A Husband’s Obligations towards his Wife

[1] The dowry: A woman has a right to dowry which should be stated during the marriage contract. It is an essential part of the marriage contract and cannot be conceded by the wife, even if the wife chooses to do so, until the contract has been concluded. Allah (SWT) says:

And give to the women (whom you marry) their dowry with a good heart. But if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it without fear of any harm. [4:4] [2] Justice and Equality: If a man has more than one wife, he is required to treat them fairly and justly. He should treat them equally regarding food, drink, dress, residence and time allotted to each. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“If a man has two wives and favours one of them over the other in fair-treatment, he will come on the Day of Requital with one side tilted.” [Abu Dawood] [3] Providing for wife and children: A husband is required to provide an appropriate residence and living requirements; such as food, drink, clothing, as well as money to upkeep them, in an amount which is within his means. Allah (SWT) says:

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Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the non whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship, ease. [65:7]

In order to encourage Muslims to provide for their family, Islam has regarded this as a charity which a person will be rewarded for. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to one of his companions named Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas:

“An indeed whatever you spend, it will be regarded as charity, even a morsel [of food] which you raise to place in your wife’s mouth.” [al-Bukhari]

The wife has the right to take money from her husband without his knowledge if he does not appropriately provide for them. Hind bint `Utbah said to the Prophet (ﷺ):

“O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) indeed Abu Sufyan is miserly, and he does not give me what my child and I can suffice with, except what I take from him without his knowledge.” He said, “Take what suffices you and your child without excess.” [al-Bukhari] [4] Living compassionately and special relations: This is one of the most important things the Religion has commanded the husband to offer… for a wife is in need of a loving heart and a husband who trifles with her and fulfils her desires. This will also guarantee that his wife does not do blameworthy things. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Jaabir (RA):

“Have you gotten married O Jaabir?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “A virgin or other than that?” I replied, “Other than that.” He said, “Why did you not marry a young virgin so as to sport with her, and make each other laugh?” [al-Bukhari] [5] Keeping her secrets. Fie should keep private (intimate) relationship secrets, and refrain from exposing her secrets, shortcomings and other things he notices or hears from her The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“The worst of people in the sight of Allah, on the Day of Requital, is the man who has relations with his wife and she has relations with him, and then he divulges her secrets.” [Muslim] [6] Treating her with kindness: A husband should treat his wife with kindness. He should consult her about mutual everyday matters, provide her with the means of happiness and show to her that he loves her by joking and playing with her. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“The best and most complete believers are the best of them in character and manners, and the best of you are the best of you towards their wives.” [at-Tirmidhi] [7] The husband should be patient with her faults, and should not make a point of seeking them out. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Let not a believing man despise a believing woman. Even if he may hate one aspect, he is pleased with another (or he said `others’)” [Muslim] [8] He should protect her with jealously and not take her to evil and corrupt places. Allah (SWT) says:

O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones. [66:6] [9] The husband must protect her wealth. He is not to take anything that belongs to her unless she gives him permission, and he is not to use her wealth except by her consent.

The Rights of Relatives

Islam has urged well to do people to help and take care of their relatives, financially — by fulfilling their requirements through obligatory or voluntary charity, and morally — by inquiring about their condition, treating them with kindness and sympathy and sharing their joys and sorrows. Allah (SWT) says:

 And fear Allah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and do not cut the relations of the wombs (kinship) [4:1]

Islam urges Muslims to treat close relatives kindly even if they do not treat him kindly. It encourages that one pardon them even if they have wronged him, and be friendly to them even if they are unfriendly to him. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“it is not he who maintains ties with his relatives who does so if they do the same; but rather it is he who maintains ties with them even if they cut relation with him.” [al-Bukhari]

Islam has also warned against severing ties of kinship and considered it one of the greatest sins. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Allah created the creation, and when he finished, the womb stood (as if asking for something). He said, “What do you say?” It said, “I am standing seeking refuge in you from severing ties of kinship.” He said, “Are you not pleased that I will maintain ties with those who maintain you (ties of the womb: kinship) and cut ties with those who cut you?” It replied, “Of course I am O Lord.” He said, “That is for you.” Then Abu Hurairah said [reciting the verse]: ‘Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship.’ [al-Bukhari]

The Rights of Children

The rights  owed to children is that they must be protected, their affairs must be taken care of, they must be given a proper upbringing, and their needs must be met, such as food, drink, dress, and accommodation. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“It is sinful enough for a person to be negligent of his family.” [Abu Dawood]

 One should choose appropriate names for them. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Indeed on the Day of Requital you will be called by your names and your father’s names, so keep good names.” [Abu Dawood]

 They should be taught good manners, such as modesty, respect for elders, truthfulness, honesty, obedience to parents, and that they be kept away from foul language and evil deeds, such as telling lies, fraud and deceit, treachery, dishonesty, robbery, disobedience to parents, etc.

They should be educated in those things which help them in this life as well as the next. They should be given a proper upbringing, and introduced to righteous company. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Every one of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it.” [al-Bukhari]

 One should be keen about their safety. This entails that they do not invoke Allah against them. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Do not supplicate against yourselves, do not supplicate against your children, and do not supplicate against your wealth. [It may be that your supplication] accords with a time in which Allah grants those who ask him, and your supplication be answered.” [Muslim]

Children must be treated equally; one should not prefer some over others in gifts and treatment. This is because unfair treatment will lead to their disobedience and will rouse hatred amongst them. Nu’man ibn Basheer narrated:

My father gave me some of his wealth as charity, and my mother, Amrah bin/ Rawaahah, said ‘I will not agree until the Messenger of Allah () bears witness to it.’ So my father left to the Prophet (ﷺ) to bear witness to his giving of charity to me. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘Did you do the same to all your children?’ to which he replied, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Fear Allah and be just in regards to your children.’ Upon that, my father returned and took back the charity [he had given me].” [Muslim]

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