1

What are the legal (enforced by Islam) duties of a wife towards her husband's relatives/friends?

Example 1: Cooking, doing dishes, housekeeping, etc in a joint family system. Though duties could be assigned equally to all or one of them handle them on his/her own(showing kindness to others) but Is a wife, literally, responsible (in sharia) to cook for husband's mother/sister?

Example 2: There are many guests/friends who frequently visit husband. So is a wife responsible to serve them?

In a nutshell, even if it is joint family system or not, what are the duties (out of all one can think of when living with people) of a wife towards her husband's relatives/friends?

Part 2

What was a married-life at the times of Prophet and sahaba? Were they having joint family system? How were they managing housekeeping? If they were having separate house for their wives then how were they taking care of their mothers/unmarried sisters?

2

Well, duties such as cooking, cleaning, etc... are not fard. So it is not mandatory for a woman to do these tasks but she will be rewarded if she does so.

When it comes to the husband's family, it is entirely up to the woman to decide if she wants to serve them or not. If she does so, she will be rewarded. If not, then nobody can force her. In other words, the duties that a wife has to her husband's family is the same as the duties that a husband has towards his wife's family (Islamically speaking). Just as a husband will be rewarded, for instance, by financially helping his wife's family; the wife will be rewarded if she does the cooking, cleaning, etc... for her husband's family.

The following is from islamqa.org

You mention regarding the cooking of food. Firstly, a wife is not legally even required to cook for her husband. This is the case in the three schools of Fiqh and one of the two opinions in the Hanafi Madhhab. Now, if the husband comes and asks the wife to cook a certain type of food for him, then the wife is not legally obliged, but the rewards for doing so are great.

http://islamqa.org/hanafi/daruliftaa/7935

  • Let us have a wife and husband as an example not interested in rewards, it is not a sin after all. The husband is supposed to earn, cook, do dishes, clean, take care of his mother, spend time with wife, children, mother, serve guests, etc. The wife is supposed to spend time with children and husband. Could you please tell me working hours for the wife and the husband in numbers? – bjan Sep 6 '15 at 18:44
  • @bjan Firstly, this isn't my opinion; I am merely stating the law in Islam. Secondly, marraige is not just about rights/duties. Just as a wife has rights over her husband, the husband has rights over her as well. If the wife is willing to abuse her rights by sitting at home and doing nothing; the husband is capable of abusing his rights as well. Obviously, it's not nice for a wife to do nothing at all. Similarly, it isn't nice for a husband to act like a dictator (like many men do nowadays). They should both sacrifice some of their rights if they are willing to have a peaceful relationship. – Artus Sep 9 '15 at 21:36
  • "They should both sacrifice some of their rights if they are willing to have a peaceful relationship.", Agree. I am looking about what kind of family life style Islam is offering to its believers if husband and wife are fulfilling their duties or availing their rights. I believe husbands and wives will be rewarded for their sacrifices but will be questioned as well if one is not giving rights of the other unless Allah, the most merciful, forgives. – bjan Sep 13 '15 at 10:29

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