In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Islam has enjoined upon the husband duties towards his wife, and vice versa, and among these duties are some which are shared by both husband and wife.
Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
I do not know the source of this view. Islamic view of marriage – as we can readily infer from a close study of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions is that husband and wife are equal partners sharing duties and responsibilities.
That is why we learn from the sources that the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah used to take care of work at home, while `Ali, her husband, would go out to work. Her hard work at home rendered her so weak that she came to the Prophet asking if he could help her find a maid to spare her some of these responsibilities. The Prophet did not have the means to do so and so he told her to be patient and be diligent in dhikr which would make her task easy.
Having said this, we also know that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to help his family in some of their chores.
So while a man, the breadwinner, is mainly responsible for work outside, he may do well to assist his family with their daily chores as best as he can. One cannot, however, say that he is responsible for work outside as well as inside, and the wife is relieved of all domestic duties.
It is at once unfair and unjust. It is opposed to the wisdom and rationale of the Shari`ah or divine laws.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.