It was asked of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) what rights a wife had over her husband. He replied: “That he feed her when he eats himself, and that he clothe her when he clothes himself, and not strike her upon the face, nor revile her, nor leave her alone unless in her own house.” [Abu Dawud]
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) is telling us to set the same standards for our families that we set for ourselves. It does not befit a Muslim to eat, drink or clothe himself at a higher standard than what he can do for his dependents. Although this may appear to be common sense and what a Muslim would naturally do, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) spelt everything out for us, making it crystal clear for all men, for all times.
To provide for his wife and children is incumbent on a man, since Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means…” [Quran 4:34] Other Ayaat and Ahadith also make it clear that men are the providers for their families. It is because of this that they are given the upper hand in decision making for their family. A Muslim woman is the queen of her house and is taken care of by her king.
Faraid are more valuable and more highly rewarded than Nawafil. Taking care of the family’s basic needs is recompensed by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) as a Fard and is therefore highly rewarded. Whatever is not required but done for the family anyway, is rewarded as a Sadaqa. It should be remembered that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is pure and accepts only purity. Therefore, the man must take care of his Fard and Nafl with pure, Halal, earnings in order to be rewarded by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).
A wife’s emotional and physical security is also detailed as being the responsibility of her husband. She should be treated with respect and protected. If she is left alone anywhere and should some incident happen to her, her husband will be held accountable by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) as he was responsible for her protection. In return, it is her job to make her husband’s home a peaceful sanctuary for him, so that when he returns from work he can rest and enjoy his family life with her.