Fatwa ID: 01701
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
My brother's wife is cheating on him. What rights does he have? Does he have to support her as well as the child? Does he have to continue to provide her with accommodation? She walked out on him, does she not lose her rights? I look forward to hearing from you.
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The answer to your question will be looked at in three parts.
- The severity of committing adultery and fornication
- The rights an adulterous wife has over the husband.
- What should the husband do with regards to this situation?
It should be borne in mind that adultery (Zina) is one of the major sins in Islam. In the Holy Quran Allah has said:
“And do not go near to Zina. It is shamelessness and is an evil way.”
(Bani Israeel v.32)
Such a person will not only suffer punishment and calamity in this world, but also in the hereafter. Worst of all he/she invites the wrath of Allah upon himself.
Those Ahadeeth which condemn adultery and fornication are as follows:
“The Prophet of Allah said, there is no sin which is more severe in the eyes of Allah after committing shirk than a person planting his semen into a womb, which is unlawful.” (Kanzul Ummal)
The Prophet of Allah said, “Allah’s anger becomes intense upon the fornicators.” (Kanzul Ummal)
With regards to the second issue, the Shariah demands that the husband treats his wife with fairness and affection at all times. The Shariah dictates that the wife has an irrevocable right to the following three things;
1. Food must be sufficient for her.
2. Clothing – she must have a least two full sets of clothes.
3. Housing- she must at least have a room, which ensures her privacy.
(Al- Ikhtiyar p.229 v.4)
If the wife is disobedient to her husband, causing him much pain by her acts (e.g. adultery) and statements or by her conduct in general, but she does not leave the house without his permission, then it is compulsory for the husband to give her maintenance. As long as she remains inside the house, maintenance remains obligatory.
However, if the wife leaves the house without her husband’s consent, he is then entitled by the Shariah to withhold maintenance. He is then under no obligation to maintain her. (Hidayah p.438 v.2)
The authority of the aforementioned ruling is from a statement of Imam Shabi was asked regarding a woman who disobeys her husband and leaves the house whether she is liable for maintenance. Imam Shabi replied by saying no. (Mussanaf Ibn Abi Shaibah p.176 v.4)
The final issue is what should the husband do in this situation. From the following hadith, we can derive that it may be preferable for the husband to divorce such a wife.
Saaiduna Ibn Abbas narrates that a man came to the Prophet of Allah and said that his wife “does not move anyone’s hand from her” (indicating to that whenever someone wants to commit adultery with her she commits it). The Prophet of Allah replied, “Divorce her.” Then the man said, “I love her”, upon which the Prophet of Allah said, “Then keep her”. (Mishkatul Masabeeh p.287 v.2)
The scholars of hadith have said that it is preferable to divorce an adulterous woman. However, if you love her and she has repented from her actions and is willing to change then you can keep her. (Mazahirul Haq p.179 v.4)
The conclusion of your question is that as the wife left the house without the husband’s consent she is not entitled to any support. It is now up to the husband whether he wants to continue with the marriage or not.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham