Marital life should essentially be established on mutual love, respect and honesty. In Islam each of the two spouses has an important role to take and a responsibility to shoulder. Family expenses are mainly the responsibility of the husband in the eyes of the Sharia. However, if the wife can help him in this regard, especially in these days of high expenses and low incomes, she is definitely recommended to do so out of her own good will, otherwise, both of them should accustom themselves to the husband’s income. With love and cooperation, no dispute will arise from such financial aspects.
Giving more explanation to this, late Sheikh `Abd al-`Aziz Ibn Baz, the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said:
The issue of sharing the household expenses should be settled by mutual consultation and consent. It should not be a matter of dispute. However, if we are to talk about what is obligatory, then we have to discuss it in detail:
1. If the husband has stipulated in the marriage contract that expenses are to be shared or else he will not let his wife work, then Muslims are bound by their conditions, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Muslims are bound by their conditions, except for conditions which forbid something that is permitted or permit something that is forbidden.” Sunan Abu Dawud). And he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The conditions which are most deserving to be fulfilled are those by means of which sexual intimacy becomes permissible for you.” (Sunan Abu Dawud and Sunan al-Tirmidhi).
Hence, the wife becomes bound by this condition.
2. If the wife has not made any condition, the household expenses are all the responsibility of the husband and the wife does not have to pay any of the household expenses. Allah says: ( Let the rich man spend according to his means)(Al-Talaq 65: 7).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “You (men) are obliged to spend on them and clothe them according to what is reasonable.”
So, managing the expenses of the household is the duty of the husband. He is the one who has to take care of the needs of the household, his own, and those of his wife and children. The wife’s money and salary belong to her alone in return for her work and her efforts, because the husband concluded the marriage contract on that basis, and he did not stipulate any condition that she should share in the household expenses – unless she gives away a part of her salary out of her own good pleasure, as Allah said: ( 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) (Al-Nisaa’ 4: 4).
However, we advise the wife to give away part of her salary to her husband in order to please him, resolve the dispute and solve the problem, so that they may live in peace and harmony.