Assalamu alaykum warahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. My wife is staying at her mother's house and I work in the Gulf. She says that she is staying there because of the hot temperature in our house as it is somewhat open and directly exposed to sunlight. I asked her when she will come back to stay at my house, and she said that she will come back only after the summer(1-1.5 months). My brother and his wife also stay in my house, along with another brother of mine. My wife stays with her uncles in her mother's house. We have one daughter. I told her that she could stay at her mother's house until the summer before she left from my place in the Gulf. Now, I miss my wife and daughter too much so I asked her when she would come. Now she says that I am not trustworthy and talks back all the time and says that our house is an open place and that she and our daughter cannot tolerate the heat. My mother has been staying in the same house for the last 20 years, even when my younger brother was only two years old. My father died, and I want my wife to help my mother, and I would also be happy to see them everyday. What could I do to make her come? She also has not been talking to me for the last three days, and i also do not want to talk to her until she realizes that she is not behaving properly with me; she even raises her voice before her relatives when I am call her on the phone. Please let me know how long I can stop talking to her in order to teach her the good ways so that my daughter does not follow my wife. She is very pious and well aware of the deen. Is it ok that the reason is only because of the heat? We stayed with a lot more difficulties than this with our mother in the same house. I want to show my wife that life is not the same everywhere as she is thinking of air-conditioned rooms, cars, and so on, like here in the Gulf. I also want her to see that difficulties increase our faith. if I were to lose everything, would she refuse to stay with me because I would not have any money? Please guide me, and may Allaah reward you.
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.
Perhaps it is important that we begin our answer to your question by clarifying the two following matters:
Firstly: The wife has the right to be in a separate accommodation, and she is not obliged to live with the husband's relatives, including his parents; for more benefit, please refer to fatwa 84608. It should be mentioned here that the mere presence of heat is not a sound reason for the wife to refuse to move to her husband’s house unless she would be afflicted by an unbearable harm there or that she holds high social status and that such an accommodation does not suit her. Hajjaawi said in Zaad al-Mustaqni’, “The husband is obliged to spend on his wife, feed her, clothe her, and provide her with an accommodation that suits the women of the same social status like her...” The fact that the mother had been living in the same place for twenty years does not necessitate obliging the wife to live in it.
Secondly: The wife is not Islamically obliged to serve her mother-in-law [i.e. the mother of her husband] or his other relatives, but if she volunteers to do so, then this is a good thing, and it indicates that she has a good conduct. By doing so, she earns the kindness of her husband. For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 84909.
Based on that, you should not constrain your wife; rather, you should seek to have a mutual understanding with her. It is likely that your wife fears that problems would happen between her and your family during your absence but she did not want to tell you about this. It is known that problems often occur between the wife and the family of her husband, especially his mother, because of jealousy or misunderstanding of some actions or for any other reason. Moreover, it is obvious that it is more appropriate that the wife be in her family's house when the husband is absent. When she is in her parents’ house, she is more likely to find comfort and not feel embarrassed, contrary to when she lives with the husband's family, especially with the presence of his brothers, who are non-mahram to her.
However, your wife is wrong if she deliberately refused to answer your phone calls for no reason, as well as in raising her voice at you, as this is a kind of Nushooz (recalcitrance). The Nushooz of the wife should be treated in the light of the Sharee'ah; for more benefit in this regard, please refer to fatwa 85402.
Finally, you should not abandon speaking to her for more than three days, as this is prohibited. Deserting the wife that is mentioned in regard to treating her Nushooz is to desert her in bed. Hence, we recommend that you be wise and be careful that your marriage problems do not lead to dissension and conflict, and then to divorce and separation.
Allaah knows best.
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