The husband is responsible for the wifes maintenance. This right is established by authority of the Qur'an and the sunnah. It is inconsequen tial whether the wife is a Muslim , non-Muslim, rich, poor, healthy or sick. A component of his role as "qawam" (leader) is to bear the financial responsibility of the family in a generous way so that his wife may be assured security and thus perform her role devotedly.
The wifes maintenance entails her right to lodging, clothing, food and general care, like medication, hospital bills etc. He must lodge her where he resides himself according to his means. The wifes lodge must be adequate so as to ensure her privacy, comfort and independence.
If a wife has been used to a maid or is unable to attend to her household duties, it is the husbands duty to provide her with a maid if he can afford to do so. The prophet is reported to have said: The best Muslim is one who is the best husband.
The wife is entitled to a marriage gift that is her own. This may be prompt or deferred depending on the agreement between the parties. A marriage is not valid without mahr. It does not have to be money or gold. It can be non-material like teaching her to read the Qur'an. " Mahr" is a gift from the groom to the bride. This is the Islamic law, unlike some cultures whereby the brides parents pay the future husband to marry the daughter. This practice degrades women and is contrary to the spirit of Islam. There is no specification in the Qur'an as to what or how much the Mahr has to be. It depends on the parties involved.
A husband is commanded by the law of Allah to treat his wife with equity, respect her feelings and show kindness and consideration, especially if he has another wife. The prophet last sermon stresses kindness to women.
The Wife Obligations - The Husbands Rights.
One of the main duties of the wife is to contribute to the success and blissfulness of the marriage. She must be attentive to the comfort and wellbeing of her husband. The Qur'anic ayah which illustrates this point is:
"Our lord, grant us wives and offspring who will be the apples of our eyes and guide us to be models for the righteous"
The wife must be faithful, trustworthy and honest she must not deceive her husband by deliberately avoiding contraception. She must not allow any other person to have access to that which is exclusively the husband right i.e. sexual intimacy. She must not receive or entertain strange males in the house without his knowledge and consent. She should not be alone with a strange male. She should not accept gifts from other men without his approval. This is meant to avoid jealousy, suspicion and gossip. The husband possessions are her trust. She may not dispose of his belongings without his permission.
A wife should make herself sexually attractive to her husband and be responsive to his advances. The wife must not refuse her husband sexually as this can lead to marital problems and worse still - tempt the man to adultery. The husband of course should take into account the wifes health and general consideration should be given.
The purpose of obedience in the relationship is to keep the family unit running as smoothly as possible. The man has been given the right to be obeyed because he is the leader and not because he is superior. If a leader is not obeyed , his leadership will become invalid -Imagine a king or a teacher or a parent without the necessary authority which has been entrusted to them.
Obedience does not mean blind obedience. It is subject to conditions:
(a) It is required only if what is asked from the wife is within the permissible categories of action.
(b) It must be maintained only with regard to matters that fall under the husband rights.
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