The Wife’s Rights Over Her Husband

The wife has financial rights over her husband, which are the mahr (dowry), spending and accommodation.

And she has non-financial rights, such as fair division between co-wives, being treated in a decent and reasonable manner, and not being treated in a harmful way by her husband.

1. Financial Rights

(a) The Mahr (dowry)

This is the money to which the wife is entitled from her husband when the marriage contract is completed or when the marriage is consummated. It is a right which the man is obliged to pay to the woman. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart” [al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

The prescription of the mahr demonstrates the seriousness and importance of the marriage-contract, and is a token of respect and honour to the woman.

The mahr is not a condition or essential part of the marriage-contract, according to the majority of fuqahaa’; rather it is one of the consequences of the contract. If the marriage-contract is done without any mention of the mahr, it is still valid, according to the consensus of the majority, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

There is no sin on you, if you divorce women while yet you have not touched (had sexual relation with) them, nor appointed unto them their Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage)” [al-Baqarah 2:236]

The fact that divorce is permitted before consummation of the marriage or before stipulating the mahr indicates that it is permissible not to stipulate the mahr in the marriage-contract.

If the mahr is stipulated, it becomes obligatory upon the husband; if it is not stipulated, then he must give the mahr that is given to women of similar status to his wife.

(b) Spending

The scholars of Islam are agreed that it is obligatory for husbands to spend on their wives, on the condition that the wife make herself available to her husband. If she refuses him or rebels, then she is not entitled to that spending.

The reason why it is obligatory to spend on her is that the woman is available only to her husband, because of the marriage contract, and she is not allowed to leave the marital home except with his permission. So he has to spend on her and provide for her, and this is in return for her making herself available to him for his pleasure.

What is meant by spending is providing what the wife needs of food and accommodation. She has the right to these things even if she is rich, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis” [al-Baqarah 2:233]

Let the rich man spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allaah has given him” [al-Talaaq 65:7]

From the Sunnah:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Hind bint ‘Utbah – the wife of Abu Sufyaan – who had complained that he did not spend on her: “Take what is sufficient for you and your children, on a reasonable basis.

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: “Hind bint ‘Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, entered upon the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, Abu Sufyaan is a stingy man who does not spend enough on me and my children, except for what I take from his wealth without his knowledge. Is there any sin on me for doing that?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Take from his wealth on a reasonable basis, only what is sufficient for you and your children.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5049; Muslim, 1714)

It was narrated from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his Farewell Sermon:

Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

(c) Accommodation

This is also one of the wife’s rights, which means that her husband should prepare for her accommodation according to his means and ability. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means” [al-Talaaq 65:6]

2. Non-financial rights

(i) Fair treatment of co-wives

One of the rights that a wife has over her husband is that she and her co-wives should be treated equally, if the husband has other wives, with regard to nights spent with them, spending and clothing.

(ii) Kind treatment

The husband must have a good attitude towards his wife and be kind to her, and offer her everything that may soften her heart towards him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

and live with them honourably” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19]

And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

From the Sunnah:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Be kind to women.’”(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3153; Muslim, 1468).

There follow examples of the kind treatment of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) towards his wives – for he is the best example:

1) It was narrated from Zaynab bint Abi Salamah that Umm Salamah said: “I got my menses when I was lying with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) under a single woollen sheet. I slipped away and put on the clothes I usually wore for menstruation. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)  said to me, ‘Have you got your menses?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then he called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet.”

She said: And she told me that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss her when he was fasting, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I used to do ghusl to cleanse ourselves from janaabah from one vessel.(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 316; Muslim, 296)

2) It was narrated that ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr said: “ ‘Aa’ishah said: ‘By Allaah, I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) standing at the door of my apartment when the Abyssinians were playing with their spears in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He covered me with his cloak so that I could watch their games, then he stood there for my sake until I was the one who had had enough. So you should appreciate the fact that young girls like to have fun.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 443; Muslim, 892)

3) It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah the Mother of the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray sitting down; he would recite Qur’aan when he was sitting down, then when there were thirty or forty aayahs left, he would stand up and recite them standing up. Then he did rukoo’, then sujood; then he would do likewise in the second rak’ah. When he had finished his prayer, he would look, and if I was awake he would talk with me, and if I was asleep he would lie down. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1068)

(c) Not harming one’s wife.

This is one of the basic principles of Islam. Because harming others is haraam in the case of strangers, it is even more so in the case of harming one’s wife.

It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled, “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah,, 2340)

This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Imaam Ahmad, al-Haakim, Ibn al-Salaah and others. See Khalaasat al-Badr al-Muneer, 2/438.

Among the things to which the Lawgiver drew attention in this matter is the prohibition of hitting or beating in a severe manner.

It was narrated from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in his Farewell Sermon:

Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

Source

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One thought on “The Wife’s Rights Over Her Husband

  1. Assalamu aliakum, Please for Allah’s sake can you send me an email on the complete right over a wife on her husband and that of husband on his wife,
    Waiting to hear from you soon in sha Allah.
    Massalam

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