My husband still meets with his ex-wife with the excuse of meeting and spending time with their child (4 years old). He would meet his ex-wife and child and went out with them (just the three of them together). I suggested to my husband to bring along someone else to accompany them, however, his ex-wife disagrees and even I was not allowed to go along with them. His ex-wife has the custody of their child after their divorce and has set a condition that my husband can only meet their child with her alone and he is not allowed to bring anyone else. He is also not allowed to bring their child without her, because she does not want their child to meet me.
My question is:
- What is the ruling for them meeting, even if it is for the sake of spending time with their child?
- What advise should I give them?
- I would also like to ask for your advice to remove my jealousy and suspicions towards my husband when he went to meet his ex-wife and child.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The Ruling for an Ex-Husband and Wife Meeting Each Other
The original ruling for an ex-husband and wife to meet is the same as two ajnabi man and woman meeting. Regarding the ruling of this situation, it depends on the necessity of the situation. If it is not a necessity and if there are elements of looking, being in the company of and talking and being friendly with each other, then it is prohibited. This is in accordance with the statement of Allah SWT:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُون
“Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.”
Surah al-Nur (30)
Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tobari commented on the above verse, stating: “They are to guard and lower their gaze, from anything that is prohibited by Allah SWT for them to see….and that is purer for them in the eyes of Allah SWT and better for them.” Refer Jami` al-Bayan (19/154)
However, in exigent situations or when there is a necessity, it is permissible for ajnabi man and woman to look at each other. The scholars have set a guideline regarding the matters that necessitates a man to look at an ajnabi woman:
- Learning (education) purposes
- Mu’amalat (transactions/dealings)
- A witness in court proceedings
- A judge in court proceedings (oath/sentencing)
Refer al-Mu`tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie (4/50)
The above exceptions depend on the necessity of the situations and should not exceeds the need. If the purpose is just to fulfil one’s desires, then it is prohibited. Some scholars ruled it permissible for a man to look at the face of a woman or her hands up to her wrists, if it would not lead to fitnah and without any desires. Imam al-Bajuri agrees with this opinion. Refer al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah Qism Ibadah (page 205)
According to the above facts and rulings, in our opinion it is permissible for your husband to meet with his ex-wife. The reason is, he still has a responsibility towards the four-year-old child in giving the child nafkah and education. Surely, this would result to the mu’amalat (dealings) that includes meetings, conversations and discussions with his ex-wife for she is the carer of the child. The status of a mother as the one who holds the custody of a child who has not reached maturity (mumayyiz) is clearly stated in a hadith from Abdullah bin ‘Amru:
أَنَّ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم جاءَتْهُ امْرَأَةً، فقَالَتْ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ ابْنِي هَذَا كَانَ بَطْنِي لَهُ وِعَاءً وَثَدْيِي لَهُ سِقَاءً وَحِجْرِي لَهُ حِوَاءً وَإِنَّ أَبَاهُ طَلَّقَنِي وَأَرَادَ أَنْ يَنْتَزِعَهُ مِنِّي فَقَالَ لَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَنْتِ أَحَقُّ بِهِ مَا لَمْ تَنْكِحِي
“A woman said: Messenger of Allah, my womb is a vessel to this son of mine, my breasts, a water-skin for him, and my lap a guard for him, yet his father has divorced me, and wants to take him away from me. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: You have more right to him as long as you do not marry.”
Sunan Abu Daud (2276)
Hence, the act of meeting with an ex-wife for the sake of the child is permissible.
However, in the case of khalwat (a man and a woman being alone in suspicious proximity), then it is prohibited for them to be alone together without the presence of another person (a mahram to the woman) or another trusted Muslim woman that could prevent them from committing fornication. It could be anyone (not necessarily the second wife). Or they could hold their meetings in a public place where it would not lead to fitnah. This is in accordance to a hadith of the Prophet PBUH from Abdullah Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where the Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ إِلَّا مَعَ ذِي مَحْرَمٍ
“A man must never be alone with a woman unless there is a Mahram with her.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (5233) and Sahih Muslim (1341)
In another narration by al-Tirmizi (2165), from Ibn Umar R.Anhuma, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِلَّا كَانَ ثَالِثَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ
“...but the third of them is Al-Shaytan.”
Advice for Them
Answering your first question, you should advise them the following:
- They should be careful in their meeting and dealings, making sure that it is entirely for the sake of the child and not for other sinful purposes.
- They should include a third person to join them in their meetings. Someone who could prevent them from committing sins or they could meet in a public place.
- Encourage your husband to fulfil his responsibility as a father to the best of his ability, providing nafkah and education for his child.
- Advise your husband to be honest and fair in all his actions that could affect both families.
- Pray for his ex-wife’s happiness and blessings even after she had been divorced.
May these advise benefit us all.
Removing Jealousy and Suspicions Towards Husband
Other than the above advise, we would like to state that your jealousy is completely normal for any woman. However, do not let your feelings turn into negative feelings, such as prejudice and mistrust. Hence, you should always think positively and surrender your affairs to Allah SWT after praying and doing the best that you could.
From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي
“Allah said, 'I am to my slave as he thinks of Me, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (7505) and Sahih Muslim (2675)
Imam al-Nawawi states in Syarh Sahih Muslim (6/44): “Qadhi ‘Iyadh cited an opinion stating that forgiveness are for those who thinks positively towards Allah SWT when he asks for forgiveness, and the acceptance of repentance when he repents, and the acceptance of supplication when he prays, and the sufficiency in needs when he asks for sufficiency. Another opinion state that what is needed from him is his hope and desire to be forgiven, and this is the sound opinion.”
The Prophet PBUH taught his companions of a great doa to make every morning and evening. Anas bin Malik RA heard the Prophet PBUH taught his daughter Fatimah R.Anha to make the following doa every morning and evening:
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ، أَصْلِحْ لِي شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ، وَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ
“O Ever-Living One! O Self-Existing One! With Your blessing I ask for help, to improve myself and my affairs, and don’t let me handle my matters alone even for a split second.”
Sunan al-Nasa’ie (10330)
As a woman, you should try your best to increase your taqwa and understanding regarding marriage in accordance with al-Quran and al-Sunnah, your rights as a wife, your partner’s rights and all the important things about married life, such as Islam family law in The Syariah Criminal Offenses (Federal Territories) Act 1997 and the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.
You and your husband should try to be better and improve yourselves by joining activities such as education classes and sermons in mosques or surau, or increase your worship and perform the congregational prayer, recitation of the Quran and fasting together. Thus, the time you spend with your husband will be filled with positive memories. Surely, these would prevent negative elements such as prejudice and mistrust, for your marriage will be built on the basis of servitude towards Allah SWT.