Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor states: “I like to be straightforward and very frank because I think that unless we are very clear on these issues, we will not solve many of the social problems in our society and communities and that will give room for the secularists and other people who do not carry the Islamic values to take the driver’s seat in attempting to bring in solutions that contradicts our culture and values. Here are the principles that govern these matters in our Shari’ah:

  1. A husband is required to spend on his wife in accordance with his level of income and wealth. This is confirmed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. This obligation is by virtue of the marriage contract and is required whether the wife is rich or poor, has income of her own or not. A married woman is not required to spend on herself from her own money.
  2. A wife may take from her husband’s properties (wealth, income, salary and other resources) even without his permission what is needed for normal personal and family expenses. This includes giving to normal charity (Sadaqat that persons give to the poor and needy when an occasion arises). This is confirmed by at least two Sayings by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that a wife is a manager in the house and property of her husband and she is responsible for her actions and the Hadith of Hind the wife of Abu Sufian.
  3. Parents have a right of service and spending on their children, married or single, if they need. kindness to parents is always required whether parents are in need or not. This means that a child is required to spend on his/her mother and/or father only if they are in need but if they are not in need children are also required to be kind and courteous to their parents financially and socially. But parent can’t, legally from Shari’ah point of view, dispose of the property of their adult children including salaries without permission. Here again a parent who lives with her/his child, and spent on by the child may give to charity whatever is usual and customary according to circumstances.
  4. The properties of husband and wife are not mingles, legally, together. This means that each spouse is financially independent from the other. A husband has no right to dispose of the property of his wife and she can do whatever she likes with her own property (including gifts given by the husband) on her own with no need to any permission or even knowledge of her husband, let alone his mother or father and the husband has no right to interfere at all.

While a married man or a married woman is required to help and serve his/her parents, the relationship between a woman and her in-laws and a man and his in-laws is based on mutuality and general rules of kindness [Husn al Mu’asharah]. A wife is not required to obey her mother-in-law nor serve her and a man is not required to obey or serve his mother-in-law. There is nothing in our Shari’ah that puts an obligation on a married woman toward her in-laws except the general rules of mutuality, kindness, courtesy and and respecting the elder.”