The custom of a wife remaining in her guardian's house

Fatwa no. 295 Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger and his family. To proceed: The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' had examined the question submitted by His Eminence the Judge of Farasan to His Eminence, the Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Da`wah, and Guidance. The question was referred to the Committee by the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars no. (1725) dated (Part No. 18; Page No. 412) 13/10/ 1392 A.H. The question stated:The people of Farasan stipulate that a woman should stay at her father's or guardian's house upon her marriage. However, a wife may want to live with her husband wherever he may live, yet her shyness, the prevalence of the custom, and the autocracy of parents prevent her from declaring this. The result is that the wife remains a captive at her guardian's house where she is harmed because she misses her husband. It may be a far distance between the place of her father and that of her husband, which increases the suffering of both the married couple and their children, especially if the husband is weak or poor. Yet the wife's guardian may accept willingly or unwillingly to let the wife go to her husband if there is a law obliging him not to require this condition or put it into action if he had previously stipulated it. Thus, he should allow the female relative under his guardianship to accompany her husband to the place where they live. If the venerable Committee and eminent scholars examine this matter in order to find a solution to this problem, this will bring about relief. I am looking forward to your answer. May Allah grant us success.

A: The solution to this problem can be found through two means: First: Along with the surrounding educated people, the inquirer can preach and guide the people on social affairs and ethical matters in general; they can also illustrate the necessity of conjugal rights and the necessity for cooperation between the spouses to meet the demands of life, and especially bringing up children. In addition to that he can contact the nobles of Al-Jazirah as well as those whose rulings are respected among the population, and he should cooperate with them to eliminate such (Part No. 18; Page No. 413) abhorrent evils, whether those that are related to customs or any other. Once the inhabitants of Al-Jazirah know and are reassured by that, their keenness to require this condition will wane and there will be great hope that they will not adhere to it and that almost none of the guardians of women will require this condition except for an obvious benefit for the woman or for an urgent need pertaining to the parents, for example. Yet, this should be after her consent. Thus, when the need and necessity are no longer exist, the parents should respond by delivering the wife to her husband unless the spouses are reconciled that the wife lives with her guardian. Second: If the condition is imposed despite the guidance, preaching and persuasion as mentioned above, and the parents insist on implementing the condition without paying attention to whether the wife accepts this or not, then this matter is to be decided by the courts. If the judge is in doubt about some matters, he should refer it to his head. May Allah grant us success and may Allah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and Companions.