I hope you can answer my question in detail. Please tell me if a husband doesn’t let his wife attend Islamic gatherings like dars for Quranic tafseer and seerah sessions etc., then the wife is supposed to listen to him and not benefit from these sessions or she should not listen to him? This is the case where no house work or responsibilities are being neglected and using wisdom hasn’t helped either?
Answered by: Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf
In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.
Preserving the relationship between husband and wife is extremely important. This, without doubt, has to come from both sides. Although there are many rulings mentioned in the Shari’a concerning the rights of husband and wife, it is not always beneficial to bring them up in everyday discussions between the spouses and remind each other of them all the time. This makes the relationship no more than the dry following of a set of rules which can be very detrimental to the relationship. What is needed is to assist each other’s progress towards the hereafter, with love, affection, and mutual understanding.
Coming to the issue in question, if there are no harms feared by the wife attending classes and lectures in the masjid then the husband should allow her to go. Why should she be stopped from learning her religion and becoming stronger in their faith? When she has left her home to come and live with her husband, and is also fulfilling the responsibilities of her marriage home, then the husband should allow her to take part in these classes since it is her desire to do so. This is far better than sitting in front of the television, gossiping on the phone, or shopping in the mall all day long, which many women are accustomed to.
It should be realized that she has hopes and desires to learn her din and be in a atmosphere where the words of Allah and His Messenger (upon him be peace) are being taught, there is no need to be too rigid in this issue, unless some form of harm is feared, for instance if there is undue mixed interaction and socialization taking place in the Islamic Center where the classes are being held.
A hadith of the Prophet (upon him be peace) states, “Do not prohibit the female servants of Allah from (attending) His masjids.” Although many Hanafi scholars have, in view of other narrations, permitted that husbands may prohibit their wives from attending the masjid for prayers, due the possibility of fitna (i.e. from the way women dress, etc.) and the promise of greater reward earned by praying at home for them.
However, attending for the sake of acquiring the essentials of one’s din (especially if this can not be gained elsewhere) should be permitted at times, as ‘Allama Ibn ‘Abidin, one of the greatest of the later Hanafi scholars, has written in his Commentary of the al-Durr al-Mukhtar. He states:
“If it is not due to an emergency situation that has arisen and she wants to leave the house to learn the laws of ablution and salat, then if the husband possesses the knowledge of those laws and he can teach her then he has the right to prohibit her from going out. Otherwise it is superior for him to permit her (to attend) sometimes”
(Radd al-Muhtar 2:556).
Therefore, the husband does have the right to restrict where she goes, but he should permit her every now and then to go out and learn the essentials of her din, unless he can provide this education himself.
In the case that he does not allow her to leave (for whatever reason), she will have to obey him, and is not permitted to leave without his permission. In this case, the wife, after determining the reason for her husband’s disapproval, could try and organize something else that will meet his approval (for instance, a class at home or at another sister’s house), since sometimes he may have valid reasons for not allowing her to attend the classes at the masjid.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf