Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Salary Belongs to Husband?

Muna al-Fuzai had a column yesterday in the Kuwait Times entitled Kuwaiti Women Accept Discrimination. (You can read the whole article by clicking on the blue type.)

In this article is one small paragraph that sends shivers down my spine:

A religious Islamic ruling was made recently to approve the husband’s right to take his wife’s salary because the time she spent outside was his own and thus he is entitled to take her salary, which she has worked so hard to earn.

It doesn’t sound to me as if it has the weight of law – like the first question I ask is:

โ€ข “do all Islamic religious rulers believe this to be true, or is this one guy’s opinion?”

โ€ข is it possible for this ruling to receive enough support to make it law?

โ€ข if it becomes law in Kuwait, does this law apply to all people living in Kuwait, or just to Kuwaitis?

This, to me, is a very scary ruling.

I’ve been married to AdventureMan for a long time. We’ve always discussed finances together, and we’ve both agreed on how to allocate our money and salaries. Sharing is very different from my earnings being controlled by someone else, no discussion. Or maybe discussion, but not necessarily.

But I am not Kuwaiti. If you are working, have ever worked, or intend to work, how does this ruling strike you?

January 10, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Education, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues


  1. – One man’s opinion (or maybe a small group of frustrated men).
    – I don’t think so and I wouldn’t imagine it.
    – If it becomes law, which I really doubt, it will be applicable for Kuwaiti citizens only.

    In fact, from what I know, in Islam it’s forbidden for a man to get his hands on his wife’s assets without her permission. For ages it’s known in Islam that the man is responsible of all expenses in the house and whether his wife wants to be part or not is all up to her and her only. Even if she’s capable to help and she doesn’t he still has to spend on her.

    Comment by MacaholiQ8 | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. This is an outrageous proposition no doubt about it.

    But the NGOs in Kuwait, especially the female societies are NOT stepping up to the plate and fighting, really fighting the diminishment of their rights (which began with the Majli’s law banning women from working at night). They are quick to organize and throw a dinner/event for a visiting Foreign VIP but when it comes to fighting for their rights, they are weak – personally I think one of the reasons for this is their leadership, which contains many women pioneers who are no older, out of touch and simply dont have the energy or drive to fight. When you fight you need to utilize, media, print and visual, ads, talk to journalists, organize events, coordinate with liberal/democractic/constitutional groups etc

    Women are letting women down in this country.

    Comment by amer | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. This is not chocolates, as for our saying. Now, there is no such thing as ruling unless it comes from the holy Quran or the traditions of the prophet, again this depends on interpretation, different schools of thought or jurisprudence. Any juristic opinion has to be unanimously agreed upon before it can be rule of the land.

    Comment by error | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. There is absolutely no such thing in our religion that permits that!! I never even heard of such a thing!

    I must agree with amer on this one. Women are letting women down, because many of them think they r too weak to fight the power.

    My God, everyday I learn that someone is trying to push something blasphemous like this into our country.

    What next? Leashes on women??

    Comment by This Lady | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  5. The general rule is this:

    A woman is not obligated to work, meaning there is no sin on her if she doesn’t, while a man must do so, for he is the breadwinner of the family. So if they have fallen on hard times, and the woman decides to go shopping using her own money, it is completely acceptable, while if the man sits at home and does nothing, he’s in trouble. Also, if during these times of financial loss the husband asks his wife for money, and she refuses, this is also fine, for it is her money.

    Comment by naturetheory | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks, Mac, that’s kind of what I thought. I remember good friends telling me that Islam was the first religion to protect women having their own property and money.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  7. Amer, you are right, we are always our own worst enemy. And yes, those who fight get tired, and want to hand the torch to the next generation, but they are busy mating and raising babies, and what are we to do?

    There needs to be a really big push to register all female voters, to get them to vote, and to educate them on the issues.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  8. Error, I almost wrote to you, first, before printing his excerpt, and I hoped you would weigh in on this.

    (But wait! “This is not chocolates!” I’ve never heard that before. I love it! OK, OK, off topic, I’m sorry, but I love that phrase. So what does it mean?)

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  9. Lady, I am so sorry, I can’t resist. Maybe not leashes, but wouldn’t all men in all countries wish us muzzled from time to time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I am trying to get at the source of this statement and to see if it has any weight in reality.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  10. Naturetheory – what you said seems in line with what I have heard before, so how on earth could religious people say that since her time out of the house belongs to her husband, so does her salary?

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  11. I love how she’s so vague: “a religious Islamic ruling was made recently…” First of all, any fatwa is going to be “religious”, and second, who issued this fatwa, where, and when? Why the lack of details, Muna? A very strange writer.

    Comment by naturetheory | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  12. This is cool, all of nats money belongs to me!

    Comment by Mark | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  13. It means the exact opposite of rocket science!

    This is just exert, a throw into a pond. What applies on one country doesnโ€™t necessarily apply on another. I think Muna is exaggerating, who is the scholar with this opinion!!

    and happy hejri calendar new year!

    Comment by error | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  14. i think we are hit with more bad facts ( farts ? ) from Muna – see everyone raped in kuwait – al-Fuzai

    there is no ruling i ever heard of as such and it does seem like truckload of BS

    004.032 ูˆูŽู„ุง ุชูŽุชูŽู…ูŽู†ูŽู‘ูˆู’ุง ู…ูŽุง ููŽุถูŽู‘ู„ูŽ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ู ุจูู‡ู ุจูŽุนู’ุถูŽูƒูู…ู’ ุนูŽู„ูŽู‰ ุจูŽุนู’ุถู ู„ูู„ุฑูู‘ุฌูŽุงู„ู ู†ูŽุตููŠุจูŒ ู…ูู…ูŽู‘ุง ุงูƒู’ุชูŽุณูŽุจููˆุง ูˆูŽู„ูู„ู†ูู‘ุณูŽุงุกู ู†ูŽุตููŠุจูŒ ู…ูู…ูŽู‘ุง ุงูƒู’ุชูŽุณูŽุจู’ู†ูŽ ูˆูŽุงุณู’ุฃูŽู„ููˆุง ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ูŽ ู…ูู†ู’ ููŽุถู’ู„ูู‡ู ุฅูู†ูŽู‘ ุงู„ู„ูŽู‘ู‡ูŽ ูƒูŽุงู†ูŽ ุจููƒูู„ูู‘ ุดูŽูŠู’ุกู ุนูŽู„ููŠู…ู‹ุง
    004.032 And in no wise covet those things in which Allah Hath bestowed His gifts More freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things.

    Al-Qur’an, 004.032 (An-Nisa [Women])

    Comment by forzaq8 | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  15. speechless speechless!!!

    Comment by organic kuwait | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  16. Naturetheory, you are right, people who write columns, especially opinion columns, are held to a far lower standard than people who write news. I wish Muna had given her source – she brings to light many of the issues that people wish would not see the light of day, but to have credibility, she needs more facts.

    Mark – Please, Please Mark, let me be there to see Nat’s face when you tell her!

    Error – Thank you. I totally love it. (the chocolate) I’m going to have to get one of my Kuwaiti friends to tell me how to say it in Arabic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy Hejri New Year to you, too, who always gives me such good information.

    Forzaq8, I half agree, and half disagree. Journalists have to be responsible, and it would help to have a source for that information, which is incendiary. On the other hand, I have seen my own government slip things past the unsuspecting populace, and I appreciate journalists alerting us to this kind of trial balloon – if that is what it is. Thank you for the great quote – now THAT is what I mean by solid informatin. (There really IS a problem with rape in Kuwait – women who are abducted, children who are abducted, men on men – it’s in the crime section of your paper, not just Muna’s column.)

    Organic Kuwait – Activate! Help us find the source, and if there is anything behind this statement!

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  17. Hello! I found your blog through a search for this article. I see you have a lot of supportive replies to your questions but thought I would answer them too.

    1) One guy’s opinion or many idiots who are not religious scholars
    2) Never in Kuwait
    3) The Quran and Sunna states the rights of women so this ruling has no merit whatsoever.

    As a working Kuwaiti, this ruling does not affect me whatsoever.

    I have written my own thoughts on Muna’s article. If you want to read it here

    Comment by Kuwaiti Woman | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  18. I love your blog, Kuwaiti Woman.

    My concern is that Kuwait is changing. It appears to me that Kuwaiti women have some trends they need to be watching. Segregation of the sexes, for example, usually means that women have less access to the classes they need to get their degrees. It can mean a diminished choice of professors. It can lead to segregation in the work place, which definitely leads to diminished choice of professions.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 11, 2008 | Reply

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