Household Obligations of Men and Women
Is it true that what a woman does for her family is ‘ihsan’ (and not farz) but what a man does for his family is ‘farz’? If yes, what is the evidence?
The understanding seems to be based on the Quranic verse:
“Men are overseers over women because Allah has given the one more strength than other, and because men are required to spend their wealth for the maintenance of women. Honorable women are, therefore, devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah requires them to guard: their husband’s property and their own honor.” (4:34)
The verse is clearly making earning a living for the family husbands’ obligation, while wives are expected to look after their interests. However, there could be exceptions in situations wherein the husband cannot earn and the wife can. In such cases, if the husband doesn’t work because of some genuine excuse, he would not be accused of not discharging his ‘farz’ and the lady will not just be doing ‘ihsan’ if she works instead. However, in normal circumstances this understanding seems to be correct.