Fatwa No : 99471
Discrepancy between the right of mother and the right of wife
Fatwa Date : Ramadan 14, 1428 / 25-9-2007
I would like to know the status of the wife and the mother-inlaw. should the husband put his mother first before his wife and the wife must be second? ie: if i was ill and needed treatment and my mother-inlaw too, then who should get priority if the husband can only afford to pay for one? and also is the home that my husband provides considered his mothers house too equal to the wife? thankyou thankyou
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
The most important rights after the rights of Allaah are the rights of the parents; their rights come in priority over any other human being, be it a wife or else, and the mother in particular is greater than any other human’s rights.
Of course, putting in priority the right of the parents over the right of the wife is in general, because the jurists stated that spending on the wife comes in priority over spending on one’s parents. That is because a husband spending on her is like him giving her something in return for enjoying her, that's why spending on her comes in priority over spending on someone else.
However, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars about whether or not the husband is obliged to provide the wife precisely with medical treatment. The four Schools of jurisprudence are of the view that the husband is not obliged to do so. Nonetheless, it is recommended for the husband to do so if he is able to, as this is part of treating the wife honourably. Nevertheless, if providing medical treatment for the mother and for the wife coincides, and the husband is unable to fulfill both, then the mother comes in priority. As regards accommodation, then the wife has the right for a separate accommodation where she is not harmed by the existence of anyone else, be it the mother in-law or else.
Of course, what we mentioned in regard to putting the right of the mother in priority over the right of the wife is in case one is not able to satisfy both of them, otherwise a husband is obliged to fulfil his obligation towards his mother and his wife, and give each one her right.Allaah Knows best.