How to be an obedient wife (and why)

“If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” – Narrated by Ahmad (1664)

The words of our Prophet, peace be upon him, are very clear. As believing women, we must obey our husbands. Indeed, this requirement is so important that the Prophet pbuh mentioned it alongside three of the most fundamental practices of Islam; i.e., the five daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, and guarding one’s chastity.

In the world today, however, there is a general backlash against this teaching. ‘Why should wives obey husbands? Why is obedience necessary? Why can’t we have a marriage based only on equality and mutual love and respect? Why should I obey my husband, just because he is a man, and I’m a woman? Aren’t men and women equal?

In the following paragraphs, I shall attempt to answer these questions.

Why is obedience necessary?

Every institution, in order to function properly, needs a leader. You can’t have a body with two heads. You can’t have a school with two principals. You can’t have a company with two CEOs. The family is no different. When it comes to decision-making, it is best to have a single leader who has the last say on things; especially if, from time to time, decisions have to be made within a short time-frame.

The alternative is to argue endlessly: this happens when each person insists that they are right and is not willing to concede.

A family with a leader functions more efficiently than a family that doesn’t have a leader. Allah ta’ala says:

You who believe: Obey God and the Messenger, and those in authority among you.

The people in authority (husbands, parents, leaders) represent Allah’s authority; hence, we must respect and obey them.

Aren’t men and women equal?

As Muslims, when we say ‘Men and women are equal’, we mean that men and women are equal in matters related to salvation; but in other matters, Islam promotes equity, not equality. In many respects, men and women have the same rights rights. In some issues, women have more rights than men; in other issues, men have more rights than women. Of course, with more rights come more responsibilities. The Quran teaches that there is a hierarchal structure to the household,

‘Men are in charge of women’ (4:34)

Men and women are not the same. They have different physical and emotional needs. Islam acknowledges these differences.

One major psychological difference is that at their very core, men crave respect while women crave love. For women, the strongest psychological need is ‘to feel loved’: when we don’t feel loved and valued, we feel hurt. Men need to feel that others (especially, their wives) respect them. When a man doesn’t feel respected, he feels hurt and angry. When a woman respects her husband, he feels more masculine and powerful. This will make him want to take care of his wife, love her, and ensure her happiness. The more a woman respects her man, the more he will love her; and the more he loves her, the easier it becomes for her to respect and obey him.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that women don’t want to be respected, or that men don’t have a desire to be loved; but the strongest need is different for each.

When To Obey; and When Not to Obey

Being obedient doesn’t mean you always have to agree with your husband: When you disagree with him, you have every right to voice your opinion; but do so respectfully. If he insists that his decision is better, defer to his thinking. When you criticise or dismiss his ideas, (this can well happen in an argument) it’s always best to apologise; even when you know you’re right. Remember what the Prophet pbuh told a married woman:

Be mindful of how you are with him [your husband]. He is your Paradise and your hell.

(Sahih Al Jami’ 1509)

Muslim wives should follow their husbands’ leadership, except in the following circumstances:

  1. He wants you to do something that contravenes the commands of Allah ta’ala and his Messenger pbuh: One should not obey any creature, when this obedience involves disobeying the Creator; so, if your husband tells you to do something that is forbidden (for example, drinking wine) – you must not obey him.
  2. He wants you to do something that would harm you (or others) physically or emotionally. This is a basic principle of Islam, ‘La darar wa la darâr’ i.e., one should not harm oneself or others.

Being obedient doesn’t mean you should put up with abuse. It is also not a licence for husbands to abuse their wives; and act in an irresponsible and unkind manner. Love and kindness are essential components of a marriage:

Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. (Quran 30:21)

(QURAN 30:21)

Final Thoughts

We’ve been made to believe that being obedient is demeaning to women: it’s not.

Obedience is a choice. The very fact that Allah taála and His Messenger enjoin us to obey our husbands means that that it’s possible not to obey. You can make a free conscious decision to either obey or disobey your husband; when you choose to obey, you will be rewarded with Paradise. 

When you obey your husband, you show that you trust your man and put your full confidence in him. It’s a sign of love and respect. By respecting him, you also respect yourself; you’re acknowledging that you made a wise choice to marry him. You are also ultimately respecting and obeying the Creator; Allah SWT says:   

Righteous women are those who are obedient,

Guarding in secret what Allah would have them guard.

(Quran 4:34)

this post taken from:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.