Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam Alaykum,
I am the second wife and have two small children. My husband has not given me or my co-wife enough money to even buy clothes in years. Every time I ask him for money, he says there isn’t any, yet he gives so much to community organisations. How do I make my husband own up to his responsibilities?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.
Narrated `Aisha: Hind, the mother, of Mu’awiya said to Allah’s Messenger (upon him blessings and 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]
You have the right to take what you and your children need, from your husband, without his permission.
I do not know the details of your marriage, but it sounds like your difficulties have escalated over time. Does he still listen to you? If so, please appeal to his sense of honour. Help him see how much you and your children are suffering.
If that does not work, then who does your husband respect and listen to? If your husband will not listen to you, then perhaps he will listen to a trusted friend/advisor.
As the imams of your community have let you down, then do not go to them. Instead, speak directly to trustworthy members of your community. Let them know that while they take from your husband, you and your children are starving. It is their responsibility to stop taking money from him.
If your husband continues to financially neglect you and your children, then please arrange for these community members to give you his donations. Their money is rightfully yours.
Please do so with tact, in a way that will not bring harm upon you and your children.
If your husband refuses to change his ways, then I urge you to take him to a judge. It is better for him to be accountable for his neglect in this world, instead of the next.
Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” [Bukhari]
Dear sister, look at the state of your marriage. Your husband is knowingly allowing you and your children to starve. This is not a man who will own up to his responsibilities. You cannot make him come to his senses. The longer you stay married to him, then the longer you allow him to oppress you and your children. There is no excuse for him abusing you and your children like this. You can break this cycle.
Please do not waste years of your life, and that of your children, waiting for him to change. Take your life back into your hands. Please ask him for a divorce, and if he is unwilling to give you one, then ask for a khula’ (return your mahr in exchange for your freedom).
I urge you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times about leaving your husband. If, by some miracle, he changes his ways, asks you and your children for forgiveness, and begins to financially support all of you, then that is a sign for you to stay and work on your marriage. However, if he continues to neglect all of you, then please take that as a clear sign to leave.
Trust in God
“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.” [Qur’an, 3:160]
Single motherhood is often a long, lonely and painful road. However, your husband has already financially abandoned you and your children. Please return to the safety of your family, heal, and start anew. Trust that Allah will always look out for you, and send you the help that you need.
May Allah grant you the courage to free yourself and your children. Please keep in touch.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.