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Is Privacy Between Spouses Permissible in Islam?

19 July, 2022
Q As-Salamu `alaykum. I have a question regarding the husband’s rights in Islam. My wife says that she has no privacy because I want to know everything she does, like her discussions with her friends or the passwords of her e-mail boxes. I think this is my right, but how can I explain it to her? She wants me to do the same with her and to give her my passwords. How does Islam see privacy between spouses?

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

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All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

Husband and wife relations should be based on trust, faithfulness, and honesty. Spouses should spare no efforts in maintaining mutual confidence and trust. Baseless doubts and suspicions should not destroy family life and turn it to courts of inquisition. However, if there is a real doubt about the moral behavior of a spouse, then husband and wife both have a right to know more details about each other’s meetings, conversations, correspondence, and relations.

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Responding to your question about the privacy between spouses, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Former President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:

Husband-Wife Relationship

The relationship between the husband and wife is a unique relationship. There is no other relationship that is so close and so intimate.

Husband and wife should not just be partners of each other. They should be best friends, best companions, best associates, and everything else that you can think of.

Also, they share joys and sorrows, success and failures, happiness and sadness. They are with each other in health and sickness.

The last person you see before you sleep is your spouse and the first person you see when you get up is your spouse.

You share your life with each other, every day for years and years, and most of the time, you do that until you die. Is there any relationship equal to this relationship?

The Quran has given the most beautiful description of this relationship with a metaphor:

{They (your wives) are the garments for you and you are the garments for them.} (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

The garment (libas) gives comfort, protection, and beauty and is the closest thing to a person. Such is the relationship between the husband and the wife.

There should be full trust between the husband and the wife in all matters for the health and happiness of their family life. There should be openness and mutual consultation. They should do everything necessary to build their mutual confidence and trust.

Privacy Between Spouses in Islam

If there is any doubt about the moral behavior of one spouse, then husband and wife both have a right to know more details about each other’s meetings, conversations, correspondence, and relations.

But if no such problems exist between them, then there is no need to ask every detail about each other’s life.

Basically, it is a matter of trust between the two of you. You have to build this trust and help each other to grow in goodness and in your mutual love.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.