I was enjoying the glorious weather one beautiful Sunday morning when I received a call from an old friend. He was curious about a young husband who was trying to discover if he could prevent his wife from travelling abroad with her family. Obviously, I assumed that there must have been an absolutely reasonable explanation for the man wanting to do so. Without thinking too much and so I could continue with my lazy Sunday, I nearly replied that yes, of course, he was within his rights.
But of course then a light bulb sparked in my head, and curiosity took over. With that, I questioned why doesn't he want his wife to travel with her family? Isn't that a bit odd? The reply was slightly startling to me. Apparently, the man simply just didn't want his wife to travel, end of story. He wanted to know if he could prevent her from doing so through the eyes of Islam. I should also mention that the man's wife lives with him and his family. She looks after them and attends to all of the house chores daily.
After careful consideration, I responded, "From an Islamic stance, yes he could stop his wife from travelling with her family. However, I would advise him to refrain from doing so and allow her to enjoy time with her family. He should not use his 'rights' in such circumstances.
My personal answer may trigger different responses from people. I know some of you will be thinking that he has the right, so why not stop her if he doesn't want her to go? Or what's the point of having such rights if he can't exercise them as he wishes? Below I explain why I chose to respond in the way that I did.
I hold a view that I feel everyone should understand. While things that are prohibited in Islam should not be done, this doesn't equate to everything that is permitted should be done. Just because it's not banned doesn't mean we should be obliged to do something. This is also the stance that is taken in Islam, even if it isn't directly written.
Islamic scholars provided us with jurisdiction and answers in legality terms. However, the problem arises because people try to live their lives in such black and white states and forget that life sometimes throws questions at us, which are neither black nor white. This is when kindness, wisdom, common sense and decency come into play.
So link this back to the scenario I mentioned above. Yes, the man has rights to stop his wife from travelling. But given that she hasn't travelled with her family in two years and the fact that she continually cares and looks after his family and home on a daily basis shouldn't she be granted something in return? Isn't marriage about love, compromise, and giving? While Islam can guide us through life; we also have to utilize our qualities and morals to achieve successful relationships.