Husband refuses to pay wife's maintenance
Fatwa No: 331561

  • Fatwa Date:18-9-2016 - Thul-Hijjah 16, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaiykum. The woman is married but still resides in her father's home. It might be a few more month or years since her father-in-law is unwell and the husband does not want to take the wife to his home until his father gets well. The husband refuses to pay for her maintenance without any good reason, can the wife ask for a Khulʻ according to the Islamic Sharia law?

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The husband becomes obliged to pay for his wife's maintenance when she gives him access to herself (to have sexual intercourse with her) and makes herself available to him for this purpose. If this happens, then her maintenance becomes binding on him. The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh says, "Scholars agreed that when a valid marriage contract is conducted, the wife is entitled to receive financial maintenance from her husband unless she denies him access to herself. If the husband did not provide her maintenance without a reason on part of the wife, then she is entitled to request her maintenance from him through the court and take it by force."

Hence, if this wife gives her husband access to herself (for full sexual enjoyment) willingly, then he is obliged to provide for her. The fact that his father is sick is irrelevant in this regard. What matters here is that the husband has access to her, as has been explained above.

If the husband fails to fulfill her rights, then she is entitled to request a divorce or Khulʻ. Please, refer to fatwa 131953. However, we do not advise her to do so; she should first try to reach an understanding with her husband and maybe seek the mediation of wise people if needed.

Allaah knows best.

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