Spouses are not obliged to tell each other everything about their families
Fatwa No: 300268

Question

Assalaamu alaikum. My husband and myself are intimate, and we used to share everything. In recent days, I had some disputes with my relatives, and I shared everything with him. Now he is asking me to stop talking with them, but my opinion is that nobody is perfect and that we cannot avoid everybody, and I personally feel very unsecure when I am isolated even though my husband is there for me. My question is the following: What does Islam say about maintaining transparency with the husband, and is it important for a girl to have (a close relationship with) her relatives after her marriage also; what is the husband's right here?

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 ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

Mutual love between the spouses is commendable and required in order to achieve marital stability and make the marriage bond endure. It is also commendable for the spouses to build their relationship on frankness and openness; however, this does not mean that they should disclose everything concerning themselves to one another. Rather, this matter should be governed by what serves the best interests of the spouses; sometimes the best interests entail not disclosing a given matter to the other spouse, and such disclosure may even incur evils. Overwhelming love often leads to being overly frank; this is why Islam encourages moderation in love and hatred. Muhammad ibn Seereen narrated from Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and he - Ibn Seereen - said 'I think he - Abu Hurayrah - attributed it to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam': “Love the one whom you love mildly, for perhaps he will become hated to you someday; and hate whom you hate mildly, for perhaps he will become your beloved someday.” [At-Tirmithi - Al-Albaani graded it saheeh (sound)]

There is no doubt that the woman is obliged to show dutifulness and maintain ties of kinship with her relatives, especially close ones with whom the upholding of the ties of kinship is obligatory and severing them is prohibited by the sharee'ah. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.} [Quran 17:26]

Salmaan ibn ʻAamir  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Charity given to the needy is (counted as) one charity, and if it is given to relatives it is (counted as) two: charity and upholding the ties of kinship.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmith, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]

Hence, it is incumbent on the woman to maintain her relations with her relatives and in case of any misunderstanding or some sort of discord between her and them, she should strive in reaching reconciliation. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allaah - then We are going to give him a great reward.} [Quran 4:114] Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Shall I not inform you of what is more virtuous than the rank of fasting, prayer, and charity?” They said, “Yes!” He said, “Making peace between each other. For indeed spoiling relations with each other is the haaliqah (what destroys one's religiosity).” [Ahmad and Abu Daawood] Also, exchange of sincere advice should be fostered among all Muslims; Tameem Ad-Daari  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “The religion is (all about) naseehah (advice, sincerity).” We said, “To whom?” He, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “To Allaah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” [Muslim]

It should be noted, though, that the husband has no right to command his wife to sever the ties of kinship with her relatives and to stop talking to them; verily, this constitutes cooperation in sin and cutting off ties of kinship. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {...And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allaah; indeed, Allaah is severe in penalty.} [Quran 5:2] However, the husband is entitled to prevent his wife from visiting her relatives out of fear of incurring considerable evils as previously highlighted in fatwa 91788.

Please refer also to fataawa 85308 and 85167 about the rights of the spouses over one another.

Allaah knows best.

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