I have lived with my in-laws for last 7 years and I just don't get along with my father in-law. I have asked my husband to move out from them. He is very hurt on this matter and says he cannot live without his parents. What does Islam say about this situation? I am desperate to move out, but I like my husband to be happy with me also.
Praise be to Allaah. Firstly, the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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 Allaah (sallaallahu alayhi wa sallam) 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." (Bukhaari).
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.
Secondly, the 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 ('url) and the social level of the wife.
Scholars' Opinions In Support Of The Above
Ibn Hazam (RAH) said: "He has to provide her with accommodation according to his means, because Allaah says:
"Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means" (Q65 [al- Talaaq]:6) [(al-Muhallaa, 9/253)].
Ibn Qudaamah (RAH) said: "She (the wife) is entitled to accommodation because Allaah says: "Lodge them. .. " (Q65 [al-Talaaq]:6)
If 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:
"..and live with them honourably …" [an-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. [(al-Mughni. 9/237)]
Al-Kaasaani (RAH) 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',4/23)]
No Right To Force The Wife
Ibn Qudaamah (RAH) also said: "A 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 ask for independent accommodation or they may choose to forgo this right". [(al-Mughni. 8/137)]
By this, 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. Rather; 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.
AI-Haskafi (RAH), 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". [(al-Durr al-Mukhtaar,3/599-600)]
What Is Permissible
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.
Answered by Shaykh Muhammed ibn Salih AIMunajjid (www.islam-qa.com)