What Should I Do with a Husband Who Refuses to Work and Provide?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


My husband of 15 years has never supported us financially except for three paychecks. For ten years, I gave him the excuse that he had to serve Allah, but in the end, he just spent all these years on the net, watching movies, social media, and playing games.

He also refused to get his driver’s license until two years ago. He would order me to drive him around, saying it was my duty to obey him. I have recited 70,000 times surah ikhlas, salawats, blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Bismillahs, and made countless du’as for him.

When money is tight, he sends me to food banks. He says he’s just waiting on his Lord and for Imam Mahdi. I have no more respect for him. We have six children. What do I do?


I empathize deeply with your struggle and pain and I pray that your husband comes to learn what responsibility is. Until then, your patience, savviness, and trust in Allah Most High will be the backbone of the family.

Financial Support

Hind, the mother, of Mu`awiya said to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) “Abu Sufyan (her husband) is a miser. Am I allowed to take from his money secretly?” The Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) said to her, ‘You and your sons may take what is sufficient reasonably and fairly.’” [Bukhari]

He also said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “It is shockingly wicked for a person to withhold from those he is to provide for.” [Muslim]


Please appeal to his sense of honor and responsibility and ask him to start working for the family. Allah will grant increase and success Insha Allah. Calmly and coolly, help him see how much you and your children suffer. If that does not work, then who does your husband respect and listen to? Have a trusted friend, elder, or imam speak to him. Perhaps his parents can convince him to provide for his children.


If your husband continues to neglect you and your children financially, and seeing that you don’t respect him, please look at your options and pray istikhara. Is he worth staying with? Is he very good with the children? Does he emulate noble qualities for them? Could they bear to be apart from him? If leaving him is not an option, you should make a plan for yourself.

See how you might work a bit, sell things online, provide tutoring, or do anything that provides some money but doesn’t let the children suffer from your absence. Place your trust in Allah because your rizq is guaranteed for you, no matter how it comes to you.

Please see more about rizq here:
Heart Melting Traditions: The Reality of Your Wealth
Why is Allah withholding rizq (provision) from me?
The Etiquette of Earning a Livelihood:  Reader

Turn to Allah

Your Lord is the best one to help you through this, and your patience noble character will serve you now. Allah Most High has told us in the Quran, “If Allah helps you, there is none to overcome you. And if He abandons you, then who is there to help you after that? In Allah, the believers should place their trust.” [Quran, 3:160]

I encourage you to be regular with your five prayers, continue your beautiful adhkaar, read the Quran daily, read surah Waqi’a after maghrib, get fresh air and exercise daily, and do positive and beneficial activities with your children. Teach them the Quran, and the noble seerah, and know that Allah is well aware of all that is happening. Make du’a for ease and complain to Allah, along with your gratitude and tawba.  He loves to hear His servants call on Him.

Please see these links as well:
Can a Woman Work If There Is Too Much Financial Pressure On the Husband?
My Husband Let Us Starve. What Do I Do?
Is It My Husband’s Duty to Provide for Me?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

The ideal should always be to seek a peaceful and understanding dialogue. It might be helpful to involve respected elders, knowledgeable community members, and Islamic scholars who can discuss the situation.

[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.