Whenever I think of a "you have to do what I say" scenario, I think of movies such as Coming to America, where the prince meets his arranged wife, and the following dialogue takes place:

00:19:13 Yes, your Highness.
00:19:15 - Anything I say, you'll do? - Yes, your Highness.
00:19:19 Bark like a dog.
00:19:24 A big dog.
00:19:29 Hop on one leg.

Or Terminator 2, where John Connor requests the terminator to stand on one leg.

These frivolous, demeaning requests test the boundary of how far one is willing to go in regards to obedience. In Islam, a wife is required to obey her husband:

She is required to obey him in everything unless he commands her to do an act of disobedience. (IslamWeb)


Question: Is a wife required to e.g. stand on one leg, if her husband requests it?

I would guess the immediate answer is "yes...", the husband is making a halal request, after all. Continuing "...but the husband shouldn't be making such a strange request", although the silliness of the request wouldn't exempt the wife from her obligations.

I could imagine a man requesting something absurd like this, perhaps as a kind of joke (as in the movie examples), or possibly even as a test of obedience.

Perhaps there's more to it. It may be that such frivolous, demeaning requests are another exception to the general rule.

My previous question What does being an obedient wife really mean? asks about what ordinarily and generally would be requested of a wife by her husband. This question is about a specific, hypothetical example, which is intended to explore the boundaries of Muslim marital relationships. It's a thought exercise.

  • 1
    The verse "وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً" says that created us and gave us our partner and base the relationship on mercy and kindness. such acts are nothing to do with mercy, so the husband's request will be simply a disobedience to Islamic rules Jan 23, 2017 at 8:22
  • Haven't already asked a very similar question What does being an obedient wife really mean?. Having that said I guess the rules vary by sect...Based on Quran, such obedience is only for Allah, His prophet, the اولی الامر.
    – Thaqalain
    Jan 25, 2017 at 0:45
  • Possible duplicate of What does being an obedient wife really mean?
    – Thaqalain
    Jan 25, 2017 at 0:46

3 Answers 3


Married life is more enjoyable for both husband and wife when the couple choose love and laughter over anger and black-and-white rules.

So, if the husband said in a light-hearted way, 'Hey honey, stand on one leg to show me how much you respect me', I guess the wife could obey, and follow it by something like, 'honey, why don't you stand on one leg to show me how much you love me?'.

They could turn it into a joke to laugh at together.

Obedience alone is not enough for a successful marriage; you also need to bring back love, laughter, emotional maturity, communication and forgiveness.


Your husband is not in charge of you. If you want to obey him you can, but you aren't forced to, just don't be rude. if he is so arrogant and self centered that he thinks he can tell you what to do, for example stand on one leg (are you a flamingo?), then you should honestly get a divorce

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    Please provide references for your statement. It's interesting that you would say this and not have anything to back up your words. The Internet provides a free system of speech but social norms are governed by the written text. Sep 15, 2020 at 14:01

A husband has absolute control over his wife and she must obey him, with the exception of him asking her to do something which is not permissible such as not offering prayer. The only alternative she has is to request that he change his commands or seek divorce ( which may or may not be granted) from an Islamic judge.

  • Someone pointed out to me in a comment on another post that she may not require a judge, although from my understanding she does require some kind of Islamic authority figure at least.
    – John Doe
    Sep 11, 2018 at 17:28
  • And how would a judge interfere?
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 12, 2018 at 10:46
  • Not so much interfere, as be required to perform the divorce on her behalf as she cannot do so alone. Again to reiterate, the particular authority may not be a judge if I have it wrong.
    – John Doe
    Sep 12, 2018 at 18:17
  • And what is your evidence for that? Yes a woman needs to go to a court to ask for divorce else she doesn't need to obey a husband if he asks her something unlawful or forbids her to do something lawful, some scholars even say if the husband is not a good Muslim or isn't able to be in charge for the family he has lost his right of obedience.
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 14, 2018 at 5:21
  • Why ask me for evidence if you're confirming what I said? lol. And ok regarding the part about what constitutes a husband losing his right to obedience, that makes sense.
    – John Doe
    Sep 14, 2018 at 13:54

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