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Is It Sinful for a Wife Not To Cook and Clean if She Is a Shafi’i?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question:

It was said in another answer that, according to Shafi’i school, “it is not an obligation on the wife to serve her husband in cooking, washing, etc. “. So If a husband asks her to do these things that are sunna and not an obligation, and she disobeys him, without any valid reason, will she be sinful?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

Obligations

The obligations of a wife are in this link, and yes, it is not obligatory  for her to do what you mentioned:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/shafii-fiqh/what-are-my-obligations-in-obeying-my-husband-in-the-shafii-school/

Marital success

Although these are the very minimums required of the wife, a marriage could easily fall apart and have disastrous effects on the whole family if the wife simply decided not to cook and clean for no reason. She would be potentially sinful for being selfish and disagreeable. There is a reason that these duties are a sunnah, and just because it is not obligatory doesn’t mean that it should be simply omitted. The sunnahs of our religion show us how to live and are filled with blessings and goodness and are a path to success in this world and the next.

Please see this link about the importance of the sunnah:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophet-muhammad/sunnah-relevant/

Compromise

My advice to you is that you communicate with your wife and get her the extra help if she needs it. I also advise that you help out and do your part by not making a mess and that you follow the sunnah of cleaning up after yourself. For example, wash your own dinner plate or do the dishes, and take out the trash if you know that she already is taking care of the dusting, the laundry, and the cooking. Explain to her that you love her, that you want to live with her harmoniously for the sake of Allah, where you are both at peace, and that you are willing to sacrifice for it.

Please see these useful tips and consider taking these marriage courses:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/health-wellbeing/25-years-worth-of-marriage-advice/

https://academy.seekersguidance.org/enrol/index.php?id=154

https://academy.seekersguidance.org/enrol/index.php?id=282

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 master’s 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.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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