Mufti Saab, My husband attends Jamaat for 40 days every year and I wish to go to my parents house to live with them during these 40days - is this permissable? I wish to stay with my parents with the intention of doing their kidmat during my husbands 40 days (i have no children either) as i do not get the opportunity to do so in my daily life - I live in a different town. My husband is adamant that I have to stay at home with his parents - only then will I be rewarded as he will. Please can you shed some light on this - sometimes I think that men don't understand how hard a sacrifice it is for women to move away from their parents once they get married.
Firstly, the Shar'ee rights of a wife in visiting her parents as mentioned in our Hanafi texts such as Shami, etc, and secondly what is preferable for a Muslim husband and wife in sacrificing their rights to please the other in order to make the marriage as blissful as possible.
As this stage, I do not wish to go into the the Fiqhi technicalities of how often you can visit your parents and what are the conditions, etc.
Hazrat Mufti M. Taqi Saheb (D.B) has written that if marital life is confined within the the thorns of legal technicality, the household of both the husband and wife will be doomed. (Islahi Khutubaat, Part 2)
Hence, it is essential that both the husband and wife go out of their way in understanding each other's happiness and make an effort to lead their lives accordingly.
As for your particular question, Islam has not burdened a wife to serve her in-laws. Rather, a Muslim wife will carry out this service as an honour upon herself knowing well that this is going to please her husband and thus make her own marital life a pleasant one.
The husband should also appreciate the wife's services towards him and his parents and whereever possible show his gratitude by allowing her certain priveleges from time to time provided they do not contravene and aspect of Shar'iah.
In your particular case, I advise your husband (unless their are any shar'ee concerns on his part) to allow you the privelage to spend time at your parents house while he is out for 40 days.
As for yourself, if you feel his parents are in need of your service, you should accept a compromise and spend 20 days with them and 20 days with your parents.
You should try to ascertain why your husband is insisting on you staying at his home. It is possible he may have genuine reasons.
However, if he considers this to be a 'rewarding sacrifce' simply because he is out in Jamaat, is incorrect and his thought is in need of rectification.
My advise to you is that you should keep husband's happiness before everything else and persevere with patience.
Your husband is Masha-Allah, fortunate to spend time in Allah's path. He is aware that the purpose of this is so that he can reform himself as well as remind other Muslims of their duty towards Allah (SWT). Part of reforming one's character is to show kindness towards one's wife.
I also advise your husband to form Islahi links with a reputable Shaikh so that these day-to-day issues can be rectified in accordance with the teachings of Shari'ah.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has said, "The best among you are those who are the best towards their wives."
Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is a perfect role model for all Muslim husbands to emulate with regards to his kindness and noble character towards his wives.
There are many instances where Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) tolerated the demands of feminine self-esteem and honour with patience and generosity.
I strongly advise both of you to study the relevant chapters of 'Rights of Husband and Wife' from Mufti Taqi Saheb's book 'Islamic Discources'. Insha-Allah, this will help to understand each other rights and fulfil them to your best ability.
May Allah (SWT) grant us all the ability to lead our lives according to the beautiful sunnah of our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).