· It is incumbent on the husband to provide separate living quarters for his wife.
· The quarters provided for her should not be occupied by any members of the husband’s family. She must be able to enjoy total privacy without interference from anyone.
· If the wife of her own accord prefers to live with her in-laws, then this will be permissible.
· Separate quarters for her may be provided in the same building or house occupied by others. However, she must be able to have complete control over her quarters with no one else having the right to intrude in her domain. The lock/keys of her quarters should be in her possession.
· The wife’s in-laws have no right of demanding to enter her quarters and to inspect her rooms and belongings as is the habit of some misguided mothers-in-law.
· While the wife is entitled to separate living quarters, she cannot demand that she wants to live in a particular house, area or town. She has to be satisfied with the quarters made available to her by her husband.
· Just as the wife has the right of preventing her in-laws from intruding into her home, so too has the husband the right of debarring his in-laws from entering the home.
Generally husbands fail in fulfilling the important and incumbent rights of the wife in regard to separate accommodation. In most cases they are under pressure from their parents who insist on their married children living together with them under one roof and in the same house over which the parents have full control while the daughter-in-law has to live in subservience to her in-laws. This is Islamically an unjust and unlawful setup.
Parents of the husband should realize that in this unjust attitude they are usurping the rights of their daughter-in-law – rights which the Shariah has granted her. While it is to the advantage of the in-laws and perhaps to the husband as well to live together, they have no right to act selfishly for their own advantage when the matter concerns the rights of others. A daughter-in-law is under no Islamic incumbency to serve her in-laws. It is entirely another matter if she does. In doing so she will obtain great Thawaab. But, service to in-laws cannot be imposed on her, neither by her in-laws nor by her husband. This Mas-alah should be well understood.
Many mothers-in-law are the cause of misery for their daughters-in-law. They apply unlawful and inconsiderate pressure on their sons in an attempt to secure the domination of their daughters-in-law. This attitude leads to conflict, misery and sometimes homes break up. If the rights of the wife are considered from the very inception many marital problems will be avoided.
Parents-in-law should reflect that after marriage when a woman no longer serves even her own parents, how can she be expected to serve her parents-in-law? If she does, it will be only her goodness and a demonstration of her love for her husband.
Many sons are in a quandary when it comes to a conflict in the demands of parents on the one side and their wives on the other. The wife wishes to live separately while her in-laws insist that she lives with them. In such cases of conflict, the son should measure the conflicting demands on the standard of the shariah. If by fulfilling the wishes of parents the son is compelled to violate or discard the waajib haq of his wife, then it will not be permissible for him to obey his parents in this respect. While others can advise the daughter-in-law to exercise patience and submit to the wishes of her husband provided that the Shariah is not transgressed, the usurpers of her rights cannot tender such naseehat to her. They have to rather take stock of their own transgression and their injustice committed against their daughter-in-law. On the Day of Qiyaamah the daughter-in-law will have a claim against her husband and her parents-in-law for the violation of her rights – rights which Allah Ta’ala has ordained for her.