A khutba of the husband’s obligations towards his wife,  using summarised extracts from one chapter of the very good book  “The Fragile Vessels” by Muhammad alJibaly


Prior to Islam

In societies that had deviated from the straight path women were considered a tradeable commodity. Similarly during the arab period of jáhiliyya prior to the advent of Islam, the woman’s position was extremely poor, being considered part of her father’s or husband’s property. AlHamdulillaah with the coming of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the right position of women was upheld and established.

With Islam came the sound way for men and women to deal with each other. Before going over the specific rights of the wife over her husband let’s first look at some Islamic qualities that apply especially between a man and a wife:

  • Good manners

Good manners are a distinctive characteristic of the religion of Islam. Abu Hurayrah reported that the prophet said:

“I have only been sent by Allah to complete the good manners” (ibn Sa`d, alHaakim)

He also said: “The best among the believers are those with the best manners” (Ibn Majah)

  • Truthfulness

Allah swt praises truthfulness in many places of His Book, and condemns liars.

  • Humbleness
  • Mercy and Kindness

The two spouses should show utmost compassion and mercy towards each other. They should be quick to overlook faults and forgive each other. The prophet pbuh said:

“The merciful ones are granted mercy by the Most Merciful (arRahmaan). Show mercy to those who are on Earth, and the One above the heavens will show mercy to you”

  • Avoid arguing and quarrelling

Frequent arguing and quarrelling is a sure way to undermine the ties between the married couple and should therefore be avoided. The prophet is reported to have said

“I am a guarantor of a house on the outskirts of Jannah for one who abandons arguing, even if he is right; and a house in the center of Jannah for one who abandons lying, even if he is joking; and a house in the highest place of Jannah for one who has good manners” (Abu Dawud)

The Obligations

Now lets look at the specific rights of the wife over her husband. The prophet  said:
إنّما النّساء شقائق الرجال

“Indeed women are the full sisters of men”

“I strongly admonish you in regards to the right of the weak ones – the orphan and the woman”

“You have rights on your women, and your women have rights on you”

We have traditions from the prophet (peace be upon him) relating to the rights that our wives have in all the following areas:

  • Protection

Security and safety are most important for a human being. One needs to feel reasonably secure in order to function normally and perform one’s regular tasks: Quran 4:34:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعضَهُم عَلَىٰ بَعضٍ۬ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِن أَموالِهِم

<<Men are caretakers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because of the wealth they have spent>>

  • Ghayrah

As a demonstration of a man’s love towards his wife he should have ghayrah for her. Ghayrah is the great concern about her well-being, and the zeal to protect her from anything that might harm her person such as an evil touch, word or look.

  • Avoiding unnecessary suspicion

The prophet said: “When one of you is back from a long journey, he should not suddenly come to his family by night” (Bukhari, Muslim)

  • Safeguarding her secrets

It is greatly prohibited for a man to expose is wife’s secrets, especially in matters of privacy that no person would normally know except the husband, such as birthmarks, reaction to some intimate action etc.

  • Financial Support

One of the husbands major responsibilities towards his wife and family is providing financial support. The prophet said:

“They have a right on you – that you provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Muslim, Abu Dawud)

This support is in accordance with his capability, Allah swt says (2:286):

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفسًا إِلَّا وُسعَهَا‌

<<Allah does not burden a person beyond his capacity>>

  • Self-sufficiency

A man must seriously view his financial responsibility toward his wife and family. He should not look to others for help before he has exhausted all possible means of becoming independent and self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency brings a feeling of security and dignity to the whole family.

Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him, said that the prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said:

وَاللَّهِ لأَنْ يَغْدُوَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَيَحْتَطِبَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهِ فَيَبِيعَهُ ، فَيَسْتَغْنِيَ مِنْهُ ، أَوْ يَتَصَدَّقَ بِهِ ، خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ رَجُلا فَيَسْأَلَهُ ، فَيَمْنَعَهُ ذَلِكَ ، إِنَّ الْيَدَ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى ، وَابْدَأْ بِمَنْ تَعُولُ

“By Allah, for one of you to go in the morning, collect firewood, carry it on his back, and sell it to suffice himself and give charity from it: that is better for him than going to a man and asking him – he either giving or denying. That is because the upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (taking) hand. And start (giving) to those for whom you are responsible.”

  • A highly rewardable charity

The messenger of Allah said:

“Whatever a man gives to his wife is a charity (in his record)” (Ahmad)

he also said:

“When a muslim spends on his family, thereby seeking Allah’s reward, it is regarded as sadaqa for him” (Bukhari, Muslim)

  • The best form of spending

A man’s concern should first be about reasonably sufficing his wife and family. It is reported that the messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“When Allah gives one of you some good, he should start be spending on himself and his family members” (Muslim, Ahmad)

  • Adequate support is an earned right for the wife

If a man does not financially support his wife in a manner compatible with his financial resources and her needs, she would be justified to take, without his permission, a portion of his money that would suffice her and her children. Aisha rah reported that Hind bint `Utbah came to the prophet and said “Oh messenger of Allah! Indeed Abu Sufyan is a stingy man. He does not give me what would suffice me and my children – except for tht which I take without his knowledge.”

He said:

خذي من ماله بالمعروف ما يكفيك و ما يكفي بنيك

“Take of his money, in a reasonable manner, as much as would suffice you and your children.” (Muslim)

  • The great sin of neglect

The prophet saw said:

“A sufficient sin for a person would be that he neglects those whom he feeds”

  • Providing her with food, clothing and other basic needs

Allah swt says in surat alBaqara 2:233:

وَعَلَى المَولُودِ لَهُ  رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسوَتهُنَّ بِالمَعرُوفِ‌

<<And upon the father is their (the mother’s) provision and clothing according to what is reasonable>>

  • Providing a reasonable dwelling
  • The dowry (mahr)
  • Kind treatment and compassion

Allah says in surat an Nisaa’ 4:19:

<<Live with them (your wives) in kindness; even if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good.>>

  • Understanding the woman’s different and fragile nature
  • Entertaining the wife
  • Fairness and justice

It is an obligation on the husband to treat his wife and family with fairness and justice.

The prophet pbuh said:

“Avoid oppression, because oppression will result in deep darkness on the Day of Resurrection”

  • Equal turns