About Q11671. Under the heading 'LIFE CANNOT BE BASED ON LAWS ONLY', it is said that a husband is not legally obligated to provide medical treatment if the wife falls ill.
Is this statement not contradicting the laws of Nafaqa? It sounds very impractical and a bit unislamic. So a woman must protect the property of her husband while being sick after her husband's refusal to provide medical treatment? When i mentioned this to some male and female family members, they were upset and tried to discourage me from visiting this site. But I'd rather give a chance for a better way of explaining this.
It is very heart-warming to see the confidence you have placed in us and the thirst you have to learn Islam. It is sad that many people haven't properly studied Islam thus they try to understand Islam in the light of our warped society, and when they see something unsuitable, they think the fault is in Islam. We will try our best to explain this mas'ala to you and make dua that Allah enables us all to clearly understand his deen. Ameen
It should be borne in mind that while Islam holds that there is a very close bond between the husband and wife, Islam has at the same time granted them both separate entities, thus we find that the salah, fasting, Zakaat, Udhiyyah etc of both husband and wife are separate. Each one is answerable for themselves.
Similarly, Islam has granted each of them separate and independent financial entities, therefore we find that the Kuffaar concept of "community of property" is contradictory to Islam. In Islam, each person is the sole owner of his belongings.
Thus we find the wife having many different sources of income viz.
-Whatever money she saved up before her marriage belongs to her,
-Her Mahr (no matter how large it may be) every cent of it is her's and no one may lay their hands on it.
-All the jewellery she received, be it from her family, from friends or from her husband is her's.
- All her wedding gifts are her own property and if she so wishes she may sell them or do anything she pleases with them.
- During her lifetime, whichever of her relatives pass away, Shariah has given her a share in the estate of many of them. This money is also part of her property.
- The money given to her by her husband, whatever she saves is her's.
- Shariah has allowed a woman to work, as long as it is within the confines of Shariah. Thus we find Hadhrat Zainab (Radhiallahu Anha) the wife of Nabi (salllahu Alaihi wasallam) would run her own home-business and earn money to give in sadaqah. Whatever money a women earns from her dealings belong to her and her husband cannot ask for a cent of it. Similarly, if she is helping him in his business then she has the right to claim a wage for her services. This will also be added to her property.
Thus we find that while Shariah has given a women so many avenues of income, Allah has made it so easy for her that she has no worry of meeting the rent every month, no worry of putting food on the table, no concern of getting money to clothe the family, no water and electricity bills to pay, no exorbitant municipality rates to pay every month etc. Her husband has to take care of all these expenses and cannot demand a cent from her for these. He has to pay for her clothing (in accordance to her family status and the current norms), he has to provide food for her, he has to give her a lodging that is separate from his family with total privacy. In addition to this he has to furnish the home, provide her with her toiletries, utensils, household materials etc.
What expenses does she have? IF she is wealthy, then she will have to give 2,5% of her wealth in Zakaat ( bearing in mind that he has to pay income tax of about 40% sometimes !!!) and once a year slaughter an animal (Udhiyyah is possible for R100). Yet in spite of all this, these women still expect the husband to make Udhiyyah and pay Zakaat on their behalf, which most husband do! Yet now when Shariah has laid on her head one expense,her medical expenditure, something so indefinite that could come daily, weekly, monthly or even once in a lifetime, something so unreliable that the alternative-health and home-remedies market is booming, then we want to say that Islam is oppressive to women, we are disgracing Islam, this is very impractical etc etc.
It should also be borne in mind that there is a difference between our concept of medical expenses and that of the Shariah. In our eyes, every time a person a person gets slightly ill, we rush him off to the doctor and then for weeks thereafter pump him full of antibiotics, that seem to do more harm then benefit.We seem to take the doctors word above that of Shariah even! While in Shariah , if a person refuses medical treatment and then dies, he is not sinful as medical treatment is not a definite cure.
Yes, shariah has shown us what are definite cures, taking the black seed with full conviction on Allah, reciting Surah Fatiha with full Yaqeen that Allah will cure,taking honey knowing that Allah has classified it as a cure, these are definite cures, not today's ever changing "Science".
Yet in spite of all this, when she gets sick and there is a need to take her to a hospital or doctor, then it isn't as if Islam says to the husband:" It is totally HARAAM for you to spend on her on her and pay her medical expenses", rather we should open our westernised eyes and warped minds to see what Shariah says to the Husband.
Shariah says to him: "Treat your wives well", " The best of you is he who treats his wife the best", "Be soft and gentle to them", "Your wives have similar rights over you to what you have over them", "Spend (on your wives) of what Allah has given you....Allah will soon change your poverty to ease", "Whatever you spend Allah will replace it", "Your spending on your family is sadaqah (Charity)", "When you go out to earn for your family, you are in the path of Allah", "Whatever you spend on your family, Allah will reward you for it, so much so that you will be rewarded for putting a morsel into your wife's mouth!", "Spending a dinar on your family is better than spending it in the path of Allah, better than giving it to the orphans and better than freeing slaves with it".
Now do you think that any husband would refuse to pay for his wives medical expenses,after all the encouragement to spend on the family? It is a demand of good character that he pays for them. He will have in front of him this thought, that this wonderful wife of mine has given her entire life for me, she slogs from morning to night to ensure that I am comfortable,she is the mother of my children, she does so many things that are not necessary for her to do, she washes my clothes when she cannot be forced to do so, she cleans my home, she does this and that, how can I not pay back her back by settling her medical bills?
You might then ask, that if he is going to pay it, then why tell him he doesn't have to? The reason is clear, if the husband is poor and is unable to meet the medical bills of his wife, then if she pays it, Shariah tells him that there is no need to feel that you are now subservient to her or as if you have lost your manlihood , as this expense wasn't Wajib upon you. This helps ensure that both the spouses always have love for the other as they know that each one is doing more than is his/her responsibility and it is accepted that everyone loves one who does good to them.
Thus we find that Allah in his great wisdom has given us a Shariah, that is perfect and complete. It has provided for every situation and condition and it suit one and all. Instead of trying to find faults in it, we should open the eyes of our hearts and try to grasp the beauties of Islam. It is the ruling of all the 4 mazhabs that the medical bills are not the responsibility of the husband meaning it is not enforceable by law nor will he be sinful , however all agree that it is the dictates of good character that he pays it. It should also be borne in mind that this applies to normal medical expenses. This is not for expenses concerning the children ie. all expenses incurred during the pregnancy are the responsibility of the husband.
In conclusion, we would like to point out the while the modernists are very quick to try to find fault in Islam by saying that Islam oppresses women, furnishing this mas'alah as proof, we have yet to hear a peep from anyone complaining that Islam is unfair and impractical in that is says that it isn't necessary for the wife to clean the house, to wash the clothes etc. If the wife refuses to do it, she cannot be forced and the husband will have to employ a servant. Isn't this unfair on the poor husband? How can it be practical when so many men are living hand to mouth, yet Islam insists that they must employ a servant. Why don't they complain about this law? Because they are deadset on trying to prove Islam to be anti-feminine and oppressive to women, while this law shows the exact opposite.
Thus we understand that just as it is accepted that the wife will do these chores to the best of her ability and if she is unable then the husband will get a servant, similarly a husband will pay his wifes expenses to the best of his ability, but cannot be forced to, thus if he doesn't she will be responsible for it.
We make dua that Allah gives us all the ability to understand his din and practice upon it. Amin
(Ref: Fatawa Khairiyyah Vol.4 Pg.567-569, Raddul Muhtaar Vol.3 Pg.579, Al-Mughni Vol.8 Pg.159, At-Tambih Vol.1 Pg.207, Rawdahtut Taalibeen Vol.9 Pg.50, Lisaanul Hukkam Vol.1 Pg.337, At-Taaj Wal-Ikleel Vol.4 Pg.184)
and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Checked & Approved: Mufti Ebrahim Desai