She forgot about her sexual abuse in the past
Fatwa No: 119481

  • Fatwa Date:24-3-2009 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 28, 1430
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Question

a woman in our community was sexually abuse as a young child at home by a family member and spoke nothing of it to anyone till now. she has put it behind her and has a good haapy life now, but yet she still lives in the same house as the abuser although after the 1 incedent nothing of this nature has again occured. i am angry she still lives there and feel she is oppressed. is she wrong to do this, as she blocked it out her life as if nothing happened?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

Undoubtedly, what that man did is a grave major sin, and an abominable sin, however, this woman is not permitted to inform anyone about this matter; because this matter is either true and talking about it is spreading immorality (among Muslims), or it is not true, and so, it is accusing that man of something from which he is innocent. Indeed, she did well by forgetting this matter because there is no benefit in discussing it or thinking about it.

On the other hand, we do not understand why you are angry against her because she still lives in that house. If this house is her family’s, then there is nothing which prevents her from living there. However, if there is a non-Mahram in that house, then she is obliged to wear Hijab in front of him and she should not allow him to be in seclusion with her, whether it is the man who sexually abused her or anyone else.

Being in seclusion with a non-Mahram woman is forbidden as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: There is no man who stays in seclusion with a woman except that the devil is the third person present [i.e. the devil will whisper to them to commit illegal sexual acts] [At-Tirmithi] Included in this ruling is any unmarriageable relative whose dealing with this woman is suspicious.

In any case, a Muslim family should observe the religious conditions, especially about men entering the house, and mainly the entrance of relatives who are not Mahram (i.e. a spouse or a person whom one is permanently prohibited from marrying due to suckling marital or blood relations). The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Beware of entering upon women; they said: ‘O! Messenger of Allaah, what do you say about the male in-law (the woman's husband's male relative like his brother, uncle, cousin, etc)?’ He replied: “He is death itself (i.e. his seclusion with her is as serious and dangerous as death)." [Bukhari and Muslim] The meaning is to warn against the seriousness of being tolerant about in-laws entering upon non-Mahram women and being in seclusion with them. 

Allaah Knows best.

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