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Should Muslim Women Never Leave Their Home?

28 July, 2017
Q Asalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Is it true that a Muslim woman should stay in the house except when leaving is totally necessary? I recently converted and some of the brothers in my masjid are telling me this, but my wife converted with me and that would be impossible for her, and for me. I love her and love seeing her living a normal, happy life. Do I have to do this to her?


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question. Truly, it’s very worrisome that Muslim men are giving this advice.

I implore you to avoid these sorts of “Muslims” at all costs, as they will drive a wedge between not only you and your wife, but you and true Islam, which is founded on mercy and justice.

Of course Muslim women are not required to stay in their home all the time. That would be horribly cruel to inflict on women, especially if they wanted to go out to work, shop, visit with friends, or even just enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and exercise!

Dr. Shabir Ally, from Let the Quran Speak, addresses this question in more depth in the video below:


Aisha Khaja: 

The question today is about Quran chapter 33, verse 33: is this verse directed mainly to the wives of the Prophet or does it also command other women to stay at home?

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Dr. Shabir Ally:

Well the verse says in Arabic, “Waqarna fee buyootikunna walatabarrajna tabarruja aljahiliyyati al-oola”, so “stay in your houses and do not go to wanton displays as did the women in in the previous time of ignorance.”

So, hence the question: is this directed only to the wives of the Prophet peace be upon him? Who are the initial addressees of this verse or is it to women more generally?

First of all, it is clear that the initial addressees are the wives of the Prophet.

One can only say… let’s make an argument and say that “since women in general are to follow the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, then this would apply to all women as well.”

But that analogy breaks down—or the inference breaks down—because there could be things which are specific to the Prophet, peace be upon him–and in this case, specific to his wives–and not necessarily transferring directly (or without cause) to the rest of the population.

In this case, we know that there are certain considerations with the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

They’re considered the mothers of the believers in a symbolic way. but of course men can still be attracted to them physically, so it was best for them to maintain a different protocol than the other women would.

Second, it is important to see that the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not take this literally and said that they have to absolutely stay home, because Aishah was known as a public figure and a political leader in her state in her day as well.

Aisha Khaja:

So, it’s obviously not exclusive?

Dr. Shabir Ally:

Well, it’s not exclusive and it’s not literal.

I hope this helps answer your question. You can also check out more from Let the Quran Speak at the link here.

Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam

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