Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera
What's the ruling on a wife going to spend the night at her parents home? One of my friends husbands claims its a cultural practice that is un-Islamic and wont allow his wife to go spend the night at her house, even though it is within a half hours drive. she asked my opinion, and I thought that so long as she isn't neglecting her duties and responsibilities in the home, and that it isn't very often, that it was okay. I feel that the husband should be more understanding and respectful of his wife's bond with her family. many of my other friends spend the night at their parents homes and their husbands are okay with it.
Can you please let me know the correct answer, and provide some daleel.
In the name of Allah the inspirer of truth.
It is a good thing for a wife to visit her parents every now and then. It does not have to be considered a cultural thing, although some may make it into such. A wife should visit her parents for the sake of tying the knots of kinship and not as a weekly chore or routine.
According to Islamic law, it is a right of the wife that her parents be allowed to visit her once a week in her husband's home. However, the husband has the right to prohibit her from visiting her parents home, unless the father is disabled and cannot visit her. In this case the husband should permit her to leave and visit every now and then (as the texts indicate).
One has to remember that visiting the parents or relatives does not mean "sleeping over." This is entirely up to the husband whether to allow her to spend the night there or not and is an issue that needs to be resolved between the couple. It is not a shar'i right that has to be given to her by her husband.
One of the greatest of the Hanafi law scholars, Ibn 'Abidin, writes in his explanation on al-Haskafi's al-Durr al-Muhtar,
"(He should not prohibit her from leaving to visit her parents once a week if they are not able to visit her), It states in the Fath al-Qadirthat it is related from Imam Abu Yusuf that her leaving to visit her parents is pre-conditional to their being unable to visit her. If they have the ability to visit her than she should not leave. This is a sound opinion. For this reason, some of the scholars have preferred to prohibit her from leaving the home to visit [her parents]... [However], the truth is that Imam Abu Yusuf's opinion will be adopted when the parents are not capable of visiting her, otherwise the husband should permit her to leave once in a while according to the normally accepted custom ['ala qadr muta'araf]. As for every week, then that is far [from being accepted], because frequent visitation is opening the door to fitna, moreso if the wife is young... It is easier for the parents to visit her. (Radd al-muhtar2:664)
It must be remembered that the visitation under discussion here is visit by day and not a sleepover. That is the right of the husband.
Having said this, one has to remember that these are only laws that have to be applied when things cannot be worked out agreeably by the couples themselves. In a happy and working marriage, such issues should not arise. The couples should be able to work these issues out together. The wife should not demand to make such visits on a regular basis, and the husband should not prohibit her from making such visits every now and them. As for a sleepover, that is purely the right of the husband and one of the primary factors of a marriage.
And Allah knows best.
Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf
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