What is ruling with regards to the obedience of the husband in things that are a general Sunnah (non-confirmed sunnah), recommended (mustahab), disliked (mukruh tanzihi), or permitted (mubah)? Do all these actions come under one rule?
For example a woman is in marriage and her husband wants her to do something that maybe mukruh tanzihi or does not allow her to do something that maybe recommended (mustahab)? The husband is well aware of the rules, but says it is not obligatory (fard) and not asking her to do something haram either. Should the wife obey him or not?
Take these two examples:
1) She wants to fast during the day, and it is a recommended action, but the husband want to have sexual relations with her, but he can’t as she is fasting? So he does not let her fast even though it is recommended to fast and there is great reward in that?
2) The husband wants to have oral sex, and has a very strong desire for it? But many scholars have held it disliked? If the wife refuses to give him pleasure this way, he becomes upset and unhappy, as he not fully satisfied, as he wants to be? He says that he is not asking her to do something unlawful (haram). Though it is best to refrain from it, it is not sinful per se. should she obey the husband in this matter? As refusing, makes him unhappy and very uncomfortable as he has a strong desire for it, and to a certain point unsatisfied in bed, as he would have liked it to be?
1) A woman must obey her husband even in recommended (mandub) or permissible (mubah) acts as long as it does not violate her own rights and does not cause undue harm and hardship upon her.
With regards to the impermissibility of voluntary and optional fasts, there is a clear Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in this regard:
Imam al-Bukhari (Allah have mercy on him) formed a chapter in his famous Sahih: ‘Chapter on a woman keeping a voluntary fast with the permission of her husband’ and then he recorded the following Hadith:
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A woman must not fast (optional/nafl) when her husband is at home, except with his permission.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, No. 4896)
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is not lawful for a woman to fast (optional) without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house except with his permission….” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4899)
However, if he prevents her from obligatory fasts, then he must not be obeyed, for there is no obedience to the creation of Allah whereby there is disobedience to the Creator.
2) With regards to the practice of oral sex, this depends on exactly what the husband means by “oral sex”. The term “Oral sex” is quite general and covers a wide range of activities, from just kissing the private parts to the actual swallowing of filth.
If by practising oral sex one takes the semen (mani) or pre-sexual fluid (madhi) into the mouth, then that would be unlawful. Thus, the wife should not obey her husband if he orders her to practice this kind of oral sex. If however, the different fluids are avoided by: for example, wearing a condom or merely kissing the genital area without actually taking the filth and fluids in the mouth, then this would be permissible, although better to avoid. For more details on oral sex, see the detailed article regarding it on this website.
Based on the above, if the husband demands his wife to perform oral sex where the various types of fluids are avoided (as explained above), then she may not obey him whenever reasonably possible. However, if this is affecting her marriage in that the husband becomes greatly dissatisfied, then she may comply with her husband’s desire.
It should be remembered that these matters should be mutually decided between the spouses, taking into consideration each other’s weaknesses, interests and comfort. Both the husband and wife must be willing to give away a little for the other’s happiness.
And Allah Knows Best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK