Woman: Kept as mother of children and not as wife

Q686 :A man came home to find his wife lying on her bed, fully dressed, with a cousin of hers sitting on the bedside close to her. She assures him that nothing serious took place between her and her relative. She says she is prepared to confirm that under oath. He is not convinced. However, to avoid disgrace to his family, particularly to his own children, this man is thinking of keeping her as the mother of his children but not as his wife. How far is his decision acceptable from the Islamic point of view?

A686 : When the woman says that nothing serious took place between her and her relative, she is certainly wrong. For any Muslim woman to be alone with a man in her own bedroom is very serious because it violates the Islamic rule of propriety. The Prophet tells us that when a man is alone with a woman, Satan is their third. This means that by being alone together, the man and the woman will start to have thoughts about things that are illegal. There is the temptation to do what is forbidden. Therefore, Islam forbids that a man stays with a woman alone where they can have undisturbed privacy. This woman admitted her relative into her bedroom, where she lay down and he sat on the bed. That is going too close to what is an extremely serious prohibition. The Prophet has taught us to avoid what is doubtful, so that we steer away from what is forbidden. Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate the following Hadith: "That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is also plain. Between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. He who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and honor. But he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly, every king has a sanctuary and truly Allah's sanctuary is his prohibitions." Since the woman is ready to take a formal oath that she was not unfaithful to her husband, her assertion should be accepted. However, she must be taught that what she has done is totally unacceptable from the Islamic point of view. Indeed, it is forbidden. Her husband should try his best to make her understand the seriousness of what she did. He should also ensure that she receives adequate education about what Islam forbids in social matters. If the man is maintaining his marriage with this woman, then he must fulfill his marital duties. It is not proper that one be married to a woman but deny her what a wife normally receives through marriage. Both man and wife must help each other maintain their chastity. If there is a boycott between the two, then such boycott creates the temptation to go outside the bond of marriage in order to fulfill a natural urge. Thus, the medicine would not cure the earlier condition, but would worsen it. The proper thing to do is to enhance the woman's religious awareness so that she maintains a virtuous life and to live with her as a married couple normally. However, if both of them freely agree to a different arrangement, that arrangement is not unacceptable.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )