Feeding and Clothing the Wife


Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 4-Nikah (Marriage) in Islam / Saturday, September 18th, 2010

1. It is wâjib on the man to provide his wife with food and clothing. Irrespective of how rich the wife may be, the responsibility of feeding, clothing and providing shelter to the wife rests entirely on the shoulders of the husband.

2. If the nikâh has been performed but she has not gone to live with her husband as yet, she can still claim for the food and clothing. However, if the husband wished to take her to his house and she did not go or was not sent by her parents, then as long as she does not go, she will not be entitled to ask for any food or clothing.

3. The wife is so young that she is incapable of engaging in sexual intercourse. Despite this, if the husband takes her to his house so that she may be able to fulfil the domestic tasks or to merely please himself, then in such a case it will be wâjib on him to provide her with food and clothing. If he does not keep her and instead sends her to her parent’s home, it will not be wâjib on him. If the husband is young and immature and the wife is mature, she will be entitled to receive food and clothing.

4. The man did not give the mahr that is normally given in the beginning. The woman therefore refuses to go and live with him. She will have to be provided with food and clothing. But if she refuses to go to his house without any valid reason, she will not be entitled to receive any food or clothing. Once she goes to him, she will be entitled to receive the mahr.

5. For as long as she stays at her parent’s home with the permission of her husband, she can ask her husband to provide her with food and clothing.

6. A woman falls ill. While she is ill, she is still entitled to receive food and clothing from her husband. This is irrespective of whether she falls ill at his house or at her parent’s house. However, if the husband asks her to come and live with him while she is ill and she refuses to go, she will not be entitled to receive any food or clothing from him.
While she is ill, she will only receive the expenses for her food and clothing. It is not wâjib on the man to provide her with medication or to pay the doctor for his treatment. She has to pay for it herself. If the man provides this, it will be out of his good will.

7. A woman went on hajj. During this period it is not wâjib on the man to give her any food or clothing expenses. But if the husband accompanies her as well, he will have to provide her with food and clothing as well. However, it will only be wâjib on him to provide the food and clothing that used to normally cost him at home. Any extra expenses in this regard will have to be borne by her. Providing for the costs of transportation is also not the responsibility of the husband.

8. In providing food and clothing, the financial position of both will have to be considered. If both are rich, she will receive the food and clothing which rich people are accustomed to. If both of them are poor, she will receive that of poor people. If the husband is poor while the wife is from a rich family or vice versa, she will receive food and clothing that is of an average quality and price. In other words, it will be such that it is cheaper than the food and clothing of rich people, but more expensive than the food and clothing of poor people.

9. If the wife is so sick that she cannot undertake all the domestic duties, or she is from an upper-class family and cannot do the menial tasks of the home such as cooking, cleaning, etc. and regards them as being below her dignity, then she will have to be provided with food that has been prepared and cooked by someone else.

If she is not sick nor is she from an upper class family, it will be wâjib on her to fulfil all the domestic duties with her own hands. All domestic tasks will have to be fulfilled by her. The responsibility of the man is merely to provide her with a stove, a grindstone, groceries, firewood, pots, pans, utensils, etc. for eating and drinking. She must do the cooking and eat the cooked food.

10. It is the man’s responsibility to provide her with oil, a comb, oil cakes, soap, and water for performing wudû’ and taking a bath. It is not the man’s responsibility to provide her with surmah, scent, etc. It is not the responsibility of the man to pay the washerman for washing the clothes. She must wash and wear her clothes herself. If the man gets the clothes washed or pays someone to do so, it will be out of his own good will.

11. If a mid-wife is called, her expenses will be borne by the one who called her. If the man called her, he will have to pay her; and if the woman called her, she will have to pay her. If the mid-wife comes on her own, the man will have to bear her expenses.

12. If the man gave his wife the expenses for her food and clothing for the entire year or for any other period before hand, he cannot take anything back from there.

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