The rights of wives concerning their husbands are many and may be summarized as follows:
Dowry: A wife is entitled to receive a dowry from her husband at the time of marriage, and a marriage contract is void without it. The dowry is not to be forfeited but after the completion of a marriage contract she may forfeit her right as God says in the Qur’an:
(And give women [upon marriage] their dowry graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.) [4:4]
A husband must not disclose any of his wife’s deficiencies or shortcomings, keeping all what he sees and hears from his wife as a secret that should not ever be disclosed.
Financial Support: A husband is required to provide, within his means and limits, all the essential and basic requirements of his wife, children and entire household. God, the Exalted, says in the Qur’an:
(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.) [65:7]
To encourage generosity towards the wives, Islam has considered this financial support as charity which is rewarded greatly by God. The Prophet (pbuh) said to Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqas:
“No amount you spend on your family seeking reward from God but that He will reward you, even if it is a bite of food that you put in your wife’s mouth” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 3721)
A wife has a right to take the required amount from her husband’s property for herself and her children without her husband’s knowledge if he spends miserly on them according to the hadith wherein Hind bint ‘Utbah said:
O Messenger of God: verily Abu Sufyan is a miser and doesn’t give me enough for myself and my child except what I take from his wealth without his knowledge, so he (pbuh) said:
“Take what is reasonably enough for you and your son” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5049)
Companionship and intimate relationship: One of the most important rights of a wife is to secure from her husband a satisfactory level of intimate relationship and a fair amount of time with him. This right of the wife and family members must be fully maintained since a wife needs an affectionate husband to take care of her and fulfill her basic needs. As stated by the Prophet (pbuh) “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi, verified as authentic)
Protection of all the secrets of the wife: A husband must not disclose any of his wife’s deficiencies or shortcomings, keeping all what he sees and hears from his wife as a secret that should not ever be disclosed. The intimate relationship between a husband and wife in Islam is cherished and protected. Marital relationships are sacred relationships according to Islam, as we read in the instructions of God’s Messenger (pbuh):
“One of the worst circumstances in the sight of God on the Day of Judgment is that of a man who will have an intimate relationship with his wife, and then spread the secrets of his spouse to the public.” (Muslim, Hadith no. 1437)
Equality and Fairness: The husband who is married to more than one wife must provide equally to all of his wives, offering them the same or comparable housing conditions and clothing. He is to spend equal time with each one of them. Any injustice in this regard is strictly prohibited as the Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
“He who has two wives and does not treat them both equally will appear on the Day of Judgment while he is half paralyzed.” (Nisa`i, 7:63)
The rights of the children are numerous, beginning with the entitlement to be given honorable names.
Fair and kind treatment: A husband must extend just treatment to his wife and household. A husband must demonstrate care, kindness and solve any problem within his means, while being gentle and forgiving with his wife, seeking the Pleasure of God in both worlds. A good Muslim husband should consult with his wife concerning their life and future needs and plans. He is required to secure and provide for his wife and household all means of a peaceful environment at home and outside. The Messenger (pbuh) of God said:
“Those believers who have the most complete faith who possess the best of character, and the best among you are those who are the best to their wives.”
Protection and Preservation: By all the abilities available, a husband must not place or expose his wife or family members to any immoral situation or evil environment. This is based on the instructions of the verse of the Glorious Qur’an:
(O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are appointed angels stern and severe, who flinch not from executing the Commands they receive from God, but do precisely what they are commanded.) [66:6]
Children are entitled to receive just and equal treatment without being preferred one over another in terms of dealings and treatment, gifts, grants, inheritance, etc.
He must protect the private wealth and property of his wife and must not use any of her personal funds or possessions without her prior approval. He must not engage in any transaction concerning his wife’s finances, without her consent.
Reference : Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Sheha, Human Rights in Islam, Usool International Centre, Riyadh, ISBN: 978-603-90936-9-5
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