favor by reading them.
You know your husband best. Speak to him politely and tell him that you will be happy to read your books after the books he recommends. Also, communicate to him your desire for reading other books for inspiration and for finding female role models; these are not random topics at all. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, “Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim, […]“ [Ibn Maja]. If your husband were to prevent you from learning personally obligatory knowledge, it would be obligatory for you to learn it anyway. But confrontation is seldom necessary when you use tact, kindness, compromise, and love.
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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.