The Rights of the Spouses – Shaikh Bin Baz

Question: If a wife disobeys her husband, then what is upon her of sin? We wish you would clarify for us the rights of the wife upon her husband and the rights of the husband upon his wife?

Answer: “It is obligatory upon the wife to obey her husband in good and not to disobey him if he requests her for intimacy or for a need of the house. So it is obligatory upon her to listen and obey in what is good and to serve him with a service which is well-known between the people in the culture of that land. She should not disobey his command as long as he does not command her with the disobedience of Allah, the Exalted. There is no hearing and obeying if he says to her: “Do not pray on time” or he orders her to drink intoxicants or to smoke. This is disobedience and she does not obey him in that. As for if he commands her or prohibits her from an evil or commands her with something permissible which he has a need for, then it is upon her to obey him in that and hold fast to it. It is authentic from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) that he said:

إذا دعا الرجل امرأته إلى فراشه فأبت أن تجيء لعنتها الملائكة حتى تصبح

If a man Invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning [Bukhari]

And in another wording:

كان الذي في السماء ساخطا عليها حتى يرضى عنها

The One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her [Muslim]

It is obligatory upon her to listen and obey in what is good. If you delay that without a legislated excuse, you are sinful in that. That is from the means of Allah’s anger. As for if she is has an excuse and she is then requested for a need, if she is sick and she is not able fulfill his desires or she has another excuse, then it is obligatory upon the husband not to be severe and to excuse her due to her acceptable excuse. And he should make good his treatment and not be extremely severe due to the statement of Allah, the Exalted:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

And live with them honourably [4:19]

Allah, the Exalted says:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable [2:228]

And the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ فَإِنَّكُمْ أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانِ اللَّهِ وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللَّهِ

So fear Allah regarding women. For you have taken them through the covenant of Allah and made permissible their private parts by the word of Allah [Muslim no. 1218]

So it is obligatory upon the believer to have good treatment [of his spouse], good manners, and not to be severe in other than its place. It is upon the wife to listen and obey, to have good treatment, and to be far from contradiction and disobedience. So by this, the affairs will be rectified. As for if he is severe in other than the place of severity or she disobeys the commands, then this is from the means of division and removal of the bond of marriage. So the conclusion is that it is upon each of them to have good treatment and establishing the right upon him. So the husband should establish the truth upon him from good treatment, good speech, cheerfulness and not frowning, giving her (the wife) her right in terms of clothing, food, drink, and appropriate housing. It is upon her to listen and obey and attend to his desires in terms of his need for her intimacy and what is connected to his house, clothing, and the likes of that in accordance to ordinary custom in his land. And the one that serves in accordance to the custom should do so in accordance to their ability. And in Allah aid is sought”


Translator’s Note:

This is a reminder that it is upon the spouses living in Muslim countries as well as those living in non-Muslim countries to fulfill the rights of one another. They should adhere to the Quran and Sunnah and be just in their dealings.

Translated by

Faisal bin Abdul Qaadir bin Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan

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