Allāh has obligated certain exchangeable rights upon the husband and the wife. Everyone’s right is an obligation upon the other. The Messenger of Allāh (May Allāh raise his rank and grant him peace) said,
“Indeed! You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you.”
However, man has been distinguished by Allāh with a degree over the women. Allāh says,
“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses, etc.) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect, etc.) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.” [Sūrah Al-Baqarah 2:228]
The rights of marriage are three: the rights which are shareable between the husband and the wife, the rights of the wife over her husband and the rights of the husband over his wife. However, there is a problem imposing itself here regarding determining the exact description of the wife’s service to her husband: is it a right for the husband; the result of which would hold the wife responsible for any failure or inadequate observance of that right? Or is it optional for her to serve him because the only thing she is obliged to do towards him is the sexual pleasure?
This issue is debatable among Islāmic jurists, although it is needless of clarification that the normal duties of the wife are to serve the husband and children and to handle the affairs of her house. This is a natural duty required by the shareable rights between the married couple and one of the major factors in maintaining the integrity and coherence of the family, in addition to raising a fine and disciplined generation.
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