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إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه و نستغفره ونتوكله إليه ، ونعوز بالله من شرور أنفسنا و سيئات أعمالنا ، من يهده الله فلا مضل له و من يضلل فلا هادي له ، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له ، وأشهد أنّ محمد عبده و رسوله ، - Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (pbuh) is His Messenger and His slave. و صلي الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و آصحابه و سلم - أما بعد :
Due to joint family system in many parts of Islamic world, it is very common to hear social issues related to wife and family of husband. These issues can be summarized as:
■ Wife's mistreatment of husband's family
■ Husband's family mistreat of wife
There may be endless reasons for such issues to arrive, and they often result in wife asking for separate accommodation. These matter become so severe that they often result in breaking of marriages.
Hence, it is important to understand rights of both spouses from Shariah perspective, i.e. rights of wife on husband, and rights of husband on his wife. It is imperative that all Muslims return to the Quran and Sunnah in every aspect of life, this also include matters related to marriage.
Firstly, the relationship between husband and wife is of compassion, kindness, love and mutual respect for each other. Whatever the situation is that is causing any rift or mistreatment between them, both husband and wife must mutual resolve their issues by showing love and compassion towards each other.
Sometimes, due to inexperience and act of childishness and immaturity, and often out of anger and frustration, husband and wife resort to extreme position. This is further aggravated by emotions and ego that can sometime result in devastating outcome that may bring an end to their marriage.
Hence, both husband and wife must take extreme precaution in dealing with situations like these. Husband must not treat their wife like servants, and give them the honor and self-respect due to them. Similarly, wife must show compassion towards the sentiments of their husband, and treat them with kindness and love, and must avoid using foul language all the time. Both must show patience, as Allah (swt) said:
Take this time tested advise from Allah (swt) and show courage and patience at the time of dispute. Generally, good manners and soft language often acts as an ultimate ointment that can heal any marriage issue. If the husband and wife are compassionate and kind towards each other, use soft language and good manners with each other, they generally overcome all crises in their life.
Foundational principal of marriage in Shariah
Before understanding spousal rights, it is important to understand the basic fundamental principal of Shariah that defines the relationship between the two spouses. Until these properly understood, all other legal details of secondary issues can easily be confused.
Allah (swt) states in the Quran:
Hence, in light of this verse from Quran, following Usool are established in Shariah:
■ Husband is identified as the person who has the main responsibility of protecting and maintaining the wife and the family. They have supervisory rule in conducting the affairs of the house. They have the responsibility for safeguarding the wife and taking care of all their needs. This doesn't mean that man has any superiority over the woman, rather, man has the responsibility to protect her. Hence, Allah (swt) choose man to be incharge of her affairs. In order to maintain the balance in marriage life, one person has to be given this responsibility to be the supervisor, protector and guardian of the family. Since, Islam is a religion of Fitra (nature), and such responsibilities are more suitable to the nature (fitra) of man, thus man was given this responsibility.
■ Wife was given the responsibility of maintaining the house and save guard the interest of her husband, and be obedient and loving to her husband.
■ Mutual respect and honour, and show kindness, compassion, love and devotion for each other, by fulfilling each other's rights.
Husband's rights on his Wife
■ Obedience: It is woman's obligation to be obedient to her husband.
■ As stated in the Quran: فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ - "4:34 Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husbands absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husbands property, etc.)."
■ Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "If the woman prayed her five daily prayers, guided her chastity and obeyed her husband, she will enter Paradise through any gate she wills".
■ However, the obedience of wife towards her husband is only in matter of maroof (things that are good and acceptable). If the husband order her to do something that is forbidden in Islam, then she must refuse to obey him. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "There is no obedience in what is an act of disobedience to Allah. Obedience is only with respect to what is good and acceptable (maroof)".
■ Leaving house with husband's permission
■ Allah (swt) commanded: وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا - " 33:33 And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salat (IqamatasSalat), and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove ArRijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet SAW), and to purify you with a thorough purification. "
■ Allah (swt) commanded the woman to stay in their houses (وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ), and do not display themselves as item of merchandise to whole world, like the times of Jahilliyyah (تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ). And safeguard their chastity, dignity and honour.
■ Not allowing any one to enter the house except with the permission of her husband
■ The Prophet (pbuh) said: "and your right upon them is that they do not allow anyone whom you dislike to sit on your cushion" Imam Nawawi commended on this hadith that "permission should not be given to anyone to enter your houses and sit on your furnishing whom he [the husband] dislikes. This is regardless if the one given permission is a non-related man, a woman or one of the wife's relatives. The prohibition extends to all of them. The wife is not to permit any man, woman, relative or otherwise [to enter into her husband's house] unless she knows or believes that the husband doe not dislike that person [to enter]".
■ Abu Hurairah narrated, that Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "[The Wife] is not to allow anyone into his house while he is present except with his permission". meaning that wife should seek husband's permission prior to admitting the person in the house, either the husband is home or not. "while he is present" here simply states the normal case.
■ Serving the husband and look after his well being.
■ Wife must look after the well being of her husband and serve him in matters related to family life, such as looking after the house affairs, bringing up the children, preparing for the food, taking care of the clothes etc.
■ As stated in the Quran: فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ - "4:34 Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husbands absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husbands property, etc.)." Here (حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ) means protecting everything that belongs to her husband in his absence. This include his progeny, his wealth, his/her honour, his secrets and private matters etc.
■ While Islam makes Husband responsible for providing sustenance and protection for the family, wife is given responsibility to look after the house affairs and helping in upbringing of the children, and their education. This has been understood from many narrations from many Sahabiyats, like Fatimah, Umm Salmah, Asma bin abu bakar etc.
■ However, scholars have disputed that if it is obligatory upon wife to serve the husband in things like serving of food, cooking, clothing. Scholars like Ibn Taymiah considers is an obligatory act, other thinks its customary. Ibn Qayyim wrote "Allah has obliged man to maintain her, clothe her and give her housing in exchange for being able to enjoy her and for serving him. And this has been the normal custom among the spouses... The customary practice is that the wife serves the husband and takes care of the internal affairs of the house." [Zaad al-Maad]
■ This does not mean that husband dos not assist his wife or help her in house affairs. In fact, husband helping their wife in house affair is evidence from noble Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It is part of dealing one's wife with kindness and good manners. Aisha narrated about the Prophet:"He would help his wife -- meaning serve his wife -- but when the time for prayer came, he would leave to the prayer".
■ When daughter of the Prophet (pbuh) Ruqayyah fell ill, Uthman ibn Affan stayed behind from the Battle of Badr in order to attend her and look after her. For Uthman to leave Battle of Badr to look after his wife states that it is of utmost importance to attend the wife in her need. Hence, the man has to consider the circumstances and state of her wife's health, and ensure her well being while she looks after his interest, and do not ask her to do thing that is beyond her physical capacity and may jeopardize her health.
■ Protect husband's honour, children, wealth and other just interest.
■ Wife must protect her honour, chastity and be extremely careful about anything that can jeopardize the honour of her family and her husband.
■ She must be careful in exposing her beauty to others, especially non-mahrams. She must protect the progeny of her husband. The Prophet (pbuh) considered those women worse who have committed zina and borne illegal child while they were married. He said: "Any woman who brings to a people one who is not from them [i.e. by illegal sexual intercourse] will have nothing to do with Allah and Allah will not enter her into Paradise".
■ Be kind and gracious, and grateful
■ Wife must be kind towards her husband, and show respect towards what her husband provides her. In some situation husband is not able to earn enough. Wife must show compassion and help her husband to live within his means. The Prophet (pbuh) warned the companions regarding this matter, and said that hell will be filled with woman who were ungrateful. "They are ungrateful to their husbands and they are ungrateful with respect to the goodness done to them. If one of you were to do good to one of them his whole life and then she sees from you something she does not like, she will say, "i have never seen any good from you".
Wife's right on her Husband
Type of the rights of the wife upon her Husband.
The wife has specific rights upon her husband that are the result of a sound marriage contract. These can be categorized into two:
■ Material or Financial Rights: which are the dower (al-sadaaq الصدق or المهر mahr),, spending and accommodation etc.
■ Non-Material Rights: such as fair division between co-wives, being treated in a decent and reasonable manner, and not being treated in a harmful way by her husband or anyone else in her house.
Material or Financial Rights
■ Mahr (dowry):
■ This is the right of wife that she is entitled to from her husband when the marriage contract is completed or when the marriage is consummated
■ Allah (swt) says: وَآتُواْ النَّسَاء صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَيْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيئًا مَّرِيئًا - " 4:4 And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). "■ Financially Maintaining the Wife
■ Providing financial support to wife is husbands obligatory duty. Since, the job of wife according to Shariah is to look after house affairs (وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ) and husband's job is to earn for the family and provide them material, food and living. Quran says: (الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء) "4:34 Men are the protectors and maintainers of women" and the reason it states for it is: (وَبِمَا أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ) "4:34 ... because they spend (to support them) from their means"
■ Hence, it is obligatory for husbands to spend on their wives. This includes food, clothing and housing according to the situation of Husband's means and earning.
■ Allah (swt) made this obligatory by stating in Quran: وَعلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لاَ تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا - "2:233 but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mothers food and clothing on a reasonable basis. "
■ The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them by the trust with Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah ............. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner (ولهنَّ عليكم رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ)”.
■ Husband provides the financial support based on his means
■ Allah (swt) says: لِيُنفِقْ ذُو سَعَةٍ مِّن سَعَتِهِ وَمَن قُدِرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقُهُ فَلْيُنفِقْ مِمَّا آتَاهُ اللَّهُ لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا مَا آتَاهَا سَيَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا - “65:7 Let the rich man spend according to his means, and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. Allah will grant after hardship, ease.” [al-Talaaq 65:7]
■ It was narrated that Aisha said: “Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyaan, entered upon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyaan is a stingy man who does not spend enough on me and my children, except for what I take from his wealth without his knowledge. Is there any sin on me for doing that?’ The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘Take from his wealth on a reasonable basis, only what is sufficient for you and your children.’”
■ Quran gave us Qaida kuliya on this, Allah (swt) says: وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدْرُهُ - "2:236 the rich according to his means, and the poor according to his means, "
■ This indicates that its obligatory on the husband to provide financial support for the wife to maintain her expenses, and that of her children according to what is customary fitting in the times they live.
■ This also indicate that wife can take from her husband's wealth if he refuses to give her what is her right according to her needs, even if she takes it without his knowledge as long as it's not more than her real needs.
■ However, this doesn't mean that wife overburden her husband with long list of demands and request. She should be satisfied and content with less, especially if her husband's circumstances doesn't provide him extra income.
■ The Prophet (pbuh) advised that in worldly matters with relates to possession of material wealth, one should look at who has less than you, He said: "Look to one who has less than you and do not look at one who has more than you as this is more likely keep you from finding fault with the blessing of Allah upon you".■ Accommodation
■ Woman has the shari'i right to be provided accommodation, which means that her husband should prepare for her accommodation according to his means and ability.
■ Alah says: أَسْكِنُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ سَكَنتُم مِّن وُجْدِكُمْ وَلَا تُضَارُّوهُنَّ لِتُضَيِّقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ “65:6 Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means, and do not treat them in such a harmful way that they be obliged to leave."
■ Separate Accommodation: The wife has the right to live in separate accommodation with her husband and children, if she does not like to share it with anyone like her in-law or relatives. This is the view of most of the Hanafi, Shaafa’i and Hanbali fuqaha. She also has the right to refuse to live with his husband's father, mother and siblings.
■ Al-Kaasaani said in Badaa’i al-Sanaa’i (4/24): If the husband wants to make her live with her co-wife or in-laws, such as the husband’s mother or sister or daughter from another wife or his relatives, and she refuses to do so, then he has to accommodate her in a separate house, because they may annoy her or harm her if they live together, and her refusal is an indication that she is being bothered or harmed. And because he needs to be able to have intercourse with her or be intimate with her at any time, and that cannot be done if there is a third person living with them. End quote. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah favoured the view that if the husband is poor or unable to provide separate accommodation for his wife, she does not have the right to ask for something he is unable to give. This was narrated from him in Mataalib Ooli al-Nuha (5/122). Rather she should bear it with patience until Allah gives him the means.
■ Separate accommodation is the wife’s right, even if she did not stipulate it in the marriage contract, and she has the right to ask for it now, and she is not regarded as being wilfully defiant because of that. The commonly held view among some people, that this is creating division among siblings, is not true, because this is a shar’i right of the wife, and it serves the interests of both spouses, because it prevents free mixing and guards them against looking at things that are not permissible. It is unfortunate that in many shared family homes, a man may look at his brother’s wife, and they may shake hands or be alone together, which may lead to jealousy, envy, disputes and separation. There may also be arguments because of the children. Undoubtedly a man is a stranger (non-mahram) to his brother’s wife, so it is not permissible for him to shake hands with her or be alone with her or look at her, unless he is a mahram to her through some other means, such as breastfeeding.
■ The one who looks at shared family homes will be certain of the wisdom of what the scholars have said, that a wife should have her own home, because in many of these homes there are problems and differences between the spouses and between a man and his brother, and between the wife and her husband’s mother, and so on, as well as the many evils and things that go against Islam. 
■ See further evidences and explanation below on separate accommodation under joint family.
Non Material Rights
■ To be kind and fair with his wife and show Good manners
■ Allah (swt) says: وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا - "4:19 And live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. ". Meaning husbands must show honour and respect towards their wives, and treat them with good manners and kindness (وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ). Even if due to some reason he dislike his wife, e.g. she is not beautiful or attractive, or has other short comings, or she is sick etc. Husband must show patience and forbearance.
■ The Prophet (pbuh) said: A believing man should not hate a believing woman since if he dislikes one of her characters, he is pleased with another". Thus, the husband should be patient and give more time to wife, and perhaps her other traits may bring more joy and success to husband.
■ It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘Be kind to women.’”
■ The Prophet (pbuh) enjoined kind treatment and honouring of one’s wife, and he described the best of people as those who are best to their wives. He said: “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.”
■ The Prophet (pbuh) stated concerning kind treatment of one’s wife: “You never spend anything but you will be rewarded for it, even the morsel of food that you lift to your wife’s mouth" . Meaning that good treatment towards his wife, and show of love and compassion will return in hefty rewards.
■ The Prophet was asked by Companions, "What is the right of our wives upon us?" He replied, "It is that when you eat, you feed her; when you get clothing for yourself, you get clothing for her; do not strike the face; do not swear at her; and do not boycott her except in the house".
■ Do not misuse the power and abuse her right
■ While Allah (swt) gave the position of (قَوَّام) protector and supervisor to the husband, He also caution him not to abuse his position to harm the wife.
■ ايلأ - If for some issue between husband and wife, husband decide to avoid his wife and takes an oath. Then Shariah states that he must revert to his wife after 4 month. This command was given to restraint those man who would abuse their wives by holding them in their custody without fulfilling their rights, and also not given them divorce.
■ Allah (swt) says: لِّلَّذِينَ يُؤْلُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمْ تَرَبُّصُ أَرْبَعَةِ أَشْهُرٍ فَإِنْ فَآؤُوا فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ - "2:226 Those who take an oath not to have sexual relation with their wives must wait four months, then if they return (change their idea in this period), verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. "
■ Shariah states that if husband divorced his wife then they should either take them back on reasonable terms or let them go. But do not just hold them to hurt them. This has been severely prohibited in Quran.
■ Allah (swt) says: وَلاَ تُمْسِكُوهُنَّ ضِرَارًا لَّتَعْتَدُواْ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ وَلاَ تَتَّخِذُوَاْ آيَاتِ اللّهِ هُزُوًا - "But do not take them back to hurt them, and whoever does that, then he has wronged himself. And treat not the Verses (Laws) of Allah as a jest,". If someone hold the woman just to cause them mental and psychological harm, or any other bodily and physical harm; then such person is condemned and will be committing great sin.
■ Providing Protection and Security to his Wife
■ Allah (swt) says: الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء - "4:34 Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, "
■ Not harming one’s wife.
■ This is one of the basic usool in Shariah (لا ضرر ولا ضرار) that states that we should not harm others, nor others should harm us. It was narrated from Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ruled, “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.”
■ Hence, its prohibited to harm one's wife and absolutely prohibited to hit her or beat her in severe manner.
■ The Prophet was asked by Companions, "What is the right of our wives upon us?" He replied, "It is that when you eat, you feed her; when you get clothing for yourself, you get clothing for her; do not strike the face; do not swear at her; and do not boycott her except in the house".
■ It was narrated from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said in his Farewell Sermon: “Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them by the trust with Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner”
■ Fair treatment, if husband has more than one wife
■ Wife has the right that she is treated fairly and equally, if the husband has other wives.
■ Allah (swt) says: فَلاَ تَمِيلُواْ كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ وَإِن تُصْلِحُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا - " 4:129 ... so do not incline too much to one of them (by giving her more of your time and provision) so as to leave the other hanging (i.e. neither divorced nor married). And if you do justice, and do all that is right and fear Allah by keeping away from all that is wrong, then Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful.
■ This applies to wife's rights to her financial and material support, as well as her other rights as wife. However, this doesn't apply to mans inner feeling of his heart with relates to love and affection, as such are not controllable aspects, as Quran also states that: وَلَن تَسْتَطِيعُواْ أَن تَعْدِلُواْ بَيْنَ النِّسَاء وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ " 4:129 You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire"
■ Interference from in-laws
■ Allah (swt) has given the responsibility to the husband to be protector of the wife, and at the same time asked the wife to be obedient towards her husband. Allah (swt) said: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means…” [al-Nisa’ 4:34] Ibn Kathir said: "Allah has given the husband rights and commanded the wife to obey him; He has forbidden her to disobey him because of the fact that he excels her and maintains her." [Tafsir Ibn Khatir]
■ However, other than her husband, wife has no obligation towards any other member of her husband's family to obey them in any matter, be it his father, mother, brother, sister or any other relative. But if ask her to perform an obligatory duty of Shariah, then she must follow it.
■ Husband must ensure that his wife has been given full protection and security in her house, and that no one disrespect and dishonour her in her house. This is basic shari'i obligation on husband's part.
■ The wife has right to feel free in her home, and none has right to enter her premises. This is stated in Quran. Allah (swt) said: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ - " 24:27 O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them, that is better for you, in order that you may remember. "
■ Hence, the family of husband must not enter the house of wife or her premises without explicit permission from her.
■ Due to the issues faced in joint family system, it should be noted in bold that it is haram for non-mahram relatives of the husband to enter the room of wife, especially when the husband is not present. This include husband's brother or any other male relative that are non-mahram to the wife. Even in the presence of husband, wife must observe full hijab and husband must be certain that there is no risk of falling into fitnah (temptation).
■ And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Beware of entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansaar said, “What about the in-law, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “The in-law is death.”.
■ Al-Nawawi commented on this hadith: "With regard to the Prophet’s words “The in-law is death,” what this means is that there is more fear with regard to him than anyone else, and evil is to be expected of him, and the fitnah (temptation) is greater because he is able to reach the woman and be alone with her without anyone denouncing that, unlike the case of one who is a stranger. What is meant by “in-law” (hamu) here is the relatives of the husband apart from his father/grandfather and sons/grandsons. Fathers/grandfathers and sons/grandsons are mahrams for his wife and it is permissible for them to be alone with her. The word “death” here does not refer to them. Rather what is meant is the brother, brother’s son, paternal uncle, cousin, etc, who are not mahrams. People are usually careless about this matter and a man may let his wife be alone with his brother. This is what is referred to by “death” and should be prevented more than her being alone with a stranger for the reasons mentioned above
■ It is not an obligation on wife to cook for husband's family, or clean their rooms, or do any other service for them. No such right has been obligation by Shariah. Hence, in-laws has no right to force the wife into any act to service them. The wife's obligation is only limited to serving and pleasing her husband only.
■ It is not allowed for in-laws (either husband's or wife's) to investigate matter of their private life. Both husband and wife has right to keep their private life secret. None has right to ask them questions concerning their private life.
■ If wife chooses to look after husband's parent out of her own compassion and love, then this is well rewarded act of compassion. As parents of husband is very honourable and it is also pleasing to husband that his wife is caring for his husband. However, it is by no mean an obligation on the wife, nor a wife can be made muklaf of it. Sometimes having parents live with them together results in great benefit, both for the spouses and the children. Hence, there is nothing wrong to live with parents of husband, as far as this conforms to the standards set by the Shariah, and doesn't result in abuse of wife's right or parent's right.
■ Wife must remember that husband has obligatory duty from Allah to honour his parents, and look after them, and care for them until they pass away. This duty is highly obligatory and must be fulfilled by the man. Failure to do so results in hefty punishment from Allah (swt). Hence, wife must ensure that she does not become an obstruction to her husband's obligation towards his parent. As the man has no choice in this matter, and he must serve the call to his parents as an ultimate obligation from Allah (swt). The Prophet (pbuh) has noted severe punishment and banishment from Allah (swt) for those who ignore the rights of their parents.
■ While husband fulfill their rights and obligation towards their parents, they must not ignore the duty and obligation they have towards their wife. They must not transgress from Shariah and abide by the laws of Allah in maintain the right balance between their parents and their wives. Both of these have separate rights, and one party cannot deny rights of other party. It is the husband who has the difficult job of maintaining justice based on guidance of Allah (swt) and His Messenger.
■ If husband feels that it is wiser to keep parents and wife separate, then this is the norm and there is no harm in it. If husband feels that he can keep the balance between them while they live in same house, then this is allowed, and there is no harm in it, and there is also benefit in it.
■ However, the norm is that husband and wife live in separate dwelling, if this can be afforded. As, the house of family is governed by the wife. It is her private space where she lives in freedom without any undue interferences. If is unnatural that two women share the same house, i.e. wife and the mother. As woman generally is possessive, and they like to decorate and adjust their house to their liking. Two woman may not have similar liking or preferences. This is very natural and may result in unnecessary conflicts and argumentations.
Joint Family issuesJoint Family is a common practice in Indian subcontinent, primarily in Hindu communities. It is an arrangement under which multiple families live in same house often consisting of many generating. e.g. father/mother, all their daughters or sons, their wives and children, may live in same house. Often money or income is pooled together to run the affair of the house. Typically such house will have single kitchen shared by all families. Money management and decisions are mostly done by either the male head, i.e. father or sometimes the mother. The son and their wives are bound by these decisions. In coming wives of the sons has to abide by rules of the household. Family ties are given preference of marital ties. In India, joint family system is supported by Indian Law.
This joint family system generate many serious social and domestic issues that severely contradict some aspects of Islamic Shariah Law and also violates the spirit of marital bonds.
■ Even though in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh there was large conversion to Islam, However, the families continued to practice their traditional joint family system. Woman's right, either mother or wife or sister are often abused in joint family. Often the concept of joint family is a result of bad economic conditions, and due to affordability of separate house. While father starts the family and when his son grows and get married, they often bring their wife into same house as they have no other means of income to support separate house. This is very typical in sub-continent. This create serious conflict of interest between the new wife and current residents of the house.
■ It should be noted that the norm is that when man and wife are married, they move to a separate dwelling and start their new life. In some cases, when there is good harmony in the family husband and wife may choose to life with his parents, as in the beginning of marriage they need guidance. However, the norm remains that husband and wife life in separate dwelling. If man has more than one wife, then he provides separate dwelling to each of his wife.This is evident from Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) and practice of Sahabas. And it is also a general consensus amongst Muslim scholars as it prevents the mafsada (harm) that is caused due to multiple families living in same dwelling.
■ Living with non-Mahram: Firstly, from Islamic prospective wife cannot live in the house with intermixing with other non-mahram in-laws, like brothers of the husband.
As we mentioned earlier the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Beware of entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansaar said, “What about the in-law, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “The in-law is death.”.
Allah (swt) has asked the women to preserve their modesty and chastity, observe complete hijab before non-mahram men. Husband's brother is non-mahram to wife, and she needs to observe full hijab, and she should be more careful about her clothing, adornment and speech before them than before others
Allah (swt) said identified list of mahram as: وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ - " 24:31 And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. "
This may be quite difficult and burdensome for a wife to remain in full hijab in her own house. Usually inside the house wife do not maintain same level of hijab and moves freely, this makes it very difficult to maintain the social norm as expected by Shariah. It is practically impossible to live in same dwelling with husband's brother and not come in contact with brothers wife.
It is permissible for woman to sit with her husband's brother or other non-mahram relative while she is wearing proper hijab, and other mahram relative is present, because The Prophet (pbuh) said: “No man should be alone with a woman unless she has a mahram with her.” [Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
However, such meeting should be for important discussion, and not for party or entertainment as Shariah doesn't permit intermixing of opposite sexes. Husband has to observe similar restriction in the presence of wife's sister, other non-mahram females relatives or wife's friends.
But wife should not be alone with non-mahram. Some people say we trust our brother or our wife etc. However, this is not a matter of trust, rather human behavior and they are often tempted by Satan in such situations. As the Prophet (pbuh) said: “No man is alone with a woman but the shaytaan is the third one present.” [Masnud Ahmad, Sunnan Thirmidi]. Even the most righteous of people can be tempted by Shaytan, so such a meeting should be avoided.
Woman has to cover her body and protect her chastity from all non-mahram relative, especially in front of her husband's male relatives or brother. If they live in same house with her, this will cause too much burden on the wife, as she has to do many things in the house. This will make it very difficult for her to observe her hijab and Shariah in her own house.
It is also not permissible for husband to leave her wife alone in the house while his brother lives in same house, even if the brother is most trustworthy or righteous. This can cause of great fitna. If for some reason the brother cannot afford separate dwelling for financial constraints, then the house be divided into two part, where brother cannot enter upon the area reserve for wife. This may be again be burdensome on wife and even on brother, and the preference to be given to have separate dwelling for wife.
■ Interferences into each other's matter, and abuse of rights: Secondly, multiple families living in the same house may cause interference in each other matters. For instance, husband's father, mother or brother and sister may be living in same house.
■ Obedience of wife is towards the husband, as mentioned earlier [4:34]. However, other than her husband, wife has no obligation to be obedient to her in-laws. This include husband's father, mother, brother, sister or anyone else. Wife has no obligation to cook for in-laws, or do their cleaning, or person any service for them.
■ However, there is social norm that parents are well respected, and given the good treatment. A relationship of "Birr" is maintained with parents, and efforts are made to keep them happy and pleased. Since husband has Sharii obligation towards his parent to look after them, and keep them content, wife should support her husband to achieve his Sharii obligation. Wife should not unnecessarily create difficulties or be rude to husband's parents.
■ It is observed in many cases of joint family, when a new wife come to home, she has to abide by the rules of the house, and the current residents of the house starts to order her into performing their service. This is very typical behaviour in joint family that is very much against the spirit of marital contract. From Shariah perspective, wife has the right to enjoy her marital live without interference, and be able to run the affairs of her house as per her desires and wishes, as far as they are within the bounds of Shariah. Her obedience is limited to that of her husband, and others do not have right to give her commands. In sub-continent, it is noted clearly the abuse that is inflicted on the woman by her in-laws. Such incidents are so well known and in such abundance that they don't require much documentation.
■ On the other hand, in some cases, wife may show disrespect towards parent of the husband for any number of reason. They may have difference preferences in how the home is run. Some wives are very argumentative and uncultured. They frequently engage in arguments with their husbands and the family of husband, or with his parents. These incidents are also very frequent. This will create unnecessary arguments in the house, and can also cause discord between wife and husband that can result in divorce. As husband will not accept anyone mistreating his parents. Even though that for some families it may workout to have wife and parents in same house, however, norm is to have separate dwelling for wife to avoid any interference in freedom of various members of the family.
■ In addition, if the sisters or other relatives are also living in same house, it will increase the chances of differences and argumentation. It is often said that two women can't live under same roof. A wife when she comes home has dreamt of good life with her husband, and she has aspiration of keeping her house in certain order. It is the right of every wedded wife to enjoy her house and run it according to her own style. Having more than one woman in the house may create a conflict of interest. That two of them may want to decorate the house different. This will create chain of never ending argumentation.
■ Also, with multiple families living in same dwelling, it means they will have their own visitors. It will become difficult for other family members to share the house with many multiple visitors coming home. Women in the house will have to abide by restrictions of hijab if non-mahram visitors come, and frequent visitor may also disturb the other members from their privacy.
■ It can be noted in some cases, having father and mother living in same house can be good for newly wedded family. As the parent can provide them needed guidance, and can also act as referee during conflicts. However, this must be acceptable to both woman in the house, i.e. wife and the mother. As both of them will have to give up some of their rights to share the same dwelling. Husband and father should watch the situation closely, and if things are not working out, they should quickly separate the dwelling. Often the male member of the family takes too long to make the decision, and by then house is ruined by many arguments due to conflict of interests.
■ Violate Privacy of members: Thirdly, it will violate privacy of the wife. It is not permissible for any in-laws to enter wife's room or her dwelling without her permission, because Allah (swt) says: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ - " 24:27 O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded. '
■ In house with joint family, members of family frequently enters each other rooms without permission or restriction. This violates the right of woman to enter in her room without permission. She may be in private with her husband, or breast feeding, or doing some other private activity and may not like people to enter her area. Even a customary ethics suggest that we request permission before entering some one's room or dwelling.
■ Wife or Parents?: Lastly, a question is often asked when the person gets married. Should I leave my old parents and have separate house with my wife? or Should I live with my parents and look after them and my wife has to live with my parent?
■ This is common issue in countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This is due to the fact that many Muslims still uphold values of customary joint family system which either their forefathers lived, or they are influenced by it due to living amongst that culture.
■ Obligatory responsibility of Parents: Firstly, we must state the obvious fact that children have ultimate responsibility to be kind and obedient to their parents, and look after them when they are old.
It is obligatory on children to be kind towards their parents, and ensure they are comfortable and well looked after.
However, it should also be noted that they are obliged to obey their parents for matters that conforms to Shariah. However, if the parents order anything that goes against Shariah or that violates the rights of other person, then children should refuse it politely as Allah (swt) said: (وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيمًا)
■ Wife's right to run affairs of her house: Secondly, the after the marriage, it is woman's right to run affairs of her husband's house. This is evident from Sunnah of Prophet (pbuh) and practice of Sahabas. And it is also a general consensus amongst Muslim scholars as it prevents the mafsada (harm) that is caused due to multiple families living in same dwelling.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that he heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler of the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for her flock. The slave is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim]
It is evidently clear from this hadith that woman run affairs of her husband's house, and look after the children, and other matters.
While mother runs the affair of father's house, similarly wife has ownership and accountability of running affairs of husband's house. Sister has responsibility of running affairs of her husband's house, and daughter has responsibility of running affairs of her house. If each of this party will interfere in rights and responsibilities of others, then the entire system will collapse, and a state of chaos will be created as often seen in joint family.
Then, when husband has more than one wife, he has to maintain separate dwellings for them, and do justice and timesharing amongst them. It will not be possible for three wives and parents to live in same house, and separate dwelling needs to be provided to them.
■ Financial Responsibility: Thirdly, Man is financially responsible for his dependants that includes his wife (ves), children, father, mother. However, he is not financially responsible for other members of his extended family or tribe, including his sibling. Although he can provide financial aid to his siblings or other relatives, however, this will not be obligatory rather a Sadaqa or Zakat.
Helping poor relatives or those in need comes under ruling of keeping good ties of kinship. Prophet (pbuh) said: "Charity given to the poor is charity and charity given to a relative is charity and upholding of family ties.” [Masnud Ahmed, Sunnan Nisa'i]. This exclude both parents (and those in the direct line of ascent, like grandfather or grandmother) and children (and those in the direct line of descent, like grand kids)
However, it is not permissible to give zakat towards household expense. e.g. if sister is unmarried and lives in same household as the brother, then Zakat cannot be given to her, rather she comes under the responsibility. But if the sister lives in different household, and she is needy then she can receive from Zakat.
In matters of inheritance, siblings only receive inheritance if the deceased doesn't have father and son, i.e. deceased is not kalala. While father, mother, wife, husband, and daughter are primary heirs.
■ Father's family vs Son's family: This is often mixed up. When a man marries and he starts a family, and raise children. This family of his with wife (ves) and children is considered his family. However, as time progress, his children grows and he marries his sons and daughter. Then daughter's family is the her husband and her children, and son's family is his wife and children. Thus, a family that the father started now converts into three families, the family of father, the family of daughter, and family of son. This is often confused, as son keep referring to father's family as his family, and his wife's parents as her family. However, both husband and wife often forgets that though they were once part of their parents family, but now they have their own family, and their parents are now extended family.
This causes many social and domestic issues. If husband and wife can comprehend bonds of marriage and that they now themselves own a family, and have responsibility to run affairs of this family, many of the domestic issues will not arise.
Especially, in the context of joint family, where husband continue to relate himself with his father's family, while wife often becomes alienated in her husband's house. This results in wife calling onto her parents to find an affiliation into a family and backing. Such an environment is destined to create disharmony between husband and wife. The attitude should be that between wife and husband they have their own family to look after. And while they are both responsible to look after their parents, and they have obligation to parents, their prime responsibility is their own family.
■ Hence, the balance needs to be created between obligation of parents, and obligations towards their own family. While it is utmost important for man to keep his parents close to him, so that he can look after them, he cannot force his wife to accept it. Rather it's a mutual understanding and willingness of the wife. To keep mother and wife in same house, means that right of both mother and wife are affected. Hence, both of them has to compromise and be willing to accept this situation. If one party is not willing to accept it, then separate dwelling should be provided. As both of these women has right to run affairs of their own households.
■ Keeping wife (ves) in separate dwelling doesn't violate the right of parents. Rather it is a norm. Person should visit his parent frequently and ensure they are comfortable and well looked after. Often, children can afford a servant to look after their parents. At the same time, they visit their parent frequently, daily or many times a day to ensure their parents are in good state. One should not ignore his parents for long period, and make frequent checks to know their conditions. Especially when parents are old and need more attention, this frequency should be increased.
■ Separate residence for each family is a norm is evident from following verse in the Quran:
Here, Quran states that its allowed to eat at houses of your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts etc. This is clear indication that man (after marriage) in normal circumstances live separately from their father, mother, brother and sisters. The verse (أَن تَأْكُلُوا مِن بُيُوتِكُمْ) means that they have separate house, and when you enter their house (فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُم بُيُوتًا فَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ) give them greeting of peace, like we say assalamu alaikum.
■ Living in separate house is also important as this means one person doesn't have all the burden to support other families, and also the member of each family work hard and doesn't become lazy.
■ On the other hand, by living separately there is more love and mutual feeling of respect. When kins or parents are living in separate dwelling and they miss each other, they go to each other house to show love and respect.
It is well known that Prophet (pbuh) has separate house for all of his wives, and also when he got married he moved out of his uncle Abu Talib's house. Also, when Ali got married, both Ali and Fatima moved to their own house.
■ Allah (swt) says in Quran: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ - " 33:53 O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted...".
■ This refers to the separate houses of Prophet's wives...
■ There are so hundreds of hadith that talks about Prophet's houses:
■ Narrated Anas bin Malik: A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah),..
■ Narrated 'Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) that while Allah's Apostle was with her, she heard a voice of a man asking permission to enter the house of Hafsa. 'Aisha added: I said, "O Allah's Apostle! This man is asking permission to enter your house." The Prophet said, "I think he is so-and-so," naming the foster-uncle of Hafsa...
■ This also indicate that houses of Prophet's wives were close to each other■ Narrated Um Salama: that once the Prophet was in her house, and an effeminate man was there too. The effeminate man said to 'Abdullah, (Um Salama's brother) "O 'Abdullah! If Ta'if should be conquered tomorrow, I recommend you the daughter of Ghailan, for she is so fat that she has four curves in the front (of her belly) and eight at the back." So the Prophet said (to his wives) "These effeminate (men) should not enter upon you (your houses). ■ Narrated Kuraib: Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Prophet slept till he snored and then prayed (or probably lay till his breath sounds were heard and then got up and prayed)." Ibn 'Abbas added: "I stayed overnight in the house of my aunt, Maimuna, the Prophet slept for a part of the night,...
■ Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: Once I went upstairs in Hafsa's house and saw the Prophet answering the call of nature with his back towards the Qibla and facing Sham...
■ Narrated 'Abdullah: The Prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointing to 'Aisha's house (i.e. eastwards), he said thrice,...■ Narrated Ibn Umar: Once the Prophet went to the house of Fatima but did not enter it. 'Ali came and she told him about that. When 'All asked the Prophet about it, he said, "I saw a (multi-colored) decorated curtain on her door. I am not interested in worldly things." 'Ali went to Fatima and told her about it. Fatima said, "I am ready to dispense with it in the way he suggests." The Prophet ordered her to send it to such-and-such needy people. " 
■ This hadith explain us two things. Firstly, Ali and Fatima lived in separate house. Secondly, the Parents give naseeha (advise) to their children, and children obey good advice of their parents.
It is responsibility of the wife to run the affair of their house. If there are more than wife, then each one of them run affairs of their house, as each of them should have separate dwelling. This is proven from the following.
■ Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: That he heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charge; the ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; the man is a guardian in his family and responsible for his charges; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and responsible for her charges; and the servant is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for his charge." I definitely heard the above from the Prophet and think that the Prophet also said, "A man is a guardian of his father's property and responsible for his charges; so everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for his charges."
■ Narrated 'Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, "Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them; a slave ('Abu) is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges."
■ These narrations clearly indicate that wife is responsible for house of the husband.
■ These narration also clarifies that man should be guardian of his family. i.e. after his marriage he moves out of his father's house, and run his own family affairs and is guardian of his family. In joint family, typically the head is either the father of husband, or mother of husband.
■ This also indicate that husband should look after their parent's house, as " A man is a guardian of his father's property". So wife should not object to her husband when he is looking after affairs of his parents.
 (pbuh) is commonly used abbreviation for Peace be upon Him. صلى الله عليه وسلم
 Sahih al-Muslim
 Sahih al-Muslim
 Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim
 Sunnan Abu Dawood, Sunnan ibn Majah.
 Sunnan Ibn Majah,
 Sunnan Abu Dawood, Sunnan ibn Majah.
 Sahih al-Muslim
 Masnud Ahmad, Sunnan Thirmidi
 Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 783: