Is It Permissible For a Wife To Address Her Husband By Name?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

Is it permissible to call the husband by name if that is common in the culture one grew up in such as the West, for example? Also, is the hadith about the wife prostrating to the husband authentic?

Answer

I pray you are well.

Yes, it would be permissible for a wife to address her husband by name if it is acceptable in the culture they live in, and if there are no negative connotations to this.

Addressing Each Other Respectfully

Spouses should address each other with kind, respectful, and endearing words. Our religion teaches us to strive to attain good character, and this is about the way we treat people. Those closest to us deserve the best treatment, and a kind way of addressing someone is part of this. “A beautiful statement is charity.“ [Bukhari]

This is a culturally sensitive matter, and so, it must be treated accordingly. When people around do not see this as culturally acceptable, it would be wise to adjust this interaction to avoid unnecessarily drawing negative attention to oneself.

Some classical scholars placed this in the same bracket as addressing one’s father, meaning that it would be impermissible, just as it would be impermissible to address one’s father by name. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al Muhtar]

It can be argued that such a title for one’s father is universally seen as necessary, whilst this is not the case for the husband in all cultures. Therefore, cultural sensitivity is important.

The Hadith On Wives Prostrating To Husbands

The hadith “If I was to command anyone to prostrate to another I would have commanded wives to prostrate to their husbands“ [Tirmidhi] has been narrated by a number of sources in a few wordings. Scholars have confirmed that it is a sound narration.

Please read the proper contextualized explanation of the hadith in this answer.

May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.