What are the waived rights of a rec...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

What are the waived rights of a recalcitrant wife?


What are the waived rights of a recalcitrant wife?


God 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” [4: 34].

Nushuz [recalcitrance] means refraining 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 have sex with her without an excuse though not when she is playfully teasing him. 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 exits her husband’s house without his permission for reasons other than seeking the judge to demand her rights, earn her living expenses when the husband is incapable of providing for her, and seek a legal verdict when the husband is not knowledgeable of the ruling. Moreover, it is when a wife refuses to allow her husband to have sex with her, even if this does not involve 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 her behavior].

The consequences of nushuz

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

2- Waiving of nafaqa [a woman’s right to maintenance] and lodgings: This is because a wife is entitled to nafaqa when she gives sexual access to her husband. This is evidenced by the fact that a woman’s nafaqa and lodgings are contingent upon her letting him have sex with her. It is permissible for a woman to refuse to have sex with her husband if he withholds financial support. [NT1]

3- The permissibility of punishing a wife by taking the following steps:
- Admonishing and advising her;
- deserting her in bed;
- and beating her without injuring her.

If the wife ceases to be recalcitrant, all the consequences are waived except for advising her because it exhorts her to do good and does not harm her.

God the Almighty knows best.

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