Islam encourages Muslims to spend money for charitable causes. Allah Almighty says, [Speak to My servants who have believed, that they may establish regular prayers, and spend (in charity) out of the Sustenance We have given them, secretly and openly, before the coming of a Day in which there will be neither selling nor befriending)] (Ibrahim 14:31-34).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Never does charity cause wealth to diminish” (At-Tirmidhi 2247).

With the above in mind, both men and women are encouraged to give charity. On the basis of this, Muslim scholars state that there is nothing wrong, if a woman’s husband has given her explicit or implicit permission to do give charity from his money, for her to do so. Some other scholars state that a woman is not entitled to give any of her husband’s wealth in charity without his permission, except small things that are customarily given and hence agreed upon.

In case a woman is categorically prohibited by her husband to give charity from his wealth, then she would be rewarded for her good intention as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended” (Al-Bukhari).

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the well-known Saudi scholar, states the following: There is nothing wrong with a woman giving charity from her husband’s wealth if he has given her permission to do so. This permission may be explicit (verbal), such as if a husband says to his wife, “You can give such and such of my wealth in charity, or whatever you wish.”

In addition, a husband’s permission may be implicit, such as if people ordinarily agree to such things or it is known from his attitude that he will agree to giving charity and has no objections. In that case there is nothing wrong if a woman gives charity from her husband’s wealth, she and her husband will both receive the reward for the charity. 

In case a man does not allow his wife to give charity, or if she knows that he would not agree to it, then in that case, it would not be permissible for her to give anything from his wealth in charity. 

IbnQudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said the following in Al-Mughni (4/301): 

Is it permissible for a woman to give a small amount in charity from her husband’s wealth without his permission? There are two views. One is that it is permissible, because `A’ishah said, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No woman spends anything from her husband’s household, without causing any harm, but she will have the reward for that, and he will have a similar reward because he earned it, and she will have a reward because she spent it, and the storekeeper will have a similar reward, without it detracting from the reward of any of them in the slightest.” And he did not mention the issue of permission.

It is also narrated from Asma’ (may Allah be pleased with her) that she came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing but that which Al-Zubayr gives me. Is there any sin on me if I give charity from that which is given to me? He said, “Give whatever you can.” According to a report narrated by Al-Bukhari, “Give charity.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) The custom is to allow the giving of charity, and this implies permission. 

The second view is that it is not permitted, but the first view is believed to be the most correct.

If a husband forbids his wife to give charity and says.“Do not give anything in charity, do not donate a small or large amount of my wealth,” then it would not permissible for her to do that.

Moreover, the Saudi House of Fatwa was asked about a woman who gave charity from her husband’s wealth without permission, and they replied as follows:

Basically, a woman does not have the right to give any of her husband’s wealth in charity without his permission, except small things that are customarily given, such as upholding ties with neighbours and those who ask for help by giving small amounts that will not affect her husband, and the reward will be shared between them as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said. They then quoted the hadith of `A’ishah as mentioned above.