We have been used to thinking that women have been created for the family life and for raising children, and thus their natural place is in their homes. Nothing in the Quran or Sunna clearly supports such a view or assumption. Such a division of labor between the husband who earns the living of the family and the wife who stays at home doing housework is a societal experience, which has occurred for a very long time throughout history in so many societies, including the Arab society at the time of Islam, and the subsequent Muslim as well as other societies until recent times when change has come out. Women learn and work equally to men, and the family responsibilities are requiring more financial resources. Caring about the home has to be reviewed, and the Prophet’s traditions indicate his assistance to his wives.
However, such a modern experience of women’s work and the consequent need for husband’s help in the housework in so many countries does not necessarily mean that it is an eternal natural law. Social change never stops; and norms are introduced, maintained or abandoned according to their practical benefit.
In English, the verb form “to husband” denotes the mastery and management of the house, and “husbandry” may mean the control of resources and careful management or the or production of plants and animals. The word “groom”-used in bridegroom-is related to feeding. This may merely reflect a societal tradition that has existed throughout history. The Arabic language, however, differently uses the same word “zawj” meaning mate or companion of the other, for both husband and wife.
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