Must First Wife Provide for Second Wife when Husband Looses his Job? Q&A

Alexander_Caldcleugh_-_Peruvian_MuslimahQuestion: I am often reading your blog and I am impressed by your strength. I have a question and you seem to know a lot about islamic law. I am afraid to write to islamic sites since they don’t seem to give correct answers but only answers to favor the man.

My husband married a second wife four years ago. I didn’t want him to but he went ahead any way. I have been trying to live my own life and cope and he promised to always be just and keep everything separate. He worked for a local company and earned good money and since I have a very good salary too everything has worked out. I have sent some money to our parents and I have been saving up from my salary, my husband was the provider the islamic way.

Three years ago my husband got laid off when his company went bankrupt like so many others where we live in the US. The first year he got some money from insurance, and then he got money from the state. For four months now though that’s been out, since I earn too much for him to get any money from the state. But islamically I don’t have to share my money with my husband but the state doesn’t care.

I have given my husband a credit card with some pocket money, but very little. I don’t want to give him money that might end up with her. Now, my husband is ordering me to have my salary transferred to his account every month. He says it is halal for a woman to give her money to her husband and a wife must obey her husband completely in everything halal. But can this be right? I mean, I know I must obey him in everything that is not a sin. But it also says specifically in islam that a man has no right to his wife’s earnings. I want to be able to save up for my children and I want to be able to live comfortably and help  my parents – I do not not not want my money to pay for his second wife. She does not work and has no earnings. So my question is, what are my obligations? And I also want to know about obedience. Since I am the breadwinner now, I have been providing for my husband now for a couple of years and now he earns absolutely nothing but lives completely off me, doesn’t that mean I am head of the family now since it’s spending on their wives that gives men this role? And does my husband have to divorce his second wife since he can’t provide for her?

Answer: I’m afraid I don’t know enough about islamic law to be able to give you a correct answer to your question from a religious point of view. I’m sorry, but if you want an islamic answer I’m afraid you have to send your questions to an islamic website and as you say, they seem to be more concerned with looking after the interests of men than being just and correct.

But if I were you I would give him nothing. A credit card with some money for a coffee is good, like five dollars a week, that way he knows also that you can check every item he buys and if you ever find he buys two coffees, you take the credit card back! 🙂

I’d say islamically too you don’t have to give him anything, but again I’m not sure.

In my world, this definitely makes you head of the family! If he wants to be provided for, he’d better start serving you if that is what he expected of you earlier. But you might end up with him divorcing you instead of her… Maybe not a bad deal though from what you tell me.. 😉

Good luck! We have been very lucky and many times people with better knowledge of islam than mine have come here to help answer islamic questions. I’m hoping somebody will come to your aid too!

10 thoughts on “Must First Wife Provide for Second Wife when Husband Looses his Job? Q&A

  1. I believe it is said a wife must obey her husband in everything except sins against Allah. Giving your money to your husband is not a sin against Allah so you must obey. The Quran says you must be devoutly obedient. And if your husband choose to use some of the money to help your cowife then that would be his choice. It would probably give you rewards if you allowed him to help your cowife with the money. Remember you must be grateful to your husband and humble and you must help who is in need. And Allah knows better

  2. Salam Gru,

    I do not think she has to do any such thing.There is no sin on her diobeiying her husband when it comes to her money,are u kinding me.So she must pay for her husband sleeping with another woman,when she can not even handel the situation.Listen ,he married the second wife,it is not your responsibility to take care of even your husband.This is the problem,women do not even know their own religious right,and we get individual like yourself telling women the outrages things .Am just shocked at this logic ,where a man marries another woman for sex,and still his first wive must obey him to pay for is betrayals, get out. This makes no sense,you can go and ask any imam,she has no responsibility on the second marriage,its is not her wife,but his wife.


  3. I dont know about Islamically, but personallly… work out the finances your husband has for just himself and supply him that plus a bonus. Talk to him and make him understand that as a mother you have an obligation to your children too. Your husband should have been a little more careful with the money he did receive after the job cut, because…. technically… if he cannot EQUALLY provide for both wives. He’s doing wrong. Your hard earnt money is yours, your children’s, and then his now. If he wanted your help he should have consulted you better about the second marriage. It is his right to ask for your money, but equally you have a right to say no. Hes not obligated to divorce her but he will account for it on judgement day.

    Personally, i just want to add though… Allah swt is at your side through this, and remember an act of charity is never overlooked. If you put your faith into Allah swt, then maybe look at this as Allah swt test for you. He gave you money, He gave you a secure job… Now maybe Allah swt wants to see how clean your heart really is – are you really greatful to Him? Most difficulties in our lives are only difficult because we lose sight of things… our views change with societies happenings. Im not calling you out on your faith, you have right to feel this way, just understand its how you see the problem that shapes it – your attitude shapes it. At the end of the day he is your husband, you are to care for him, but that doesnt necessarily mean his second wife..

    If your husband is capable of working then tell him for a month your willing to support both him and the cowife. But tell him to get off his backside and find another job. Islam gives men the responsibility of women, so let him either live up to that responsibility or denouce himself of his throne.

  4. I have been reading Fiona’s blog ever since she was banned from Ana’s. And while I have vastly different opinions from her on many of the things she says, I wanted to comment here about this issue. I myself work for an Islamic advice site and feel confident that what I’m saying is accurate according to shariah.

    A wife does not have to give any part of her earnings to her spouse UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. For a husband to insistently ask for his wife’s earnings after already being refused is bad adab (manners) and disliked among the scholarly consensus. In a situation where the household is in need, and the wife is the only one earning, she may elect of her own free choice to contribute to their mutual expenses, but this is classified as a form of sadaqah (charity) toward him and the rest of the household. It is not an obligation upon her at any time.

    When it comes to polygamy, no wife should provide for the needs of the other. These are strictly the husband’s obligations, and his asking for money from a wife doesn’t fall under the “requirement to obey” as Gru indicated. Rights that are given to each individual -husbands, wives, children, neighbors, elders etc- are not obligated to be given up upon request of the other. No one must give up their God-given rights unless they choose to do so under their own free will and conviction.

    To illustrate this, I would like to share the following hadith:

    Narrated Sahl bin Sad:
    A tumbler (full of milk or water) was brought to the Prophet who drank from it, while on his right side there was sitting a boy who was the youngest of those who were present and on his left side there were old men. The Prophet asked, “O boy, will you allow me to give it (i.e. the rest of the drink) to the old men?” The boy said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I will not give preference to anyone over me to drink the rest of it from which you have drunk.” So, the Prophet gave it to him.

    Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 40, Number 551:

    In this hadith, the youngest boy, who had rights to his portion of the drink, declined to give up his rights and portion to the elders. This boy’s rights were upheld by the Prophet SAWS himself; he did not scold the boy or try to badger him into changing his mind. This is how we are to treat each other in regards to their rights as Muslims.

  5. Salam
    May Allah Bless you.You have made my point crystal clear. This whole blind obedience is too much to swallowing, cause it is not even Islamic.


  6. Hello Amy, and welcome.

    Thank you for answering this question from an islamic point of view. I believe, and certainly hope, you are right in your interpretation.

    I am glad you came to help, even though you disagree with many of my views. It seems a lot of people enjoy a blog that actually allows all arguments and all perspectives!

    Have a nice day, F

  7. Salam Amy

    Thank you very much for answering my question. It is what I thought. I am very grateful and I think if I tell my husband your answer and the hadith he will respect that. I am grateful on behalf of my children.

    Thank you Fiona for posting my question, and thank you souamay and Falak for your answers.

  8. Its your husbands responsibility to take care of his second wife, not yours.
    your earnings is yours you don’t have to give him a dime.

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