It is common for Islamic preachers to boast that Islam places the responsibility of financially supporting and maintaining a wife solely on the shoulders of her husband.

However, this right has also been extended to women in Western societies, where they are entitled to receive financial support and property rights in the event of a divorce. In fact, Western laws grant women a larger share of marital assets than Islamic law does. 

Moreover, in the event of a divorce, the couple's assets accumulated during their marriage are typically divided equally between them. On the other hand, Islamic law does not provide women with any financial support or property rights in the event of a divorce. This contrast highlights significant differences in the legal treatment of women's rights in Islam and Western societies.

Furthermore, some Islamic preachers argue that Islam provides a woman with mahr (dowry) at the time of marriage, which she can use in case of divorce. However, this argument is weak because:

  • In Islamic tradition, mahr is seen as compensation for the sexual pleasure (tamtee') that a man derives from his wife, and the exclusive access to her body that he enjoys.
  • At the same time, he is free to marry multiple wives and engage in temporary sexual relationships with numerous slaves., but she is not allowed to even talk to any other man without the permission of his husband.  
  • And she has to provide him with sexual services, whenever he demands it, even if they are travelling on the back of a camel (according to Muhammad). 
  • Thus, Mahr is the payment of those sexual services, which she is obliged to provide to her husband on DEMAND. 

And as far as the maintenance is concerned, then again Islam takes away many rights from a woman for this:

  • She is prohibited to leave the house without the permission of her husband.
  • She is even prohibited to visit her parents without his permission. 
  • Her husband gets the right to beat her in the name of maintenance money. 
  • She receives financial support, but only at the cost of surrendering her right to work outside the home and earn her own income. In practice, it is nearly impossible for a woman to find employment without her husband's permission, especially in societies where Islamic norms are strictly enforced.
  • If a husband mistreats and tortures his wife, she cannot initiate a divorce proceeding on her own. Even if the husband chooses to divorce her, she often lacks the means to support herself independently. As a result, she may be coerced into remarrying.
  • However, if she does choose to remarry, Islam dictates that she will lose custody of her children (please refer to our article on this topic: Islam: If a divorced woman remarries, then she will lose the custody of her children).

In simple words:

  • Slaves are also fed and maintained.
  • Prisoners in the prisons are also fed and maintained. 
  • And women in Islam are not much different than slaves and prisoners. 

Mahr: A Gamble Against Women's Financial Security

Moreover, Mahr is a GAMBLE. Although Muslims claim that gambling is Haram, but they are unable to see how Islam is compelling every woman and man to play this gamble in their lives. 

  • Nobody knows how long a marriage is going to last. One day or the whole life. It is a gamble for both sides, how much Mahr should be fixed. 
  • If the marriage breaks after 1 month, then the husband is on the losing side, and he has to pay the entire Mahr. 
  • But if the marriage breaks after 20 years, then the wife is on the losing side, while after 20 years she will be old and it will be difficult for her to remarry to get financial support from another man. 

Islam's Imbalanced System

The system of Islam is totally “Out of Balance”, while:

  • All the financial burden is put solely upon the husband.
  • It does not matter if he is poor, if he becomes ill, or even if he loses his job. This is again a gamble as no one knows if he will become ill or not, or loses his job or not. In all these cases, still it is only the husband, who has to bear the financial burden. 

Compared to Islam, the Western system is totally in Balance. If a wife is rich, or she has a stable good earning job, and if she is healthy, then she has to share equal financial responsibilities, so that she becomes a support for her poor husband. Upon bringing this balanced system, Islamic preachers start doing false propaganda that the Western system put a lot of burden upon women but men are free of responsibilities.

Shared Responsibilities in the West

Moreover, if a wife goes for a job outside, then the husband is not sitting idly in the house and waiting for her wife to come back so that he can start ordering her. No, but both the husband and the wife work together in the house. Whether it is cooking, cleaning, or taking care of children etc. Thus, the West put all those responsibilities upon the men too, which is absent in the Islamic system. 

Islamic Preachers: The West put Double Burden upon Women in the name of "Equal Rights"

Maududi, a prominent Islamic apologist, argued that the West's concept of "equal rights" for women is misguided. He claimed:

The West claims it gave women the “equal rights”. But it didn't give this 'equal rights' to a woman, as a woman, but by making her a half man. They want a woman to do all the jobs which a man does. But naturally, a man cannot do all those jobs, which can be done only by a woman. Actually, the West wants women to perform all those duties, which 'nature' put upon women, and cannot be performed by men. And along with their own duties, women should bear equal load of those duties too, which 'nature' put upon men. Thus, the west want women to bear the 1+1/2 burden of duties, and men should bear only 1/2 of the burden. And they gave it the name of “Equal Rights”.

However, this argument falls apart under closer scrutiny. In reality, the West recognizes that women are capable of performing various jobs and tasks, just like men. There is no inherent reason why men should be exempt from participating in household chores or childcare simply because of their gender. In fact, many Western men take pride in being involved fathers and partners who contribute to domestic work.

Furthermore, the West acknowledges that women have specific needs and challenges related to childbearing and nursing. To address this, women in many Western countries enjoy extra rights and protections, such as paid maternity leave and flexible work arrangements. These provisions aim to support women during critical life events without forcing them to sacrifice their career aspirations or well-being.

Meanwhile, the Islamic family system remains grossly imbalanced. Women may be expected to stay at home and do nothing, even if they don't have children. Conversely, men must continue to work outside, regardless of their health or personal circumstances. This rigid gender role assignment neglects individual talents, abilities, and preferences, leading to unnecessary hardships and inefficiencies within families.

By exposing the flaws in Maududi's reasoning, we can see that the true source of exploitation lies in Islam's patriarchal attitudes toward women, rather than the West's pursuit of gender equality.