Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
1. What is the Islamic ruling for a husband to financially support his wife as it is her right? 2. What does Islam say in the case where the wife earns triple the salary of the husband? Is he still required to support her, though she does not financially need support due to her career? What is the ruling in the case where it is common these days for husbands to be househusbands and the wife is the main breadwinner? Does the wife have to give financial support to the husband?
3. I do not fathom understanding how the rulings that the Quraan and Sunnah provide deal with the changes in today’s society where women do work. Is it because the women in the prophets SAW did not work or were housewives.
I want some clarity on this subject as I think in today’s society where women in Islam are encouraged to seek careers and earn for themselves as well and also due to economic constraints, both spouses have to earn a decent living in the UK to provide for a family. I hope I have clearly outlined my three specific questions to you.
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
The Shariah dictates that the wife has an irrevocable right to the following three things and that it is obligatory for the husband to provide them;
- Food must be sufficient for her.
- Clothing – she must have a least two full sets of clothes.
- Housing- she must at least have a room, which ensures her privacy.
(Al- Ikhtiyar p.229 v.4)
You raised two things in your question. The first was is a husband obliged to financially support his wife even though she may be working and the second question was whether the husband is still financially obliged to support his wife if he happens to be a househusband and his wife is working and is the breadwinner of the house.
Regarding your first question, I’ll first explain that a wife’s obedience to her husband is one of the things that may lead her to Paradise, as the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said: “If a woman prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of Ramadan), obeys her husband and guards her chastity, then it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise by whichever of its gates you wish.” (Musnad Ahmad & Tabraani)
Saaidah Umm Salamah Radiallahu Anha narrates that Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, “Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.” (Sunan Ibn Majah p.133 v.1)
In this situation, if the wife at the time of the marriage stipulated that she would like to carry on working, and he agreed to that, then the money that she earns from her job is hers alone and it is not permissible for the husband to take any of it without her consent. Furthermore, the husband is still required to financially maintain her and give the nafaqah on a reasonable basis.
In the situation where the wife did not stipulate a condition that she wants to work and after the marriage, she decides to work without the consent of her husband, then in such a case, the wife would not be obliged to receive any financial support from the husband as she would be considered a “nashizah” (disobedient) which will bar her from any financial support. (Hidayah p.438 v.2)
It should be borne in mind that these two situations apply when the husband is also working and earning as well.
In the situation where the wife is the breadwinner of the house and the husband decides to stay at home and look after the children, the wife would not be obliged to receive any financial support from the husband. The reason being is that a husband and wife would probably come up with such an arrangement based on the condition that the wife’s salary will be used for the household expenses, food, shelter, etc… and this is similar to the ruling found in the books of Fiqh where a wife can forgo some part of her maintenance. (Bahrur Raaiq p.212 v.4)
Ibn Qudaamah (RA) said: If she agrees to forego some part of her share (of her husband’s time) or her maintenance, or all of that, this is permissible. (Al Mughni p.244 v.7)
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham