What Is the Role and Responsibility of Wife in the Marriage?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I am 16 years old and living in India after living in the US for ten years, where I attended Darul Uloom of Seattle. I have a few doubts about marriage. I have often been told by elders, including my mother, that the ‘Islamic way’ of marriage is for the wife to sacrifice more than the husband. I feel that it should be an equal contribution. What is the actual Islamic way in this matter?

Since I am in India, I have also been told that I will have to agree to Indian customs, such as being widowed, looking after her in-laws, and never getting married again. Amid all this, I have noticed that, usually, Muslim families here are either away from Islam completely but give their women a voice or are ‘religious’ but suppress their women.

Due to this and a slight fear of domestic abuse, I have developed a resistance to getting married. Any attempt to communicate what I think is right has been shut down only because I am young.

Answer

Sister, I think it is beautiful that you have studied at Daru Uloom school for many years and established a foundation for your religion there.

Your questions about marriage tell me that you need to take a course on marriage and learn about the rights and obligations between husband and wife. You can take a free course at Seekers for this easily. The contribution of building blocks to any successful marriage is equal, although the nature of those contributions might differ.

The example that you give above of a widow never being able to remarry is rubbish and un-Islamic. Please try to marry an educated person who is religious so you don’t have to deal with customs and culture that are rooted in Hinduism.

I agree that many Muslim families fit the two stereotypes you mention, which is unfortunate. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) expected us to be religious and intelligent simultaneously. Applying the true sunna of the Prophet is not lost yet, so you can find a good circle of religious friends who don’t suppress their women. I tell you this because I have found such people myself.

Don’t resist marriage too much because kind men fear their Lord. I believe the blessed beginning of your education will lead you to a righteous man; keep up your end of being a pious and loving wife. It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what type of wife is best? He said, ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, and she obeys him if he instructs her to do something, and she does not do anything about herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Ahmad]

May Allah reward you and give you the best in both worlds.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.