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Meaning of the Hadith which says that a lady must seek permission from her husband for going out


By
Karim
(He is a new convert to Islam, from the Netherlands)

 

 

 

Ibn ‘Umar reports from the Prophet that once a lady came to the Prophet and asked him about the rights of a husband on his wife. He replied: … she should not leave his house without his permission. (Sunan Bayhaqi, No: 14490)

 

 

Answer:

 

A particular ruling must be understood in the context of general rulings. Islam requires that the wife adopt an attitude of adjustment and harmony with the husband and the husband is required to be affectionate and accommodating as far as possible to the needs of his wife. He must not impose any undue restrictions on her for this will ignite the wrath of God upon him.

With regard to a wife seeking her husband’s permission before leaving the house, the proper perspective must be understood. In general circumstances of mutual trust, there is no need for a wife to ask permission from her husband to go out (see: The Guiding Helper,song 38, marriage, page 307). However, in certain circumstances in which the husband genuinely considers that going out might disrupt the family in any way, he has the authority to exercise his right of stopping her and in these circumstances, she should always ask permission to leave the house. In this regard, the husband must remember that if he imposes himself without any sound and justifiable reason, he would be crossing the bounds and invoking the displeasure of the Almighty. His wrong behavior may even lead the wife to abandon him for which he would be solely responsible (see tafsir Ibn kathir An-nisa 19)

 

We would also note here that any decent (real Muslim!) husband will give his wife general permission to leave the house during times of general safety ,because Allah swt says:

 

O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye 
treat them with harshness, (regaring the issue that woman have to ask permission to 
their husbands for leaving the house, the husband must remember that if he imposes 
himself without any sound and justifiable reason, he would be crossing the bounds and 
invoking the displeasure of the Almighty,because  he is not allowed to treat his wive with 
harsh unjust rulings by abusing his rights)that ye may take away part of the dower 
[money given by the husband to the wife for the marriage contract] ye have given 
them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with 
them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye 
dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good  (Qu’ran An-nisa 19)

 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir :  Women Should not Be Treated with Harshness

Allah said,

permission_for_women_1.jpg (3811 bytes)

(nor to prevent them from marriage, in order to take part of what you have given them,) Allah commands: Do not treat the woman harshly so that she gives back all or part of the dowry that she was given, or forfeits one of her rights by means of coercion and oppression. Allah's statement,

Source: http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=4&tid=10677

 

A just/fair muslim husband will give his wive general permission to leave the house since 
Allah swt commands us to be just and fair in many Quranic verses
"Allah commands justice, the doing Of good, and liberality to kith And kin, and He 
forbids All shameful deeds, and injustice And rebellion: He instructs you, That ye may 
receive admonition. (The Noble Quran, 16:90)"

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not 
the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be 
just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye 
do." [Quran ,Al-Maidah 5:8]

 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

Justice is Always Necessary

Allah said,

no_marital_rape_1.jpg (5036 bytes)

(and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part).) The meaning of this Ayah is apparent, as it commands: Let not the hatred for some people, who prevented you from reaching the Sacred House in the year of Hudaybiyyah, make you transgress Allah's Law and commit injustice against them in retaliation. Rather, rule as Allah has commanded you, being just with every one. We will explain a similar Ayah later on,

no_marital_rape_2.jpg (4894 bytes)

(And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety,) which commands: do not be driven by your hatred for some people into abandoning justice, for justice is ordained for everyone, in all situations.

source: http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=5&tid=13174


Any husband who keeps his wife locked up in a restricted room or place of residence 
especially in his absence (such that the place of residence feels like a jail to the wife) has 
transgressed the proper manners of a friendly marriage in  our din , and Allah’s command 
‘Nor should ye treat them with harshness’ (An-nisa 19) .Such women in such extreme 
undesirable situations may take  recourse to the local judge or local Muslim religious leader
(if no judge has been appointed) to try to remedy the situation. 

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in one of his fatwas regarding women issues further states:

Islam does not require, as some people claim, that a woman should remain confined to 
her house until death takes her out to her grave. On the contrary, she may go out for 
prayer, for her studies, and for her other lawful needs, both religious and secular, as 
was customary among the women of the families of the Companions and the women of
later generations. Moreover, this early period of Islam is considered by all Muslims to be
the best and most exemplary period in the history of Islam. Among the women of this 
time were those who took part in battles in the company of the Prophet himself (peace 
and blessings be upon him), and after that under the caliphs and their commanders. 
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told his wife Sawdah, “Allah 
has permitted you to go out for your needs.” (Reported by al-Bukhari) He also said, “If 
someone’s wife asks his permission to go to the mosque, he should not deny it to her.” 
(Reported by al-Bukhari) On another occasion he said, “Do not prevent the bond-maids of
Allah from (going to) Allah’s mosques.” (Reported by Muslim.)      

(fatwa by Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi at www.islamonline.com) 

So we clearly see that no muslim husband has the right to deny his wife acces to the mosque.


Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do not deprive women of their share of the mosques, when they seek permission from you. Bilal said: By Allah, we would certainly prevent them. 'Abdullah said: I say that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said it and you say: We would certainly prevent them! (Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0891)


Further a husband is also obligated to grant his wife permission for leaving the house in 
case of seeking knowledge:

(There is no doubt that seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim, as has been 
authentically reported from Al-Mustafa)            

Prophet Muhammad (P) said, "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.'' 
(Narrated in Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn-Majah, quoted in M.S. Afifi, Al-Mar'ah Wa Huququha 
Fil-Islam (in Arabic), Maktabat Al-Nahdhah, Cairo, Egypt, 1988, p. 71.)  

 

Therefore:

 

It is obligatory on a woman to acquire a full knowledge of her religious obligations such as prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj,as well as things like trade and transactions. If the husband is not able to supply this knowledge, she is under an Islamic obligation to go out in search of it. Shayk ‘Uthman dan Fodio, the famous Nigerian shaykh, says in Irshad al-Ikhwan,  “if he refuses her permission, she should go out without his permission, and no blame is attached to her nor does she incur any sin thereby. The ruler should compel the husband to have his wife educated, just as he should compel him to give her adequate maintenance; indeed knowledge is superior (to maintenance) “.


In al-irshad , Shaykh Dan Fodio also says that women should demand their rights to education. Women like men, have been created for the sole purpose of serving Allah, which cannot be obtained without true education: “Had the woman demanded her rights from her husband in the affairs of her religion and taken her case to the ruler, and demanded that either he educates her in the affairs of her religion or extends his permission to her to go out to learn, it would have been obligatory (by law) on the ruler to compel the husband to do so as he would compel  him to give his wife her wordly rights, since religious rights are superior and preferred.


He also posed a question in al-Irshad: according to the law, women have to go out in search of knowledge which husbands cannot provide; should the scholar who cannot secure seperate seating arrangements go out in public to teach Islam, knowing full well that women are bound to attend his lectures? He says, “he should go out, but he should prevent intermixing of the men and women; and if such happens in his presence, he should put men o none side and women on the other side.”


( Source: Islam The Empowering of Women (by Aisha Bewley) , page 17 & 18 )


Ibn al hajj said, “If a woman demands her right to religious education from her husband and brings the issue to a judge, she is justified in demanding this right. It is her right that either her husband should teach her or allow her to go elsewhere to acquire education in Islam. The judge must compel the husband to fulfill her demand in the same way that he would in the matter of her worldly rights since her right in matters of religion are most essential and important.” (al mudkhal vol.2 p 277)


Finally i would like to point out that the prophet (saw) was always just and fair in dealing 
with his wives, he allowed them to leave the house when they asked him for permission. 
The prophet (saw) is the best example that every muslim must follow!

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told his wife Sawdah, “Allah
has permitted you to go out for your needs.” (Reported by al-Bukhari,  Book 026, Number
5395)

(A sister whom i know asked Molana Emraan Vawda (mufi from Ask-imam) about this 
hadith, he confirmed that ‘she can go out if it is necessary for her’ , and he said: ‘that 
needs will be interpretated by ones own self. what may be one persons needs may not be 
anothers.’  )

Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah
and the last Day, and remembereth Allah much (Qurán 33:21). 

The ignorent husband who wants to isolate his wife from society (by always unjust 
forbidding her to leave the house) must know that the general social system of Islam is 
based on the full participation of men and women in everyday life with piety and chastity. 
Indeed, segregation and isolation (by preventing your wife from leaving the house) may well 
protect a wife from temptation, but it essentially denies her the benefits of the communal 
life of Muslims (further unjust isolating your wife from society breaks the 
commandments of Allah swt to be just and fair, and dealing with your women on a 
footing of kindness and equity ).


Secondly It denies and abrogates her legitimate role in the social process of cooperation in 
the promotion of knowledge and good work, in the mutual counselling of Muslims to do all 
that is beneficial and avoid all that is objectionable, in their solidarity for the maintenance 
of their well-being and the defence of their establishment. Allah swt says,

"The believing men and women, are associates and helpers of each other. They 
(collaborate) to promote all that is beneficial and discourage all that is evil; to establish 
prayers and give alms, and to obey God and his Messenger. Those are the people 
whom God would grant mercy. Indeed God is Mighty and Wise".  (Al-Taubah, 71)

In his last sermon the prophet commanded muslims to treat others justly (a husband in 
islam is therefore obligated to treat his wife in a just and fair manner ):

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life 
and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to 
their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have 
rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's 
trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the 
right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, 
for they are your partners and committed helpers

(Hafiz Ibn Hibban reported in al-Sahih (11/203/#4862) via his isnad, from Fadalah ibn 
`Ubayd (Allah be pleased with him)

Hafiz Ibn Hibban authenticated it by including it in his al-Sahih. Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut said in 
his comments that its isnad is sahih

 

Conclusion: 

Fatwa by ‘ Ibn Qudama al-Maqdasi, al-Mughni, Kitab al-Walimah, Mas'alah Qasm al-Ibtida' 
at http://www.guidinghelper.com/qna/marriage.html :

‘We would also note here that any decent husband will give his wife general permission to 
leave the house during the daytime during times of general safety for short intervals. Any 
husband who keeps his wife locked up in a restricted room or place of residence 
especially in his absence (such that the place of residence feels like a jail to the wife) 
has transgressed the proper manners of a friendly marriage in our din (=faith/islam). 
Such women in such extreme undesirable situations may take recourse to the local judge or
local Muslim religious leader (if no judge has been appointed) to try to remedy the 
situation.]’

Further regarding this issue, it is also stated by the classical scholars of the famous book 
“The Guiding helper’ (based on the figh/law of one of Islam’s greatest Imam’s , Imam Malik)
that:

If the husband is verbally or physically abusing his wife, then she can leave the house 
(she can stay at her family’s or friends house) and refuse to come back in (The Guiding 
Helper , page 307, note 2321, song 38:1490)

In other words, the husband who verbally or physically abuses his wife (in Islam it is 
absolutely unlawful for the husband to violently hit or verbally abuse/ hurt his wife, see 
‘the guiding helper’  page 308 ), looses his right ‘to give her permission for leaving the 
house’. Off course in such situation islam gives women the right to divorce from their 
husband: (see: http://www.mwlusa.org/publications/positionpapers/divorce.html ) 

 

sources:
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543400

http://www.islamfortoday.com/turabi01.htm

http://www.guidinghelper.com(a guidebook for life, taken from the work of 
Multiple scholars, based on the figh of one of Islam’s greatest Imam’s ever,
‘Imam Malik’) 

http://www.abc.se/~m9783/farew_e.html

http://www.tafsir.com  (Ibn kathir’s tafsir)

Allah swt knows best

 

 

 

 

 

 

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