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Question: My husband I both work and make similar incomes. We just got married and have no kids. He insists that I pitch in all my income into a joint account which will be used for all of our expenses and savings. I refuse to do so so he wants his name on my account or he wants me to quit working. Does he have the right to do that?

You have raised a pertinent question. Before answering it, let me first state up front the points that have been agreed upon by all scholars.

1. In Islam, it is the husband's responsibility to provide support and maintenance for his wife and his children; the wife, however, has no obligation to provide financial support for her husband or her children from him;

2. All agree that a woman's assets or wealth are exclusively hers, and a husband has no right to it, unless she has willingly given it to him. This is the reason that some scholars are of the view that a wife can give charities to her husband if he is poor and unable to provide for the family. They base it on a tradition from the Prophet (peace be upon him), to that effect. Once the wife of Abd Allah b. Masud, one of the prominent companions of the Prophet, asked him if a wife can give charity to her husband, to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, yes.

3. While the above principles are agreed upon by scholars, we are faced with a new situation now that women have started working outside their homes. In an ideal Islamic setting, a woman will not be forced to go out and work. However, now that she is working, she is compromising something of her household responsibilities. It is, therefore, only reasonable for her to contribute at least partially towards the expenses of the family. Nevertheless, this does not in any way mean that the husband has the right to claim all of her income or salaries. That is undoubtedly considered as simply unacceptable in Islam-as has been stated explicitly by all scholars.

4. It is, therefore, unreasonable on the part of your husband to order you to put everything you earn in the joint bank account or quit working. He can ask you to quit your job if you are going out to work by sacrificing your priorities at home like taking care of your children. 

5. Coming to the exact ratio of a wife's contribution to the family kit, some scholars have come up with the following formula: While the husband should contribute to two thirds of the family expenses, a working wife should contribute one third. If, however, she wishes to give more, she may do so on her own free will.

5. If the husband demands anything beyond that, and wishes to to dictate what you should do with your entire income or quit the job, that is being unfair. You have the right to stand up for your right. All scholars agree that any husband who takes even a penny from his wife's income without her pleasure is guilty of consuming unlawful wealth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "A flesh that is nurtured on unlawful earnings is a worthy fuel of hell."



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