A SEPARATE HOME- A WIFE’S RIGHT

Q. I am faced with a dilemma and I’m hoping for your esteemed advice. In today’s day and age we hear from many Ulama that newly wed couples should stay separate from the husband’s parents. In our economically depressed country, what happens to youth who are newly graduated and just started working? Starting salaries are ridiculously low in our economy today.
What happens to young men such as myself? Young men who recently graduated, earning around R7000 as a starting salary in a company that increases salaries by a measly 8% a year and whose families can not afford to support a second household?
And the only way to make Nikaah is to stay with my parents for the first few years? To wait to earn a salary that is enough for a separate house will take many many years.
Are we advised and expected to wait until then to make Nikaah?
A. The Shariah has granted a woman the right to have her own private quarters to live where her in-laws may not intrude without her permission. Most in-laws labour under the impression that a daughter-in-law is a free maid. Innumerable marriages collapse and end in divorce due to incompatibility, dispute and enmity between the daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law.
If a woman is not prepared to marry a man who is unable to provide her a separate home, then no one can force her to marry that man. If she is agreeable to live with her in-laws, it is her choice. Hence, the issue is with the woman. If she insists on living separately, no one can compel her to stay with her in-laws.
Regardless of your urgent need to get married, you do not have the right nor the authority to demand that the woman lives with your parents, if she refuses. There is no one who can compel her. Such compulsion is haraam.
There is nothing the Ulama can do. They can not compel a woman to marry a man who is unable to provide her a separate home. If she of her own accord agrees to live with the in-laws, it is her own choice. If the woman is not prepared to live with her in-laws, she will be within the ambit of the Shariah. This is an issue which has to be decided between the parties before marriage. Whether to marry a man who is unable to provide a separate home or not to marry him, is the woman’s choice and right. No one can pressurize her to accept living with her in-laws. Such pressure is zulm.
Allah Ta’ala knows why He has granted her this right. In the vast majority of cases, mothers-in-law and even sisters-in-law subject the daughter-in-law to a reign of tyranny. Her life is regimented in her husband’s house. She can not claim that the house where she has to live is her home. Her freedom is vastly curtailed and tasks of others are imposed on her. The mother-in-law, like a hawk watches how she cooks, dresses, and packs her kitchen and bedroom cupboards. Her life becomes miserable under the dictation and domination of her in-laws. That is why Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to her the right of a separate home, entry into which may not be gained by the in-laws without her permission. Intrusion into her privacy is standard procedure in most homes where the daughter-in-law has to live with her in-laws.

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