Case: If a wife marries a poor husband while she knows his conditions then he has become insolvent, she has the right to ask for the annulment of marriage because the right of annulment is renewed by insolvency.
They held the following as proofs:
Allah's Saying: "The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness." So, Allah gave the choice to the husband between keeping his wife with kindness and spending on her and releasing her with kindness. So, if it is difficult for the husband to keep his wife with kindness, he should release her.
- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The best alms is that which is given when one is rich, and a giving hand is better than a taking one, and you should start first to support your dependents. A wife says: You should either provide me with food or divorce me. A slave says: Give me food and enjoy my service. A son says: Give me food; to whom do you leave me? The people said: O Abu Hurayrah! Did you hear that from Allah's Messenger? He said: No, it is from my own self." (2)
This was answered by: It is the personal opinion of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) and his understanding, not the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), therefore Abu Hurayrah abstained to attribute it to the Prophet (peace be upon him).
- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about a man who cannot spend on his wife: "They should be separated." (3)
This was answered by: The correct view is: That was the opinion of Abu Hurayrah because if this is the case, it would not have been mentioned in Sahih Al Bukhari that it was his opinion.
- Ibn `Umar reported that `Umar ibn Al Khattab wrote to the emirs of soldiers about men who were absent from their wives: Tell them to spend on them or divorce them, and when they divorce them, they should send the expenditure of the period during which they were away. (4)
This was answered by: `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gave the choice to men to either divorce their wives or spend on them and did not give that choice to wives, and the narration did not mention that they were insolvent.
- Yahya ibn Sa`id reported from Sa`id ibn Al Musayyab that the husband who cannot afford the expenditure of his wife should separate from her. (5)
Abu Az-Zinad said: I asked Sa`id ibn Al Musayyab about the husband who cannot afford the expenditure of his wife, and Sa`id said: They should be separated from each other. Abu Az-Zinad asked: Is this a Sunnah? He said: Yes, this is a Sunnah. (6)
Al Shafi`y said: The meaning of the saying of Sa`id: It is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). (7)
The correct view, and Allah knows best, is: If you consider the bases and rules of Islamic Shari`ah, the interests they contained, removing the higher evil for a lower one, and missing the lower benefit to achieve the higher one, it will become well-known that the correct view is: If a husband cannot afford the expenditure of his wife and she does not have money to spend from it and he did not allow her to work to spend on herself, then the wife has the right to remove the harm by asking for the annulment of marriage. And Allah knows best!
The bases and rules of Shari`ah state that if a man deceives his wife by claiming that he is well-to-do and she marries him according to that piece of information then it has become known to her that he is poor and cannot afford his wife, she has the right to ask for the annulment of marriage. However, if she has married him while she knows that he is poor or he was rich then something made him poor, annulment is not permissible because people are inflicted by richness and poverty during their entire life and wives throughout history have not asked for the annulment of marriage. May Allah grant us success!
(1) See: Al `Inayah Sharh Al Hidayah 6/211, Al Fawakih of Ad-Dawany 3/1077, Al Umm 5/88, and Al Majmu` Sharh Al Muhadhdhab 18/267, I`anat At-Talibin 4/93, Hashiyat Ar-Rawd Al Murbi` 7/125, Majmu` Al Fatawa 30/57, Zad Al Ma`ad 5/511, and Al Fiqh `Ala Al Madhahib Al Arba`ah 4/86.
(2) Reported by Al Bukhari in the chapter on the necessity of spending on one's family, Hadith No. 5040 5/2048.
(3) Reported by Al Bayhaqy in As-Sunan As-Sughra, Hadith No 2909.
(4) Reported by Al Bayhaqy in As-Sunan As-Sughra, Hadith No 2914 6/533-538.
(5) Reported by Al Bayhaqy in As-Sunan As-Sughra, Hadith No. 2908.
(6) Reported by Al Bayhaqy in As-Sunan As-Sughra, Hadith No. 2906.
(7) It was reported by Al Bayhaqy in As-Sunan As-Sughra, Hadith No. 2907.