The rights of the husband and the wife

The rights of the husband and the wife
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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 – by the help of Allaah – some of the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah 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 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]
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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)

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Secondly:

The husband’s rights over his wife.

The rights of the husband over his wife are among the greatest rights; indeed his rights over her are greater than her rights over him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“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
[al-Baqarah 2:228]

al-Jassaas said: Allaah tells us in this aayah that each of the spouses has rights over the other, and that the husband has one particular right over his wife which she does not have over him.

Ibn al-‘Arabi said: this text states that he has some preference over her with regard to rights and duties of marriage.

These rights include:

(a) The obligation of obedience. Allaah has made the man a qawwaam (protector and maintainer) of the woman by 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 (interpretation of the meaning):

“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” [al-Nisaa’ 4:34]

‘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. This was the view of Muqaatil, al-Saddi and al-Dahhaak.
(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/492)

(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, and gives her some time – two or three days, if she asks for that – to sort herself out, because that is something that she needs, and because that is not too long and is customary.

If a wife refuses to respond to her husband’s request for intercourse, she has done something haraam and has committed a major sin, unless she has a valid shar’i 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)

It was narrated from Sulaymaan ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Ahwas: my father told me that he was present at the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hujjat al-Wadaa’) with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] praised and glorified Allaah, then he preached a sermon and said: “Treat women kindly, for they are prisoners and you have no other power over them than that, if they are guilty of open lewdness, then refuse to share their beds, and hit them, but not severely. But if they return to obedience, (then) do not seek means (of annoyance) against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they should not let anyone whom you dislike sit on your bed and they should not let anyone whom you dislike enter your house. Their rights over you are that you should feed and clothe them well.”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1163 – he said this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Also narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1851) 

It was narrated that Jaabir said: [the Prophet] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“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)

(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.

The Shaafa’is and Hanbalis said: she does not have the right to visit (even) her sick father except with the permission of her husband, and he has the right to prevent her from doing that… because obedience to the husband is obligatory, and it is not permitted to neglect an obligatory action for something that is not obligatory.

(e) Discipline. 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 and by hitting them, when they do not obey.

The Hanafis mentioned four situations in which a husband is permitted to discipline his wife by hitting her. These are: not adorning herself when he wants her to; not responding when he calls her to bed and she is taahirah (pure, i.e., not menstruating); not praying; and going out of the house without his permission.

The evidence that it is permissible to discipline one’s wife includes the aayahs (interpretation of the meaning):

“As to those women on whose part you see ill‑conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)”
[al-Nisaa’ 4:34]

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones”
[al-Tahreem 66:6]

Ibn Katheer said:

Qutaadah said: you should command them to obey Allaah, and forbid them to disobey Allaah; you 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. If you see any act of disobedience towards Allaah, then stop them from doing it and rebuke them for that.

This was also the view of al-Dahhaak and Muqaatil: that the duty of the Muslim is to teach his family, including his relatives and his slaves, that which Allaah has enjoined upon them and that which He has forbidden them. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/392) 

(f) The wife serving her husband. There is a great deal of evidence (daleel) 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) Submitting herself to him. Once the conditions of the marriage-contract have been fulfilled and it is valid, then the woman is obliged to submit herself to her husband and allow him to enjoy her (physically), because once the contract is completed, he is allowed in return to enjoy her, and the wife is entitled to the compensation which is the mahr.

(h) The wife should treat her husband in a good manner, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“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]

Al-Qurtubi said:

It was also narrated from him – i.e., Ibn ‘Abbaas – that this means: they have the right to good companionship and kind and reasonable treatment from their husbands just as they are obliged to obey the commands of their husbands.

And it was said that they have the right that their husbands should not harm them, and their husbands have a similar right over them. This was the view of al-Tabari.

Ibn Zayd said: You should fear Allaah concerning them just as they should fear Allaah concerning you.

The meanings are similar, and the aayah includes all of that in the rights and duties of marriage.
(Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 3/123-124) 

And Allaah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Man divorcing his wife on his parents’ orders

What is the shar’i ruling on a man divorcing his wife when his parents tell him to, on the grounds that this wife used to work for them as a servant in the past? Is this regarded as disobeying one’s parents? Please note that this wife currently lives an honourable life.

Praise be to Allaah. 

Undoubtedly the parents are those who are most deserving of respect, obedience and kind treatment. Allaah mentions the command to treat parents well alongside the command to worship Him as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents”

[al-Isra’ 17:23]

Obedience to parents is obligatory on the child with regard to that which will benefit them and will not harm the child. With regard to that which does not bring them any benefits or which will cause harm to the child, he does not have to obey them in that case.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Ikhtiyaaraat (p. 114): A person is obliged to obey his parents with regard to that which is not sinful, even if they are immoral evildoers… This has to do with that which is beneficial for them and not harmful to him. End quote.

Divorce with no acceptable reason is something that is hated by Allaah, because it destroys the blessings of marriage and exposes the family to destruction and the children to loss. It may also involve injustice towards the woman. The fact that the wife had been a servant in the past is not a legitimate reason for divorce, especially if she is religiously-committed and has a good attitude.

Based on this, he does not have to obey his parents and divorce his wife, and that is not regarded as being disobedient towards them. But the son should express his refusal to divorce her in a kind and gentle manner, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour

[al-Isra’ 17:23]

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on a man divorcing his wife if his father tells him to do that. He said:

If the father tells his son to divorce his wife, one of the following two scenarios must apply:

1 – Where the father gives a legitimate reason why he should divorce her and separate from her, such as saying, Divorce your wife because her behaviour is suspicious, such as she flirts with men or goes out to gatherings that are not decent and so on. In this case the son should agree and divorce her, because he is not telling her to divorce her on the basis of a whim, rather that is to protect his son’s honour from being besmirched, so he should divorce her.

2 – Where the father tells his son to divorce his wife because the son loves her, but the father feels jealous of his son’s love for her and the mother is more jealous, because many mothers, when they see that their son loves his wife, feel very jealous, as if the son’s wife is a co-wife and rival. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound. In this case the son does not have to divorce his wife if his father or mother tells her to divorce her. Rather he should be tactful with them and keep his wife, and he should try to convince them with kind words until they are persuaded that she should stay with him, especially if the wife is religiously committed and has a good attitude.

Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about this very issue. A man came and said: “My father is telling me to divorce my wife.” Imam Ahmad said to him: “Do not divorce her.” He said: “Didn’t the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) tell Ibn ‘Umar to divorce his wife when ‘Umar told him to do that?” He said: “Is your father like ‘Umar?”

If the father quotes evidence to his son and says, “O my son, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar to divorce his wife when his father ‘Umar told him to do that,” the response to that is: “Are you like ‘Umar?” But you should speak kindly and gently, and say that ‘Umar saw something which indicated that it was in his son’s interests to divorce his wife. This is the answer to this question which comes up frequently.

Al-Fataawa al-Jaami’ah li’l-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 2/671.

The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas was asked about a mother telling her son to divorce his wife for no reason or fault in her religious commitment, rather it was because of the mother’s personal reasons. They replied as follows:

If the situation is as described, that his wife is righteous and he loves her, and she is dear to him, and she does not behave badly towards his mother, and his mother only dislikes her for personal reasons, then he should keep his wife and stay married to her. He does not have to divorce her in obedience to his mother, because it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Obedience is only with regard to that which is right and proper.” Based on this, he should honour his mother and uphold ties of kinship with her by visiting her and spending on her, and paying attention to her needs and making her happy and pleasing her in whatever ways he can, apart from divorcing his wife.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 2/29.

Islam Q&A

10 Qualities to make a Husband Happy

A Mother’s Advice To Her Daughter For Marriage
‘Abd al-Malik (RA) said: “When ‘Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of the most highly respected
leaders of the Arab nobility during the jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn
‘Amr al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her mother, Umamah came into
her room, to advise her and said:

‘O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you posses these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.
‘O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father’s wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were created for men just as men were created for them.
‘O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion to whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you, he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.

‘Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.
‘The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one’s husband pleases Allah.
‘The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.
‘The fifth and sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.
‘The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his children and servants shows good management.
‘The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders,for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal,and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.

‘Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgment whilst the latter will make him unhappy.
‘Show him as much honor and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.
‘Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah choose what is best for you and protect you.”
Jamharah Khutah al-‘Arab, 1/145

http://www.muslimmarriageadvice.com/10-qualities-to-make-a-husband-happy/