Rights of Husband and Wife

While Allah, the Almighty, has emphasized on marriage and disliked anyone remaining single, He has also outlined the rights of the husband and wife. If we are mindful of these rights which Allah has defined then differences will never arise. Rather, it’ll be a highly successful life.

Love is the Key to Peace

Allah, the Almighty, has discussed the importance, aim and secret to success of a marital life in the following verse:

وَمِنْ اٰيٰتِہٖٓ اَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِّنْ اَنْفُسِكُمْ اَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوْٓا اِلَيْہَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَّوَدَّۃً وَّرَحْمَۃً اِنَّ فِيْ ذٰلِكَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّــقَوْمٍ يَّتَفَكَّرُوْنَ

“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” 1

1. Marriage is among the signs of Allah. It is Allah who has placed attraction and a charm for each other in the partner’s heart. Both are vital and essential for each other.

2. Marriage is a medium of peace and tranquility. (لِّتَسْكُنُوْٓا اِلَيْہَا) Both husband and wife are incomplete without each other. Peace is achieved when they come together and complement each other.

3. The key to the foundation of this relationship is not wealth, beauty or lineage. Rather, it is attributed to love and mercy. وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَّوَدَّۃً وَّرَحْمَۃً means that human life stands firm based on love and mercy. If there is no love and mercy after marriage then it means that life is unstable.

Love and Mercy

The Holy Quran has used two words – love and mercy. A building does not stand firm only on the basis of strong bricks. Simply laying bricks on top of each other does not strengthen a wall. What strengthens it is the material that is placed between the two bricks which binds the two together. The strength of the materials will not allow the wall to break down even during earthquakes. It is love and mercy which binds the husband and wife together and provides strength to this blessed relationship. Life sustains this relationship despite the most difficult situations and the most unpleasant circumstances.

1. Love, in the initial stages, and mercy, when the couple grow old and weak and do not have the ability to serve each other, strengthen the relationship.

2. Love is between two adults but children grow up in the shade of mercy.

3. Love entails equality whereas mercy includes sacrifice. It means this relationship will not survive on serving each other equally. Rather, sometimes it’s the feeling of sacrifice which is required. Allah has placed these emotions right in the beginning to prevent severing of this relationship.

Rights of the Wife

Hazrat Imam Zain al-Abideen (a.s.) has mentioned the rights of a wife thus:

“It is the right of your wife that you should know that Allah has made her as a medium of peace and comfort for you and a medium of attachment and love for you. Both of you are each other’s need. You should thank Allah for this great bounty and both of you should praise Him. You should know that this is a grace of Allah upon you. Hence, it is incumbent upon you that you thank Allah and have good fellowship with her. Although your rights upon her are greater and her obedience to you is obligatory in all your likes and dislikes so long as it is not a sin. So she has a right that you treat her with love, mercy, attachment and affection. She is the center of your comfort and the medium of your pleasure. She is a great bounty.” 2

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“My brother Jibraeel has informed me and emphasized so much about women that I thought a husband does not have the rights to utter ‘Ugh’ to her.” 3

The last will of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was:

“He emphasized for prayers twice. Do not assign your slaves and servants any responsibility beyond their capacity. For the sake of Allah! Look after the women. They are the trusts of Allah in your hands. You have sought them after you made a covenant with Allah and she became your wife in the Name of Allah.”

It is reported in another tradition:

“On the Day of Qiyamat, a servant will be stopped near the Scale. His good deeds will be as large as mountains. At that time he will be asked about how he looked after his family and how he fulfilled their rights. The second question will be about his wealth and from where he acquired it.”

In reply to these questions, all his good deeds will be exhausted and not a single good deed will remain. Then the angels will call out,

“He is that person whose wife has exhausted all his good deeds and now he is engulfed in his deeds.” 4

The importance of the rights of a wife is evident from these traditions. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has repeatedly emphasized on this point and has willed concerning women during the last stages of one’s life.

Alimony

It is obligatory upon to husband to pay alimony to his wife. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“Cursed, cursed is he who violates the rights of his wife.” 5

Wife’s rights on her husband are that he should provide her with food and clothes and not find fault with her. When he discharges these duties, I swear by God, he has paid her due...” 6

Traditions also clearly state that if the husband does not have the ability to afford his wife’s expenses then he better divorce her.

Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“If a person can provide alimony to his wife, provide for her food and clothing and fulfill her requirements, then he should be with her, else it is better that he sets her free.” 7

Scholars have defined alimony as follows:

“Alimony means daily necessities like bread, food, rice, meat, sugar, tea, seasonal fruits and clothes, bed and other requirements of life as per her needs and his financial and economic conditions. Nevertheless, it should at least be enough to fulfill the necessities.” 8

“Alimony to the wife is a must. If a husband does not provide for her expenses for a long time and neither did the wife have any amount from her husband with which she could pay for her expenses, then the alimony for that period is mandatory on the husband, the wife can demand it from him.” 9

Struggle in the Way of Allah

Fulfilling the needs of the family and looking after them is so important in the eyes of Islam that the one who works to fulfill the needs of his family, his efforts are given the status of struggle in the way of Allah. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

اَلْكَادُّعَلٰى عِيَالِهٖ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ

“The one who strives for the sake of his family is like the one who struggles in the way of Allah.” 10

700 times the Reward

Pay attention to this tradition. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said:

مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَكْسِبُ ثُمَّ يُنْفِقُ عَلَى عِيَالِهٖ إِلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ دِرْهَمٍ يُنْفِقُهُ عَلَى عِيَالِهٖ سَبْعَمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ‏

“There is no servant who earns (his livelihood) and spends it on his family except that for every dirham he spends on his family Allah multiplies his reward 700 times.” 11

It can thus be clearly inferred that looking after one’s family, paying alimony to one’s wife, fulfilling her daily necessities is extremely valued by Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). But there are some people who are blinded due to their ego or the love for their wealth or miserliness. They are just not prepared to spend even if it results in the destruction of their home.

Rights of the Husband

Asma, wife of Ansaar, came into the presence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He was with his companions. She said to him:

My parents be your ransom! I have come to you as a representative of a few women. May my life be sacrificed for you. If any woman, in the east or the west, gets to know that I’m in the presence of your eminence, she would also say whatever I said.

Allah has sent you as a Messenger for men and women. We have brought faith upon you and believe in that God who has sent you as a Messenger.

We, the group of women, are confined to the four walls of the house and we stay in our houses. We fulfill your requirements and nurture your children whereas you men have a higher status than us. You participate in the Friday prayers, congregations, visit the sick, participate in funerals, perform Hajj and most importantly fight for the cause of Allah and when anyone of you steps out of the house for Hajj, Umrah or to guard the boundaries then we look after your wealth, prepare clothes for you, train your children. Will we be included in the reward with you?

Upon hearing this, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) turned towards his companions are said:

“Have you heard anything in religious matters better than this from any woman?”

The companions replied: We can’t imagine that a woman can put forth anything better than this.

Then his eminence (s.a.w.a.) turned towards her and said:

“Go back and inform all women that anyone of you who takes care of her husband, satisfies him and acts as per his wishes then it is equal to all those rewards.”

On hearing this, the woman went back in a state that her face was brimming with joy and was constantly reciting ‘There is no God but Allah’ and ‘Allah is the Greatest’. 12

Displeasure of the Husband

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“If a woman hurts her husband through her tongue, Allah shall not accept even gold and silver from her nor any of her good deeds until she pleases her husband.” 13

Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“If a woman spends a night in a state that her husband is displeased with her, Allah shall not accept her prayers until her husband is pleased with her and if a woman applies perfume for anyone other than her husband, Allah will not accept her prayers till she does not perform ablution like the obligatory ablution.” 14

Stepping out of the house without the Husband’s Permission

Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates that a woman came to the holy presence of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and asked for the rights of a husband over his wife.

His eminence (s.a.w.a.) replied:

“Obey him, not to disobey him, not give anything from his house as charity without his permission, not even keep recommended fasts without his permission and submit to him. She should not step out of the house without his consent. If she steps out of the house without his consent of her husband, then all the angels of the heavens and the earth, the angels of Allah’s wrath as well as His Mercy, they curse her till she doesn’t return home.” 15

Adorning oneself for the Husband

A lady asked Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about the rights of a husband.

He replied: There are many.

She said: Please narrate a few of them.

He replied: … not step out of the house without his permission, perfume herself for him in the best way, wear good clothes, adorn herself, present herself to him and there are other rights apart from this as well. 16

Welcoming and Seeing Off

A person came into the presence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and asked him: O Messenger of Allah! My wife welcomes me when I come home and sees me off when I go out. When she sees me aggrieved she consoles by saying that if you are worrying about sustenance then Allah has guaranteed it and if you are pondering over the hereafter then think more (about it).

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied:

“Give her glad tidings of Paradise and tell her you are one of Allah’s facilitators. Allah will grant you the reward of 70 martyrs daily.” 17

Hazrat Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“A woman who prays five times a day, fasts during the blessed month of Ramadan, obeys her husband, recognizes the right of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), she can enter Paradise through any door she wants.” 18

The Best of the Interceders

Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said:

“The best interceder for a woman near Allah is the satisfaction and pleasure of her husband. When Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was martyred, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) said, ‘O Allah! I am satisfied and pleased with the daughter of Your Messenger (s.a.w.a.).” 19

Best and Worst Men

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“Should I not inform you who the best among you is?

The companions said: Indeed, please do.

He replied:

The best among you is the one who is most God-fearing and pious, pure and chaste, the one who is open handed, of a noble family, serves his parents and his family does not depend on anyone else.

Then he said:

Should I also inform you of the worst kind of men?

The companions said: Indeed, please do.

He said:

The one who accuses falsely, miser, of bad character, does not remain within his limitations, one who eats alone, does not welcome guests, one who beats his slaves and family members, one whose family depends on others and disloyal to his parents.” 20

  • 1. Surah Rum (30): 21
  • 2. Tuhaf al-Uqool, p. 268
  • 3. Mustadrak al-Wasaael, vol. 14, p. 252
  • 4. Al-Muhajjat al-Baizaa, vol. 3, p. 76
  • 5. Oddat al-Da’ee (English), ch. 2, H. 173
  • 6. Oddat al-Da’ee (English), ch. 2, H. 224
  • 7. Wasaael al-Shia, vol. 21, p. 512
  • 8. Ahkaam-e-Khaanvaade by Mohammad Waheed, vol. 1, p. 329
  • 9. Ibid, p. 270
  • 10. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 96, p. 324
  • 11. Makaarim al-Akhlaaq, p. 216
  • 12. Tafseer al-Mizaan, vol. 4, p. 372
  • 13. Makaarim al-Akhlaaq, p. 202
  • 14. Al-Kaafi, vol. 5, p. 507
  • 15. Wasaael al-Shia, vol. 20, p. 157, H. 25300
  • 16. Al-Kaafi, vol. 5, p. 508
  • 17. Tuhaf al-Uqool, p. 239
  • 18. Al-Kaafi, vol. 5, p. 555
  • 19. Behaar al-Anwaar, vo. 102, p. 257
  • 20. Wasaael al-Shia, vol. 14, chapter 7