Marriage in Islam; 50/50? Or Love and Mercy? By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

I could be off a little but I guesstimate that the bulk of our internal marital problems can be traced back to flagrant disregard, ignorance and flat out refusal to follow or show respect for our own laws and advices from our scriptures.

No where is following the laws, boundaries and guidelines of scripture (Quran and Sunna) more important after worship of Allah, than in marriage and family.

After all, we are Muslims, and in following Kitaab and Sunna, we have laws, allowances, provisions, desirable, acceptable, as well as unacceptable standards for just about everything. Especially when it comes to marriage and marital contracts. It is easy to get distracted and go overboard with emotions anytime we talk about marriage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with emotions, especially when it comes to marriage. Marriage is indeed a contract (aqd). However, it is a contract hallmarked by love and mercy, easy going, forgiveness, pardon, and reconciliation.

A man is the imam of his household. There is no getting around that, and a married woman is the mistress of her home. There is is no getting around that either. It doesn’t mean that a husband and wife can’t share responsibilities and cooperate with one another for the well being of the family. Challenges arise, situations change, people get sick, and are tested. Every Muslim should understand that. It is basic to understanding life in general.

Personally I prefer that a man have his own house or apartment, and not move in with a woman, or that they move in together. I also believe that a man assumes primary financial responsibility for his family. That’s how I was raised and how I raised my sons and my daughters.

I would not allow my daughters to have a husband move in withthem. I would not give permission for such a marriage as per my prerogative as a guardian. I would not enter any marriage where I need my wife’s earnings to maintain my home. But I would marry a woman who adds value to the family.

However, if a Muslim woman agrees to such a living arrangement whereas her husband moves into her house or apartment, or she earns substantially more than him entering into the marriage, and her guardian (wali) allows the marriage, we cannot as Muslims, deem it as a crime, a sin, a breach of the deen, or a deprivation of her rights. We cannot ever do that.

People do what they can or what they have to, to maintain, survive, and thrive. Many, many sisters are on  Section 8, or subsidized housing (which is permissible), and are not willing to give that up, which is her right as a single woman, and her allowance as a married women if her husband agrees.

So he moves in her house by mutual agreement. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes a brother is recently incarcerated, and as a felon, has difficulty in renting a decent place, so a sister helps him. He still has primary financial responsibility according to Islam, but they are free to work out any arrangement that works for their household. That is a right and allowance granted to them by Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala.

That’s what the sharia is for; to regulate our affairs so that we stay within the limits what Allah has commanded, what He allows, and that we understand the boundaries of the halal (lawful) and the harsm (prohibited), and know the differences between the recommended and the disliked.

The sharia is designed for people to live in the real world; not in la la land, or the land of make believe. The limits and latitude of the sharia are wide enough to adjust for may different conditions of the human experience on this planet.. Whether we like it or not, that is Allah’s mercy.

Funny thing, according to our religion, marriage is not based on percentages of who gives what and how much and when. It’s based on other things. People are free to work out any suitable marriage arrangement they choose as long as it in keeping with our scriptures and hopefully pursuant to pleasing Allah and reaching jannah.

How responsibilities are shared, and how much this and this and that and who contributes what, is something that each married works out through cooperation, mercy, love, commitment, faith, goodness, and just plain know how.

All that being said, the full cost of maintenance for the family is the responsibility of the husband. That is our scripture, that is the law. A man cannot claim to love his family and not be about taking care of them.

Allah creates love and mercy between spouses. How can you possibly apply a percentage to that?

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad

Shaykh Luqman is the author of two books on marriage; ‘Killing Marriage in Black Muslim America’, and ‘One-hundred Advices About Marriage’. Both available on Amazon.

He can be contacted @

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