Rights of a Wife
The Quran states:
“And among His signs is that He created for you mates
from among yourselves that you may live in tranquility with them, and He has
put love and mercy between you; Verily, in that are signs for people who
reflect.” (Quran 30:21)
Marriage is therefore not just a physical or
emotional necessity but, in fact, a sign from God! It is a relationship of
mutual rights and obligations based on divine guidance. God created men and
women with complimentary natures and, in the Quran, He laid out a system of
laws to support harmonious interaction between the sexes.
“…They are your garments and you are their garments….”
Clothing provides physical protection and covers
the beauty and faults of the body. Likewise, a spouse is viewed this way. Each
protects the other and hides the faults and compliments the characteristics of
the spouse. To foster the love and security that comes with marriage, Muslim
wives have various rights. The first of the wife’s rights is to receive mahr,
a gift from the husband, which is part of the marriage contract and required
for the legality of the marriage.
The second right of a wife is maintenance. Despite
any wealth she may have, her husband is obligated to provide her with food,
shelter and clothing. He is not forced, however, to spend beyond his
capability and his wife is not entitled to make unreasonable demands. The
“Let the man of means spend according to his means,
and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what God
has given him. God puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him.”
God tells us men are guardians over women and
are afforded the leadership in the family. His responsibility for obeying God
extends to guiding his family to obey God at all times.
A wife’s rights also extend beyond material needs.
She has the right to kind treatment. The Prophet said:
“The most perfect believers are the best in
conduct. And the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.”
God tells us He created mates and put love,
mercy and tranquility between them.
Both men and women have a need for companionship
and sexual needs, and marriage is designed to fulfill those needs. For one
spouse to deny this satisfaction to the other, the temptation exists to seek it
Duties of a Wife
With rights come responsibilities. Therefore,
wives have certain obligations to their husbands. The Quran states:
“…The good women in the absence of their husbands
guard their rights as God has enjoined upon them to be guarded….”(Quran 4:34)
A wife is to keep her husband’s secrets and
protect their marital privacy. Issues of intimacy or faults of his that would
dishonor him, are not to be shared by the wife, just as he is expected to guard
A wife must also guard her husband’s property. She
must safeguard his home and possessions, to the best of her ability, from theft
or damage. She should manage the household affairs wisely so as to prevent
loss or waste. She should not allow anyone to enter the house whom her husband
dislikes nor incur any expenses of which her husband disapproves.
A Muslim woman must cooperate and coordinate
with her husband. There cannot, however, be cooperation with a man who is
disobedient to God. She should not fulfill his requests if he wants her to do
something unlawful. A husband also should not take advantage of his wife, but
be considerate of her needs and happiness.
The Quran states:
“And it befits not a believing man or a believing
woman, when God and His Messenger have decided on an affair (for them), that
they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious
to God and His Messenger, he verily goes astray in error manifest.” (Quran 33:36)
The Muslim woman was given a role, duties and
rights 1400 years ago that most women do not enjoy today in the West. These
are from God and are designed to keep balance in society; what may seem unjust
or missing in one place is compensated for or explained in another place. Islam
is a complete way of life.