Wife Knowing about Husband's Whereabouts and Time of Return
Fatwa No: 82657

Question

Does the wife have the right to know where the husband is and when he plans to return? Does the wife have the right to ASK where the husband is going or when he plans to return? For example, is it Islamically correct for the wife to be left alone day and night, without knowing where her husband is? Is a husband allowed to ignore his wife like this as a means of punishment if she has said something he does not like?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

A husband is not obliged to inform his wife about where he is going and when he will return home except when he is traveling. But it is desirable to inform her, especially if the matter is not related to the personal matters of others. It is not permissible for a husband to spend a night out of house leaving his wife alone, except if there is some benefit for his family or for the Ummah. But he should weigh these benefits as to preserve the rights of both the Ummah and the wife.

If a wife does something wrong, the husband should exhort her and teach her the Sharee’ah. If this practice does not have any effect on her, then he can turn his back to her in bed only, but not leaving the house nor the room where she sleeps.

On the other hand, a husband is not obliged to give a certain portion of his income to his wife, but it is desirable to give it to her as this is a kind act, and being kind to one's wife is recommended in the Sharee’ah. He is, however, obliged to provide his wife with a suitable residence, food and clothes as good as he can afford, taking into account the traditions of the people.

No doubt, being generous with her is a desirable act, but he is not obliged to inform her of his income. So she is not supposed to ask him about it. But, there is no harm in asking him about his income and there is no harm in him informing her; in the case of not informing her she should not feel bad because every one keeps his own secrets. At the same time, we advise every husband to inform his wife about whether his income is lawful and stable, or the amount (if it will not cause a problem for him) to assure her since a wife is always concerned about the future of her husband and her children.

Know also that a wife is not obliged to spend on her husband or children, neither is she obliged to pay the house rent. Providing an accommodation is the absolute duty of a husband, so he has to pay the rent. If she wants to be kind with him and pay the rent of the house, she can do so. Allah Says (what means): {And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful).} [Quran 4:4]

Moreover, a husband has no right over the earnings or possessions of his wife. They belong to her and they are her own right so he has no right to take anything from her without her permission and consent. But if it is common practice among them to use each other's money in the limits of general customs, then it is permissible. If they have agreed that she will pay to him a certain amount for permitting her to work outside, then she has to fulfill her agreement.

If a woman spends from her money to buy some household goods or gives her money to her husband, it is considered as a gift and taking it back is forbidden. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He who gives something (to someone) as a gift and then gets it back (from him or her) is like a dog which eats its own vomit.” If a husband cheats his wife to get her money by showing love and affection and after taking that, he expresses his desire to divorce her, then in this case, she can take back what she has already given him according to the preponderant opinion of Muslim scholars.

No doubt, a wife/husband is asked to beautify himself/herself. Showing love and affection, joking in good manners, talking lovely will help them in strengthening the relation and both of them are asked to do so.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) taught both men and women to be neat, well-dressed, and clean. Ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) observed: “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise. A man enquired: “What about that a person likes fine dress and fine shoes?” He (the Prophet) remarked: “Allah is Beautiful and likes beauty. Pride amounts to disclaiming truth (out of self-conceit), and despising people.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Jaabir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “We were with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in a battle, and when we reached (near Medeenah) and were going to enter it, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, “Wait till you enter your home early in the night so that the lady whose hair is unkempt may comb her hair and that the lady whose husband has been away may shave her pubic hair.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

One may consider the order of Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) that he did not permit them to enter Madeenah till the women take care of themselves. A wife who is not taking care of herself (i.e. who does not beauty herself for her husband) may be hated by her husband; which is disliked in the Sharee’ah.

‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: “The wife of ‘Uthman ibn Math’oon used to put henna on her hands and perfume herself then she gave up doing so. I asked her: "Is your husband here now or traveling?” She replied: “He is here but he is not interested in this life nor in women.” ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: “When the Prophet came I informed him about her matter.” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) met ‘Uthman and said to him: “O ‘Uthman do you believe in what we believe in?” He said: “Yes! O Prophet of Allah”. Then he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Why do you not make us as your ideal?

From this Hadeeth we know that when ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her saw this woman without adornment she asked her if her husband was traveling. This means that the pious women of our predecessors used to beautify themselves when their husbands are not traveling.

No doubt, that most of time a woman is busy taking care of her children and her kitchen, but she should not ignore her make-up.

A husband or a wife could request each other to be silent and use good expressions but each one of them should bear in mind that one should not use bad or insulting expressions which could hurt the feelings of the other person.

Even when joking, one should not do something which could hurt others. There are many pieces of evidence which enjoin grandiose rights on each other.

Allah Says (what means): {And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy.} [Quran 17:53]

Allah enjoins on the husband to treat his wife kindly. Allah Says (what means): {And live with them honorably.} [Quran 4:19]

The best ideal for Muslims is the life of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). He was very kind and patient with his wives. He used to play with them and make them laugh. He urged his companions to take care of their wives and play with them. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said addressing Jaabir: “Why did you not marry a young girl so that you may play with her and she may play with you?” [Al-Bukhari]

‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: “I would drink when I was menstruating, then I would hand it (the vessel) to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and he would put his mouth where mine had been and drink, and I would eat flesh from a bone when I was menstruating, then hand it over to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and he would put his mouth where mine had been.

This is the way of life of the beloved Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). If we follow his style and manners in our conjugal life, no doubt it will become a very happy life.

Allah knows best.

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