Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Wife and daughters supporting family when husband chooses not to work

financial problems, money issue, wasting money

Salam alakom

My father (early 50s) recently chose to work part time/casual hours, so only 1-2 days a week without the approval of the family. He is not sick but was just tired of working.

My mother works full time (5 days a week) and has been doing so the past 30 years. She is also the one who does all the cooking and cleaning with my sister and myself helping out. My mother is the one who has financial responsibly.

My sister and I work and now my father is wanting us to start paying with the bills and give money to my father. We pay for ourselves with things like petrol, clothes and lunch.

I don't mind helping financially with water and electricity etc since we are struggling but I worry about how we will be able to marry. I feel like we should have something saved up for it. We are both in our late 20s. I was engaged but that was canceled a few years ago. We don't have a brother to help us.

I don't think it's fair that we have to pay when my father chooses not to work. Any advice please, I'm so stuck between what to do now.


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15 Responses »

  1. Give in moderation - water and electricity don't cost much so that's fine. He works 1/2 days a week so that's enough for his pocket money. Just make sure he doesn't have many expenses. He's your dad and its fine to give, Allah will give you too. Save up for your own wedding etc and don't expect any contributions from either of your parents, that way you will not be disappointed, and will not be a burden on others. Relax, Allah won't leave you. Unfortunately some fathers feel all a girls money should go to the parents before the future husband takes it all away, be sensible, don't hold back what's reasonable but similarly don't leave yourself penniless.

    • That is a great reply, comparing to some other people who are bla bla bla about rights over money etc... loves come before rights! there are no rights in love.. no abuse also .. 🙂 when you live in a home, you are working so the responsibilities share for everyone who have an earning.. equal or average.. and those who are working can help those who are not working.. 🙂

      • Uzzy/Uzair,

        The point is to give Islamic advice-your ideas about women's earnings have been addressed in a previous post, if you recall. As the head of the household, this father IS responsible financially for his wife and daughters. You may not like it and you may even hate it, but that doesn't change the fact.

        • People are human - he has worked all his life and he's tired. His wife and daughters are working if everyone chips in a little he won't have to work so hard. There must be other reasons why he doesn't want to work so much anymore. She should discuss it with him more openly. Can all these people stating that the father is responsible financially provide the evidence for this?

          • This glorious verse of Qur’an tells us the responsibilities of men and women. On these guidelines, the fathers (the husbands) are entrusted with the responsibility of earning livelihood for their families. Upbringing of children is not a simple task. Children need food, they need clothes to wear, they need medicine to be taken care of in case of illness etc. All this requires money; it is father’s duty to earn money so that the needs of his children (as well as himself and his other dependants) are taken care of.

            I would like to complete this section by quoting a hadith in this context:
            Abdullah bin Amr reported that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “It is sufficient for a person to be sinful that he be negligent to those who he (is responsible for) feeding.”
            (Hadith No. 1692, Book of Zakat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2).

            BUT in general if father is not well and unable to provide properly I see no harm sharing your money. Though I don't know if there is any evidence or not. As per my opinion parents have right in their children's earning as long they are not married specially women.

          • Maz,
            We all get tired performing our obligations. That does not mean we stop performing them. I get tired helping my parents after working all day - but that does not mean I stop doing it.

            We have to take care of our parents when they are unable to take care of themselves. Our parents have to take steps to ensure that their daughters are safe, secure, and happily married in order to actualize their potential (and desires) as wives and mothers.

            The father in this story is neither elderly nor is he actively paving a way for his daughters to live the future that they are entitled to. No where in Islam does it say that daughters must sacrifice their desire for marriage and motherhood because their parents have other ideas for them. This is a very dangerous and unfortunately common attitude amongst Muslim parents, mine own included.

            All that being said, the OP must tread very carefully so that she is not disrespectful to her father, whilst also trying her best to create a future for herself. When her parents are deceased, what is she going to have? A job, that's it. Her parents have children who will earn money for them and take care of them - but who will the children have once the parents are gone?
            That is not the circle of life envisioned by Islam.

          • Assalam alaikum Br. Maz,

            To respond to your post, I will not talk about the cases with exceptions because exceptions do not dictate the general rule. Also, the OP has made it clear that her father is not ill or has not lost his job, it is his choice to not work.

            Allah says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because of what Allah has preferred one with over the other and because of what they spend to support them from their wealth.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 34]

            Further information can be found which states that: (I copied the bold part from a site, but wasn't able to paste the website here)

            What does it mean that men are “protectors and maintainers” of women?

            To answer this question, let us first look at the Arabic word that we are translating as “protectors and maintainers”. This word is “qawwâmûn” the plural of “qawwâm”.

            This word – qawwâm – in turn, is an emphatic form of the word “qayyim”, which means a person who manages the affairs of others. The qayyim of a people is the one who governs their affairs and steers their course. Likewise, the qayyim of a woman is either her husband or her guardian – the one who has to look after her and ensure that her needs are met.

            When Allah says: “Men are the qawwâmûn of women…” it means – and Allah knows best – that men are held liable for handling the affairs of women and are responsible for the women under their care. A husband, therefore, has the responsibility of taking care of his wife, protecting her, defending her honor, and fulfilling her needs regarding her religion and her worldly life. It does not mean – as all too many people have falsely assumed – that he has the right to behave obstinately towards her, compel her, subject her to his will, suppress her individuality, and thus heinously negate her identity.

            His status as protector and maintainer is pure responsibility, pure liability, and not so much a position of authority. It requires from him that he uses his good sense, thinks carefully about what he does, and exercises patience. It means that he cannot be hasty and offhanded in his decisions. It does not mean that he can disregard his wife’s opinions and belittle her good person.

            Women do not share in the financial responsibility at all. This is an entirely different matter if a woman chooses to help her husband, or brother or son or father. It cannot be expected of her to spend from her financial means. If we continue to delve further in this matter, we will find that men are entitled to double the inheritance of a women because of the responsibility Allah swt has assigned to men. Although, inheritance matters are much more complicated than this and there are times where the shares may be equal which all depends on the relationship of the person with the deceased. I mention this because there is balance in what Allah swt has decreed if we analyze the entire picture.

            Furthermore, women are the ones who have babies and their bodies being different (menstrual cycle, hormonal changes) etc are things that they alone go through. Imagine if a woman had to be 50% (or more) financially responsible while being pregnant and then taking care of the entire household--who is going to decide what has to be done? These financial matters are not opinion, but rather rules ordained to us by Allah swt. Of course, if a husband needs his wife's help, there is nothing wrong with her helping or if she wishes to do so on her own, but again, expecting her to do so is unjust.

            I must admit that I find it rather distasteful that some of us can sympathsize with the father who chooses to work 1 or 2 days a week, but on the other hand, the mother is continuing to work full-time while maintaining the house. How can this be fair? In fact, it isn't. Maintaing a house, cooking, cleaning and all those chores around a house are never-ending and one can't just check out and log off of a shift and "go home." The Prophet's way was to help in house:

            "The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) occupied himself at his home like a common man. As it is related by his wife ‘Aisha (radiallahu anha), he used to clean his clothes, milch the sheep and himself do his odd jobs. She also says that he would mend his clothes, repair his shoes and do similar other tasks. When asked how the Prophet occupied himself at home, she replied, “He used to keep himself busy in household chores and went out when the time for prayer came.” (Al-Bukhari)

            So back to your first statement: "People are human." Yes, they are and the good news is that Islam and its rules are for humans!

            To the OP:

            Assalam alaikum,

            I suggest that you avoid fighting with your father. Save your money. When asked for money, you can say that you are saving it for the future. Be respectful and kind and if you are at a loss of words, even remaining quiet is better than saying something mean. I imagine all of this would be very difficult and challenging for you.

            I do not recommend that you interfere in your parent's relationship. There is little that you can do to tell your parents how to live; however, if they are willing to listen, you can always talk to them about the Islamic responsibility.

            If, by chance, your family needed your financial help, of course, it would be a good deed to help them, but this is different than be obligated to give them your money. I empathize with your situationg and understand--it will take a lot of patience and diplomacy on your part to keep the matter under control.

            I do suggest that you try to get married through your parent's help. If they are not willing, then try to get married on your own through halal means in your community. Avoid online marriage sites--in case that crosses your mind.

            I pray that Allah swt eases your difficulty and that you and your sister find good Muslim men to marry very soon inn shaa Allah, Ameen, thummah Ameen.

          • Salam above posters & sis Saba, (I'm a sis too)

            Jazak Allah khir for your comprehensive response - I appreciate the time you took to write it and its changed my perspective on things so it has been very useful to me. I had skewed views.

  2. Salam sister

    I really don't know what to tell you other than no matter how many time you try to confront him it will not change his mind. My cousins is 20 and she works two job and still goes to school. she is the only one who works, her father I don't even think he ever had a job, her brothers they only worry about themselves. She gets a little of support from her mother who's also not working. If your father doesn't wanna work any more and he just want to sit there, sleep and eat than let him be and inchallah, that Allah will make him realized on what he's doing and change him. When things go hard just pray and inchallah Allah will led you to the straight path and release the pressure of you.

  3. Your father does not have the right over your money or your sisters. My strong advise to you both sisters is to save and look ahead for your future plans trust me this will give you security that you need.

    You father should be the one being man enough to take responsibility for his own actions. Your father is taking advantage and he is lazy.

    If you are struggling with the bills you could help BUT your father should be the one along side your mum paying for the bills, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to do it.

  4. I agree with Asi, it may be hard to change your father's mind and attitude. A lot of cultural men have a sense of entitlement that stems from being the head of the household and having the right to boss their wives and children around.

    If there is a way for you to set aside a portion of your earnings so that each month you are going to save some money for yourself, then you should really try to do so. If your father gets made at you, then I would strongly encourage you to tell him that you will not stop saving. Tell him it is for your future.

    Regarding your future marriage - I don't know what to tell you. If your father is complacent about his duty to provide financial support, then he is going to be complacent about helping you and your sister get married. I could be wrong, of course. But if you agree with me, then you may want to try to look for a husband yourself. I know that is hard, as a muslim woman, but you either spend your childbearing years working for your parents, or, you try and build a future for yourself. If this sounds really daunting then try to build other hobbies and interests so that you can have some pleasurable activities outside of work.

  5. Salam sister,

    It is really unfair what your father is doing. Islamically it is a farher's duty to financially provide. He should do it happily wanting to earn a livelihood for his family saving for his kids future. Its really sad that he only thinks about his own relaxation. What about his poor wife working full time and looking after the home. It is really hard for one spouse to play the role of mum and dad both physically and financially. This is pure abuse! Putting so much pressure in one person while the other family member relaxes.

    As others have said save your own money and I think you should show islamic verses and lectures to your dad about how the father is responsible for maintaining his family and the mother is the homemaker, looking after the home and kids. She should not be forced into doing both! If he doesn't want to work full time then ask him to help around the house with cooking and cleaning as your mum is working full time. Your mum needs to stand up for herself and tell him to either cook and clean part time or work full time! And do not give him your money let him know that he has no right on it. Maybe get an imam from the mosque to speak to him about his role as a husband and father.

    May Allah fill your fathers heart with love and understanding for his family.

  6. My wife earns twice more then me alhumdulillah but she never give single penny in our household she give half of her salary to her parents as they are old and retired. I never interfare on this rather I am happy she is doing because she is only daughter we both doctor but my wife is better them me in everything I am happy my daughters are learning how to take responsibility for parents when they get old.

    Don't stop sharing your money if your parents would not have supported then you might not be able to earn the way you earning today. It's our duty to take care of our parents.

    I won't say spend or give all your money but give after your saving.

  7. Sister,

    My husband is 57 years old and without a doubt, he is tired of working too. I am certain he too would like to work a day or two a week and lounge around the rest of the time. The problem with that scenario is, he is the head of the family and as such, he has a financial responsibility. He has two years until he retires and even then he is thinking of working longer due to the fact that we are not in a position financially at the moment for him to stop working.

    I simply do not understand your fathers thought process where he thinks he can just slow down to a crawl because he feels like it. What would all of you do if your mother took the same attitude? I mean...after 30 years of working, cooking, cleaning and raising a family...she if anyone should choose to slow down. What your father is doing is not right at all.

    You in a tough situation here and yes...I imagine if you and your sister can help out a little, there is nothing wrong with that. Set money aside for your clothing allowance, petrol, lunch and some extra for the little things. Once you do that, you can see what you are able to give him towards the bills. If he says it isn't enough, tell him that is the best you can do at the moment and will give more as you can.

    If I feel for anyone is your mother. I can't even begin to imagine running the household and working a full time job. On top of that, she comes home to a husband who feels he simply does not need to contribute any longer. I think if I was your mom...I would tell him that I too would like to work a day or two a week. I wonder what your father would say to that idea?

    May Allah bless you all and make the road you travel forward paved with only goodness.


  8. Assalam alaikum Editors,

    Not sure if it is on my end, but when I have tried to post lately, the comment dissappears altogether. What may be wrong?

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