Assalamualaikum. I need an opinion from Ustaz. I am married and have two daughters and a son who are all still young. Our house is small, so I am incapable of providing separate rooms for them. My question is, is it permissible for my children (daughters and son) to sleep in the same room, but with separate sleeping places. Thank you.
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.
Segregating sleeping places between children is one of the education of parents to their children in protecting and maintaining the limitations of awrah even among family members. The purpose of this is as a precautionary step to protect them from fitnah and syahwat even among siblings.
The Prophet PBUH said:
مُرُوا أَوْلاَدَكُمْ بِالصَّلاَةِ وَهُمْ أَبْنَاءُ سَبْعِ سِنِينَ وَاضْرِبُوهُمْ عَلَيْهَا وَهُمْ أَبْنَاءُ عَشْرِ سِنِينَ وَفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَهُمْ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ
Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.
Musnad Ahmad (6689), Sunan Abi Dawud (495) and al-Albani views this as sahih
Majority of the fuqaha’ (jurists) are of the opinion that it is wajib for a father or wali to segregate place of sleeping for his children when they are 10 years old whether they are of the same gender or otherwise, and between the children and their parents. [See: al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah 38/34]
Imam al-Subki said that segregating sleeping places is done in two ways either by providing one mattress for each child or by providing the same mattress, but are separated and not touching each other. [See: Qadha’ al-Arb fi As’ilah Halab (pg. 248)]
This shows that the segregation of place of sleeping happens when they are separated and not touching each other. Therefore, separating their rooms is better and could avoid unwanted things to happen.
This should not only be emphasized by the parents towards their children who haven’t reached puberty yet, but it is an obligation if they have reached puberty and able to take care of themselves. This cultivation of ethics is better done when the children are young so that they do not experience any emotional negative effects when it is done abruptly without a gradual training level.
If a child shares a room with his or her siblings of the same gender, then they should be reminded to always ask for permission before entering the room and to cover the awrah among them.
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ ۚ مِّن قَبْلِ صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاءِ ۚ ثَلَاثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ ۚ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ ۚ طَوَّافُونَ عَلَيْكُم بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٥٨﴾ وَإِذَا بَلَغَ الْأَطْفَالُ مِنكُمُ الْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَأْذِنُوا كَمَا اسْتَأْذَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿٥٩﴾
O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the dawn prayer and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the night prayer. [These are] three times of privacy for you. There is no blame upon you nor upon them beyond these [periods], for they continually circulate among you - some of you, among others. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise. (58) And when the children among you reach puberty, let them ask permission [at all times] as those before them have done. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses; and Allah is Knowing and Wise. (59)
Surah al-Nur (58-59)
Majority of the fuqaha’ (jurists) are of the opinion that it is Sunnah for children to ask for permission before entering personal space or room in the three times of awrah which are before Subh, at noon and after Isya’ prayer. The reason of it being named as awrah time is because these three times are usually the alone time to sleep and rest, thus, there is concern that there is a possibility that his/her awrah may be seen by the other person if the person does not ask for permission before entering the space.
While for one who has reached puberty, it is wajib to ask for permission before entering in any situation either for the three mentioned times or other times. [See: Tafsir al-Munir 18/293-295]
To conclude, segregating the sleeping place between children or between children and parents is an obligatory education when they reach 10 years old. So, it is awla (prioritized) in the obligation to segregate the sleeping place if the children have already reached puberty especially between sons and daughters. Hence, according to the question asked, we advise to segregate their sleeping places when they reach ten years old by this method:
- Segregating the rooms between sons and daughters.
- If there are only two rooms and one of them is of the parents, then it is prioritized to provide room for the daughters. While sons are separated in another area like living room. This is as a precaution step (sad al-zari’ah) from any mafsadah in the future.
It is undeniable that providing a comfortable house is in accordance with individuals’ capabilities. However, we advise parents to always strive in obeying guidelines set by syarak in family matters.
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
“So fear Allah as much as you are able,”
Surah al-Taghaabun (16)
May Allah SWT give us true understanding in our daily life. Wallahua’lam.