Muslim men open up about the financial strain of providing for their family

Big weddings are the cause of lots of financial hardship (Picture: Ella Byworth for

In Islam, a woman’s money belongs only to her while a man is obligated to spend on his wife and children.

In fact, a Muslim man isn’t allowed to ask a woman for money – but she may offer to share her wealth. This is considered fair as men are entitled to a higher inheritance and may be the breadwinner in their families.

However, in 21st-century society, it’s seldom possible to survive on one income. So many households run on the financial offerings of both partners.

For the most part though, men are expected to cover expenses.

For some, that comes with difficulties, such as taking out loans, borrowing from their families and asking their partner for help, which some find ’embarrassing’.

As we’re covering all things money and debt this month on, we asked men from the Muslim community about what it’s like to shoulder the majority of financial responsibilities.

We want to demystify the taboo nature of earning and spending while showing that though money problems can be alienating, you are not alone in your struggles.

And while Muslim men may find it difficult to fulfill their Islamic obligation, which includes paying a mahr (a gift from the groom to the bride), many others are in a similar situation.

After speaking to some Muslim men, there is one common factor being blamed for accruing debt: large weddings.

Though most agree that extravagant weddings have become a cultural norm, not a religious one, they often find themselves succumbing to the pressure, resulting in precarious financial situations.

Here is what five men said about their financial hardship…

Numan, 32

‘At my wedding, we spent about £55,000 between both parties. We both felt the financial strain and my in-laws had to borrow money from the banks.

‘A big wedding doesn’t just put financial strains during the wedding, it also affects it afterward.

‘For people with an average income, it’s a huge pressure. It depends on person to person. If you are an immigrant, then you’re worse off.

‘I have to pay off my debts, run my family here plus help my family back home and at the same time pay loads of money to the UK Border Agency for my citizenship.

‘These all add up. My main issue is with large expensive weddings. The question to ask is do we need to invite all these people, buy expensive outfits, hire flashy cars for one day?

‘Or shall we use this money for a secure future?’

Zibran, 26

‘A wedding isn’t and should never be a financial burden on the couple at all. Islam doesn’t encourage or advocate for us to go above and beyond to throw the grandest parties for a wedding celebration.

‘Sure, if you have the means, that’s a different story. But to take out loans when you succumb to parents and in-laws and elders’ “tradition, ritual and cultural values”, that is where it gets messed up

‘Like many others out there, I had the mentality that I would not fall into the trap that will cause financial damage to me. Nevertheless, I had to give in, in the end.

‘My wife and I try to stick to our Islamic values. At the same time, we also share the load of the family in a sensible manner.

‘We both know it’s pretty difficult to live on just my salary, so she is always more than happy to contribute.

‘It’s not fair on her to contribute to our family expenses “equally”. Our salaries aren’t the same, so why should we contribute the same amount? Hence we each contribute towards our combined expenses against the ratio of our earnings.

‘If I could do my wedding all over again, I would skim it down to just the bare minimum. I would have a very intimate and close ceremony that I can afford without taking any loan.

‘Wasting money on these ceremonies has done no good or bought any positive impact on our lives so far. If I didn’t spend all that extravagant money and rather put that in a down payment for a house, it would have been the much better investment.’

Riyad, 35

‘For my wedding, my mum pulled out £10,000 and my wife and I pulled out £10,000 because her family wasn’t satisfied with having a simple ceremony.

‘My wife got a loan and we now go halves on paying it whereas my mum got her loan from family and friends.

‘We get burnt out when unexpected costs pop up, for example, household maintenance or buying gifts for guests.

‘It’s unfair that we still had to cough up so much despite it being clear we didn’t want to spend so much.

‘It causes a strain on our relationship when the topic comes out. But we’ve known each other for 12 years and in that time we’ve gone through lots of different s*it.

Ahsan, 29

‘My wedding mainly affected my savings.

‘I had accumulated a sizeable amount of savings over the years, to put down for a house deposit.

‘However, in getting married, I massively underestimated some costs by around £7,000 (mahr, costs of honeymoons, having more guests than initially anticipated, cost of wedding dress!)

‘This has hindered and delayed any potential house-buying plans. Fortunately, I didn’t have to borrow, but the costs of a wedding are so ridiculous these days that this is an actual issue.

‘Recently I’ve had to help two friends with a private loan in order to help with their wedding costs – and hearing about wedding debt in our community is sadly a common issue.’

Debt Month

This article is part of a month-long focus in November all about debt.

Scary word, we know, but we’re hoping if we tackle this head on we’ll be able to reduce the shame around money struggles and help everyone improve their understanding of their finances.

Throughout November we’ll be publishing first-person accounts of debt, features, advice, and explainers. You can read everything from the month on the Debt Month tag.

If you have a story to share, a topic you want us to cover, or a question that needs answering, get in touch at


MORE: My halal student debt: How Muslims navigate Sharia financing when interest is haram

MORE: The Islamic importance of paying off debt

MORE: Muslim men explain why it’s difficult to find a partner to marry


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