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The Prophet’s Prescribed Antidote for Housework Fatigue: Remembrance of Allah!


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Seldom is it that anyone looks forward to tackling a sink-full of dirty utensils, a hamper load of laundry, a sprawling lawn overflowing with tall grass, or a wall-to-wall carpeted house waiting to be vacuumed. Household chores are just that – chores – and most of us would happily delegate them to someone else if we could.

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These chores do take up a considerable amount of our time and energy, though, since most of us tackle them ourselves. Consequently, often it is easy to fall into the trap of perceiving them negatively as simply a waste of time, or a burdensome “headache” to rid ourselves of as soon as possible.

The hadith below brings us glad tidings:

It was narrated from ‘Ali [رضى الله عنه], “Fatimah [رضى الله عنها] complained about the pain caused to her hand by the mill, and some prisoners had been brought to the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم], so she went but did not find him, but she met A’ishah and told her.

When the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] came, A’ishah told him about Fatimah coming to her. The Prophet came to us, and we had gone to bed. We started to get up, but the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] said: “Stay where you are.” Then he sat between us, until I could feel the coolness of his foot on my chest. Then he said:

“Shall I not teach you something better than what you asked for? When you go to your bed, magnify Allah thirty-four times, glorify Him thirty-three times and praise Him thirty-three times. That is better for you than a servant.””
[Sahih Al-Bukhari: 3502 and Muslim: 2727]

Al-Tabari said in his commentary on this hadith:

“We may understand from this hadith that every woman who is able to take care of her house by making bread, grinding flour and so on, should do so. It is not the duty of the husband if it is the custom for women like her to do this themselves”.

A servant is a person who helps us do our work at home. He or she obeys orders and makes our tasks lighter. Good servants are indeed hard to come by, but when they do, they are a great blessing indeed.

However, Fatimah bint Muhammad was a very special woman. She had a short lifespan, which she spent in poverty and considerable hardship; yet, despite not having lived a very long life, she won the highest spot in the Akhirah, and we all know it was not just by virtue of being the Prophet’s daughter, because the blood connection will not get us anywhere unless it is accompanied by virtuous deeds.

Prophet Muhammad [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] always advised Fatimah to adopt the “high road”, even in matters as seemingly ‘trivial’ as domestic work. Whilst it is true that this hadith by no means implies that keeping a servant to help out in housework is in any way frowned upon in Islam, the Prophet was actually pointing out to to his daughter that it was better for her to turn only to Allah for relief from her physical fatigue, than to seek out tangible, worldly means to relieve her tiredness from her daily work.

Remembrance of Allah, in the form of takbeer [“Allahu Akbar“], tahmeed [“alhamdulillah“] and tasbeeh [“subhan Allah“] takes very little time to actually do with the tongue. However, dhikr has many beneficial advantages on the soul of a person when s/he recites these adhkaar with concentration, whilst keeping in mind the depth of their meanings.

For example, each time we recite Allahu Akbar, we can think about Allah’s majesty and how he provides the solution to all our problems; each time we recite Subhan Allah, we can bring to mind the universe and the flawless creations and systems it contains; and each time we recite Alhamdulillah, we can think of one of Allah’s countless blessings upon us, such as our hearing, sight, limbs, intellect, health, food, drink, shelter and family. Now, after just 2 minutes of doing this (the prescribed dhikr takes no more than 2 minutes!), wouldn’t a humble servant feel relieved of the stress and fatigue caused by household chores?

Another point to note is that Fatimah bint Muhammad [رضى الله عنها], who is the leader of the women of Paradise, also ‘complained’ of housework. Her hands were becoming calloused because of grinding flour in the mill herself. When she heard of her father recieivng prisoners of war, she proactively tried to get one as a servant for herself.

This shows us that it is not blameworthy to complain when there is cause for it viz. when the work/toil is causing considerable physical injury or fatigue. Even Prophet Musa [عليه السلام] exclaimed to his servant whilst travelling to find Khidr:

“Bring us our breakfast. Verily we have found fatigue in this journey of ours!” [18:62]

Therefore, to complain with just cause is not a sin at all.

Next, we get to see the concern and love that Prophet Muhammad [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] had for his daughter. When he discovered that she had come enquiring after him, he went to visit her himself.

This is a very inspiring incident from the lives of our Prophet’s [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] family members. Aside from the main lesson gleaned from it, especially for homemaking women of all ethnic backgrounds, who spend a significant portion of their day doing housework and chores, there are several further points of interest that can be pondered upon:

  1. The excellence of remembering Allah, and its positive effect on the human body and soul. This remains the main gist of the hadith – remembering Allah and proclaiming His attributes to achieve inner peace.
  2. The true concern that a believing parent has for his or her offspring always focuses on giving the latter that support which will benefit their Akhirah, not just their Duniya.
  3. The open, frank and informal communication and closeness that the Prophet’s Ahl Al-Bayt had with each other. E.g. Fatimah told A’ishah (who was technically her ‘stepmother’) of her desire to hire a servant when she visited her father but didn’t find him there. She would not have told her her personal problem had she not trusted her completely. This indicates their mutually friendly relationship.
    Also, A’ishah was prompt in informing the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] of his daughter’s visit. On both sides, the women are secure and self-confident in their relationship with Prophet Muhammad [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم]. Neither feels her privacy threatened by the intervention of the other!
    He immediately returned his daughter’s call, despite it being late, and sat between the lying-in-bed couple Fatimah and Ali [رضى الله عنهما], in such a way that his foot was touching his son’s-in-law chest.
    All these actions indicate a close-knit, honest and bonded family that shared each other’s ups and downs in life. There are no hang-ups or formalities between father-in-law and son-in-law, or father and daughter. I personally know of homes in which the father is not supposed to enter his daughters’ bedrooms, much less enter upon them in the bedroom of their marital home! (However, we have to keep in mind that Ali had always been very close to his father-in-law, from the time before he even married Fatimah).
  4. A parent can visit a child at his or her residence if an important matter crops up; it is not necessary that only the children visit their parents just because the latter are older.

Last but not least, let not our Muslim brothers think that this hadith gives them the proof to deny their wives the right to hire domestic staff for help with household chores. It is every woman’s duty to maintain a clean and smoothly-functioning household; most women happily go the extra mile in doing the cooking and cleaning that ensures the health and happiness of their families. However, in cases where they genuinely need it, they should be allowed to hire help to keep mental and physical stress at bay, especially during the repeatedly trying phases of being in the family way.

For more information on how much work women should be made to do in their homes, please see: The Wife Serving Her Husband on

Allah knows best.

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Sadaf Farooqi is a postgraduate in Computer Science who has done the Taleem Al-Quran Course from Al-Huda International, Institute of Islamic Education for Women, in Karachi, Pakistan. 11 years on, she is now a homeschooling parent of three children, a blogger, published author and freelance writer. She has written articles regularly for Hiba Magazine, SISTERS Magazine and Saudi Gazette. Sadaf shares her life experiences and insights on her award-winning blog, Sadaf's Space, and intermittently teaches subjects such as Fiqh of Zakah, Aqeedah, Arabic Grammar, and Science of Hadith part-time at a local branch of Al-Huda. She has recently become a published author of a book titled 'Traversing the Highs and Lows of Muslim Marriage'. For most part, her Jihad bil Qalam involves juggling work around persistent power breakdowns and preventing six chubby little hands from her computer! Even though it may not seem so, most of her time is spent not in doing all this, but in what she loves most - reading.



  1. Abu Abdullah

    March 3, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    Jazak Allahu khayr for the article.
    Barak Allahu feek/feeki?

    Allahumma inna audhubika minal ajzi wal Kasal , wal hammi wal huzn. ameen.


    • Abu Abdullah

      March 4, 2010 at 9:44 AM


      One more thing about entering the house of one’s daughter without permission/knocking.

      How do we reconcile between the Qur’anic ayah and this type of allowance in modern time. People take it negatively in general for anyone to come to our house without informing. Should we just let it pass it was because prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam or is there an exception for this case?

      • Sadaf Farooqi

        March 4, 2010 at 11:48 PM

        We all should follow what the Quran exhorts, of course. The Prophet [صلّى الله عليه Ùˆ سلّم] was returning his daughter’s call late at night (probably out of concern), and as I mentioned in the article, even before Ali [رضى الله عنه] became his son-in-law, he was very close to the Prophet. The latter was not only his first-cousin, but also his guardian.
        So, their unique circumstances in this hadith cannot be taken as a green signal by us Muslims to visit anyone without prior permission, or at an inappropriate time when they do not like being visited.
        And Allah knows best.

    • Nadeem

      March 20, 2016 at 10:14 AM

      Sounds like a preference not to have servants and instead pray to Allah to have the health not to have to rely on others rather than a nudge towards women doing housework, as suggested by Tabari. Having servants though I’m not suggesting it is akin to having slaves is a slippery slope for us with regards to power relations! Of course Bibi Fatima (as) would not be in danger of treating servants any differently but the message TO US in suggesting that we take care of ourselves sounds more plausible than this incident being indicative of women being in charge of housework!

  2. Abd- Allah

    March 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    JazakumAllah khayr for the article. Could you please just clarify what you mean here:

    deny their wives the right to hire domestic staff for help with household chores.

    From what I understood from this article and the link which you provided from IslamQA is that the wife should take care of the house and family, but the husband should not burden her with more than she can do, and he should help her out if he can. I didn’t read anything that said it is the right of the wife to hire a servant.

    The following is worded better, but is that what you meant when you said it is their right to hire domestic staff?

    However, in cases where they genuinely need it, they should be allowed to hire help to keep mental and physical stress at bay

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 3, 2010 at 7:56 PM

      Whether a wife has the right to hire a servant, will depend on a few factors: (1) Whether the work is tasking her physically, especially if she is in hardship, such as an illness or pregnancy (2) Whether her husband can afford it. In countries in the West, domestic help costs much more than in other countries, e.g. Saudia or Pakistan.

      Muslim wives have the right to kind, good treatment, which is according to “urf” – local custom:

      وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

      …and live with them on a footing of kindness and equity….” [Quran – 4:19]

      So, yes, a wife will have the right to a servant, if her husband can easily afford it, and if she cannot handle all the work by herself. But no, if she is physically able to do it all easily and her husband cannot afford it, and she wants the servant just as a status symbol or worse, to avoid work out of laziness, then she will not possess the ‘right’ to hire a servant. However, she can still hire one if she chooses to foot the bill herself, I suppose. :)

      Allah knows best.

      • Abd- Allah

        March 3, 2010 at 8:26 PM

        JazakumAllah khayr for the clarification!

  3. TheSussist

    March 3, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    JazakAllahu Khairan for the article

    The article suggests that it is okay to complain about housework.

    And indeed the hadeeth states that Fatimah r.a. complained about the pain in her hand.

    This should not be used as a license for sisters to complain to their husbands whenever they feel some pain or tiredness in the housework, and then use this hadith as a justification!

    “If Ali and Muhammad s.a.w. could take complaints from their women why can’t you?!”

    Complain wisely.

    May Allah bless us all.

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 3, 2010 at 7:46 PM

      Jazak Allahu khairan for the relevant reminder. This is an important point.

  4. Ibn Ameen

    March 3, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    Anything back to Al-Quran and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet :)
    Jazakallah Khair

  5. UmA

    March 3, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    jazakillahu Khayra for this article.

    btw I was a little bit thrown off by the casual use of the word ‘servant’ , ‘urf clash going on here… I just realised sr Sadaf, you are in Pakistan right now!
    Your wording later on: ‘domestic help’ sounded more culturally comfortable for me over here in ‘the West’

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 4, 2010 at 12:07 AM

      :) I live in Karachi, Pakistan.
      Yes, I do realize that domestic staff is very different in the West. They are educated, more highly paid, and better-respected people than the “servants” here. I personally think that our true akhlaq is the one we show to our servants or subordinates.
      I was also thinking one thing: our Prophet Muhammad [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] never rebuked his servants i.e. he never chastised them about why they did or did not do something a certain way.
      If we think about it, a wife has much more rights and a higher status than a servant; yet, in some Muslim households, there is no difference between the way someone treats his servant and his wife!
      I ask Allah to bless us all with guidance and with the akhlaq of our Prophet. Ameen.

      • F

        March 4, 2010 at 4:19 PM

        Yes, it is very unfortunate that some households treat their wives very badly. May Allah(swt) guide such people to better manners.

        In my experience of watching how servants are treated in Pakistan, instances of them being treated with respect were few and far between. Often, they were spoken to in harsh tones bordering on cursing/taunts and treated as inferiors by the women of the household.

        It really saddened me that we could treat a fellow human being, let alone a Muslim in such a manner.

      • Sp

        August 28, 2016 at 7:36 PM

        Men treat their wives like queens and their sisters and mothers worse than they treat their wives servant.
        BTW if men are supposed to take care of women’s food clothing etc why do we see women like sisters mothers wives etc doing the cooking? Why are the men not doing it esp cleaning too. I think according to Islam men are supposed to do all household chores too as there is no law in Quran ordering women to do the chores or any other work job etc

  6. zarina ahsan quadeer

    March 4, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    JazakumAllah Khayr!
    Yes, indeed ‘Tasbeeh Fatimah’, is Alhamdullilah a very effective antidote. Thank you for refreshing it.
    May we all have Allah S.W.T ‘s Zikr on our lips all the time Inshallah.

  7. Yusuf Saber

    March 4, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    MashaAllah, jazakiAllahu khairan sister for the great reminder.

    I think it’s become more of a norm here in the West for the husband to help out. Should we see this as a ni’ma from Allah that the brothers are expected to step up in the neediness of their wives? Or are we moving away from the sunnah with this expectation at hand?

    • Abu Abdullah

      March 4, 2010 at 9:47 AM


      We know from the sunnah ( The best of All Husbands is really a good book to read) of prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that he used to do house hold chores when he used to be at home. That includes washing his clothes and straightening up the house hold stuff, hosting food with his companions all with a cheerful face mash Allaah.

      Allahu ‘alam.

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 4, 2010 at 11:04 PM

      I think that its a blessing. Couples become more close if they help each other out. In the West, its a two-way street, as wives also help out the men in the house by driving and earning a second income – things which, to this day, are considered predominantly a ‘man’s terrain’ here in the East. (Please note: this is not my personal opinion; I am stating a fact about the general Eastern population’s trends and preferences).
      Plus, yes, Prophet Muhammad [صلّى الله عليه و سلّم] did help out in the house while he was at home. So it is the sunnah too.
      Allah knows best.

  8. tabassum

    March 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    nice mashaAllah and jazakaAllah, so v really DO have to do the house work :D . ok if it has to be this way then so be it.

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 4, 2010 at 11:00 PM

      Yes, housework has to be done, no matter how we go about it. :) We should take it positively, though, and whenever we are tired, we have this wonderful dhikr as antidote for the fatigue. Also, alhamdulillah, we have the facility of hiring servants to ease the task for us.

  9. sister

    March 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Asalaam alaikum,

    Interesting article. Unfortunately I feel this is a misinterpretation of the hadith, mainly because the author does not distinguish that “servants” in those times were “slaves” and not paid hired workers with the free will to quit anytime. Remember, Fatima was asking for a prisoner of war, who automatically became slaves, not as hired servants.

    Slavery at the time of the Prophet was not completely outlawed, but Prophet Muhammad discouraged any of his Sahaba and family members to own slaves and encouraged them to free any of the slaves they did have. We know from many other hadiths that Fatima and Ali did not have the financial means to hire someone to help them with household chores. The Prophet felt Fatima’s pain but he discouraged her from having a slave because this would provide precedence for the other sahaba to own slaves, and so the entire Muslim world. In every hadith where someone gave the Prophet a slave, he either freed them. If then he told Fatima to keep a slave, he would be undoing all his efforts to stop slavery in the Arabian peninsula through his example. Since the Quran did not completely ban slavery, he could not forbid Fatima to have a slave, but he did discourage it by giving her something better, which is the words of dhikr and remembrance that Allah is also aware of her struggles and will send help through His own ways. When you ask Allah, Allah provides.

    So this particular hadith does not discourage women to get help with domestic chores. On the contrary, creating employment for people was a noble act, i.e. his wife Khadijah (ra) had many people work for her including the Prophet himself. Unfortunately what gets often interpreted from this hadith by Muslims (and amazingly by Muslim women) is that household chores is mainly the duty of a Muslim woman. It says no such thing. The Prophet helped in household duties as well as the other sahaba men. Those who could afford it, hired outside people to help them. The Prophet had Anas ibn Malik serve him for 10 years. He treated him like his own son and had him run errands for him. Why do people never question why the Prophet needed help to run errands but when a woman asks for help, she is not being a dutiful wife or somehow whining?

    There is no hadith or Quran verse that says a woman has to stay home and do all the household duties. There were many women sahaba who had their own businesses, joined in the battles, ran charity funds, managed markets, and were scholars, including his wives. These kinds of interpretations should always be questioned when they only serve the man’s interest, since Islam is such a forward thinking religion and never outweighs one person’s interest over another. They should also be viewed with the goals and objectives of the Prophet by comparing it to other hadiths, seerah, and Quranic verses.

    One may think this hadith supports the Quranic verses 4:34. Unfortunately again the meaning of these verses is often misinterpreted to serve the interest of men. The verses say that men are the Qawwamun (Guardians) of women because he has favored some over the others. It does not specify that Allah favored men over women. In some instances like physical strength, men are more favored, but other instances like women’s intuition and foresight, He has favored women. The typical interpretation of these verses is that men are the favored one because Allah has made them the Qawwamun, but in reality both men and women are favored by this. When we hire an accountant to do our taxes, who is benefiting from this relationship? The accountant gets paid for his work, and the person gets to focus on other things. They both benefit.

    I just hope our sisters don’t start thinking that their only roles in life is to wash dishes and change diapers.

    • Abd- Allah

      March 4, 2010 at 8:31 PM

      You have a point sister, but you missed many others. The question is not only whether the wife is allowed to hire a worker to help her out with the house chores, but who will pay this worker? Is the husband obligated to pay to hire a worker to help his wife?

      The Prophet had Anas ibn Malik serve him for 10 years.

      Anas ibn Malik may Allah be pleased with him served the Prophet peace be upon him voluntarily, and the Prophet peace be upon him never paid to hire him or even asked him to come work for him. I am sure that if the wife finds some one to help her voluntarily for free that her husband won’t mind (smile).

      Why do people never question why the Prophet needed help to run errands

      The Prophet peace be upon him was responsible for the entire Muslim community and he attended to their affairs in addition to the duty of having to teach the people the message that is being revealed to him and spread Islam. I don’t see how a woman who has household chores (or a man for that matter) is similar to the Prophet peace be upon him in that aspect of comparing their duties.

      Your statements sister were all very general, so if you can provide some evidence to support your statements like verses or hadiths that show that women don’t have to do their household duties.

      the Quranic verses 4:34. Unfortunately again the meaning of these verses is often misinterpreted to serve the interest of men. The verses say that men are the Qawwamun (Guardians) of women because he has favored some over the others. It does not specify that Allah favored men over women.

      And one more thing, can you please provide the source for your explanation of these verses in such a way. Is this way of explaining and understanding those verses found in tafsir Ibn Kathir ? I’m just curious as to which scholar have explained these verses in such a way as you have.

      • sister

        March 26, 2010 at 7:44 PM


        To answer your points and the other commentators below, I want to point out again that the interpretation of this hadith has been that a woman should not ask for domestic help, yet that is not the point of this hadith at all. A woman or man should not ask to “enslave” someone in order to get free help. We can see from the tone of this narration that Ali is concerned for the wellbeing of his wife Fatima, so if Ali could “afford” to hire a servant to help Fatima, I am sure he would have done so and Fatima would not have needed to go to her father to ask for a prisoner of war.

        Many hadiths indicate that Ali barely had enough money to pay for food for the family, so it shows that they did not have the financial means to hire help. Giving employment to someone with fair pay is the Islamic thing to do and the Prophet would welcome that since someone else would be able to feed their family by being paid for their work. The Prophet said it is better to chop up wood and sell it than to beg for money, so working to earn a living is much encouraged in Islam.

        Why then would the Prophet come in the middle of the night to discourage his favorite daughter to help another family by giving them employment? The Prophet did not want Fatima and Ali to own a slave because if they owned a slave, then how would the Prophet fairly tell his other Sahaba to free their slaves?

        The decision to hire a domestic helper is a decision between a husband and wife. It is neither about a right of a wife or an obligation of a husband. This hadith says nothing about this matter at all.

        This discussion is not to bring up controversy, but to better explain the beautiful deen of Islam. I can’t believe someone would dismiss the relevancy of this important matter such as discouraging slavery saying that this hadith is just about dhikr. Remembrance of Allah does not just mean one should say Subhana Allah 33 times. It is about remembering how Just and Fair Allah is, and that He wants us to reflect on His words and study them rather than take someone elses words or interpretations blindly. The Prophet said that one hour of reflection on the Quran is better than a whole night of blind prayer and that a scholar’s pen is mightier than the sword. Yet, when it comes to bringing an interpretation other than the common interpretation, we are told to stop making controversies????? How is that following the Sunnah of the Prophet or the Quran?

        As regards to verses 4:34, one only needs to read the Arabic to understand that no where does it say “Men are favored over women”. The literal translation is that Allah ” has favored some over others”. Men are favored over women in some aspects, but the fact that men are bound to support and guard women actually favors women. This favor goes both ways (subhana Allah), meaning in this statement that men are Qawamuun over women, He has favored both men and women. The men are given an important responsibility, and women are given a great relief as they focus on raising their children. For example when one hires a tax accountant, the tax accountant gets business and the person gets relief in doing their taxes. That does not make the tax accountant superior to the person who hired him, nor does the person who hired the tax accountant become superior. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. This is also true about men and women. There are other expert Quran scholars who have supported this interpretation, but remember other scholars are just thinking human beings who reflected on the Quran. They are not a Prophet, and so as another thinking human being, I am also able to offer my own understanding of these verses without the need to always back up the interpretation by a male scholar. Allah commanded all of us to think and reflect. Who is to say everything a scholar of the past wrote is an indisputable fact? On the most part they are right, but can we say they can never get anything wrong? I don’t think so. You read the Quran verses yourself and tell me that my interpretation is in anyway unreasonable, wrong or contrary to any other verses of the Quran that show that the relationship between a man and woman is equally beneficial. I rather discuss what the Quran says, not what scholars say, as the Quran is the divine text, not scholars writings.

        I also differ with the statement that all women love to do household work, organizing and decorating. Some do, most don’t. It is something that is conveniently left for women to do as they are home raising their children, but I prefer to go and earn a living of my own over doing dishes and laundry and listening to a crying baby any day.

        Also doing dhikr applies not to just housework but any type of halal work by both men and women. The Prophet said the one whose tongue is always moist with the dhikr of Allah will earn paradise. So the Prophet is pointing Fatima and Ali to seek Allah’s help in hardship, and do not cause hardship on others by enslaving them, hence the meaning of the statement “shall I give you something that is better than what you ask for”.

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 4, 2010 at 11:35 PM

      Your input is very interesting. I am grateful that you pointed out a couple of things:
      1. The difference between slaves/prisoners of war at the time of Fatimah [رضى الله عنها], and modern-day servants.
      2. The unique circumstances of the Prophet’s [صلّى الله عليه Ùˆ سلّم] family, and how what they chose for themselves is not to be taken as a general rule of thumb for the ummah. An example of this is, as you pointed out, the fact that Ali and Fatimah did not have the financial means to hire someone to help with the housework.

      They are still our role models though, and whatever they did, sets an example for us. The fact is that, modern-day women still end up doing a lot of housework, at whatever level of income they may be; whether they are working 9 to 5 as corporate heads, or are stay-at-home mothers.

      Even financially independent women who live alone, do their own laundry and make their own breakfast. For affluent women in the East or the West, even if hired domestic staff does their housework, they still have to delegate tasks, supervise, organize the schedule and execute quality control. Women are caretakers of homes, period. It is what they, primarily, have always done and will probably always do, even if they have really helpful husbands.

      It is a woman’s innate nature to want to decorate and organize a home (why do you think little girls as young as two, play with doll houses?). And Allah has made the woman the raa’in of her husband’s home – a role that she enjoys. Ask most younger women who live in joint families, where things are done the way the elder ladies of the house want them to be done, and you’ll find that they will be, more often than not, wishing for a place of their own, where they can do things their way, overseeing everything and being able to run their own little organization.

      I just tried to glean a practical lesson for women from this hadith. If I have really ‘misinterpreted’ it, may Allah overlook and forgive that.

      I just hope our sisters don’t start thinking that their only roles in life is to wash dishes and change diapers.

      I am glad you said that! I also hope the same. :)

  10. umm esa

    March 4, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    Interesting…how some people are focusing on some fiqh and debated issues while the main objective of this article seemed to be bringing us back to the remembrance of Allah and how it has the power to refuel us despite the drudgery of a day’s work.

    During last year’s summer break, one of my co-workers didn’t respond to my phone calls. I saw her a few days later and asked her about the situation. She mentioned she had been quite busy lately…cleaning and organizing her house. And then she told me how she had begun reciting these words from the sunnah before going to bed, and amazingly enough she felt extra rush of energy every day that right after fajr she would get busy with her chores and then would stop around midnight. Keep in mind that those were long summer days of midwest. Let’s focus on reviving the sunnah.

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 5, 2010 at 12:01 AM

      Jazaki Allahu khairan for such a positive comment, with a practical, real-life example of how this antidote helped someone regain her energy, alhamdulillah!

    • Qasym

      March 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

      Interesting…how some people are focusing on some fiqh and debated issues while the main objective of this article seemed to be bringing us back to the remembrance of Allah and how it has the power to refuel us despite the drudgery of a day’s work.

      Unfortunately that has become the theme of most of the recent MM posts. We couldn’t just stop at “Remembrance of Allah” but we had to add the last part to stir up some sort of controversy/debate/argument.

      No one would care for just a beneficial reminder and wouldn’t get as many hits and replies.

      Allahu Alam

  11. Nazia

    March 5, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    Assalaamu’alaikum Sister Sadaf,

    SubhanAllah, I am sitting here exhausted after cooking and cleaning for hours while trying to study for my final exam, and I came online to read/decompress a bit before I went to bed. Truly, this is exactly the reminder I needed.
    Sometimes I wonder where other women get all their energy from and I think you may have tapped into the secret. InshaAllah, this will work for me as well!

    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 6, 2010 at 12:53 AM

      Wa Alaikumus Salam,
      Alhamdulillah, Nazia! May Allah reward you for your hard work, and grant you more energy in this world. :)

  12. ummfatima

    March 5, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Jazakillahu khairaa sister.Excellent Article..When ever I am tired and exhausted with work ..I remember this hadith..Fatima radhiallahuanha ,Beloved daughter of our prophet [mercy upon him] did so much work that she had blisters on her hand and she was given comfort with zikr..What is there for me to complain?Excellent reminder sis.


    • Sadaf Farooqi

      March 6, 2010 at 12:58 AM

      Jazaki Allahu khairan!
      Most women do a lot of housework after reaching adulthood. Imagine the many chances we women have to connect with Allah, every time housework tires us out. Alhamdulillah.
      May Allah be pleased with us and accept our efforts to make our homes places of tranquility and solace for our families. Ameen.

      • Zainab

        December 1, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        Salaam u alaikum wr wb,
        In continuation of my previous comment. What if the wife is a working woman and chooses to hire a servant with her salary? Please do reply.

  13. Ify Okoye

    March 6, 2010 at 6:03 AM

    Sadaf, those are excellent points, ma sha Allah, tabarakAllah. I love the hadith about the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam advising the couple on their bed. Truly, a close-knit and bonded family, ma sha Allah. I try to always remember this hadith before going to sleep to further motivate me to say my adkhar. JazakiAllahu khayran for the reminder.

  14. Rehana

    May 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    assalamalaikum-wa rahmatullah wa barakatahu,
    I am a busy mother of 3 young children, delivered a baby girl now 2 months old also breastfeeding at nights! I alone take care of my house financial responsibilities, including running errands doing grocery, paying bills and mortgage. My husband hides his savings and is miser to spend. I ignore that thinking whatever I do is a Sadaqa. With all these responsibilities and though i am wiorking currently on m,aternity leave, I am very exhausted with housework. I asked my husband who is at home all times to help me lay the table, he got angry and chanted he cant do it, he has been brought up like this and will not like his sons to do this either!
    He threw the food plate which I served him, went ahead to make some snacks for himself and came to me to Utter I am giving you divorce!
    I wish to know if I was at mistake to ask him for help? I also wish to know if it is Jayaz for him to burden his wife wih both household and financial and childcare responsibilities alone with no assistance or support from his side. When I am exausting myself with work he is sitting watching movies or browsing internet. Should I go ahaed with the divorce proceedings or continue unhappily in this marriage? Pls answer for the sake of this alone and distressed sister in Islam.

  15. Zainab

    December 1, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Salaam u alaikum wr wb,
    I just saw your article. I’ve just read on ( that the majority of scholars say that Muslim women are not obliged to serve their husband and take care of their children.
    Can you please tell me which scholars have said this? And, then what is their explanation of the following hadith:
    It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The man is the shepherd of his family and he is responsible for his flock. The woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock. The servant is a shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for his flock.” He said, I heard this from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

    (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 853; Muslim, 1829)

    According to those scholars, does this mean that a woman can keep a servant in her house even if there be no need? Please reply to me. Here is my email (email removed for privacy reasons).

  16. Pingback: Last Day! Live Below the Line challenge | A Clichéd Life

  17. tariq mahmood

    November 23, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Would you please give the Arabic text of this hadith Thanks.

  18. A

    May 7, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    Typical patriarchal man. Where is the article to ask men to maintain the cleanliness of the house, take care of the children, do they not live in the same house, make those babies. Only women. Really?

  19. Zia-e-Taiba

    October 31, 2016 at 7:55 AM

  20. Jesse The Comedian

    November 6, 2016 at 10:21 PM

    Jazakallahu Khair

  21. Jesse The Comedian

    November 6, 2016 at 10:23 PM

    May Allah Grant U Jannat Firdaus

  22. Rashidah

    September 2, 2017 at 11:57 PM

    For more information on how much work women should be made to do in their homes, please see: The Wife Serving Her Husband on

    I noticed how this site uses the words “how much work women should be made to do!!!! It is not about her being made to do household work: she decides how much she wants to do for her family out of her own charity and compassion in obedience to Allah.

    Don’t forget, It is a husband’s duty to put food and provisions on the table, not her’s. So treat her well and she will willingly cook for you with love.

    Whatever she does, it is out of her own willingness. It is not because of you, it is because of Allah.

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