The wife is naturally entitled for food, clothing, housing and other related items with expenses to be born by the husband. This natural right has been given by Allah Almighty to the wife based on the following verse from the Glorious Quran (which means): “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity…"[Quran 2: 233]
1. The Mahr (dowry): This is the money to which the wife is entitled from her husband when the marriage contract is completed or when the marriage is consummated. It is a right which the man is obliged to pay to the woman. Allah Almighty Says (what means): “And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously. But if they give up willingly to you anything of it, then take it in satisfaction and ease.” [Quran 4: 4
2. Spending: It is obligatory for husbands to spend on their wives, on the condition that the wife makes herself available to her husband. If she refuses him or rebels, then she is not entitled to that spending.
What is meant by spending is providing what the wife needs of food and accommodation. She has the right to these things even if she is rich, because Allah Says (what means): "…Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable…” [Quran 2: 233]
And (what means): “Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him…" [Quran 65: 7]
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “Hind Bint (the daughter of) ‘Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, entered upon the Messenger of Allah and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyaan is a stingy man who does not spend enough on me and my children, except for what I take from his wealth without his knowledge. Is there any sin on me for doing that?’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Take from his wealth on a reasonable basis, only what is sufficient for you and your children.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It was narrated from Jaabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger said in his Farewell Sermon: “Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bedding [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner.” [Muslim]
Also, the Prophet was once asked: “What is the right of the wife unto her husband?” He said: “She is entitled for the same food you eat, offer her clothing whenever you buy yourself clothes, do not hit her on the face, do not insult her and do not abandon her unless you do so (i.e. abandon her) in the same house (under the same roof).” [Abu Daawood, Ahmad and Ibn Maajah]
3. Accommodation: This is also one of the wife’s rights, which means that her husband should prepare for her accommodation according to his means and ability. Allah Almighty Says (what means): “Lodge them [in a section] of where you dwell out of your means and do not harm them in order to oppress them…” [Quran 65: 6]
1. Fair treatment of co-wives: One of the rights that a wife has over her husband is that she and her co-wives should be treated equally, if the husband has other wives, with regard to nights spent with them, spending and clothing.
In case of multiple wives, the husband must be fair and just to all of them, treat them fairly in terms of expenditure, housing, time and all other items of which the husband is capable. Being biased or even inclined and preferring one wife over the other is considered one of the major sins.
Allah’s Messenger said: “If a man was married to two wives and is inclined to one of them (and favored her over the other), he will come on the Day of Judgment with one side of his body tilted (as a punishment for his unjust treatment).” [Imaam Ahmad]
Man, as the husband, however will not be held responsible or accountable for things that he has no control over, such as love, affection and self-comfort. Allah, the Almighty stated in the Glorious Quran (what means): "And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging. And if you amend [your affairs] and fear Allah – then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful." [Quran 4: 129]
However, if a husband preferred one wife over another in terms of spending the night with, based on the approval and acceptance of the other wife, then, in such a case, there is no harm. That was the case with ‘Aa’ishah and Sawdah, two of the Prophet’s wives, may Allah be pleased with them, when Sawdah, may Allah be pleased with her, agreed to grant her night to ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, toward the end of the life of the Prophet .
Yet, when the Prophet became very ill, he continuously asked: “Where shall be tomorrow (i.e., in whose house)?” All his wives agreed to let him stay at the house of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, where he wanted to be until his death . [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
2. Kind treatment: The husband must have a good attitude towards his wife and be kind to her, and offer her everything that may soften her heart towards him, because Allah Says (what means): “…And live with them in kindness…” [Quran 4: 19]
Also Allah Says (what means): “…And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable…” [Quran 2: 228]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Be kind to women.’”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Here are some examples from the Prophet :
It was narrated from Zaynab Bint (the daughter of) Abi Salamah that Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I got my menses when I was lying with the Prophet under a single woolen sheet. I slipped away and put on the clothes I usually wore for menstruation. The Messenger of Allah said to me: ‘Have you got your menses?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then he, salallaahu alayhi wa sallam, called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It was narrated that ‘Urwah Ibn Al-Zubayr said: “Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: ‘By Allah, I saw the Messenger of Allah standing at the door of my apartment when the Abyssinians were playing with their spears in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah . He covered me with his cloak so that I could watch their games, then he stood there for my sake until I was the one who had had enough…’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah used to pray sitting down; he would recite Quran when he was sitting down, then when there were thirty or forty verses left, he would stand up and recite them standing up. Then he did Rukoo’ (bowing), then Sujood (prostration); then he would do likewise in the second Rak’ah (unit of prayer). When he had finished his prayer, he would look, and if I was awake he would talk with me, and if I was asleep he would lie down. [Al-Bukhari]
3. Not harming one’s wife: This is one of the basic principles of Islam. Because harming others is forbidden in the case of strangers, it is even more so in the case of harming one’s wife.
It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ruled: “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.” [Ibn Maajah]
Among the things to which the Lawgiver (Allah Almighty) drew attention in this matter is the prohibition of hitting or beating in a severe manner.
It was narrated from Jaabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah said in his Farewell Sermon: "…But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner.” (part of the above-mentioned hadeeth) [Muslim]