Can You Advise of Husband and Wives’ Rights and Responsibilities in Islam?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


Is it true that a woman can give birth and then doesn’t have to take care of the children by shari’a? Meaning that she is not sinful if she doesn’t because the man is responsible for the children?

If the mother wants the baby to have a shaykh, must she get the father’s permission first? Is the father responsible for his children’s actions on the Day of Judgement, not the mother? Also, is it true that a husband’s only right over his wife is intercourse? Can you advise of husband and wives’ rights, please?


It is true that once a woman gives birth, the father must see that the baby is nursed. This can be through the mother or by employing a wet nurse. The father is ultimately responsible for a child’s care, whether the mother agrees to do it or not.

I am unclear about what you mean by the baby having a shaykh. It is sunna for a baby to have tahnik. This is the softening of a date in someone’s mouth that is then put in the baby’s mouth; a scholar or imam could do this. I am not sure what other involvement a shaykh would have. Please see this answer about the sunnas of a newborn:

What Acts Are Recommended After Giving Birth to a Child?

Both parents are responsible for a child’s upbringing on the Day of Judgment; see this link about children’s right to a good upbringing:

Rights of Children in Detail
Raising Children with Deen and Dunya

The following is taken from the Reliance of the Traveller, [pp 948-949]

A Wife’s Marital Obligations in the Shafi’i School

w45.1 (Abu Ishaq Shirazi:) A woman is not obliged to serve her husband by baking, grinding flour, cooking, washing, or any other kind of service, because the marriage contract entails, for her part, only that she let him enjoy her sexual, and she is not obligated to do other than that. (A: Rather, it is considered sunna in our school for the wife to do the housework, and the husband (who is obliged to support her) to earn a living, since this is how the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) divided the work between Fatima and ‘Ali (Allah be well pleased with them) (al-Muhadhdhab fi fiqh al-Imam al-Shafi’i (y125), 2.68).

A Wife’s Marital Obligations in the Hanafi School

w45.2 (Nahlawi:) The wife’s serving her husband at home–by cooking, cleaning, and baking bread–is religiously obligatory for her, and if she does not, she is committing a sin, though it is not something that she may be forced to do by the court [al-Durar al-mubaha fi al-hazr wa al-ibaha (y99), I72].”

As you can see from the above, a woman’s obligations differ according to the two schools, but a man has more than just the right to intercourse with his wife. He has the right that she lives with him in goodness, not waste his money, and contribute to a healthy and happy marriage. Any woman who neglects these things without reason will not succeed and may find deep-seated resentment in her husband. This is contrary to this hadith. 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 with regard to herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’”[Ahmad]

I recommend that you take the following free courses on marriage at Seekers in order to learn your marital obligations and rights:

Keys to Succesful Muslim Marriages: Practical Lessons that Explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage
Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage

[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.