Assalamualaikum SS Mufti. I have been married for two years, but my husband still fails to provide the dwelling.
We live together with my mother-in-law (a single mother), sister-in-law and her husband. I have to cover my awrah for the whole day unless when I’m in my room. The issue is we try looking for a rented house, but failed. Is it permissible for us to move out and live separately from the mother?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We start this answer by defining on marriage as stated in the revelation:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy
Surah al-Rum (21)
Sayyid Qutb said: Islam views marriage as the place of living, peace and tranquility. It also views the bond between husband and wife as a bond of love and establish it on the basis of human will so that it may stand in the basis of mutual understanding, care and love. So, Islam also said to the husbands:
فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.
Surah al-Nisaa’ (19)
This is so they may preserve the marriage bond and do not break it abruptly by a brief thinking or merely due to the fiery intention of their rapid thinking. In fact, one should preserve this great human foundation so that it may not be exposed to the exploitation of constantly changing sentiment and to the dumbness of desire that flies here and there. (Refer Tafsir fi Zilal al-Quran, 3/234).
Regarding to your issue, I am very sorry to it and I summarize my answer to the following points:
- When a couple get married and already have the capability to live together away from the parents and family, this is what is best. This is because, only by partnering, the rights of having privacy and a more peaceful life will prevail. Especially when no one meddles in between.
- Among the meaning of capability is capable of providing a specific dwelling for the wife as stated by Allah SWT in the Quran:
أَسْكِنُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ سَكَنتُم مِّن وُجْدِكُمْ وَلَا تُضَارُّوهُنَّ لِتُضَيِّقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ
Lodge them [in a section] of where you dwell out of your means and do not harm them in order to oppress them
Surah al-Talaq (6)
- A Malay saying states: “Biar banyak rumah daripada banyak orang dalam rumah” (Better to have more homes than more people in a home), which means when there are more members in a house, habits and behaviors will also become vary and may lead to enmity if is not dealt with properly.
- Due to the mother already has a child to take care of her, then it is not a problem for other children to move out from the house. What important is to always give attention and care whether in providing nafaqah or love by having a frequent visit and gift. In fact, by this way, love and respect will become fonder than when living under the same roof.
- The husband should understand the right of a wife to have a reasonable place of living due to her high status as a wife so that each individual may foster their own responsibilities in a better and clearer way. This will produce a happier marriage.
- Treat your wife rightly in the best manner. Allah SWT says:
And live with them in kindness
Surah al-Nisaa’ (19)
Sheikh al-Maraghi said: “The husbands are obligated to live with their wives rightly. So, be in their company in a way pleasing to them, but not contradict with the Shari’a and custom. Do not be miserly in providing for their nafaqah and do not harass them with words and actions or meeting them with a gloomy face and frown.
The phrase mu’asyarah (associate/live with them) here shows togetherness and sharing which is by entertaining them rightly and the wives should also act to you the same. So, both husband and wife are called upon fostering love to one another as well as being the source of tranquility and bliss in marriage life.” (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/1128)
- To the wives, it should be reminded to obey and serve the husbands in the most perfect manner as a good (solihah) wife who also worship Allah and she will be rewarded with Paradise. True is the hadith narrated by Abdul Rahman bin ‘Auf that the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا صَلَّتْ الْمَرْأَةُ خَمْسَهَا، وَصَامَتْ شَهْرَهَا، وَحَفِظَتْ فَرْجَهَا، وَأَطَاعَتْ زَوْجَهَا، قِيلَ لَهَا: ادْخُلِي الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أَيِّ أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ شِئْتِ
“If a woman prays five times a day, fasts in Ramadan, guarding her private parts and obey her husband, then it will be said to him: ‘Enter the Paradise from whichever door you would like to’”
Musnad Ahmad (1661), al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Awsat (4598) and Ibn Hibban (4237)
- Avoid being nusyuz because it resulted in a grave sin. A hadith of the Prophet PBUH said:
وَالَّذِى نَفْسِى بِيَدِهِ لاَ تُؤَدِّى الْمَرْأَةُ حَقَّ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَلَيْهَا كُلَّهُ حَتَّى تُؤَدِّىَ حَقَّ زَوْجِهَا
“In the name of God which I am under His power, a woman shall never complete the rights of her Lord until she perfects the rights of her husband”
Musnad Ahmad (4/381) and Sunan Ibn Majah (1853)
- Have a frequent meetings and discussion between husband and wife in deciding on something. This will cause peace and contentment from both sides. Have a peace discussion. True is the words of Allah SWT:
وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ
and consult them in the matter
Surah Ali Imran (159)
Sheikh al-Maraghi said: “Peace discussion produces many benefits, among them is to show that heart union exists in settling a matter. This heart union will help in achieving a purpose.”
Lastly, always make du’a to each other so that your marriage will become harmonious and avoid giving pressure to your husband that will turn good intention into bad ones. Do qiyamullail regularly as well as make du’a as taught by Allah SWT:
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
"Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous."
Surah al-Furqan (74)
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
"Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire."