Women Islamic Laws
- Published on Friday, 09 March 2012 06:13
- Written by Sachiko Murata
B. Support (nafaqa)
Once the woman has taken up residence with her husband, he must support her in a mode corresponding to the support received by her equals. Support includes such things as food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities. Payment of the dower becomes incumbent on the husband as a result of the marriage contract, but payment of support only becomes incumbent as a result of the contract and the wife's obedience to her husband. If the wife does not obey her husband, he is not obliged to support her.
Here it should be kept in mind that in Islamic society a wife must 'obey' her husband only within the shar'i limits, which is to say that the woman obeys the man on condition that he is obeying God. Should he tell her to do something not sanctioned by the sharia her duty is to follow God, not her husband.
A woman who is in the 'waiting period' (below, IV) after having been divorced, but not irrevocably, by her husband, is entitled to support, since she is still his wife. A woman who is in the waiting period of irrevocable divorce must be supported only if she is pregnant.
According to the Hanbalis, Malikis, and Shafi'is, if it is proven that the man does not have the ability to support his wife with the necessities of life, she has the right to seek to annul the marriage through a qadi (shar'i judge). The Hanafis and Shi'is maintain that a woman not adequately supported by her husband may complain to a qadi, who must then take whatever action he thinks necessary to rectify the situation, e.g., pursuading the husband to take employment.1
1. Fiqh, IV, 581; Sharh al-lum'a, v, 237-38; Riyad, II, 109-10.