Can a rich Muslim wife give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband?

Q39. (a) Can a rich Muslim wife give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband?

(b) Can a Muslim husband compel his wife (working in a public sector undertaking) to spend all her earnings on family needs and invest his earnings and his wife’s savings on assets solely in his name and not even in her name?

(c) What portion, if at all, of a Muslim wife’s salary a Muslim husband can claim for needs of the family although it is the onus on him to provide for the family?

Yes, a Muslim woman is allowed to give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband if she is capable of doing so and if the poor husband is poor enough to be entitled for Zakat. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have granted the permission to a Muslim lady who wished to spend part of the Zakat on her husband.

Zainab, the wife of Abdullah (ra) had asked Bilal (ra) to seek for the prophet’s permission for spending part of her Zakat on her husband and the orphans under her protection, thus said the Prophet (pbuh): "Yes, and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, hadith no. 545)

(b) Whatever amount is spent by the wife, will be voluntarily, out of her own free will. The husband has no authority whatsoever to compel his wife to spend on him from her earnings/savings nor is he authorized to invest her earnings/savings on assets solely in his name, unless the wife permits, nor can he compel her to do so. As stated in the earlier answer, in Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Thus it is the responsibly of the husband to provide for the family. Nonetheless if he wants his wife to spend on him or his family, he can request her and she may spend if she wishes.

(c) With regards to what portion of a women’s salary her husband can claim, the question of portion or percentage does not arise since the husband has no right to claim for his wife’s salary, regardless of the portion. Thus it will depend on the wife’s pleasure and wish whether she spends part of the salary, complete salary or nothing at all. And Allah knows the best.