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Is it Obligatory for the Wife to Serve Her Husband?

Question: Is it obligatory upon the wife to serve her husband in the customary matters like preparing the food and straightening up the house and so forth?

Answer: Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "The scholars have disputed as to whether it is upon her to serve him in the likes of the bedding of the home, and bringing the food, the drink and the bread and the crackers, and preparing food for his servants and his livestock animals, like giving fodder to his riding animal and so forth.

So from among them there are those who said, 'It is not obligatory for her to serve him,' and this opinion is weak. Just like the weakness of the statement of the one who says, "It is not obligatory as a part of his living with her (his wife) that he has sex with her." For verily this is not him living with her in a good way. Rather, the companion on the journey who is the associate of the person and his companion in living quarters, if he does not assist him in that which is beneficial then he has not accompanied him in a good manner. And it has also been said - and this is what is correct - that it is obligatory for her to serve him. For verily the husband is her Sayyid (master or leader) in the Book of Allaah (i.e. according to the Qur'aan), and she is his helper with him according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam).

And it is obligatory upon the helper and the slave to serve (their master or leader), because that is goodness. Then from among these scholars are those who said, 'Easy service to him is obligatory upon her (i.e. in light matters).' And from among them there are those who said, 'It is obligatory for her to serve him in that which is good.' And this is what is correct (i.e. this last opinion). Thus, it is obligatory upon her to serve him in the good service that is customary from the likes of her for the likes of him. And this varies with the various situations. Thus, the service of the bedouin woman is not like the service of the city woman, and the service of the strong woman is not like the service of the weak woman."

Source: Majmoo' ul-Fataawaa, Vol. 34, 90-91, Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, as transmitted from the book Kitaabul-Aadaab by Fu'aad bin 'Abdil-'Azeez


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