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FAQ

al kafi 1366

Question:

Assalamualaikum Dato’. I want to ask several questions regarding the issues in marriage. For a situation where a wife is negligent in fulfilling the conjugal rights of a husband for almost a year and always refuses when asked to have intercourse by the husband with various excuses and ignores the advice given by the husband regarding matters involving worship to Allah SWT. If the wife acts this way, is it obligatory for the husband to provide sustenance (nafkah) for the wife?

 

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The Wisdom Behind Marriage

The purpose of marriage is to build the family institution and it is greatly encouraged in Islam. Its purpose is to also fulfil the natural needs of humans, increasing the Muslim ummah and nurturing calmness and contentment. The encouragement of marriage in Islam is so that we can benefit from it. This is stated in a hadith from Abdullah bin Amr RA where the Prophet PBUH said:

الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ، وَخَيْرُ مَتَاعِ الدُّنْيَا الْمَرْأَةُ الصَّالِحَةُ

"The world is but a (quick passing) enjoyment; and the best enjoyment of the world is a pious and virtuous woman"

Sahih Muslim (1467)

The same is stated for husband and wife who protect and complement each other. This is stated in the Quran, where Allah SWT state:

هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ

“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.”

Surah al-Baqarah (187)

Dr Mustafa al-Khin state several wisdoms of marriage in his book, which are:

  • Fulfilling the natural desire of humans
  • Increasing the population of the Muslim ummah and lineage
  • Creating calmness and contentment
  • Protecting the character of people from being damaged or harmed
  • Protecting the human generation
  • Expanding the family institution and strengthening cooperation

(See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji 4/13-16)

Nafkah (Sustenance) and Responsibilities of Husband and Wife

Nafkah (sustenance) is human’s necessary expenses such as food, drink, clothing, house (place to live) and others. It is called as nafaqah for it is given or used for these necessities. (See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/274)

There are numerous Quranic and prophetic evidences that explained the matter regarding nafkah, among them is a statement of Allah SWT:

لِيُنفِقْ ذُو سَعَةٍ مِّن سَعَتِهِ ۖ وَمَن قُدِرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقُهُ فَلْيُنفِقْ مِمَّا آتَاهُ اللَّـهُ ۚ لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّـهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا مَا آتَاهَا ۚ سَيَجْعَلُ اللَّـهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا

“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.”

Surah al-Talaq (7)

The scholars agreed (reached a consensus) that it is obligatory for a husband to provide nafkah for his wife. This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT:

وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

“Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers' provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable.”

Surah al-Baqarah (233)

Obligatory Condition for a Husband to Provide Nafkah (Sustenance) for His Wife

Nafkah is a condition on a husband when the wife fulfils the conditions set. In al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, it is divided into two conditions:

  • The wife is willing to be intimate (istimta’) and have intercourse in situations permitted by syarak. And if the wife refuses even if it is slightly, then it is no longer an obligation for the husband to provide for his wife.
  • The wife lives together with the husband in the house chosen by the husband. And it is an obligation for the wife to live there unless if it unsuitable to be lived in according to syarak.

If all these conditions are fulfilled, then it is obligatory for the husband to provide every nafkah needed by the wife. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji: 4/181-182)

Nusyuz

Dr Muhammad Zuhaili defined nusyuz as disobedience. And disobedience for a woman is when she disobeys her husband on matters which are made obligatory for her by Allah SWT. (See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e: 4/90)

Allah SWT state:

اللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ

“But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.”

Surah al-Nisa’ (34)

The act of nusyuz by a wife is prohibited and is considered as one of the major sins. This is as stated in a hadith from Abi Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH:

إِذَا دَعَا الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ إِلَى فِرَاشِهِ فَلَمْ تَأْتِهِ فَبَاتَ غَضْبَانَ عَلَيْهَا لَعَنَتْهَا الْمَلاَئِكَةُ حَتَّى تُصْبِحَ

“When a man calls his wife to come to his bed and she refuses and does not come to him and he spends the night angry, the angels curse her till the morning.”

Sahih Muslim (1436)

Ways to Overcome Nusyuz

When there are signs of nusyuz in a person who are acting badly and sour-faced. Or if a wife utters harsh words to her husband. Hence, in al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, ways to overcome this are stated:

  • It is sunnah for the husband to advise his wife in accordance with the Quran and reminding her regarding her obligatory responsibilities made by Allah SWT on her regarding intimacy and respect towards her husband. Also advise her regarding the wrath and punishment of Allah SWT.
  • And if she still refuses to change, the husband should forsake her in bed (leaving her to sleep alone). This is an effective way of teaching her a lesson.
  • If she is still stubborn, the husband can hit her with a light hit which is not injurious with the intention of only teaching her a lesson.

If the disagreement is unresolvable, then the case should be presented to a judge. The judge would then appoint a mediator who is a Muslim and fair. And the mediator should try his best to reconcile the husband and wife back together. (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji 107-108)

Allah SWT state:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّـهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا

“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].”

Surah al-NIsa’ (35)

Conclusion

According to the above question given, the actions of the wife towards the husband should not have happened. The reason is, it is the responsibility of the wife to attend to her husband the best she could and to fulfil her husband’s needs.

 Hence, husband and wife should discuss and find the best resolution. If the wife still refuses to change, then the husband should follow what has been recommended in the Quran. Allah SWT state:

اللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ

“But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.”

Surah al-Nisa’ (34)

  • Advise her with wisdom and good words with love and care and with the intention of trying to change her for the better.
  • And if she still refuses to change, the husband should forsake her in bed (leaving her to sleep alone). This is an effective way of teaching her a lesson.
  • If she is still stubborn, the husband can hit her with a light hit which is not injurious with the intention of only teaching her a lesson.

Thus, it is not obligatory for the husband to provide nafkah if the wife neglects her responsibilities towards her husband and committing nusyuz. However, it is best if this matter is presented to authority bodies who are responsible for the process of sulh which is a part of Islamic family law in each state. The purpose of this is so that reconciliation and an agreement could be reached between the husband and wife.

Hopefully, this explanation would benefit the questioner. We pray that Allah SWT give sakinah to our families.