The right of the wife over her husband | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Sunday 17 Dhu Al-Hijjah 1445 H - June 23, 2024 G

Fatwa: 131

Category: fatwas about marriage

The right of the wife over her husband

The question:

My husband does not esteem duly the responsibility of the conjugal life. He neglects his children. He is negligent of expenses, indeed he does almost not expend for the family. He spends all his time in cafeterias where he indulges in gamble and other things until midnight. He neglects my presence as a wife and a mother of his children. I have not found a means to tackle this situation but to refuse to give myself to him. Therefore, I sleep alone on the ground and he sleeps on the bed. After a quarter of a century, I do not bear to live with him anymore. Please, give me a piece of advice that cheers me up. What is the position the sharia enjoins me to adopt as a wife?

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

The wife, before her husband who does not provide for the family, or does not provide her with the expenses that he should make according to the Quran, the Sunna and the consensus of the scholars, .i.e. food, housing, service and treatment…etc. – even if she is rich – she can act towards him in two ways:

She can ask the judge to force the husband to provide for the family, and the judge will force him after confirming the validity of the wife’s claim.

Or the wife can take from his money what suffices her and her children reasonably, if she is right-minded and can determine the reasonable amount, without even being excessive. She can do that even if the husband does not know it, because his duty is her right. So she can take her right by herself. This is proved by what the two imams, Al-Bukhâri and Muslim, and others reported on the authority of `A'isha رضي الله عنها who said: “Hind said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Abu Sufyân is a stingy man, he does not provide for me and for my children sufficiently except what I take from his property without his knowledge’. The Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: ‘Take what suffices you and your children reasonably’(1)

However, it is worth mentioning that the wife deserves the expenses only if she does not refuse to give herself to him, so that he enjoys her. So if she refuses, sleeps alone and keeps away when he asks for her, she is then sinful. This is on one hand, on another hand, she will not deserve the expenses, because [in this case] she refuses to give herself to him without any valid excuse. In fact, the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم got married with `Â'isha رضي الله عنها two years before consummating the marriage; during that period, he had not provided for her expenses until he consummated the marriage.

However, the husband is required to keep expending for the children.

This being said, it should be mentioned – also – that what this woman suffers from is not but a sample of what happens in this society, where the whole majority of men are neglectful of the matters of their religion and their affairs. Otherwise, people’s moods and morals are different; the sagacious and intelligent woman in these situations gives the rights of her husband, which are duties upon her, obeys him in good while asking – after soliciting the help of Allah – those to whom her husband might listen and might influence him among his relatives and the men of his area, in order to lead him to the right conduct and correct his [potential] deviations. In addition, the woman should try to get affection, mercy and happiness by taking the way of victory and success, which consist in endurance, forgiveness and patience. This is the recommendation of Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the following verse:

﴿فَاعْفُوا وَاصْفَحُوا حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللهُ بِأَمْرِهِ﴾ [البقرة: 109].

The meaning of the verse:

But forgive and overlook, till Allâh brings His Command.﴿ [Al-Baqara (The Cow): 109].

Allah تعالى also says:

﴿ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ﴾ [فصّلت: 34].

The meaning of the verse:

Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allâh orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.﴿ [Fussilat (The Detailed Verses): 34].

And He say:

﴿وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًا﴾ [الفرقان: 20].

The meaning of the verse:

And We have made some of you as a trial for others: will you have patience? And your Lord is Ever All-Seer (of everything).﴿ [Al-Furqân (The Criterion): 20].

Allah تعالى says:

﴿وَلَمَنْ صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الأُمُورِ﴾ [الشورى: 43].

The meaning of the verse:

And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allâh.﴿ [Ash-Shûra (The Consultation): 43].

We hope that there is in these clear verses what cheers you up. This woman should show patience sincerely for the sake of Allah, in order to be rewarded, as Allah تعالى says it:

﴿وَالَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِمْ﴾ [الرعد: 22].

The meaning of the verse:

… And those who remain patient, seeking their Lord’s Countenance﴿ [Ar-Ra`d (The Thunder): 22].

Difficulty is the cause of affliction; everyone of the two misses patience, and the fruits of enduring difficulty are victory, relief and ease; the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says: “…And know that victory accompanies patience, that relief accompanies affliction and that after every difficulty there is ease.”(2)

This is all from the abundant mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, Who says:

﴿سَيَجْعَلُ اللهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا﴾ [الطلاق: 07].

The meaning of the verse:

Allâh will grant after hardship ease.﴿ [At-Talâq (The Divorce) : 7].

And He says:

﴿فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا. إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا﴾ [الانشراح: 5-6].

The meaning of the verse:

Verily, along with every hardship is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).﴿ [Ash-Sharh (The Opening Forth): 5-6].

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Ramadân 3rd, 1417 H
Corresponding to January 14th, 1997 G

(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Expenses” (hadith 5364), by Muslim, chapter of “Judgments” (hadith 4574), by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Rent” (3534), by An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Judgments” (hadith 4537), by Ibn Mâjah, chapter of “Commerces” (hadith 2381) and by Ahmad (hadith 248454), on the authority of `Âisha رضي الله عنه.

(2) Reported by Al-Khatîb in At-Târîkh (10/287), Ad-Daylami (4/11-112), on the authority of Anas Ibn Mâlik رضي الله عنه. It is also reported by Ahmad (hadith 2857), on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما. See As-Silsila As-Sahîha (hadith 2382).