The balance between the rights of wife and the right of relatives
Fatwa No: 90834

Question

My husband has had trouble for years now balancing his duties to me, his wife, and to his mother (a widow) and his younger brothers, who are old enough to take care of themselves. He has always put me on hold, my rights have always been violated, he has ultimate devotion in taking care of them, but doesn't realize how neglecting me is hurting our relationship. For him, I am of no importance. I have waited patiently, now awaiting my 3rd child, but he hasn't changed. When it comes to finances, I have to restrain, but for them, there is no limit. Is this fair? He has all time and energy and thoughts for them, what about me and my children? I try to support him with all of this, so that he sees I am also there for him too, and that he can respect me, and do the same with me, but instead he takes me for granted. I know he has duties towards his family, and I always want to help them too, but now I have a family too. Is it ok to spoil them completely, do whatever they want blindly, and for me, put everything on hold? Isn't marriage supposed to be an institution based on trust and understanding? Or is it for the suppression of the wife? Even when I have always cooperated. I just feel like I am being used all the time now. We just don't have common goals for our children, or for anything else, because he is too busy trying to take care of them. What is the ruling on this? I don't know how to take all these negative feelings of neglect that have accumulated in my heart over several years out of my heart. What should I do, I feel like I am reaching my limit. I feel as if this is taking a toll on my health. What are his family's rights and what are mine?

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

First of all, it should be noted that Allaah legislated marital life for great purposes, the most important of which are the achievement of tranquillity and happiness between the spouses. Therefore, both of them should be keen on achieving the means through which this objective is realized. Among the most important means is having mutual respect and understanding the matters that could arise, and each one should fulfil the rights of the other, and be tolerant towards each other, and give up one's rights as much as possible.

In Islam, the husband is obliged to spend on his wife, provide her with accommodation and live with her honourably within what is permissible. On one hand, the husband should fulfil the rights of his wife as much as possible, and he should balance between the right of his wife and the right of his mother and relatives. One right should not overrule another right. With such wisdom, (giving each his right) the husband could run and maintain the matters at their best and avoid what could lead to unpleasant consequences.

On the other hand, the wife should help her husband in being kind and dutiful to his family and maintain the ties of kinship with his relatives. This will strengthen the marital relationship between them. However, if the wife notices that her husband is negligent towards her, she should advise him in a good manner and with soft and good words but she should be careful of anything that would hinder their relationship and could ultimately lead to divorce which, in return, will lead to unpleasant consequences like spoiling the children and the like.

Therefore, we advise you to be patient with him and continue to advise him, as there is good in being patient. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "How wonderful is the case of a believer for there is good in every affair of his that Allaah decrees for him." [Ahmad]

Allaah Knows best.

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