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Ramadan and Iftar: Should My Wife Be Cooking For Me?

30 May, 2019
Q My wife can't fast ,but isn't considerate enough to prepare iftar for me while I'm fasting and I feel it's inconsiderate, and selfish. I cook regularly also but due to fasting I'm very drained after work. Should she?

Answer

Short Answer: In short, the answer is no. It is not part of her duties and it is not something you have the authority to make her do. If you are feeling badly about having to cook for yourself, have you considered talking to your wife about it? Communication is absolutely key and if you have not told her how you are feeling she has no way of knowing – she is not a mind reader! Please keep in mind that if your wife were approaching you about something you were doing (or not doing) that was upsetting to her, you would want her to come to you in a non-confrontational manner. Do not tell her she is being inconsiderate. Do not go on about how exhausted you are. Kindly ask her if she would do you this favor – and remember, it is not her duty to cook for you, so it is a favor.

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Salaam brother and thank you for your question.

Rights and Responsibilities

In short, the answer is no. It is not part of her duties and it is not something you have the authority to make her do.

In spite of widespread toxic cultural expectations, it is absolutely a false idea that Islamically a wife must look after the home. As a matter of fact, it is her right to be looked after. If she does not want to cook or clean, it is incumbent upon her husband to find a way (by hiring help, for example) to get it done. If we are looking solely at rights and responsibilities, that is your answer.

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However, existing in one’s marriage with only a view of spousal rights is not very healthy, so let’s take a look at this a little more holistically.

Communication is Key

If you are feeling badly about having to cook for yourself, have you considered talking to your wife about it? Communication is absolutely key and if you have not told her how you are feeling she has no way of knowing – she is not a mind reader!

Please keep in mind that if your wife were approaching you about something you were doing (or not doing) that was upsetting to her, you would want her to come to you in a non-confrontational manner. Do not tell her she is being inconsiderate. Do not go on about how exhausted you are. Kindly ask her if she would do you this favor – and remember, it is not her duty to cook for you, so it is a favor.

If you tell her she is being selfish or berate her, she will likely react defensively and it will cause a fight. Speak to her in the kind manner you would like her to speak to you.

Consideration

Fasting is exhausting. It is difficult on the body. It is understandable that you do not feel like cooking at the end of the day. However, it is important to remember a couple of things.

Men and women – especially women – all over the world who do fast, prepare large meals for their families, in spite of the exhaustion. I am sure everyone would rather not have to push their already-tired bodies even further by cooking for families, but they do so anyway.

Moreover, if your wife cannot fast, there is a reason for it. Is she pregnant? Breastfeeding? Ill? Traveling constantly? Any of these would make a person exhausted, just as much as fasting would – which is part of the reason that these conditions excuse a person from fasting. Has is occurred to you that she might be exhausted as well? Perhaps she is unable to bring herself to do work at the end of the day due to whatever condition prevents her from fasting.

It is understandable, brother, that you are exhausted and do not want to cook. But bear in mind your wife’s state as well.

May the remainder of your Ramadan be a blessed one, insha’Allah.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

A Ramadan Cooking Class for Revert Sisters

Welcome to Ramadan -Embrace An Awakening

What is Ramadan?

 

 

 

 

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.