It’s been quite a while since I posted my last entry in English. If I can remember the last posting was about Family Planning talk which was organized by the Singapore Social Training Institute (SSTI).
Recently, I was invited by Shariah Court to talk about Roles and Responsibilities of Husbands and Wives in Islam in Accordance with Islamic Principles for their Marriage Counselling Programme Seminar which was held at Ministry Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). This seminar was specially for those who are involved in marital counselling such as the cousellors, social workers including the non Muslim and also the asatizahs (Shariah court resource persons) for the family service centres.
During my talk in that seminar, I divided my presentation into three parts: First, husband’s and wives’ responsibilities. Second, The concept of nafkah and finally, domestic violence.
In this post, I’ll share about the roles and responsibilities for every husband and wife & the concept of nafkah. So below is the excerpt of the presentation that I managed to summarize.
First, Husband and wife’s roles and responsibilities.
1. Wife’s roles and responsibilities.
There are four main roles for wives in a marriage:
a. Obeys husband on matters not against Islam.
b. Ensures the conjugal rights of the husbands.
- With respect to intimacy, a wife may not deny herself to her husband. As this is one of the reasons why Islam legalises marriage, because in Islam sexual intimacy is only applicable strictly to husband and wife.
c. Protects husband’s honour and property.
- This includes to not receive anyone in his home whom he does not like. In case, she’s entrusted with any funds, she must discharge her duty wisely and thriftly.
d. Manages the household and upbringing of children’s welfare.
2. Husband’s roles and responsibilities
a. Provides mahr (dowry)
- In Singapore, the minimum amount of mahr that has been set by Registry of Muslim Marriages (Romm) is $ 100. It also could be in the form of a ring, necklace, bracelet or even in a set of jewelleries.
- Mahr is not a gift. A gift or hantaran that normally can be around $ 7,000 to $ 10,000 (from my experience $7,000-$8,000 is the average nowadays, but I’ve also seen the amount of $ 12,000 or more ) is not compusory in marriage.
This means that if the husband is very poor and can afford only $ 5,000 or less or maybe nothing at all, the marriage can still proceed, provided the wife’s family is OK with the arrangement.
b. Serves as protector and the guardian of the wife.
c. Treats wife with kindness and fairness.
- Do not ever once throw vulgarity at our wives. Can you imagine if we curse our own wife in the morning with the word of ‘jalang’ or ”sun@#!’ (there’re many cases like this) and then we expect them to make love to us in the night? If we as husbands, supposed to be leaders and show good example to them, how can we expect our wives to respect us?
- So treat them with kindness, lead by example. Acknowledge and praise our wives when we’re happy with them.
Second, Nafkah (maintenance) in Islamic law.
1. Definition of nafkah, a sum of money spent by a person for a good cause for persons who are under a man’s care such as his wife or children.
2. The condition of nafkah. Nafkah is only compulsory for the husband when the conditions are met:
One is, marriage that is legally binding by the islamic law which is recognized by the authorities. In the Singapore context by the ROMM. The other one is when the wife fulfills her duty to her husband. The first is with regards to the sexual intimacy and the second is to be faithful to her husband.
3. There are four components of nafkah:
First, providing shelter or accomodation. Second, to provide food and drinks for the family such as marketing expenses. We can also include in this component bill payments such as telephone bills, electricity bills etc. Third, to provide clothes for daily use and lastly, medical expenses.
What if the husband does not provide ‘nafkah’?
- As mentioned before, to provide nafkah is one of the husband’s responsibilities, therefore if the husband fails to give nafkah it is considered a sin.
- The wife too has the right to report the matter to shariah court if they want to proceed for a divorce. But it’s encouraged for them to seek other options before considering for a divorce such as referring the matter to the nearest family service centre or mosque for counseling or getting advice from their parents or in laws before proceeding for separation.
What if the wife is employed?
- In Islam, there’s no difference whether the wife is employed or of she’s earning more than the husband, the husband still has to provide the nafkah.
On the other hand, the wife should accept what is affordable by the husband. Having said that, the husband must work lah, cannot relax or play ‘goli’. : )
For example, let’s say if the husband’s salary is only enough for 4 room flat (in Singapore, its between$ 180,000 -$300,000 depending on the location) then the wife should accept that.
But if both husband and wife want a better lifestyle eg. a bigger flat, a maid, a car etc and the husband can’t afford that, it’s up to the wife if she wants to contribute or share the maintenance. There’s no objection for the wife to help itf the husband is OK with the arrangement for the wife to help.
Is pocket money part of nafkah?
Some might ask if pocket money considered part of nafkah? Pocket money is an extra allowance on top of providing accomodation, marketing expenses etc.
The answer is, pocket money is not considered part of nafkah. However, it is recommended in Islam for the husband to give some money on top of the nafkah of providing shelter, medical expenses etc. As for the wife, the more the pocket money, the happier they are! : ), if they’re happy its good and healthy for the marriage.
That’s all for today, I hope the views shared above are beneficial and can be understood : )