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Jakarta Post

'Wife not housemaid': Muslim clerics challenge conservative views on spousal roles

  • Ivany Atina Arbi
    Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Tue, March 3, 2020   /  06:27 pm
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A 2017 report found that the main drivers of low female labor force participation in Indonesia were "marriage and children below two years of age in the household".(Shutterstock/-)

While conservative Muslims in Indonesia believe that the main responsibility of a wife is to stay at home and be an adept homemaker, two clerics maintain that Islam has never positioned women as maids. It is instead the obligation of the husband to provide food, clothes and decent housing for his wife, meaning he is the one who should cook, do the laundry and keep the house neat, according to the clerics who spoke about the teachings of Sunni Islam’s four largest mazhab (Islamic schools of thought): Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali. "When I looked closer at Islamic jurisprudence books, I was surprised that none of the major mazhab actually obligated wives to take care of household duties," cleric Ahmad Sarwat said on Friday during a public discussion on his book titled Wife not Housemaid, which was first published last year. The event came amid a plan by a...