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Does Working Woman Have to Share in the Household Expenses?

01 June, 2021
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Does a working woman have to share in the household expenses? Does her husband have any right to the salary she gets for her work? If she does have to share in the household expenses, how should this be settled between her and her husband? Jazakum Allahu Khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

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In this fatwa:

1- Marital life should essentially be established on mutual love, respect and honesty. In Islam, each of the two spouses has an important role to take and a responsibility to shoulder.

2- Family expenses are mainly the responsibility of the husband in the eyes of the Shari`ah.

3- However, if the wife can help him in this regard, especially in these days of high expenses and low incomes, she is definitely recommended to do so out of her own good will, otherwise, both of them should accustom themselves to the husband’s income.

4- With love and cooperation, no dispute will arise from such financial aspects.

Answering this question, `Abd al-`Aziz Ibn Baz, the late Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said:

The issue of sharing the household expenses should be settled by mutual consultation and consent. It should not be a matter of dispute.

However, if we are to talk about what is obligatory, then we have to discuss it in detail:

If the husband has stipulated in the marriage contract that expenses are to be shared or else he will not let his wife work, then Muslims are bound by their conditions, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Muslims are bound by their conditions, except for conditions which forbid something that is permitted or permit something that is forbidden.” (At-Tirmidhi)

And he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The conditions which are most deserving to be fulfilled are those by means of which sexual intimacy becomes permissible for you.” (Al-Bukhari)

Hence, the wife becomes bound by this condition.

If the wife has not made any condition, the household expenses are all the responsibility of the husband and the wife does not have to pay any of the household expenses. Allah says: [Let the rich man spend according to his means.} (Al-Talaq 65:7)

Muawiyah al-Qushayri narrated: I went to the Messenger of Allah and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them. (Abu Dawud)

So, managing the expenses of the household is the duty of the husband. He is the one who has to take care of the needs of the household, his own, and those of his wife and children. The wife’s money and salary belong to her alone in return for her work and her efforts, because the husband concluded the marriage contract on that basis, and he did not stipulate any condition that she should share in the household expenses – unless she gives away a part of her salary out of her own good pleasure. Allah said:  {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.} (Al-Nisaa 4:4)

However, we advise the wife to give away part of her salary to her husband in order to please him, resolve the dispute and solve the problem, so that they may live in peace and harmony.

So, both of you should agree upon something, such as half of the salary, or one-third, or one-quarter, etc., to be given for the husband and thus, the problem will be solved, and love and harmony will take the place of conflict.

Perhaps he will be content with what Allah has decreed for him and will spend according to his means forgetting all about your salary. However, if this is not possible, then there is no reason why you should not refer the matter to a Shari`ah court and whatever it decides will be sufficient.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

Source: www.islamqa.info