In response to this question, Ustadha Shazia Ahmad quotes a Shafi'i jurist,

“45.1 (Abu Ishaq Shirazi:) A woman is not obliged to serve her husband by baking, grinding flour, cooking, washing, or any other kind of service, because the marriage contract entails, for her part, only that she let him enjoy her sexually, and she is not obligated to do other than that. Rather, it is considered sunna in our school for the wife to do the housework...[al-Muhadhdhab fi Fiqh al-Imam al-Shafi’i]

However, U. Shazia Ahmad still goes on to say,

A woman is not obliged to work, but rather, she is expected to take care of her husband, children, and home. This is from the sunnah in our school, and it is considered obligatory in the Hanafi school. In traditional societies, a woman is honored and admired for her efficiency, cooking skills, and cleanliness in the home. You will find that these womanly duties, when done well, contribute to the safety, security, love, and emotional stability of a Muslim household. Do not undermine them for they are important things that affect the whole family.

She also ends her answer with a link to another Q&A about the obligation of obeying husband in everything.

So, this leaves me confused:

According to Islam (the Shafi'i school, in particular) is it a woman's duty to cook and clean?

If cooking and cleaning are not a woman's duty by default, would they become her duties if her husband requires her to do them? (given that obeying husband regarding permissible actions is obligatory)

  • She is consistent in saying it is Sunnah rather than an obligation. I am not sure where the confusion is.
    – The Z
    Jun 3, 2022 at 11:11
  • would it become an obligation if the husband requires it?
    – HK70
    Jun 3, 2022 at 11:17
  • @HK70 The Hadith of Fatima (ra) complaining to the Prophet (pbuh) of the harsh nature of her work and the Prophet's reaction shows Islam has a sense of gender roles, check this video for explanation, youtu.be/kgqrhPUhINc Jun 4, 2022 at 9:47


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