In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
During one ‘kuliah subuh’ (early morning lesson) at a ‘masjid’ near my house, the ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) continued his discussion on the topic about 'nafkah' (alimony) to ones wife; he must adhere to this commitment in their marriage life.
He said other than the 'normal' livelihood expenses such as food, shelter and clothing for the whole family, a husband must gives special maintenance expenses to his wife so that she could buy her personal requirements such as toiletries and make-up.
But the ‘ustaz’ was quick to point up that the ‘nafkah’ depends on the well being and capability of the husband and not to the fancies of his wife. The wife has the right to have what her husband normally eats, wears and lives or to that standard. He reminded to a husband even though his wife may be working and earns an income more than him, the ‘nafkah’ is still his responsibility.
But the ‘ustaz’ had these words of advice to working wives: “Based to what I witnessed and cases reported to me, women who were working and earned high incomes, spent their money according to their fancies. They buy expensive clothes, designers shoes, handbags and make-ups including international labelled perfumes. Then they ‘marched’ to their offices and working places wearing and using these attires and make-ups.
The ‘ustaz’ reminded women-folk to be careful in their ‘tabbaruj’ (display of beauty) even though they buy their attires and make-ups using their hard-earned money. ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood r.a. reported that the Prophet s.a.w. used to dislike ten kinds of behavior and he (‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood) mentioned that from amongst them is displaying and beautification which is done in an improper place. It is ‘haram’ in displaying beautification to strangers; but only to one’s husband and certain family members.
‘Tabarruj’ is disobedience to Allah and His Messenger s.a.w. The one who disobeys Allah and His Messenger s.a.w. can only harm himself and can not in any way harm Allah. The Messenger s.a.w. said, “All of my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” It was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who would refuse?” He s.a.w. said, “He who obeys me enters Paradise and he who disobeys me has refused.” (Reported by Imam al-Bukhary)
To the men-folk, the ustaz gave this warning: “I am afraid you are committing a sin by allowing your wife to go out in such a state…you must always gives advice to your wife…if she ignored your advice…keep on trying until two ‘things’ happen…either you die or you wife dies!”
After his talk, the ‘ustaz’ opened the floor for a question and answer session. I took the opportunity to asked him during this ‘hard times’ when job opportunities were scared, many workers were retrenched, the ‘rakyat’ were told to do two or three jobs and some employers were late in paying their workers or even worse hold on to monies due to them; what’s our (husbands) position in giving ‘nafkah’ to our wives and children?
The ‘ustaz’ said we (including the wife) have to practice ‘sabar’ (patience); for the husband, the ‘nafkah’ is according to his capability. If he could only effort to have ‘nasi’ (rice) and fried ‘ikan kembong’ to feed his wife and children, then it is it…but he must determined to work hard and not to lost hope…'insya-Allah' they would be better off in the near future.
And to employers, the ustaz mentioned several 'hadith' that they have to pay their workers or monies due to them promptly. Ibn Maajah narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar r.a. said: The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said: “Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.” - Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah
Scholars said the command to give monies due to him before his sweat dries is a metaphor for the obligation to pay him as soon as the job is done, even if he does not sweat, or if he sweated and it has dried.
Employers delay in paying the salaries is wrongdoing which makes their honour and punishment permissible, as the Prophet s.a.w. said: “Withholding of payment by a rich man is wrongdoing.” (Narrated by Imam al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
And the Prophet s.a.w. said: “If one who can afford it delays payment, his honour and punishment become permissible.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, al-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah; classed as hasan by al-Albaani)
The Prophet s.a.w. said: "The procrastination of the rich is an oppression that entitles him to be spoken against and to be punishment.”
He also said: “Whoever oppressed another for a handspan measure of land will have a collar of seven lands placed around his neck on the Day of Judgment.”
The rights of a person are highly regarded in Islam. In his Last Sermon during the Pilgrimage, the Prophet s.a.w. said: “Your blood, your money, and your kin are sacred and cannot be taken by force, just as this day in this month in this land is sacred."
Regarding a good employer, 'Abdullah bin 'Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.) said: Three persons set out on a journey. They were overtaken by rain and they had to find protection in a mountain cave where at its mouth there fell a rock of that mountain and thus blocked them altogether.
One of them said to the others: Look to your good deeds that you performed for the sake of Allah and then supplicate Allah, the Exalted, that He might rescue you (from this trouble). The first person mentioned about his sacrifice to his aged parents, the second about his fear for Allah when he was about to commit ‘zina’ (adultery) and the third one said:
“O Allah, I employed a workman for a measure of rice. After he had finished his work I gave him his dues (in the form of) a measure of rice, but he did not accept them. I used the rice as seeds, and that gave a bumper crop and I became rich enough to have cows and flocks (in my possession). He came to me and said: Fear Allah, and commit no cruelty upon me in regard to my dues. I said to him: Take away this flock of cows and sheep. He said: Fear Allah and do not make a fun of me. I said: I am not making a fun of you. You take the cows and the flocks. So he took them. O Allah, if Thou art aware that I did it for Thine pleasure, case the situation for us.” (And Allah relieved them from the rest of the trouble). (Sahih Muslim)