Q&A (Fatwa)

#1046: The Property And Wealth Of A Wife

“Also please must a woman inform her husband about her wealth or any form of gift bestowed upon her by Allah and must she inform him how she spends it”



Know, may Allah bless you and your family with Guidance and Istiqaamah upon His Path, that the Ulamaa are at a consensus that the property of a wife is her property and she alone has the right of ownership to that property. It is not permissible for the husband to assume any form of ownership over this property or to spend of it without her permission or allowance. There is no difference of opinion about this. Men who assume ownership over the wealth and property of their wives are oppressors and must be referred to as such.

Secondly, it is known of Islam by necessity that it is obligatory upon a man to spend on his wife and take care of her. This is regardless of her wealth. And it is not permissible for him to ask her to take care of herself or to force her to use of her wealth to spend on her needs even if she is wealthier than him. Can’t you see that Allah has made it the role of man to go out in the sun and seek for means of sustenance, and spend of what he has earned upon his wife’s needs, her shelter, her clothing, her feeding and other needs? The Fuqahaa are also in consensus that this spending is in accordance with his capability and he is not tasked with that which is beyond his means.

Third, the Fuqahaa are agreed that a man has no right to forbid his wife from making use of her own wealth for exchange in anything such as buying provided it is within the confines of the Shar’i ah and the limits of Allah are observed in the doing of that. This is because she reserves the right over her wealth and she is not a slave.

Fourth, they differed as to whether it is permissible for her to gift out of her wealth or to make Sadaqah with a part or with all of her wealth.

The position favoured by the Malikis is that the husband can prevent her from giving out anything more than one third of her wealth. It is also the position of Imam Ahmad in one of the Narrations from him. This is mentioned by Imaam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi rahimahullah in Al-Mughni.

The Second position is that of Imaam Al-Layth Ibn Sa’ad, rahimahullah, that she is not permitted to make Sadaqah or gift out without his permission except in very little things that can be overlooked and are insignificant. Ash-Shawkaani mentioned this in Naylu Al-Awtaar.

The Third position, which is that favoured by Taawus as mentioned by Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaani rahimahullah is that it is not permissible for a woman to make Sadaqah or gift out of her wealth without the permission of her husband.

The Fourth position, and which is the strongest of the four, is that she has the right to make Sadaqah and gift out her wealth without his permission. This is the position of the majority of the Fuqahaa. Ibn Qudaamah mentioned that it is the position of the Hanafis, the Shaafi’is and the Hanbalis and Ibn Al-Mundhir. Ash-Shawkaani mentioned same in Naylu Al-Awtaar.

There is no doubt that this is the most correct position on this matter. It is known that the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam asked that women give Sadaqah with their wealth and their ornaments and they did without resorting to their husbands. It has not been authentically mentioned that they resorted to their husband’s permissions to give out the Sadaqah as recommended by the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam.

It is recorded by both Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn ‘Abbas that Ummu Al-Mu’uminin Maymunah radiyallahu ‘anha freed a slave of hers and later told the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam of what she had done. He didn’t rebuke her, rather he told her of a better way she should have done it in order to acquire more rewards. He mentioned to her that it would have been better for her in rewards if she gave the slave girl out as Sadaqah to her aunts who needed helping hands.

It is also known, as recorded by Imam Muslim that Asmaa bnt Abi Bakr sold a slave girl of hers and gave out Sadaqah with the money without seeking the permission of Az-Zubayr bn Al-‘Awwaam radiyallahu anhu.

As for the Hadith in which the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam said:

لا يجوز لامرأة أمر في مالها إذا ملك زوجها عصمتها

“It is not permissible for a woman to give out something of her wealth while her husband is responsible over her as her sanctuary”

The Hadith implies that a woman may not spend of her wealth unless with the permission or advice of her husband.

This Hadith is recorded by Abu Daawud weak as ruled upon it by some of the Fuqahaa. And in the weakness of the Hadith is the weakness of the holders of the opinion that it isn’t permissible of her.

Shamsu Al-Haqq Al-‘Azim Abaadi rahimahullah in ‘Awnu Al-Ma’abud mentioned that the reason for the prevention in this Hadith is because he is expected to be stronger than her in reasoning and better than her in foresight and in the way wealth should be expended.

The position of Ash-Shaafi’i and Al-Bayhaqi and Al-Khattaabi rahimahumullah is that this Hadith encourages her to seek his advice and permission by way of healthy living and strengthening of their relationship, not by way of declaring it Haraam.

Their proof for this is the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah that was recorded by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasa’i rahimahumullah that the Rasul salallahu alayhi wasallam was asked ‘which of the women were the best’? He answered:

التي تسره إذا نظر، وتطيعه إذا أمر، ولا تخالفه في نفسها ولا مالها بما يكره

“The one who makes him happy whenever he looks at her, obeys him whenever he commands her, do not disobey him in her own personal affairs nor in her wealth in a manner that he dislikes”

This Hadith shows that though a woman has a right over her wealth and her personal things, she is encouraged to submit her will to that of her husband and follow his wishes as best as she can.

Allahu A’alam

Barakallahu Fikum
Jazakumullahu Khayran.

Abū Asim

21st Dhul Qadah, 1441AH.

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