What is the ruling of a wife not obeying her husband’s command when the husband commits cruelty and does not fulfil his obligations? For example, when the husband does not give permission to leave the house to buy basic needs while at the same time the husband never buys adequate household needs. The husband would always raise his voice with his wife even when she makes simple mistakes, such as getting angry and scolding the wife when the food is not to his liking. Besides, the husband also does not give pocket money despite having good career and salary. Is it permissible for the wife to move out of their house for she has lost her patience due to her husband’s behavior?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the 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.
For this article, we would like to stress out on the obligations and nusyuz of a husband. Hence, the duty of a husband is to lead his household as well as guide them according to guidelines set by syarak.
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ
And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.
Surah Taha (132)
Marriage is an institution requires both the husband and wife to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities as well as each other’s rights. Besides, Islam has given guidelines for husband and wife to always communicate and tolerate between each other to cultivate a loving relationship. This is because husband and wife should complement each other. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ
They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.
Surah al-Baqarah (187)
Also, among the obligations of a husband is to provide nafaqah (maintenance) and marital obligation (nafkah batin) for his wife and children. This is as stated by Dr Muhammad Zuhaili in his book that the jurists (fuqaha’) decided that it is the obligation of a husband to provide nafaqah for his wife without any differing of opinions on this matter. (See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/277)
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth
Surah al-Nisaa’ (34)
Dr Wahbah al-Zuhaili gives a commentary of the above verse stating, a man is obligated to provide nafaqah as well as dwelling for his wife… and for man, he is the leader to ease marital affairs. (See al-Tafsir al-Wasit li Zuhaili, 1/316-317)
Besides, the saying 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)
Sheikh al-Maraghi states in his tafseer, the responsibilities of a wife are to bear, give birth and nurse the children. While the responsibilities of a husband are to provide maintenance in terms of foods, drinks and clothing for the wife to fulfil his responsibilities. Also, to make sure of his wife’s safety and ease her affairs. Nafaqah given is in accordance with the norm of the necessity of women in the society. (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/187)
The Husband Is Provide Nafaqah For His Wife
The responsibilities of a husband in marriage are to provide nafaqah both zahir (physical) and batin (spiritual) needs as well as treating his wife well.
Hence, the responsibilities of a husband in providing nafaqah starts right after the solemnization and when the wife obeys the conditions as follows:
- Submitting herself to be intimate and having intercourse within syarak’s boundary.
- The wife following her husband to stay in the house chosen by the husband and the condition of the house is appropriate according to syarak.
If these two conditions are obeyed by the wife, then it is wajib for the husband to fulfill and provide nafaqah needed by his wife. (See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/278-280)
In the context of husband’s capabilities to provide nafaqah for his wife, al-Fiqh al-Manhaji has set guidelines for things that are wajib for a husband to provide for his wife, which are:
- Staple local food for each day according to the need of having foods. This is in accordance with the capability of the husband whether he is rich, commoner or underprivileged.
- Side dishes normally eaten by the people according to the husband’s capability.
- Appropriate clothing according to syarak and which cover the awrah as well as dwelling and kitchen appliances according to husband’s capability and wife’s need.
Furthermore, in addition to wife’s nafaqah while considering husband’s capability:
- Appropriate house and dwelling which at least is provided with basic necessities accordingly.
- Cleaning tools. The same for adornments if the husband asks his wife to adorn herself for him.
- Housemaid if the wife already has housemaid before getting married. Hence, the husband should provide the house cleaning service only according to wife’s need.
(See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/281-284 and al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 4/182-184)
Providing nafaqah for the wife is in accordance with the capability and salary of the husband. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Mu’awiyah al-Qushairi:
أَتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ فَقُلْتُ مَا تَقُولُ فِي نِسَائِنَا قَالَ " أَطْعِمُوهُنَّ مِمَّا تَأْكُلُونَ وَاكْسُوهُنَّ مِمَّا تَكْتَسُونَ وَلاَ تَضْرِبُوهُنَّ وَلاَ تُقَبِّحُوهُنَّ "
I went to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.
Sunan Abi Dawud (2144)
The fuqaha’ are of the opinion that the action of nusyuz of a wife towards her husband is prohibited (haram), the same for the opposite. The reason is both are considered nusyuz if they do not fulfil their responsibilities towards their spouse. Nusyuz of a person is an action after solemnization. And it applies for both man and woman.
Dr Muhammad al-Zuhaili gives the definition of nusyuz in his book: “Nusyuz means rebellion and usually committed by a woman. A nusyuz woman is the one who is rebellious to her husband by disobeying her husband. Besides, nusyuz of a husband to his wife is by abandoning his responsibilities as well as hurting his spouse.”
(See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e: 4/90)
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَن يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا
And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them
Surah al-Nisaa’ (128)
According to this saying of Allah SWT in the Quran, Syeikh Sha’rawi states that there is a nusyuz husband to his wife. (See Tafsir al-Sya’rawi, 5/2682)
Syeikh al-Maraghi explains on the above hadith stating, “What is meant by the above verse is a wife’s fear towards her husband becomes nusyuz upon her by blocking her needs, nafaqah, and love towards her or oppresses her by beating her and other violent acts.” (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 5/171)
Nusyuz of a Husband
The ruling of nusyuz is not only applicable towards the wife, but rather happens towards the husband also. This is like when a husband does not provide his wife with her rights or neglect his responsibilities in term of zahir and batin like not providing nafaqah as well as treats her with cruelty.
This is as stated in al-Fiqh al-Manhaji where, “A husband who oppresses his wife and not liking her, like not giving her the right of the night, nafaqah or did violent acts upon her by words or actions, the wife should give advice to her husband and remind him of his responsibility.” (See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 4/109)
Syeikh Ibrahim Baijuri explains nusyuz of a husband in his book, that the nusyuz of a husband is by not fulfilling his obligatory responsibilities upon his wife which are treating her well, giving them turn of the nights if one practices polygamy, giving mahar, providing nafaqah, clothes and other basic needs… if a husband has bad character and becomes violent like beating without reason, it is permissible to submit a complaint to the judge for him to be punished by ta’zir. (See Hasyiah Syeikh Ibrahim al-Baijuri, 2251)
Actions to be Taken by a Wife Whose Husband is Nusyuz
If a husband becomes nusyuz towards his wife, then the wife should first have patience and remind him of his act by reminding him of the sayings of Allah SWT on the obligations of a husband to treat his wife well. This is in accordance with a saying of Allah SWT:
وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.
Surah al-Nisaa’ (19)
If the situation remains the same and the wife did not succeed in advising him, then she may submit a complaint to the judge or ruler of what has been done by her husband towards her. This is as stated by Dr Muhammad al-Zuhaili as well as what is mentioned in al-Fiqh al-Manhaji.
“Also, a wife should warn her husband on the punishment of his wrongdoings. If her husband changes for the better, surely this is the best thing to happen. If not, she should submit her complaint to the judge to claim her rights. This is because a judge is appointed to restore the rights of rightful individuals when they are incapable of claiming them personally… If the husband still repeats the same thing, then the wife may ask the judge to impose punishment upon her husband.”
(See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 4/109-110 and al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/95)
Still, if this cannot be settled, then proxy from both parties should be sent to have some discussions on the future of their marriage. Dr Muhammad al-Zuhaili states in his book:
“If the role of a judge still unable to make both of them live in peace, then proxy from both parties should come together to settle the issue either to reconcile or separate…to impose punishments to both spouses, it is wajib to be done by a judge or ruler.”
(See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafi’e, 4/95)
This is in accordance with the saying of Allah SWT in the Quran:
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-Nisaa’ (35)
Based on the question and explanation given, if this issue continues, we advise take the following steps:
- A wife should advise her husband regarding his responsibilities and warn him about Allah SWT’s punishment upon his wrongdoings.
- Besides, if her husband does not change, then the wife can ask the judge to impose reasonable actions to correct him.
- If he does not change, both parties may send proxy as the mediator to either reconcile or separate them both.
For marital issues, it is best for one to refer to the authorities to help to resolve such problems such as the Shariah court. It is for the purpose of implementing the process of sulh written in the state’s enactment of Islamic family law. This is to establish some peaceful discussions as well as solving marital issues.
Hence, it is wajib for both husband and wife to enhance their knowledge on the rulings of nusyuz to give awareness to the husband and wife on the harm and effect of the action.
In understanding the roles and responsibilities as well as the reality of life in educating and refining the next generation, mutual understanding and tolerance between husband and wife are important in establishing blissful marriage in the form of baiti jannati.
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
And those who say, "Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous."
Surah al-Furqan (74)
May this explanation give benefit to the one who asks. We pray that Allah SWT bestow sakinah to the family.
Besides, you may refer to other articles as the following:
- AL-KAFI #1258: ISTERI KELUAR DARI RUMAH DAN MENGHILANGKAN DIRI, APAKAH YANG PERLU DILAKUKAN? (WIFE LEAVES HOME AND DISSAPEAR, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?)
- AL-KAFI #1290: SUAMI MEMBIARKAN ISTERI MENANGGUNG NAFKAH KELUARGA (HUSBAND LETS HIS WIFE TO BE THE BREADWINNER)
- AL-KAFI #:1366 ADAKAH WAJIB BAGI SUAMI MEMBERI NAFKAH KEPADA ISTERI YANG TIDAK MEMBERI NAFKAH BATIN (EDISI KEMASKINI) [IS IT WAJIB FOR A HUSBAND TO PROVIDE NAFAQAH (MAINTENANCE) TO HIS WIFE WHO DOES NOT PROVIDE HIM WITH MARITAL OBLIGATION (NAFKAH BATIN)? (UPDATED VERSION)]
- IRSYAD AL-FATWA SIRI KE-206: NUSYUZ JIKA MERTUA MEMBAWA ISTERI KELUAR TANPA KEBENARAN SUAMI (NUSYUZ WHEN MOTHER/FATHER IN-LAWS BRING THE WIFE OUT WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE HUSBAND)
- IRSYAD AL-FATWA SIRI KE-175: TINGGAL ISTERI TANPA NAFKAH, ADAKAH JATUH TALAQ [LEAVING WIFE WITHOUT NAFAQAH (MAINTENANCE), IS TALAK CONSUMMATED?]