When Can a Husband Be Disobeyed?

Shafi'i Fiqh
Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

What did the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) mean when he commanded the wife to obey her husband? Are there limits to this beyond not obeying him in the haram? How does it work in practice?

Please make du’a that Allah grants me a good husband soon, makes a way out for me, and forgives me.

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you a pious husband, forgive you all your sins, raise your rank, facilitate your matters, and grant you His eternal good favor.

Obligation

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When a woman observes the five times of prayer, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of paradise she wishes.” [Ibn Hibban]

In the Shafi`i school, a woman is not obliged to obey her husband in permissible requests, but it is recommended. See those details here:
What Are My Obligations in Obeying My Husband in the Shafi’i School?
Obedience Towards the Husband

As for the Hanafi school, a woman is obliged to obey her husband in permissible and sunna acts; see those details here:
Obedience to the Husband in Mustahab and Makruh Acts

Spirit of Marriage

The spirit of marriage is such that one sees one’s partner as another human being, worthy of love, respect, care and affection. This is precisely how the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) treated his wives, and he was our role model. At the same time, a husband deserves the respect and honor of a team leader, which is fair, good and pleasing to Allah. Every woman should make `A’isha, Fatima, `Asiya, Khadija, Maryam, the mother of `Isa, may Allah bless them all, as her role models and make this hadith her standard as a 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 concerning herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Ahmad]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “This world is but provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” [Ibn Maja]

Please see these links as well:
Lasting Love: What Makes for Successful Marriage?
Marriage: A Beginner’s Guide
Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage
Is It Sinful for the Wife To Hate Obeying Her Husband?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, 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.