Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I recently got married. My husband is divorced, but he still pays the ex-wife’s bills like her medical aid, levies for her home, utilities, groceries, WiFi, dstv movies, etc.
When I asked him why he is supporting her when she paid for nothing and yet insisted on taking the house, he said that he paid it because his kids lived there.
He isn’t paying my medical aid or cell phone bill, although he provides a roof over my head, groceries, and toiletries. What are my rights as his wife?
Am I being unreasonable when I ask him to pay for his kids’ bills only and say that because she demanded the house, she should be liable for the utilities, levies, and her own medical aid? Please advise what is correct.
A father is responsible for providing his children with food, shelter, and clothing commensurate to his own state. See this link for all the details:
This does not include the ex-wife’s personal bills. Usually, when a man covers his ex-wife’s personal bills, he does so to prevent her from having to go out to work so she can stay with his kids.
Your husband’s duty is to provide for you, so he should be covering your medical aid and cell phone bill, assuming he has the same things for himself. See this link:
Apart from the black and white of shari’a, I feel that it is very chivalrous for him to take care of his children and ex-wife; he will certainly be rewarded for such a great deed. However, if I were in your shoes, I would ask him not to pay for futile activities such as DSTV movies and other things that don’t benefit a Muslim. It would be wiser for him to put that money towards your needs.
Perhaps you can gently ask him to reconsider everything he is paying for and at least limit how long he will keep doing this. His ex-wife should also be encouraged to study, acquire a skill set, or think about where she can work once the children are older and don’t need to be provided for. It may be that when the children are older, they will provide for her. Your husband certainly should not.
Until then, paying for your own expenses would be a charity to him, and you should decide if you can continue like this or not without complaining. If you can’t, you should just be honest and open about it. This is nothing to apologize for; if he married you, he should have known that he should provide for you. May Allah reward you for your efforts and give you all the best in this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.