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Is it allowed for a wife to address her husband by his name, as our previous generation didn’t do so?


Is it allowed for a wife to address her husband by his name, as our previous generation didn’t do so?


Everything that the previous generations (our ancestors) have done may not necessarily be right, likewise everything they have done may not necessarily be wrong. Therefore whatever they did would not be exemplary for us unless and until verified with due analysis in the light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

With regards to calling one’s husband by his name, the act of doing so is a sheer cultural act. Any cultural act is permissible as long as it is in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah and doesn’t break any of its rules. On the other hand, if any cultural act conflicts with the Islamic Shari’ah or breaks any of its rules, it is prohibited. Another aspect that also needs to be taken into consideration is that many a times certain acts are considered to be appropriate in one culture while similar acts are considered to be inappropriate in another culture.

If we browse through the Seerah of the Prophet (pbuh), we come across instances such as the following:

Narrated 'Aisha (ra)

That Allah's Messenger said to her, "I know when you are pleased with me or angry with me." I said, "When do you know that?" He said, "When you are pleased with me, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry with me, then you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham.' "Thereupon I said, "Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah's Messenger, I leave nothing but your name." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 7, hadith no. 155) In the hadith quoted above, we realize that Aisha (ra), the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) used to take the name of the Prophet (pbuh) in his presence, which further substantiates that it is not un-Islamic to take the husband’s name in his presence.

Another practice that was and still is prevalent amongst the Arabs is to call the husband by adding father to the name of their child, i.e. ‘Abu followed by their child’s name’. Several evidences can be given from the Seerah of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). For instance, Umm Sulaima used to address her husband as ‘Abu Talha’ (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, hadith no. 6013).

Although the act of calling the husband by his name does not break any of the rules of Islamic Shari'ah yet if the intention of the wife behind doing so is to belittle her husband, then it is advisable for her not to do so. But if the husband permits her to call him by his name and the intention of the wife too is not to belittle the husband then there is no harm in doing so. However, if the act displeases the husband, regardless of the intention of the wife, then it would be advisable for her not to address him by his name, not because it is prohibited in Islam but because it displeases the husband and the wife should avoid displeasing the husband as far as possible. (The husband too should avoid displeasing his wife). And Allah knows the best.