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Husband and wife rights and duties

الحقوق الزوجية للرجل والمرأة

Husband and wife rights and duties
 

Islam has enjoined upon the husband duties towards his wife, and vice versa, and among these duties are some which are shared by both husband and wife.

We will mention some of the texts of the Qur'aan and Hadeeth which have to do with the duties of the spouses towards one another, quoting also from the commentaries and views of the scholars.

Firstly:
The rights of the wife which are hers alone:


The wife has financial rights over her husband, which are the dowry (mahr), 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 regardless of the amount or type of mahr, even one riyal, a book, a promise of certain education or a silver/golden ring, …etc.

 Allaah says:
"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" .

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 scholars; 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.

 Allaah says:
"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)"


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 makes 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,

 Allaah says:
"but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis"


"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"

From the Hadeeth:

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:
"Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means"

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 fairly, 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.

 Allaah says:
"and live with them honourably"


"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"

From the Hadeeth:

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).

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 woolen 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 take a bath to cleanse ourselves from janaabah from one vessel.(Narrated by
al-Bukhaari, 316; Muslim, 296)

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)

(c)  Not harming one's wife. 

This is one of the basic principles of Islam. Because harming others is prohibited 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)


Secondly:

The husband's rights over his wife:


Allah said:
"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, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them

This text states that the husband has some preference over his wife with regard to rights and duties of marriage.

These rights include:

(a) The obligation of obedience. Allaah has made the man a protector and maintainer of the woman by teaching, commanding, directing and taking care of her, just as guardians take care of their charges, by virtue of the physical and mental faculties that Allaah has given only to men and the financial obligations that He has enjoined upon them.

 Allaah says:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means"


`Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn `Abbaas: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women" means, they are in charge of them, i.e., she should obey him in matters of obedience that Allaah has enjoined upon her, and obey him by treating his family well and taking care of his wealth.

(b)    Making herself available to her husband. One of the rights that the husband has over his wife is that he should be able to enjoy her (physically). If he marries a woman and she is able to have intercourse, she is obliged to submit herself to him according to the contract, if he asks her. That is after he gives her the immediate mahr (dowry), if a wife refuses to respond to her husband's request for intercourse, she has done something prohibited and has committed a major sin, unless she has a valid excuse such as menses, obligatory fasting, sickness, etc.

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:

'' When a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses, and he went to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning.'" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3065; Muslim, 1436)

(c)     Not admitting anyone whom the husband dislikes. One of the rights that the husband has over his wife is that she should not permit anyone whom he dislikes to enter his house.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
"It is not permitted for a woman to fast when her husband is present without his permission, or to admit anyone into his house without his permission. And whatever she spends (in charity) of his wealth without his consent, …." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4899; Muslim, 1026)


(d)    Not going out of the house except with the husband's permission. One of the rights of the husband over his wife is that she should not go out of the house except with his permission. 

(e)     The husband has the right to discipline his wife if she disobeys him in something good, not if she disobeys him in something sinful, because Allaah has enjoined disciplining women by forsaking them in bed when they do not obey. 

Allaah said:
"O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones"

Husbands should command their wives to obey Allaah, and forbid them to disobey Allaah; they should be in charge of them in accordance with the command of Allaah, and instruct them to follow the commands of Allaah, and help them to do so.
(f)      The wife serving her husband. There is a great deal of evidence for this, some of which has been mentioned above.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
She is obliged to serve her husband according to what is reasonable among people of similar standing. That varies according to circumstances: the way in which a Bedouin woman serves (her husband) will not be like the way of a town-dweller, and the way of a strong woman will not be like the way of a weak woman. (al-Fataawa al-Kubraa, 4/561) 

(g)     The wife should treat her husband in a good manner.

 Allaah says:
"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"

Husbands have the right to good companionship, kind and reasonable treatment from their wives. They both should fear Allaah concerning each other. 

Courtesy:Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid



Collected and Revisedd
By
Hamadi Al-Aslani
Manager of Editing and Translation
B.A. Islamic studies
B.A. English language
Jeddah Dawah Center
With the compliments of www.worldreminder.com

 

 
 
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