Answered by: Maulana Nabil Khan
I find myself in an unfortunate situation and hope you can advise me on how to deal with the matter in line with the correct rulings of Shariah.
I married 4 years ago and unfortunately, things have recently become difficult to the point where my wife has moved out 3 months ago and has recently requested to separate.
We had joint finances during the time we were married. We were both working and despite my request that my wife not work, she insisted on doing so in order that she could help financially within the household and we could save money together from what remained for our future.
We came to the agreement that we would both contribute to the running of the house, holidays together and another expenditure and the way this would be done to keep things simple was that I would pay for all expenditure and my wife would make payments into the joint account on a monthly basis.
I would not be making any contributions into the joint account as I would be paying for our expenses and the money that my wife would pay into the joint account would be used for any additional expenses required with the remaining money to be put aside as a joint investment for our future.
This was agreed between myself and my wife verbally but also in written messages between myself and my wife of which I have copies.
My wife is now requesting that I repay the total sum of monies she paid to myself and/or to the joint account in full stating that this was given to be as a loan despite the contrary agreed verbally and in writing.
The money that my wife contributed was used for our mutual expenses. There are remaining funds which are our savings of which a portion is currently invested in two properties and the remainder I hold in cash.
My question is whether I am required to return the whole funds that my wife contributed over the years or half of the savings/investments which now remain?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
It is the Islamic responsibility and obligation for a husband to bear all the expenses in the marriage that are considered life necessities like clothes, food, shelter, etc. These are the basic right of a wife and they are the sole responsibility of the husband. Beyond this, it is permissible for a wife to contribute financially and it will be considered a charity to do so.
If a woman decides to give up her right but gifting money to her husband then that will be from there on the husband’s wealth. Therefore if you both had verbally agreed to share the wealth as you have mentioned then this would be considered voluntary charity from your wife and it will not be taken as a loan. This means that there will be no obligation to return this wealth after it was once gifted.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Nabil Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham