Roles of the spouses

Q: What is the concept of gender roles in Islam? Can I get a detailed answer with all references please?

A: Islam is second to none in advocating fairness and justice. In every dimension of a person’s life, one will find Islam advocating the highest degree of justice. As a result of Islam’s unparalleled justice, we see that each spouse is allocated their own responsibilities and duties in their marital life. It is recorded in the Mubaarak Hadith that when Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) married Hazrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised them regarding the manner in which they should conduct themselves in the nikaah. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) outlined the duties and responsibilities of each spouse, instructing Hazrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha) to attend to the duties within the home and Hazrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to fulfil the responsibilities out of the home.

From this Hadith, we understand that each spouse has been allocated their specific duties and responsibilities. The husband’s duty and responsibility is to fulfil the needs and requirements of his wife and family, such as providing them with food, clothing, shelter, etc. He is thus required to leave the home in order to generate an income through which he will be able to fulfil his responsibilities. On the other hand, the wife has been commanded to remain within the confines of the home and not to leave the home except at the time of need, as she has been allocated the duty of tending to the internal affairs of the home. Hence, she should serve her husband, take care of the children and manage the affairs of the home such as cooking, keeping the home tidy, etc.

If each spouse acts responsibly and fulfils their respective duties and responsibilities, the home will run smoothly and they will prosper as a happy family. Each spouse will be able to fulfil the rights they owe to Allah Ta‘ala and the rights they owe to each other. Furthermore, both parents will be able to focus on instilling Islamic values into the children and giving them the correct upbringing which they require.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)