What are the waived rights of a rec...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

What are the waived rights of a recalcitrant wife (nashez)?


What is the nushuz [recalcitrance] of a wife? What are its consequences?


Allah the Almighty says,

“But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand” [Qur`an 4: 34].

Nushuz means departing from the obligatory obedience a wife owes to her husband. Examples include a wife exiting her house without her husband’s permission in the absence of a pressing necessity, shutting the door on her husband and refusing to open it for him, and preventing him from opening the door. Furthermore, a wife is considered recalcitrant when she refuses to let her husband sexually enjoy her person without an excuse though not when she is playfully teasing her husband.
Al-Tabari describes the concept of nushuz in his exegesis (vol. 8, p. 299) as, “Appropriation of superiority over the husband, refusing the husband’s bed, defiance of obligatory obedience to the husband ... .”

Al-Khatib Al-Shirbini said in Mughni al-Muhtaj (vol. 3, p. 259) that nushuz is when a wife leaves the house without the husband’s permission for reasons other than seeking the judge to demand her rights, earning her living expenses when the husband is incapable of providing for her, and seeking a legal verdict when the husband is not knowledgeable of the ruling. Moreover, it is when the wife refuses to allow her husband to enjoy her person, even if it is not sexual intercourse, for reasons other than playful teasing. He however maintained that a woman who insults her husband or hurts him, verbally or otherwise, is not recalcitrant though she is blameworthy and her husband is to punish her himself [for such behavior].

The consequences of nushuz

1- Entailment of sin: This is because recalcitrance is prohibited in Islamic law.

2- Waiving of nafaqa (a woman’s right to maintenance) and lodging: This is because a wife is entitled to nafaqa when she gives sexual access to her husband as evidenced by the fact that nafaqa and lodgings become incumbent upon him as a consequence of her permission of conjugal relationship. It is permissible for a wife to withhold herself sexually from her husband if he refuses to support her financially. [NT1]

3- The permissibility of punishing the wife by admonishing and advising her, deserting her in bed, and beating her without inflicting harm in some cases.
If the wife ceases to be recalcitrant, all the consequences are waived except for advising her because it encourages her to do good and does not harm her.
Allah the Almighty knows best.

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