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Is it permissible for a husband to give charity but not provide for his wife & child?


My husband has never given me money but has taken my money by emotional blackmail that he doesn’t have enough money for certain expenses so I helped out using my savings as much as possible until I had nothing left. He never appreciated my help & always told me not to mention it because it’s not a big deal it’s normal for wives to help their husbands. Ever since I married him he has fallen short on providing & keeps making excuses & says he is providing according to how little he earns. He chooses not to get a proper full time job. He is lazy & says he will not work labour jobs. He can’t keep his job for long. He likes to give sadaqa alot but chooses not to give me money or fully provide for me or our child. He does not like it when I ask for things & embarrasses me. Is it ok that he gives money in charity but does not give anything to his wife or child? He provides food & shelter but does not care too much bout clothing or anything else. He says getting me a haircut is even counted as a luxury but gets his hair cut every 2 weeks & buys expensive shampoo for himself because his hair is very important to him. I am fed up with his irresponsibility. He’s not a good husband or father. He is selfish & stubborn with a huge ego & I have decided to separate from him. Is he still responsible for me & our child’s maintenance if we are not living with each other anymore?


Salamun Alaykum

Thank you for your query.

As long as the wife obeys her husband in matrimonial obligations and leaving the house, her maintenance(Nafaqah) is obligatory on the husband to pay. Maintenance(Nafaqah) will not be paid to her if she leaves the house without her husband’s permission and consent. However, he has to provide for the child.

On the other hand, the husband must show justice towards his wife and children and pay what is wajib on him such as basic necessities of life. Paying charity is a very good deed but paying charity on one hand and not taking care of the family, on the other hand, doesn’t equalize. So a husband must work hard to earn to fulfill the Islamic responsibilities and provide provisions, shelter, etc for his family as mentioned in the below rulings.

Some rulings about Maintenance according to Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyid Ali Sistany:

Ruling 2430. It is unlawful for a woman in a permanent marriage to leave the house without the permission of her husband even if this does not infringe on his rights, except in the following cases: [i] a necessity requires her to; [ii] staying in the house causes her hardship (Haraj); [iii] the house is not appropriate for her. Also, she must submit to giving her husband sexual pleasure, which is his right, whenever he wishes. She must also not prevent him from having sexual intercourse with her without a legitimate excuse (ʿudhr). It is obligatory on a husband to provide his wife with food, clothing, housing, and other things that she needs. If he does not provide these for her, irrespective of whether he is able to or not, he will be indebted to her. Furthermore, one of the rights of a wife is that her husband must not subject her to harassment or abuse, and he must not treat her in a harsh or rough manner without a legitimate reason.

Ruling 2431. If a woman does not perform any of her marital duties with regard to her husband, she has no right over him for food, clothing, and housing, even if she continues to live with him. And if she sometimes refuses to submit to her husband’s legitimate sexual wants, then based on obligatory precaution he is not exempted from providing her with her maintenance. As for her dowry, if she does not perform her duties, he is in no way exempted [from owing her it].

Ruling 2432. A man has no right to compel his wife to do housework.

Question: A woman, who is not obedient to her husband and does not carry out her matrimonial obligations, had, without his consent, left her matrimonial home and stayed with her parents for seven months. She, then went to a non-Islamic court, filed a divorce application, and demand maintenance and custody of the children. Has such a woman, who has violated her marital duties, any right in anything from her husband?

Answer: The said woman is not entitled to shari’i maintenance. As for her dowry and her right in nursing her offspring for the hawlayn (the two years), it should not be forfeited by virtue of nushouz (recalcitrance of the woman toward her husband) .

Question: If a wife and husband are both working, and the husband incurs some debts, is it obligatory for the wife to help the husband in paying his debt or she can use her money as she wishes.

Answer: It is not necessary for the woman who is working to give her wages to her husband. The husband does not have the right to make her do so, but if the wife helps her husband from her own desire, then she has performed a praiseworthy action.

Question: I would like to have more information regarding the depth and extent of a husband’s obligations for maintenance and expenses of the wife. Is it true that the husband should provide the same level of life (luxuries, maids, education) as the wife had before marriage? Does the answer differ from one scholar to another? Are there any hadith and/or rulings in this regard?

Answer: The husband is obliged to provide his wife with food, clothing and housing in conformity with her social status and dignity; dignity meaning the same level of life that she had before marriage. In this regard, the scholars share the same view.

Question: What is the quantity of the maintenance which a husband should provide his wife with? Moreover, can a man force his wife out of his home during Iddah (waiting period)?

Answer: The amount of maintenance, from the point of clothing, food and shelter, must be in accordance with the wife’s social status. During the Iddah, husband must not kick his wife out of the house.

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider