Saturday, May 26, 2007

Q&A: Taking financial right forcibly?

The following is a translation from Arabic.

Question: Can wife take money forcibly from a miserly husband without permission of state or husband? Can this be a proof for individual taking rights forcibly from kaafir state?


It obligatory on the man to provide nafaqah for his wife. If he is a miser and does not spend on his wife then it is allowed for his wife to take from her husbands wealth without permission that amount which is enough by custom (bil-ma’roof) for her and her children. The evidence for that is what Bukhari narrated on the authority of ‘Aisha that Hind the wife of Abu Sufyan said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, indeed Abu Sufyan is a miserly man. He does not provide me with the maintenance that my children and I need except what I take from him without his knowledge.’ He (saw) said: ‘Take that which suffices you and your children in a fitting manner (bil ma’roof).’

As for when you have a financial right from the state, such as if the state usurped your wealth or confiscated your land, then you have the right to defend your land and wealth and if you are killed then you will be shaheed. However, if the state took your land and you did not defend but you wished to steal money from the state which is the price of your land which was confiscated in analogy with the wife who takes the wealth of her husband without his permission, then this analogy is not correct. It is not allowed according to this to steal from the state the value of your wealth. Rather you need to demand your wealth through open means. This is because stealing is not allowed except in a situation where another steals from you and you find the stolen goods with him. Then it is allowed to take back the (the same stolen property) even by theft due to the text mentioned regarding it.


Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Abu Ismael--

May Allah reward you for your efforts in dawah. I would like to ask you a couple of questions in relation to the above topic, I would like to know that :

1- Is there a fixed amount for nafaqah ? or is it at the discretion of Husband ?Can the amount be changed based on the husband’s financial situation? Or does it have to be fixed all the time.

2- What is the criterion to decide how much money will be sufficient for you to give it to your wife as nafaqah money? What are the main things to consider the amount that will be sufficient to fulfil your wife’s needs.

3- And if you can’t afford to give money to your wife because you are facing financial difficulties can you not pay the nafaqah ? will you be sinful for that?

4- I know there is a hadith which talks about that, the money you spend on you family is like the charity and you get a great reward for spending your money on your family. How can we motivate our wifes that they also need to understand not to over burden the husband with demands that will put too much burden on them and the relationship become really unnatural


Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Assalam wa alaikum

According to my knowledge:

1) There is no fixed amount for the nafaqah. This is according to what is bil-ma’roof i.e. the normal lifestyle of a woman of her background.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) says;
وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ٌ
"And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them, in reasonable terms." [TMQ Al- Baqarah: 228]

2) The criterion is that her basic needs are fulfilled and that she is being provided the standard of living that she is used to.

3) Of course we are not accountable for what is beyond our control. Allah (swt) told us 'Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear'. We will be accountable for the effort, not the result.

4) Islam clearly outlined the role and the rights of both partners in the marriage. The man is the head of the household and therefore he has the final say in matters. He is responsible for providing the maintenance and residence for his family. The wife’s responsibility is to obey the husband in matters relating to the marital life, tend to the housework and not go out without the permission of her husband.

These rights and responsibilities are not unknown but the key concept we need to understand is how these rights and responsibilities are discharged. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) informs us:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

"And live with them honourably". [TMQ An-Nisa: 19]

He (subhanahu wa ta’aala) has commanded spouses to spend their life together (mu’aasharah) in an honourable and fitting manner (bil-ma’roof). What this means is that they live in an atmosphere of care and benevolence. That is why the Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said;

«إن من أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خلقاً وألطفهم بأهله

“Indeed, the one most complete in Iman and best in morals is the one who is the kindest to his wives.” [Reported by Ibn Hibban]

In other words, the rights and responsibilities should be discharged in an atmosphere of companionship. To give us an example of what companionship (suhbah) means on a day to day level let us take a glimpse at the life of Muhammad (salAllahu alaihi wasallam), as he says in his own words:

“The best amongst you is the one who is best to his wives and I am best to my wives” [Reported by Ibn Hibban]

We should also be aware of the nature of women is that they are more emotional than men and this is natural. Therefore men should not get overly frustrated or angry at this.

Companionship means the husband deals with his wife in a kind and tolerant manner and not in a domineering way. He should not see it as undermining his honour and dignity if his wife disagreed or got angry about something. 'Aaisha (ra) narrated that Allah's Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said;

“‘I know whether you are angry or pleased.’ I said, ‘How do you know that Oh Messenger of Allah?’ He (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said, ‘When you are pleased, you say, 'Yes, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham!' I said, ‘Yes, I do not leave, except your name.’" [Reported by Muslim]

In addition, it has been narrated that the Prophet of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) came into Aaisha’s (ra) room and put his hand on Aaisha’s (ra) knee and whispered something in her ear. She placed her hand over his hand trying to push him away. Umm Mubashhar who was with her at the time said; “How could you do this to Allah’s Messenger?” The Messenger (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) laughed and said; “Leave her; she does this and much worse!” [Reported by al-Bukhari in at-Tarikh]

Companionship means that husbands and wives should help each other in their responsibilities. Just because the wife is responsible for doing the housework does not mean the husband should not help out. Aaisha (ra) describes the behaviour of RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) when he was in the house - she says;

“RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) used to be in the service (mihnah i.e. khidmah) of his family; and when it was time for prayer, he would go out to pray.” [Reported by al-Bukhari]

Despite being the ruler of Madinah, at home he led a very humble life. Aaisha said;
“He acted like other men; he would mend his clothes, milk his goat and serve himself.” [Reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad].

Furthermore, RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) never lost his temper, even if there was too much salt in the food. Abu Hurairah narrated that;

‘RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) never criticised the food, if he liked it he ate it and if not he left it’ [Reported by Muslim]

Companionship also means overlooking mistakes or defects that one may not like in ones wife or vice versa. RasoolAllah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) said:
“Let not a believing man hate a believing woman. If he dislikes a character in her, he would be pleased with her other characters.” [Reported by Muslim]

Therefore, the husband should not pick on every little thing and continuously find faults. Rather he should be prepared to forget them by remembering the good qualities his wife has.