If a son lives in a different home from his family, and he wants to have her mom over his place for a week or two, does the husband of the mom have the right to prevent her from visiting their son just because the husband doesn’t want his wife to leave the house?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The ruling, in principle, is that a wife should not leave the house without the prior permission and consent of her husband. This is something more or less agreed upon.
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If your wives seek permission from you to go to the Masjid at night, let them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 827)
Salim narrates from his father that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “If the wife of any of you seeks permission to go to the masjid, he may not prevent her.” (Sahih Muslim, no: 442)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “It is not lawful for a woman to fast (optional) without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house except with his permission….” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 4899)
Based on the above narrations and other similar texts, the jurists (fuqaha) state that a woman should seek permission from her husband before leaving the house. The Fuqaha termed the woman who leaves the house without her husband’s permission as Nashiza (disobedient), because of which she will not be entitled to any financial support until she returns.
Imam al-Kasani (Allah have mercy on him) mentions that one of the effects of marriage is that the husband owns the right of his wife being confined to him (milk al-habs wa al-qayd), and she cannot leave the house without his permission. This is due to the verse of the Qur’an: “Let women live in the same style as you live, according to your means” (Surah al-Talaq: 6) and “And remain in your homes” (Surah al-Ahzab: 33) and “And turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness” (Surah al-Talaq: 1). (See: Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2/331)
Imam al-Mawsili (Allah have mercy on him) states in his al-Ikhtiyar:
“If the woman leaves her husband’s house (without his permission), then she will not be entitled to any financial support…..If she returns to the house, she will once again be entitled to this support.” (al-Ikhtiyar li ta’lil al-Mukhtar, 2/225)
Having said the above, the husband should use this right in a correct manner and not misuse it such that it causes harm and distress to the wife. The wife must obey her husband as long as her own rights are not violated. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: There shall be no harming and no reciprocating harm.” (la dharar wa la dhirar). (Musnad Ahmad, Mustadrak al-Hakim, 2/57 and others)
Hence, it will be permitted for a woman to leave the house for basic and essential needs, even if her husband does not allow her. If the husband prevents her from visiting the doctor (and does not even provide any alternative), then she does not have to remain ill and obey her husband, for her own right (of receiving treatment) is being violated here.
In light of the above discussion, we come to your question. A mother has a basic right of meeting her son and keeping ties with him. This is obvious and not in need of any evidence. As such, the husband is not allowed to prevent his wife meeting her son according to the normally accepted custom, for that is her basic right.
As for spending the night, that is purely the right of the husband and one of the primary factors of marriage. Hence, it is the right of the husband that the wife stays the night with him in his house.
Imam al-Mawsili (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“The husband has a right of refusing his wife’s parents and son (from another marriage) to visit her, as the house belongs to him. However, he cannot prevent her from speaking to them and looking at them whenever she desires, for in it will be the breaking of ties…” (al-Ikhtiyar, 2/228)
Therefore, in conclusion, the wife has a right of visiting her son. Now if the husband makes arrangements in order for her to meet her son at his own house, her son’s house or at some other place, then that is up to him. If he demands that the son visits her at their house, then the wife cannot leave the house without his permission. However, if he refuses to let his wife meet her son altogether, then she may leave the house (without his permission) and visit her son but only by day. She cannot stay overnight with express permission from her husband.
Finally, one must always remember that these matters are solved with mutual discussion, love, tolerance, and keeping the interests of one’s spouse ahead of one’s own. Both sides may have to give away a little in order for things to work out smoothly. The wife should not demand staying with her son overnight and not spending the night with her husband. The husband should make arrangements, if reasonably possible, where the son may come and stay with them for a few days.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK