Marriage is a contract between a man and a woman and in Islam a man (the husband) is tasked with providing sustenance, protection and the general well-being for the woman i.e. his wife. In return the wife is tasked with child bearing and the general up keep of the man’s home.
In previous articles we looked at the rights of a wife. In this article, we will discuss the rights of the husband over his wife as seen through the prism of Islam.
The rights of a husband over a wife include:
- Breadwinner and household head
- Sexual intimacies
- Domestic work
- Permission before leaving the home
- To be appreciated and praised with kind words for his hard work
- Prohibition of voluntary fasting of the wife without the husbands consent
- Regulation on individual(s) that are admitted in the home
We will briefly describe each of the husband’s right over a wife as follows:
#1 Breadwinner and household head
This particular right of a husband is two-fold, one shows the right of man over his wife( to lead the family in decision making, discipline and other family matters), whiles this right also showcases the husband’s obligations to provide, guide and support his wife in all aspects of their marital life.
In the Holy Quran, Allah says “Men are in charge of women by that with which Allah has preferred some of them over others and by that which they spend their property. So the pious women are obedient protecting in absence that which Allah has protected…..” (Noble Quran 4:34)
#2.Obedience and Authority
As someone under the authority of the husband, the wife must be obedient to her husband and she must follow the instructions of her husband unless where such instructions contradict with the teachings of Islam.
#3 Sexual Intimacies
Marriage provides the legal means in Islam through which men and women enter into sexual relationships. The husband can call upon his wife to fulfil this obligation when required, even if she has to forgo\or reschedule voluntary praying or fasting.
In a Hadith, the Great Messenger of Allah ﷺ is quoted as saying “Whenever a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses to come, the Angels cursed her until morning”. (Al-Bukhari)
#4 Domestic chores
There is a story to illustrate the ideal way of sharing household chores between a husband and a wife. It is said that Ali (Radiyalahu Anhu) and Fatimah (Radiyalahu Anha) came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ who decided that all household work should be done by Fatimah and all the work outside the house were to be done by Ali. Fatimah was quoted to have later said “none but Allah knows how much pleased I was with this judgement of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ which spared me a man’s job” (Imam Al-Saadiq).
Generally, it is the wife’s responsibility to ensure things inside the house are done while the husband ensures all physically challenging tasks outside the house are taken care of. However, a man who helps his wife in the housework is not to be seen as a weakling, but should be recognized as having mercy for those under him.
#5 Appreciations of good gestures
The husband is obliged to look after his wife but in doing so the wife should show appreciation through kind words and gestures.
#6.Prohibitions of fasting voluntary fasts without the Husbands consent
The wife cannot fast voluntarily without the consent of the husband. As the Prophet ﷺ said: “It is not lawful for a woman to fast while her husband is resident except with his permission” (Muslim & Bukhari)
#7 Regulations on individual(s) that are admitted in the home
Numerous Hadith strongly suggest that the wife should not allow the entry of people into the home that are disliked and/or prohibited by the Husband. However, this right does not extend to each individual entering the house but to individual(s) the husband particularly doesn’t want admitted in his home or strangers while he is away.
In a Hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said “…And that should not admit anyone to his house except with his permission…” (Muslim & Bukhari)
May Allah make it easy for both men and women to follow the ways (Sunnah) of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.