Should the wife obey her husband?

Question:

If the wife carries out business transactions through the mobile phone without telling the husband (because the husband has instructed her not to use mobile phone) or lies to her husband because of the business, will the money earned be permissible for her?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

It must always be remembered that marriage is not a technical partnership just based on just the wife’s rights and the husband’s rights. Rather marriage is based on love and understanding from both spouses. With the different challenges of life, a marriage needs courage and resolution to keep it moving. Apart from the rulings and regulations of Shari’ah, Islam has laid down some moral instructions for both husband and wife and each other should be dealt with compassion and respect, rather than restricting themselves to the legal Shari’ obligations alone

With regards to the importance of obeying one’s husband, Rasulullah is reported to have said that the best women is she who obeys her husband and does not do anything against the wish of her husband. (Sunnan anNasaai)

Abu Hurairah (Radhiallahu Anhu) reported that it was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, which woman is the best?’ The Prophet said, ‘The one that pleases the husband, when he looks at her, she obeys him when he commands, and she does not go against him with respect to herself and his wealth with something which he dislikes’. (Ibn Majah)

The Prophet said, when a woman performs her five daily Salaah, guards her private parts (chastity), and obeys her husband, then she will be made to enter through any gate of Paradise she wishes to enter from’. (Ibn Hibban)

Therefore, if the husband asks the wife to refrain from conducting business via the phone, the wife should obey and not conduct such business.   This is in a normal situation where the husband is providing for the family.

It is an obligatory responsibility for the husband to adequately provide basic needs, food, clothing etc. for his wife and children. If he fails to do that, he will be guilty of negligence towards them.

If, however the husband is neglectful and does not purchase groceries, supplies and other household necessities, e.g. the rent or electricity, water bills and the needs of the children, and the wife does not have funds of her own to fulfil these needs, the wife should explore avenues to get her husband to fulfil his responsibility for example talk to him directly or to an influential person who could intervene and make the husband understand his responsibility. If the husband is still negligent, then she may work within her home even without the permission of her husband in order to fulfil her needs.

In the inquired scenario, if the wife disobeyed the husband and conducted the business, and there was no necessity as explained above, she will be sinful for disobeying, but the income will be Halaal.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net