Ruling on asking to check the wife’s e-mail
Fatwa No: 27959

  • Fatwa Date:22-1-2014 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 21, 1435
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Question

I would like to ask a question. If the wife has an e-mail, then, in principle:
1- Does she have the right to keep her password unknown to her husband?
2- Does the husband have the right to ask his wife for her password without having a bad intention or would this be considered a violation of the wife’s rights? Many thanks.

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, is His slave and Messenger.

The wife has the right to keep her password unknown, even to her husband, because this is her absolute right. However, the wife should not raise suspicions about herself so as not to make her husband doubt about her and consequently disturb their marital life. Something might be lawful but it becomes recommended to leave it in consideration of another thing. That thing might even be recommended, but it would become favorable to leave it for the sake of another thing. Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “It is permissible to leave what is better so as to gather hearts and unite the word for fear of causing repulsion.

Hence, the husband does not have the right to ask about his wife’s password. Also, it is not permissible for the wife to raise doubts about herself. Both spouses should avoid such things that have no effect on the marital life. It should be noted that the husband has the right to ask his wife about her e-mail acquaintances, because he has more insight into what is harmful and what is useful. He is also the guardian and is responsible for his wife. Moreover, he has the right to limit her relations in order to protect her. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her the wife of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that she said:

I came late one night after the ‘Ishaa’ to the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so he asked, "Where have you been?" I said, "I was listening to the recitation of a man from among your Companions. I have never heard the like of his recitation and voice." He, and I, went to listen to him, then he (the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) turned to me and said, "This is Saalim, the freed slave of Abu Huthayfah. All praise is due to Allaah Who Made someone like him in my Ummah." [Ibn Maajah; Al-Albaani: Saheeh]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, asked his wife where she had been and this indicates the permissibility of doing so by the husband with his wife.  

Allaah Knows best.

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