What are the rights of a wife in Islam?

Just as the Almighty Allah has made some rights of husband obligatory on wife, so has He made some rights of wife obligatory on husband which men are oblige to pay. So, it is in the Quran.

وَلَہُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡہِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوۡفِ ۪

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, (پ2،البقرہ:228)

Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ said,
“The best of you are those who treat women well.”[1]مشکوٰۃ المصابیح ، کتاب النکاح ، باب عشرۃ النساء وما لکل واحدۃ من الحقوق ، رقم ۳۲۶۴، ج۲،ص۲۴۰

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And the Holy Prophet ﷺ also said,
“I make a will for you about women, so accept my will.”[2]صحیح البخاری،کتاب احادیث الانبیاء ، باب خلق آدم صلوات اللہ علیہ الخ ، رقم ۳۳۳۱، ج۲،ص۴۱۲

It is also narrated in a Hadith that: A believing man should not hate a believing woman, because if a woman’s habit seems bad, then her other habit will be favorite.[3]صحیح مسلم ، کتاب الرضاع ۔۱۸۔باب الوصیۃ بالنساء ، رقم ۱۴۶۹،ص۷۷۵

The meaning of the Hadeeth is that it will not be the case that all the habits of a woman are bad, but there will be some good and some bad habits in her. Man should see her good habits not only her bad habits. In any case, the Almighty Allah and the Prophet ﷺ have made certain rights of wife obligatory on husband. Therefore, it is necessary for every man to follow the instructions given below, otherwise he will be a great sinner in the court of Almighty Allah and will be humiliate in the eyes of the society.

Rights of wife in Islam

  1. Every husband has the duty to take care of his wife’s food, clothing and other necessities of life according to her status and to the best of her ability and to take care of her all the time.
  2. A wife also has the right to have her husband pay the rights for her bed. There is no limit to this in the Shari’ah, but at least it should be such that the wife’s wish is fulfilled and she does not peep here and there.
  3. Never beat a woman without any major guilt. The Prophet ﷺ forbade to beat a woman in the same way as you treat your slave.[4]صحیح البخاری ، کتاب النکاح ۔ ۹۴۔باب مایکرہ من ضرب النساء ، رقم ۵۲۰۴، ج۳، ص۴۶۵
  4. In order for a husband and wife to live a happy life, just as women need to take into account the feelings of men, men must also take care of women’s feelings. Otherwise, just as a man’s anger turns a woman’s life into hell, so a woman’s anger becomes a scourge for men.
  5. The husband should be careful not to mention the beauty or virtues of another woman in front of his wife, otherwise the wife will immediately become suspicious that maybe my husband is interested in this woman or he has any heart attachment with her and this idea is such a thorn in a woman’s heart that she cannot have patience even for a moment.
  6. The man undoubtedly rules over the woman. Therefore, a man has the right to rule over his wife, but then it is necessary for a man not to ask his wife to do anything that is beyond her power or that she does not like.
  7. The husband should correct her wife’s mistakes sometimes with anger and sometimes with love, laughter and joy.
  8. The husband should also greet her wife with great love while going on a journey and after returning from the journey he should bring some gifts for his wife, no matter what, and should tell his wife that he has brought it for her.
  9. If a woman brings something from her parents’ home or makes it herself, the man should express his happiness over it and accept it with utmost sincerity even if it is of inferior quality and also say a few words of praise in front of the woman so her heart may fill with joy. Beware, never reject the gifts offered by her wife, do not despise them or find fault in them. Otherwise, her heart will be broken and her morale will be low. Remember that a broken glass can be repaired, but a broken heart is hard to fix, and just as the stain does not disappear even after the glass is repaired, so a broken heart is fixed, but the stain remains in the heart.
  10. If a woman becomes ill, it is the moral duty of the husband to take care of her and never neglect her.
  11. The husband should trust his wife and entrust the domestic affairs to her so that the wife recognizes her status and her dignity, builds self-confidence and manages the domestic affairs with great interest and effort. The Prophet ﷺ said that a woman is the guardian and protector of her husband’s house and in this matter, she will be questioned by Allah on the Day of Resurrection.
  12. The wife has a right over her husband that the husband should not reveal her wife’s secrets to others, but should keep it in his heart as a secret, because it has been narrated in the Hadith that The Prophet ﷺ said that
    The worst person in the sight of Allah is the one who goes to his wife then he reveals his secrets to the people and disgrace his wife in the eyes of others.[5]صحیح مسلم ، کتاب النکاح۔۲۱۔باب تحریم افشاء سرالمرأۃ ،رقم ۱۴۳۷،ص۷۵۳
  13. The husband should not come in dirty clothes in front of his wife, but he should take special care of the cleanliness of the body, clothes, bed, etc., because the husband wants to see his wife beautiful. In the same way, a woman also wants that his husband should not be in dirty clothes. Therefore, it is important for both spouses to always consider each other’s feelings and emotions. The Prophet ﷺ hated for someone being dirty. Both spouses should follow this Hadith.
  14. A wife also has the right over her husband to provide her cosmetics and make-up, i.e. soap, oil, comb, henna, perfume, etc. So that the woman can keep herself clean.
  15. The husband should not be suspicious of his wife over baseless things, but should always be careful in this matter. Remember that it is a great sin to accuse or mistrust your wife for the slightest suspicion.
    According to the Hadith, a villager came to the court of the Prophet ﷺ and said that a child has been born from the womb of my wife who is black and does not resemble me. So, I don’t think this child is mine. Hearing the words of the villager, the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: Do you have any camels? He said, “I have too many camels.” He said, “What color are your camels?” He said they are red.
    The Prophet ﷺ asked, “Are there any brown ones?” He said, “Yes, some camels are brown.” He asked, “Tell me, how and where did the brown camels in the breed of red camels come from?” The villager replied that one of the ancestors of my red camel must have been a brown camel. His vein must have pulled him into his color. So, the baby of red camel turned brown. On hearing this, the Holy Prophet ﷺ said that it is possible that there was a black among your ancestors and its veins have pulled your baby and made it their color and this child resembles him.[6]صحیح البخاری، کتاب الطلاق ، باب اذا عرض بنفی الولد ، رقم ۵۳۰۵،ج۳،ص۴۹۷
    It is clear from this Hadith that just only because the child does not resemble his father the Prophet ﷺ did not allow the villager to say that the child does not belong to him. Therefore, this Hadith proves that it is not permissible to accuse one’s wife on the basis of mere suspicion, but it is a grave sin.
  16. If there is any disagreement between the spouses, then the husband must not rush to divorce. Rather, he should control his anger and after the anger subsides, he should think and consult with the people and consider whether there can be reconciliation in the couple or not. If there is slightest chance to reconcile, then never divorce because divorce is not a good thing. The Prophet ﷺ said that:
    Divorce is the most disliked thing in the sight of Allah.[7]سنن ابی داؤد، کتاب الطلاق ، باب کراہیۃ الطلاق ، رقم ۲۱۷۸،ج۲،ص۳۷۰
    Divorce is allow if there is such a dire need that there is no choice but to divorce. Otherwise divorce is not a good thing!
  17. If a man has two wives or more, he is oblige to treat all wives with justice and equality, and to treat them equally in all matters of food, drink, housing, goods and beauty. In the same way, there should be equality to spend the night with every wife. Remember that if a man does not treat all his wives equally, then he will be entitle to the torment of Hell.
    According to the Hadith,
    “Whoever has two wives and has not done justice and equality between them, he will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection with half of his body paralyzed.[8]جامع الترمذی، کتاب النکاح ، باب ماجاء فی التسویۃ بین الضرائر ،رقم ۱۱۴۴،ج۲،ص۳۷۵
  18. If any of the words and deeds of his wife, misbehavior, immorality, harsh temperament, tongue-lashing, etc. cause some pain and suffering to the husband, then the husband should be patient.
  19. The husband should not be too stingy about his wife’s expenses, nor should he waste too much. Determine his wife’s expenses based on his income. Not too little, not too much.
  20. The husband should not keep his wife confined within the walls of the house but should sometimes allow her to visit her parents, friends, neighbors and relatives. Don’t ban. Provided that there is no danger of sedition or mischief from the interaction with these women and if there is a danger of immorality of the wife from the interaction with these women, then it is necessary to ban the meeting with these women and this is the right of the husband.

These were some of the rights of a wife by which a man can live a happy life. Therefore, every conscious husband should fulfill these rights of his wife.

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1مشکوٰۃ المصابیح ، کتاب النکاح ، باب عشرۃ النساء وما لکل واحدۃ من الحقوق ، رقم ۳۲۶۴، ج۲،ص۲۴۰
2صحیح البخاری،کتاب احادیث الانبیاء ، باب خلق آدم صلوات اللہ علیہ الخ ، رقم ۳۳۳۱، ج۲،ص۴۱۲
3صحیح مسلم ، کتاب الرضاع ۔۱۸۔باب الوصیۃ بالنساء ، رقم ۱۴۶۹،ص۷۷۵
4صحیح البخاری ، کتاب النکاح ۔ ۹۴۔باب مایکرہ من ضرب النساء ، رقم ۵۲۰۴، ج۳، ص۴۶۵
5صحیح مسلم ، کتاب النکاح۔۲۱۔باب تحریم افشاء سرالمرأۃ ،رقم ۱۴۳۷،ص۷۵۳
6صحیح البخاری، کتاب الطلاق ، باب اذا عرض بنفی الولد ، رقم ۵۳۰۵،ج۳،ص۴۹۷
7سنن ابی داؤد، کتاب الطلاق ، باب کراہیۃ الطلاق ، رقم ۲۱۷۸،ج۲،ص۳۷۰
8جامع الترمذی، کتاب النکاح ، باب ماجاء فی التسویۃ بین الضرائر ،رقم ۱۱۴۴،ج۲،ص۳۷۵