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IF THE HUSBAND REFUSES TO SPEND ON HIS WIFE’S MAINTENANCE, IS IT PERMISSIBLE FOR HER TO REFUSE TO SHARE HIS BED?

Praise be to Allah

Firstly, the husband is obliged to spend on his wife's maintenance. Allah says in glorious Quran:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means”

[an-Nisa; 4:34]

“Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him”

[at-Talaq 65:7].

It was narrated that Mu‘awiyah al-Qushayri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, what are the rights of the wife of one of us over him? He said: “That you feed her as you feed yourself, clothe her as you clothe yourself, do not strike the face, do not disgrace her and if you want to shun her (by way of disciplining her) do not leave home.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (2142) and Ibn Majah (1850); classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

If a husband fails to spend on his wife and does not take proper care of her then she has the choice of leaving him or put up with him because it is her right and she is not to be treated unfairly. A husband has to support his wife in all possible way. If she, however, chooses to stay with him in hope that he may change his ways or if the situation is as such that a husband is not able to support her because of financial circumstances or is not well off or maybe because of miserliness then she is not obliged to allow him to be intimate with her.

Ash-Shirazi ash-Shaafi‘i said in al-Muhadhdhab fi Fiqh al-Imam ash-Shaafi‘i (3/155):

If husband becomes unable to spend on his wife, the wife has a choice to not to get intimate with him, she can even leave the house because allowing intimacy is in return for maintenance.

Muhammad Najeeb al-Mutee‘i said in his Sharh(20/169):

A wife has thee options if her husband is unable to spend on her:she may annul the marriage, she may stay with him and allow intimacy, and its her right that she should spend on her whatever he is able to spend, the third option is that she may remain married without allowing intimacy, rather she may leave the house. It is because allowing intimacy is only obligatory if husband spends on his wifes maintenance.

Al-Bahooti (may Allah have mercy on him) said inKashshaf al-Qina‘ (5/477):

A woman has the right to remain in marriage and not allow intimacy with her husband and a husband must not detain her rather he should let her earn money even if she is well off because he has not given her anything in return of intimacy with her.

However, a woman must never misuse this right. Her intention must be pure, her aim must be to help her husband mend his ways or correcting his behavior. She must not do so to get her selfish and personal gains. Husbands condition and situation must be taken into consideration and care must be taken to protect the marriage and avoid negative outcomes.

It may make some husbands escalate the quarrel and become stubborn and get angry with his wife if she does such a thing, and he would forget his own shortcomings and the wife’s aim of reforming him, to the point that he ends up destroying the marriage.

Both husband and wife must be aware of the rights of spouses and as a wife, if you have a right over him, be wise and prudent in exercising your rights.

And Allah knows best.

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