2686: If a woman works, does she have to pay the household expenses?


Does a woman who is employed have to pay the household expenses? Her husband is saying that if she does not pay the household expenses, she will not be allowed to work at all. Does her husband have any right to the salary which she gets for her work? If she does have to pay towards the household expenses, how is that to be divided between her and husband?

Praise be to Allaah.

They should come to some agreement concerning this issue – the sharing of household expenses between a husband and wife who both go out to work and earn a living – and avoid any dispute concerning it.

With regard to how that should be done, this depends on a number of things, as discussed below:

1 – If your husband stipulated in the marriage contract that expenses are to be shared otherwise he will not let you work, then the Muslims are bound by their conditions, as the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The Muslims are bound by their conditions, except for conditions which forbid something that is permitted or permit something that is forbidden.” And he SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The conditions which are most deserving of fulfilment are those by means of which sexual intimacy becomes permissible for you.”

So you are bound by the conditions you made, if you made any conditions [in your marriage contract].

2 – If you did not make any conditions, then the household expenses are all the responsibility of the husband, and the wife does not have to pay any of the household expenses; he is the one who has to pay them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Let the rich man spend according to his means”

[al-Talaaq 65:7] 

And the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “You are obliged to spend on them and clothe them according to what is reasonable.”

So spending is the obligation of the husband. He is the one who should take care of the household needs and his own needs and those of his wife and children. (The wife’s) money and salary belong to her, because that is given in return for her work and her efforts. (The husband) draw up the marriage contract on that basis, and he did not stipulate any condition that she should pay the household expenses, or half of them, etc. – unless she gives up any part of her salary of her own good pleasure,

“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 (as Allaah has made it lawful)”

[al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

But if the marriage contract was drawn up on the basis of any such condition, then the Muslims are bound by their conditions.

But we advise you to give up part of your salary to your husband in order to please him and to resolve the dispute and solve the problem, so that you may live in peace and harmony. So agree upon something between yourselves, such as one half of the salary, or one-third, or one-quarter, etc., so that the problem will be solved and so that love and harmony may take the place of conflict. Or perhaps he will agree and be content with what Allaah has decreed for him, and he will spend according to his means, and he will forego all of your salary and have some pride concerning the matter. But if that is not possible, then there is no reason why you should not refer the matter to the courts in the city where you live, and whatever the shar’i court decides will be sufficient, in sha Allah. May Allaah help you both.

From the fatwas of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez.
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