Causes [of Nushooz] That Can Be Traced Back to the Husband Himself or His Friends
By Dr. Saalih ibn Ghaanim al-Sadlaan
Marital Discord [al-Nushooz], Its Definition, Cases, Causes, Means of Protection From It, and Its Remedy From the Quran and Sunnah. Translated by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, © S. Al-Sadlaan and J. Zarabozo
The husband himself may be the cause of an unhappy marriage. For example, he may be very stingy and miserly. He may also be very emotional and excitable. He may also be someone who is very harsh, tough and despotic. He may be one who forces his will and decisions upon his wife in every matter without consulting with her, taking into consideration her feelings, exchanging views on the matter and being pleasant with this wife.
He might consider his wife like some kind of chattel [instead of another human] and therefore deals with her with coldness and coarseness without any compassion or gentleness. [Translator’s Footnote: A disease that seems to afflict many men in their ability to be very kind and brotherly to their brothers but extremely cold and harsh towards their own wives. Obviously, their wives have more rights upon them than any of their brothers in Islam. This mistaken behavior must be corrected.]
The cause for that may also be in his friends who sow discontent between a man and his wife by leading him and pushing him to disliking and hating his wife and wishing to be free from her.
"[In fact,] (his extreme good nature beyond normal limits) may also lead to his wife to change her disposition and make her try to override him and then disobey his commands and elevate herself above him." [Majallah al-Jundi al-Muslim, p. 29, fn.1.]
"He may cause his wife different forms of harm, such as cursing her or her family, reviling her, verbally abusing her for the tiniest of reasons. He may insult her because of her family, if it is less prestigious or honorable than his. Or [another act of nushooz on his part is that] he may try to bring harm to her by divorcing her and then, before the waiting period is finished, bring her back as his wife and then divorce her again. All this is done without the intention of returning to a real married life but simply to harm her and transgress her rights. Or he may avoid having sexual intercourse with her for no reason or legal sanction. This may lead the woman to lose her chastity and doing something forbidden." [Al-Bahuti al-Hanbali, Kishaaf al-Qinaa’ an Matn al-Iqnaa’, vol. 5, pp. 184, 290, 213; Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Mukhtar ala al-Darr al-Mukhtar wa Hashiyah, vol. 3, p. 190; Tafseer al-Manaar, vol. 5, p. 76.]
Shaikh al-Islam ibn Taimiya stated, "The harm that comes about to the woman by the man avoiding sexual intercourse with her is such that the marriage may be dissolved under every circumstance, regardless if it was intentional from the husband or unintentional, or if he had the ability to perform sexual intercourse or not." [Ibn Taimiyah, al-Fatawa al-Kubra, vol. 4, p. 562; Ibn Taimiyah, Majmuah al-Fatawa, vol. 32, p. 40.]
[Nushooz on the part of the husband includes] when he orders her to do something forbidden or illegal, such as going out in public displaying her beauty or uncovering parts of her that must be covered, to go among men she is not related to, to drink alcohol or take drugs, go to clubs and salons wherein bad things are taking place.
Also from nushooz on the part of the husband is his not fulfilling his marital obligations. For example, he makes life difficult for her with respect to her food, drink, clothing and so forth. [Translator’s footnote: This is one of the biggest marital problems that one can see occurring in the West. Many times, the husbands simply do not support their wives and families. Although they have the physical and other means to work and support their families, they would resort to putting themselves and their families on the welfare system. Often times, the husbands will give the flimsiest excuses for not accepting work and therefore put families in such situations. Many times, the husband would rather force his wife to go out and work – which, in the West, almost always involves putting the Muslim woman into situations that she should not be put into – rather than he accept a job that he is not completely pleased with. Hence, their families do not achieve the economic well-being that they deserve and, often, the wife loses respect for the husband as he is not performing one of his most important obligations of married life: providing maintenance for his wife and family. Sooner or later this often leads to many other problems within the marriage, although the root of those problems is the husband’s unwillingness to work and sustain the family.] Or he makes her live in a residence that is not something suitable for her.
[In addition, included among the acts of nushooz] is his unfair distribution of his time or where he stays [when he is married to more than one wife] without legal justification. Or, he may not fulfil the needs of his wife and children such that their well-being is not met. Or, he does things that hurt and dishonor his wife and show lack of respect for her, such as backbiting her, slandering her or joking about her. Or, he may be desirous of her wealth and forces her to spend it on his behalf.
[The following are also acts that constitute nushooz on the part of the husband:] having anal intercourse with her, which is forbidden and is never permissible, his travelling for fun, amusement and entertainment without taking her permission as he is thereby wasting ample wealth for a useless purpose, while that wealth is meant to sustain the rights of his household.
If the man apostates from Islam – and refuge is sought in Allah – that is considered nushooz and the marriage contract is dissolved unless he returns to Islam. [See al-Khalafaat al-Zaujiyah, p. 39.]
There are many other causes or acts of nushooz that we have not mentioned here in order not to overly lengthen the discussion.