Praise be to Allaah.
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned against
the husband’s relatives who are not mahrams to the wife entering upon
her. It was reported from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir that the Messenger of
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Beware of
entering upon women.” A man from among the Ansaar said: “O Messenger
of Allaah, what about the brother-in-law?” he said: “The
brother-in-law is death.” (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 4934; Muslim, 2172).
It is not permissible for her to be alone with any of her in-laws except those who are so young that there is no fear that they will tempt her or be tempted by her.
husband must provide his wife with a dwelling place that will conceal her
from the eyes of people and protect her from heat and cold, where she can
live and settle and be independent. Whatever meets her needs is
sufficient, such as a room in good condition with a kitchen and bathroom
– unless the wife has stipulated larger accommodation in her marriage
contract. He does not have the right to make her eat with any of her
in-laws. The kind of accommodation provided must be commensurate with what
the husband is able to provide and be suitable according to local custom
(‘urf) and the social level of the wife.
Ibn Hazam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
has to provide her with accommodation according to his means, because
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means”
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
(the wife) is entitled to accommodation because Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):
them …” [al-Talaaq 65:6]
it is obligatory to provide lodgings for a divorced wife, then it is even
more appropriate that lodgings should be provided for one who is still
married. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… and live with them honourably…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19]. Part of that means providing them with accommodation, because she cannot do without proper accommodation to conceal her from people’s eyes and so that she may go about her business, relax and her keep her belongings in order.
(c) Al-Kaasaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If a husband
wants to make her live with a co-wife or her in-laws, such as his mother
or sister or daughter from another marriage or another relative, and she refuses to accept that, then he has to
provide her with accommodation of her own… But if he lodges her in a
room of the house that has a door of its own, this is sufficient for her
and she should not ask him for alternative accommodation, because the harm
caused by fear for her belongings and not being able to relax is no longer
there. (Badaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’,
(d) Ibn Qudaamah also said:
man does not have the right to make two wives live in the same dwelling
without their consent, regardless of whether the house is large or small,
because this will cause them harm due to the enmity and jealousy between
them. Making them live together will cause conflict and each of them will
be able to hear when the husband spends time with (has marital relations
with) the other or she will see that. If they both agree (to live together
in one house), this is permissible because they have the right to do to
ask for independent accommodation, or they may choose to forgo this right.
He did not mean that it is OK for the husband to have marital relations with one where the other can see and hear that; what he meant was that it is permissible for them to live in one house, where (the husband) can come to each of them on her night in a place in the house where the other cannot see her.
If he can give each wife a part of the house with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, this will be sufficient. Similarly, he could give each wife a separate house or apartment.
Al-Haskafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) – one of the Hanafis – said: Similarly, she is entitled to a place in the house that is free of his family and her family according to their means, as is the case with food and clothing. A separated part of the house with a door of its own and facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen will be sufficient for the intended purpose.
Ibn ‘Aabideen commented:
What is meant by “a bathroom and kitchen” is bathroom facilities and a place for cooking that should be within the room or in a place which is not shared by any other family members.
I say: what indicates that what is meant by “house” [bayt – literally, “house”, translated above as “room”] is a room is the comment of al-Kaasaani (may Allaah have mercy on him): If the house has rooms, a room should be allocated to her and given its own door. They said: she does not have the right to ask him for alternative accommodation.
On this basis, it is permissible for him to accommodate you in a room of the house that has its own facilities, so long as there is no fitnah (temptation) or being alone with any non-mahrams who have reached the age of puberty. He does not have the right to force you to work for them in the house or to eat and drink with them. If he is able to provide you with accommodation that is completely separate from his family, that will be better for you, but if his parents are elderly and need him, and they have no one else to serve them and the only way he can serve them is by living with them, then he has to do that.
Finally, we urge you to be patient and to strive to please your husband and to help him to honour and be kind to his family as much as possible until Allaah grants you a way out. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid