Nafaqa in Islamic laws refers to the financial support given by husband to the wife during their married life. I have seen this translated to alimony, and maintenance in English. However, as the following entries from OALD (8th Ed.) for alimony and maintenance state, alimony and maintenance refer to the money paid by the husband after divorce

main • ten • ance BrE / meɪntənəns / NAmE / meɪntənəns /

 word origin  example bank [ uncountable ] 1 ~ (of sth) the act of keeping sth in good condition by checking or repairing it regularly The school pays for heating and the maintenance of the buildings. car maintenance 2 ~ (of sth) the act of making a state or situation continue the maintenance of international peace
3 ( law ) ( BrE ) money that sb must pay regularly to their former wife, husband or partner, especially when they have had children together He has to pay maintenance to his ex-wife. child maintenance a maintenance order (= given by a court of law)
see also alimony

Under alimony, it says,

ali • mony BrE / ælɪməni / NAmE / ælɪmoʊni / noun

 word origin  example bank [ uncountable ] ( especially NAmE ) the money that a court orders sb to pay regularly to their former wife or husband when the marriage is ended compare maintenance , palimony

The above and this suggest that Islamic Law has no financial obligation on the man after divorce in terms of financial support for the woman.
All in all, is it still acceptable to use alimony in this context i.e. when provisions are given only during marriage as opposed to the given definition of regular post-marriage payment? Or should another term such as financial support be used?

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    "Maintenance" is very generic. (As is "allowance".)
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 2, 2015 at 12:23
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    Alimony is certainly inaccurate. Frankly, I don't think there is a single word in English which encapsulates this concept adequately. You'd need other words to clarify. The phrase "in-marriage financial support" is about as good as you're likely to get. Nov 3, 2015 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


Your question is based on cultural customs and issues that may be very different from place to place and are closely linked to the role of women within family and society. I think the term that comes close to what you are looking for is:


  • a sum of money allotted or granted to a person on a regular basis, as for personal or general living expenses.

Pin money (dated):

  • (formerly) an allowance of money given by a husband to his wife for her personal expenditures.

Alimony and maintenance are the two terms (see below) that in their legal meaning refer to financial support after separation/divorce. Alimony has no other meaning while maintenance is also used in common language as a synonym of allowance. As for the term you are looking for I'd stick to "allowance" to avoid possible misunderstanding.


[MASS NOUN] (chiefly North American)

  • A husband’s (or wife’s) provision for a spouse after separation or divorce; maintenance:
    • he is said to have paid $300,000 alimony to his first wife



  • A husband’s or wife’s provision for their spouse after separation or divorce:
    • a divorced man paying his ex-wife £2,500 a year maintenance
  • 1
    When I was a kid, "pin money" was always money that the wife squirreled away from "grocery money", a side business (eg, sewing for others), or maybe an inheritance or gift. It was not a regular payment.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 2, 2015 at 12:25

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