The foremost quality which Muslim men desire in a wife, after beauty and physical attractiveness, is that she should be obedient and servile. She should do her chores without being told, for example, ironing their clothes, cooking their meals or doing the laundry.
However, it is a fact that there is a difference of opinion among Islamic scholars regarding whether it is obligatory or preferred for a wife to serve her husband. A majority declare it to be praiseworthy but not obligatory, even though most Muslim women happily do their household work themselves, without being asked.
The correct opinion, according to most, is that the level of serving a wife should be expected to do in her husband's home depends on the local custom… The issue of a wife serving her husband has more to do with custom which is one of the basis of jurisprudence The women of the Bedouin and the desert-dwellers serve their husbands to the extent that they even look for fresh water and take car of the animals…
If the husband knows that the majority of scholars say that it is not obligatory for the wife to serve her husband and take care of the house, I say that one of the benefits of this may be that h will not go to extremes and demand too much from his wife in this regard. He will not give her a hard time if she falls short because what she is doing is not a duty according to the majority of scholars…
Therefore, the good Muslims husband truly appreciates the work his wife does around the house. If she forgets something, he overlooks it and remains silent.One of the best things that can earn him great rewards from Allaah (swt) and grant him his wife's love in this world, is for him to help her out in the household chores as much as he can, without being asked.
[Traversing The Highs And Lows Of Muslim Marriage, by Sadaf Farooqi, pp, 64-66]
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