The Reward of Supporting One’s Family

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By Pure Matrimony -

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By Sheikh Mohammed al-Ghazali

When a man fulfills his duty of supporting his family, God rewards him in multiples!

I was very surprised when I learned the Islamic rulings in this area.

I was asked a question: If I have some money, what is the best way to spend it: give it to those who fight for the sake of God, give it to the poor, or pay for my family’s needs? To answer this question, let us consider the following narrations:

Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “You spent one Dinar for the fight for the sake of God, one Dinar to liberate a slave, one Dinar to a poor person, and one Dinar to support your family. The most rewarded Dinar is the one that you spent on your family.” (Muslim)

Thawban, the Prophet’s servant, narrated that Prophet Muhammad said: “The most rewarded expenditure is what a man spends to support his family, on his horse that he uses to fight in the way of God, and on his friends for the sake of God.” The narrator commented: “Notice that the Prophet started with the family.” (Al-Bukhari)

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas narrated that the Prophet said: “Everything you spend for the sake of God gets you a reward, even when you feed your wife with your hand.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri narrated that the Prophet said: “If a man supports his family with the intention to get a reward from God, he will be rewarded the reward of charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

Al-Miqdad Ibn Ma`d Yakrib narrated that Prophet Muhammad said: “When you feed yourself, it is a charity. When you feed your children, it is a charity. When you feed your wife, it is a charity. When you feed your servant, it is a charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

There are many similar hadiths. The above are just a few examples.

Strong families that follow the good traditions result in a strong society that God blesses!
The above narrations are very interesting. Before I knew them, I was always thinking that what I spend to support my family is just ‘necessary expenditures.’ However, I never imagined that this money I spend would be put in my scale of good deeds in the hereafter! And when I learned that supporting one’s family is even better than supporting fighters for the sake of God and liberating slaves, I wondered why? After some reflection, I realized that the Muslim home is the place where belief and morals are built. Therefore, the money that supports this place must be blessed. I realized that supporting my family is the best ‘investment’ I can ever think about!

It is a permanent part of the Muslim way of life that an honorable man must work hard to earn money and support his children until they grow up and be financially independent. Muslim men consider this an Islamic obligation that they must fulfill, regardless to the required time and effort.

Now, modern civilization preaches a culture that allows a man to tell his children, boys and girls, when they reach maturity: “You are on your own!” Some men in this modern world even find it too much to feed their wives!

On the other hand, the supporter of the family should be appreciated and reassured by his wife. She should always be a source of support and joy, in words and actions. The wife who is not appreciative to her husband and is always ignoring him is pushing him towards disliking her and detaching himself from her.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked a woman who came to visit him: “Do you have a husband?” She said: “Yes.” He said: “How do you treat him?” She said: “I do everything he wants except what I am not able to do!” The Prophet (peace be upon him) told her this wise and short advice: “Take care of him. He is either your paradise or your hellfire!” (Al-Mundhiri)

In another hadith, he said: “A woman is not fulfilling God obligations until she fulfills her husband’s obligations.” (Al-Mundhiri)

I read another interesting hadith, which Mu`adh narrated, that is talking about some women who beat their husbands!! One of them was trying to prove her authority at home by force! I was smiling when I read the Prophet’s advice to her: “A woman who believes in God is not allowed to invite guests that her husband hates! She is not allowed to go to some place if he does not like it! She is not allowed to consider her relatives or friends and ignore him! She is not allowed to forsake his bed! She is not allowed to beat him up! …” (!!) I stopped here and wondered, ‘How dare this woman beat her husband up! Was this a man! Or maybe she was a musclewoman!’ Then, I continued reading the hadith: “Even if she thinks that he is wrong, she should try to approach him in a friendly way. If he becomes friendly, then how beautiful! God will reward her and prove to him that her argument is true. If he insists not to be pleased, then she should know that God knows that she has no blame.” (Al-Albani)

It is impossible that a home never faces problems. But good morals and friendly dealings guarantee that problems will eventually be solved! There is a very true Arabic poem that says that problems on earth are never because there is not enough space for everybody, but they are because there is not enough patience for everybody! This applies to men and women. I also concluded from experience that the couples who fail to solve their problems pass down complexes to their children and cause them major troubles in their future.

How wonderful to build the marital relationship on mutual love and respect! This has an excellent effect on the children and protects the family and its mission.

I will quote one hadith that some scholars mention on the same topic. However, it requires an explanation. Mu`adh ibn Jabal returned from a visit to Syria and visited the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet was startled to see Mu`adh prostrating to him when he came in! He told him, ‘What is this?’ Mu`adh said, “I was in Syria and saw people prostrating to their monks. So, I wanted to do the same with you!” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

I myself saw some people prostrating to their kings. It is not a full prostration, like what we do in prayers, but it is a bowing that is similar to our bowing in prayers. It is still practiced in some countries like Japan and Middle Africa. Arabs do not know this type of greeting and when Mu`adh tried to make it a tradition in Madinah; the Prophet showed him that it is unacceptable in Islam. He said, according to some narrations, “Do not do that. If I am to order anybody to bow to anybody, I would order a wife to bow to her husband.”

It is clear that Prophet Muhammad is implying that he is not and will not order anybody to bow or prostrate to anybody, including women to their husbands. The rest of the hadith says, ‘I make an oath by The One who holds my soul that a woman is not considered fulfilling to her duties towards God until she fulfills her duties towards her husband.” (Ad-Darimi)

My comment is that the husband and wife are equal human beings, in terms of rights and obligations. But if the man is truly beloved by his wife, she will treat him like a king! And if a man wants to be treated like a king, he should show true dedication, sincerity and love!


This is a part of a translated book written by Sheikh Al-Ghazali titled “Muslim Women between Backward Traditions and Modern Innovations”. The book was translated by Dr. Jasser Auda, Professor at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS).

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6 Comments to The Reward of Supporting One’s Family

  1. capt ABEY FOLEY

    If you are neglecting things you should be doing, forgetting your purpose in life because of the relationship you’re in, then you’re on the wrong path. A healthy relationship is one in which two people encourage each other to reach their respective goals while sharing each other’s hopes and dreams. A relationship should be a source of inspiration, invigoration and hope. [30:21] Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think. [25:74] And they say, “Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous.” [5:5] Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the scripture is lawful for you. Also, you may marry the chaste women among the believers, as well as the chaste women among the followers of previous scripture, provided you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain chastity, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.

  2. A marriage is hard work.. especially the first couple of years! Now what is the wife to do if the husband constantly works to stay away from her (his words), when a problem arises in the marriage he fails to talk about it but goes off in a mood.. if the wife is pushed away then what is she to do? Even if she apologises when it was not her mistake (she does this each time they have an argument), but just to move on she has to say sorry but he doesnt listen! She still cooks and cleans for him but there is no other communication.. what is she to do? Is this a valid reason for separation/divorce?

    • I feel for you sister, as I have been in a similar situation, it is very hard not to know what is the best thing to do. I have two young children which I guess makes the situation harder but at the same time they are what keeps me going. Unfortunately I was not as patient as you have been and ended my relationship about 10 months ago, one good thing that came out of it is that now he manages to spend a few hours with the children a week compared to how it was before, however the children are losing out on getting their rightly deserved love from their father.
      May Allah Talah help and guide you to the right path, and us all…Ameen.

  3. May Allah reward you heavily for all those times you have been patient. Sadly this is a common problem in today’s society when the partner does not show love and appreciation. If possible try not to go down the separation route unless the relationship is unbearable. Just remember every second you spend being in this relationship will increase your chance greatly on the last day when inshAllah your record is given in the right hand. 🙂

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