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A friend of mine thinks that the husband needs to earn the right to be obeyed by his wife. I have searched a lot of sources (like islam.stackexchange.com, islamqa.info, islamweb.net, quora.com, aboutislam.net and many blogs and forums), what I have found is, that obedience to the husband is important to have functioning family and it is important for society and the development of the children. Almost all the sources say that obedience to the husband is obligatory for the wife. And if I read all Hadith & Sure related to this topic, one can clearly see that to obey is directly or indirectly a right of the husband, that needs not to be earned from the husband at first (it comes with the marriage & the Mahr). Am I wrong or is my friend wrong?

Here is a good summary of my overall understanding of this topic: Quora: Should a wife obey her husband?, and here is the main Sure related to this:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.

Qur'an 4:34

Here are some of the hadith (there are a lot, so I am just posting some):

Abu Hurairah reported that Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "If a woman prays her five (daily) prayers and keeps her private parts chaste and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any of the doors of Paradise she wishes." [Reported by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh]

"It is not lawful for a woman to fast while her husband is present unless she has his permission. And she must not allow anyone in his home except with his permission." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

From Abu Hurairah (radyAllaahu 'anhu), Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "When a man calls his wife to bed and she does not come to him, and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until the morning arrives." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

In the report of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "By the One in whose Hand my soul is, there is no man that calls his wife to bed and she refuses him, except that the One who is above the heavens is displeased with her until he (the husband) becomes content with her."

The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The woman is the caretaker of her husband's household and she will be questioned as to her responsibility." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

Question: Does the husband have to earn the right to be obeyed by his wife?

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    Neither of them has to earn the other's right. Both have to do their responsibilities at the same time. – The Z May 12 '18 at 23:52
  • @TheZ - Well, you are just saying the same thing in a different way. From your point of view, a woman could ask "What are my responsiblities? Is one of it to listen and obey my husband?" – Rep May 13 '18 at 13:04
  • Of course obeying is one of the responsibilities. But caring for the wife is the husband's responsibility at the same time. They should not be dependant on each other. – The Z May 13 '18 at 15:17
  • You may read in some of my answers that according the shafi'i and maliki view a husband who is not in charge of his wife and family can't expect being obeyed and it is an accepted reason for faskh (see for example What does obey mean in righteous women are devoutly obedient quran 4:34? – Medi1Saif Aug 14 '18 at 12:53
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Your friend is wrong, there is no backing for his\her statement.

If the right had to be earned :

  • It would have been noted in the ayah. Instead the ayah is unconditional: "So righteous women are devoutly obedient".

  • An exception would have been noted in the ahadith, to the effect that 'disobedient women whose husbands have not yet earned the right are blameless'. Again, the ahadith are unconditional.

So your friend's opinion is pure conjecture. If anything it can be conditional to financial maintenance, but it does not have to be earned.

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The husband is responsible for his wife and children ( taking care of them monetarily or otherwise), and the wife is responsible for obeying her husband at all times. Obeying her husband encompasses anything the husband asks her to do or not do, provided it doesn't violate religious commandments ( such as telling her she can't pray, fast, etc). Those are the responsibilities of both in a nutshell.

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