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Serving One’s Husband

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Correspondence of Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel Saheb (rahimahullah)

Letter: 

As Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

Respected Maulana,

Where does it say in Islam that a woman has to serve her husband? Why did the Sahaabiyyaat serve their husbands, if it is not in Islam? Why did Hazrat Fatima (radhiyallahu ‘anha) do housework if it is not in Islam? Why should we serve our husbands? Why?

Reply:

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Respected Sister

Wa ‘alaikumus Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

1. There are many ahaadeeth which mention the wives serving their husbands. The life of Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and many other Sahaabiyyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhunna) [including Asmaa’ radhiyallahu ‘anha] bear testimony to this khidmat (service). It also reflected their kindness and selflessness as well as their support and assistance towards nurturing their marriage and maintaining a good home environment.

A wife should go the extra mile by cooking, cleaning, and carrying out other household chores. This should not be considered as demeaning or debasing. On the contrary, with the correct intentions, even these tasks are categorized as ‘ibaadaat and draw great rewards.

At the same time, husbands must understand that cooking, feeding, house cleaning, etc. are not the duties or obligation of the wife. If the husband can afford to, he should employ someone. If he is unable to, he should consider it a favour from his wife and should be patient and tolerant if there is some deficiency or shortcoming. He should not be intolerant or abusive.

2. I always advise that we should not go by the book of ‘My Rights’rather by the book of Love, ihsaan and khidmat. If husband and wife work as a team, and each one goes out of his or her way to fulfill the rights of the other, not just demanding one’s own rights, then that will be a means of enjoying Jannah in this world also.

Of course, rights have been clearly defined so that no person falls short in fulfilling them, or that no person violates the rights of the other.

It has been very aptly said: “In khidmat, you will get ‘izzat (honour); in giving love, you will receive love.”

In undertaking this khidmat of one’s husband or generally, with others as well – a person earns respect. And in giving love, one will invite the same insha-Allah.

3. From another perspective, the western world raises objections when a woman serves her husband faithfully and lovingly – but strangely finds no wrong with women serving hundreds of strange men, as airhostesses, waitresses, etc. Yet these women are not only subjected to all forms of harassment; they are terribly exploited and even brought out as cheap labour. This is what is demeaning and degrading.

Islam, on the other hand, has placed a woman on a pedestal, crowning her with respect and honour, as the queen of her husband’s home.  

May Allah Ta‘ala  grant us the understanding and the ability to practice.

Was Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

Yunus Patel (Maulana)