Rights of a Wife in Islam – 6 Islamic Rights Your Husband Won’t Tell You!

By Irfan Ullah Khan

rights of a wife in islam

Much emphasis is made on the duties of a wife in Islam. So I felt there’s a need in the Muslim societies to talk about the rights of a wife in Islam!

The West might be proud of being the champion of so-called “women rights”, yet Islam protects the rights of a wife in the most beautiful way.

It is easy to think of marriage with a rose-tinted view. As much as the union is one that is firmly rooted in Islamic practice, people do get carried away by the worldly ideals of “love” and “romance” to a point of sometimes being unable to consider practical reality.

Entering into the union of marriage is most definitely a beautiful and sacred act, encouraged by Islam. Yet, to give the solemnity of this happy union its due consideration, it is important to also look at the rights and responsibilities of both parties when it comes to being a spouse.

More specifically, this article takes a look at the rights of a wife in Islam. Yes, unsurprisingly, women are more influential than anticipated. As they embark on a journey towards being a wife in Islam, they hold more rights and personal agency than the secular world would ever imagine.

Though marriage is a happy union sanctioned by the almighty Creator, it helps to go into it, with full knowledge of your rights and duties. Attention all married or soon-to-be-married Muslimahs, this one is for you.

Rights of a Wife in Islam

1. The right to accept a marriage proposal

Narrated by Anas (ra): “A woman came to the Prophet offering herself to him in marriage, saying, “Have you got any interest in me (i.e. would you like to marry me?)” Anas’ daughter said, “How shameless that woman was!” On that Anas said, “She is better than you for, she presented herself to Allah’s Apostle (for marriage).”   

At the very outset, a wife in Islam gets to decide if in fact she will be getting married in the first place. Sisters don’t be left in the dark, thinking that you have a lack of personal agency when it comes to choosing the circumstances around your marriage.

There is a common misconception that a woman needs to merely accept any marriage proposal that comes her way. Especially because marriage is a sunnah practice and favoured in Islam. Many ahadith strongly encourage the youth to seek marriage, and the parents to accept proposals from good matches. Yet, the rights of a woman are protected and firmly entrenched in Quran and Sunnah and a woman has the right to accept or reject a proposal of marriage at any offered time.

2. The right to Mahr (Dowry)

wife in islam

“And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.” [An-Nisa’: 4]

According to Islamic law, the rights of wife in Islam suggest that women have the right to receive a mahr or bridal gift from their spouses which is normally agreed and decided upon at the stage of negotiating a marriage. It is a symbol of love, honour and intention, and should never be confused with the idea of buying a woman or some type of archaic form of ownership, an act that Islam reviles and dislikes.

Often times, the mahr or bridal gift is a concept that is taken out of context and vilified as an incorrect practice, but in actual fact, it is the right of a married woman to receive one.

The mahr may take the form of money or gifts and goes directly to the wife, not to her family or her parents.  This is usually negotiated in terms of the bride’s expectation before the marriage takes place. Pending a few exceptions, the gift of assets/money/kind is a property for keeping for the wife in Islam.

3. The right to considerate and kind treatment

rights of wife in islam quotes

“Allah is pleased when a husband plays with his wife, due to this he fixes thawaab (good reward) for them or he establishes halal rizq (lawful sustenance) for them.” [Hadith]

Other than financial sensibilities and the act of marriage itself, there is one simple fundamental right that a woman has in marriage and that is the right to kind and considerate treatment.

Kindness is due to a woman as a wife in Islam in a number of ways. For example, a husband should never travel thus leaving his wife unattended for longer than four months. Umar Ibn Al –Khattab (RA) one of Islam’s greatest caliphs once related that a decent space of time to be absent from one’s wife, if tied up on unavoidable matters, was four months.

Also, the wife is expected to put her best foot forward when it comes to grooming and beautifying her physical appearance for her husband. A man needs to be kind and considerate enough to give a woman the time and space to do so, in addition to grooming himself.

Even when it comes down to household chores and embracing her husband’s family, the woman, as the wife in Islam, has the right to ease into this slowly, instead of being forced to do so by her husband. Listen to brother Nouman Ali Khan’s take on this in the video below!

BONUS VIDEO CONTENT
During the Gulf Tour 2015, a non-Muslim sister, who was potentially looking to accept Islam, asked brother Nouman Ali Khan a question about the rights of a wife in Islam. Brother Nouman gave an awesome reply with some very valid points. Watch the video of the reply below:

4. The right to “privacy” of all confidential matters

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wasallam) stated, ” A person who after having intercourse with his spouse, reveals their secrecy, will be in the lowest rank on the day of Judgement in the eyes of Allah.”

There should most definitely be the unbreakable bond of privacy in a marriage. This extends to secrets and confidences shared and any subjects that relate to intimacy between couples. In the era of social media being what it is, couples should take extra care not to go to public platforms and air the so-called ‘dirty laundry’ after fights and arguments.

Especially when it comes to a woman, Islam strictly dislikes revealing her private matters out in the open. In fact, such behaviour ends up alienating the rights of wife in Islam.  Choose instead to address those issues with the person in question. The person who has been there with you all along; your own spouse!

5. The right to a peaceful home environment

rights of muslim wife quote

“The most complete believers are those with the best characters, and the best of you are those who are best to their womenfolk.” [Tirmidhi #1162 & Ibn Hibbaan]

A wife in Islam has the inarguable right to a peaceful home environment and life. She deserves to have her basic needs met but also to have her sins covered and minor transgressions forgiven.

Men are traditionally and Islamically entrusted with the responsibility of being an “ameer” (custodian) of the household. A man’s responsibility in this sense is inexorably linked to that of the woman’s in a Muslim marriage. This isn’t something that ought to be exploited, but rather an extra factor that a man should be considerate of in his treatment of his wife.

6. The right to financial support

“But the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis” [al-Baqarah 2:233]

Evidences from the Quran and Sunnah clearly stipulate that a wife in Islam is entitled to financial upkeep and maintenance.  This includes food, clothes, a degree of money and funds that will help her not just maintain herself but her children and home.

On the other hand, the Western ideology encourages women to take a more ‘independent’ approach financially. While doing so may be fantastic for a woman’s own personal or career development, it does also detract from her right to enjoy the protection and support of her spouse. In Islam, husbands have actually been preordained as the protectors and maintainers of women.

Wrap up

There are many aspects to consider before getting married and one of the greatest realisations that everybody will eventually come to is that companionship, under the halaal label of marriage, is something that deep down we know we all crave.

Taking the decision to getting married, is merely the first step in the journey and one has to keep updating their knowledge, especially from a sister’s perspective. Marriage is one of Islam’s greatest institutions that will help us grow our lives into the greatest assets that we have.

In our discussion forum, many sisters complained they are always being told about the duties of a wife in Islam. So they asked me to shed light on their Islamic rights as a wife that led me to write this article.

I hope this helps you as a Muslim wife understand your Islamic rights. At the same time, I don’t want this article to become a tool in your hands to be used to emotionally torture your husband every now and then. So please sisters, don’t do that.

Share and Comment

If hope you enjoyed the blog post. If you think this post will benefit other sisters in your community, your friends or family, then do them a favour and share this article with them.

Just click the Facebook/Twitter icons below and help other sisters know their Islamic rights as a wife. Come on, take your share in the ajar by sharing the article.

Also I look forward to listening to your take on the topic in the comments section below. What do you think about the rights of a wife in Islam? I am all ears to you. 🙂

Follow

About the Author

Irfan Ullah Khan is a Marriage Success Coach helping married Muslim couples achieve happiness in their marriage by learning and adopting the beautiful Islamic ahkam related to family. He is also author of two books: "The 8 Love Languages" and "Better Love with Better Half". >>> Click here to connect with him on Facebook!

Leave a Comment:

(14) comments

Saima April 21, 2016

U r doing great job Irfan bhai may Allah give u best ajar in akhirah.. Ameen… Very best blog this was… I’ m following ur each and every mail.. But couldn’t response due to busy schedule.. And yes u r preparing me for the future… JazakAllah

Reply
    Irfan Ullah Khan April 21, 2016

    Jazak Allah Khair Saima for the appreciation. Glad to know that the emails and blog posts are helping your prepare for the future! 🙂

    Reply
      Amina April 22, 2016

      well done Irfan,i also look forward to your next Article. So inspiring,Encouraging and very educative piece to simplify relations in an Islamic perspective with distinct and supportive quotes from the Quran. Keep up the Good job and your Ajar will only be paid by Allah.

      Reply
Waziha April 22, 2016

MashaAllah very useful tips. You have indeed eased many aspects of our life through your tips and books. May Allah reward the whole team of Happy Muslim Family.

Reply
    Irfan Ullah Khan February 24, 2017

    Jazak Allah Khair sister Waziha for the appreciation. And Ameen to your dua!

    Reply
Irfan Ullah Khan April 22, 2016

Jazak Allah Khair sister Amina for the compliment. It seems the sisters love when someone talks about the rights of a wife in Islam, rather than the rights of a husband! 🙂

Just kidding! 🙂

Reply
Abu Hassan April 22, 2016

Assalam Alikum

thanks Dr. irfan for the reminders of wife’s rights.

I believe that you was kidding when you said “Islamic rights your husband will not tell you”

oooh,, i understand now you mean “the islamic rights your husband want to tell you”

thanks irfan

Abu hassan from Saudi Arabia

Best regards

Reply
Jamila February 26, 2017

Asalamou alaikum
I would like to know if a husband rob the Mohr, don’t contribute in any expenses of the house, dont work, is always in anger for all petty things, the wife has to work hard to look after kids, food and expenses. In that case, what should the wife do?

Reply
    Irfan Ullah Khan March 14, 2017

    Wa Alaikum Assalam sister Jamila, that’s a very important and relevant question. Unfortunately, we do have such examples in our society.

    Nafaqah (food, clothing and shelter) for wife and kids is the responsibility of the husband. He has to strive to provide this, otherwise he is sinful. If he is doing his best but still can’t provide enough, then he will be excused due to the fact that he is trying his best.

    But if he is not even trying, then he should be given naseehah at first. He must be advised that Islam makes it obligatory on him to strive for the nafaqah. If he still doesn’t work, then he is sinful for that. And the wife has all the right to demand nafaqah. She has the following options then:

    1. She should try to involve some elders who try to convince him to work and provide nafaqah.
    2. If he still doesn’t pay heed, then she can go to the court (qadhi in the Islamic government) to demand nafaqah.
    3. She can even demand separation and divorce as a last resort.

    Hope that answers your question.
    Irfan

    Reply
Nafisa February 28, 2017

I do agree with all said and am.very pleased however that been said, the comment that sisters are coherst into independence by going out to work I find hard to swallow, after all education is for all, and then i do think going to work by no means takes away anything from marriage, there should be understanding. After all sisters are married, but should NOT give up their identity as a separate being although man and wife becomes ones. Strenghten sisters not weaken them , and finally any thing done by a Muslim sister should and 100% be shariah at the working environment, and all will be good.

Reply
Michelle March 7, 2017

A very interesting read! I’m a western woman, very new to Islam and actually trying to teach myself through reading and following posts. But I’m wondering if a wife comes across things she is not happy with within her marriage would you advise to state these things? If it’s written in the Quran, then it’s almost like a law? Or am I reading these things out of context!! Sorry for the boring questions I think I confuse myself to much

Reply
Mrs Khalid March 11, 2017

Well I find no reference to health needs of wife in an Islamic marriage… I looked around and only found husband’s responsible for food n clothing??? Perhaps this is the reason husbands take no responsibility of wife in illness.

Reply
    Irfan Ullah Khan March 14, 2017

    The reference to “Food, clothing and Shelter” in the evidences when nafaqah is mentioned is to make it clear what is the minimum requirement that is fardh on the husband.

    Of course, Islam doesn’t recommend to be satisfied on the minimum. As a hadith mentions: “The best amongst you are those who are best to their families/wives.” So Islam recommends husbands to be the best to their wives, not only fulfilling the bare minimum of food, cloth and shelter, but to take care of their wives in the best possible manner.

    Of course, the Muslim husband should take the best care of his wife when she is ill, and if a husband is not taking responsibility when his wife is ill, then that’s not being the best to his wife.

    Reply
Gulalai May 4, 2017

Assalam Alikum wa-Rahmatullah,
Thanks Dr Irfan for sharing this astonishing topic and we are looking forward to read your next topic Insha Allah.

Reply
Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: