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A Wife’s Basic Rights
1- In Islam, no one should make a woman feel shameful for expressing her needs and wants for a marriage at the time of writing the marriage contract. This is her right and her community must protect that right. Also, a wife is entitled to certain rights when she enters into a marriage. However, she is entitled to most of them once she starts cohabiting with her husband, i.e. living together with him.
– The right to receive mahr or wedding gift, which is an amount of wealth that the husband has to give to her.
– The right to good treatment, as stipulated in the Qur’an.
– The right to have physical intimacy (pleasurable sexual intercourse) with her husband.
– The right to have children.
– The right to receive financial support for her basic needs, i.e. food, clothing, medical care, utility bills, and shelter.
– The right to live in private accommodation that is free from the presence of anyone else (including her husband’s relatives) besides her husband and children. She has a right to this at the level that her husband can easily afford/provide, based on his economic circumstances.
– The right to equal treatment & justice, between herself and her co-wives (if any).
It is true that a Muslim wife-to-be can add certain stipulations and conditions in the wedding contract document (also known as “nikahnama” in Pakistan/India), which, if her husband agrees to them, he will be bound to fulfill once the marriage has been conducted and subsequently consummated.
Therefore, you can add to the nikah contract the conditions that you have specifically mentioned, for example, that your husband will provide you with a certain amount of pocket money, or not take a second wife.
However, we could not confirm the validity of what you have stated about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) viz. that he added such a condition to the wedding contract of his daughter Fatimah with Ali bin Abi Talib, that `Ali would not take a second wife.
Rather, the Prophet forbade `Ali from taking a second wife after the marriage had taken place, when he wanted to marry the daughter of Abu Jahl. We should all be careful not to attribute anything to Prophet Muhammad before checking its authenticity.
2– Yes, a wife can add the condition that she can divorce her husband by verbal pronouncement. If her husband agrees to this condition, then she will have the right to issue one divorce.
3- Yes, the wife can stipulate a monthly allowance from her husband after marriage.
4- Yes, she may stipulate that, if he takes a second wife, he will need to get her written permission first. However, please note that if the husband violates this condition and takes a second wife without the permission of his first wife, although he will be sinful, it will not automatically dissolve his first marriage, nor have any impact on the validity of his second marriage.
The basic principle regarding any conditions that are laid down in the nikah contract, is that the husband has to fulfill them.
Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
If he stipulates that he will not take her out of her house or her city, or that he will not travel with her or will not take another wife, then he is obliged to fulfill that, and if he does not do so, then she has the right to annul the marriage. (narrated from ‘Umar, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqas and ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas -may Allah be pleased with them)
5- Sister, please bear in mind that the “dowry” (not a mahr) that bride’s parents give to their daughters upon marriage ― also known as “jahaiz” or “dahaij” ― is an unIslamic custom that has been borrowed from Hindu culture.
It is not endorsed by Islam. In Islam, a wife or her father have not been burdened at all to give any wealth to her husband, or to his family. Even hosting a wedding banquet is not mandatory.
So, please, writing down ― as a condition in the nikah contract ― the amount of dowry given to the bride by her parents, is not a recommended action, as it could remove the blessings of the marriage.
However, if it is done in order to prevent her from serious future harm by her husband or in-laws, based on local customs and ethos, then it is permissible. But if this the case of her future husband and in-laws, the wife-to-be is strongly advised to reconsider her choice of marriage.
My last piece of advice to you is to not be insecure about money-related matters in marriage, though you have the right to stipulate certain valid conditions in the contract as precautionary measures against future abuse.
Due to the prevalence of many ignorance-based & oppressive cultural practices in India/Pakistan, girls’ families and their parents do worry a lot about how their daughters will be treated after marriage by the husband and in-laws, because of which they like to lay down certain conditions in the wedding contract.
However, the best “safety measure” against future abuse is to follow the advice of Prophet Muhammad and marry a righteous man, whose beliefs and character are in accordance with Islam.
And Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archive)
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