The Rights of the Wife in Islam- Part 1

The mainstream media is quick to label the Muslim woman/wife as a subjugated individual. That narrative is purely intended to defame the religion of Allah. Islam gives a number of rights to a wife over her husband including:

  • The Mahr
  • Sustenance
  • Compassion and proper treatment
  • Sexual Intimacy
  • Protection from Beatings
  • Confidentiality
  • Justice in polygamous marriage between wives
  • To be educated about Islam
  • Safeguarding her integrity

Let’s discuss these in details:

#1.The Mahr

As written in the Holy Quran, Allah says: “And give to the women their dowry with a good heart, but if they out of their own good pleasure remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it without fear of any harm”. (Al Nisa 4:4).

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that the Mahr can be any amount.  Giving the Mahr to the wife is an obligation of the husband and should be fulfilled. However if the wife chooses to give up this right explicitly then the husband is free from the obligation.

#2.Sustenance (Nafaqah)

As stated in the Holy Quran, Allah says “…And upon the father is the mother’s sustenance and her clothing according to what is reasonable. No person shall have a burden on him greater than he can bear…” (2:233).

According to Ibn Kathir the verse depicts that a man should provide for his wife in relation to his direct capabilities and what society expects of him at that particular time.

#3.Compassion and Proper Treatment

Islam directs that a wife is treated with compassion and proper care as related by Ibn Kathir; “That is, have kind speech for them, deal with them with kind deeds and in a beautiful manner to the best of your ability. In the way that you love that from them, behave in that way towards them.

Allah says in the Holy Quran “They have rights similar to those upon them according to what is right” (2:228).

The problem that some Muslims around the world face today in terms of finding a spouse is because they are looking for the “perfect partner.”  The “perfect partner” is an illusion of the west that has corrupted people’s minds but in reality there is no such thing except in movies and fictional romantic novels. Muslims are taught to help in overcoming each other’s weaknesses and this is more required in marriages.

#4. Sexual Intimacy

The wife has a right to sexual intimacy from her Husband. As stated in Sahih Ibn Hibban; “The wife of Uthman ibn Madh’un complained to the messenger of Allah ﷺ that her husband had no need for women. During the day he would fast and at night he would pray. The prophet asked him: “Am I not the best example for you to follow?” He answered: “Certainly, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you.” The Prophet ﷺ then told him: “As for you, pray during the night and you fast during the day. Certainly, your wife has a right upon you and your body has a right upon you so pray and sleep and fast and break your fast.”

#5.Protection against Beatings

In Islam the wife should not be beating as if she is a donkey. Symbolic ‘beating’ just to bring her to her senses may be resorted to, but even in such an instance a woman’s face should be spared. The ‘symbolic’ beating is only resorted to where the wife has abandoned the worship of Allah and has ignored verbal reprimand.

To be continued 

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