Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Question: In my marriage contract I state that I must visit my family at least once a year if I were to leave the country. But every year my husband volunteers to work(he says that we need the extra money) in the summer when he doesn't have to which prevents me from seeing my family(since I can't travel alone). It has been almost 3 years and I haven't seen my family.

What rights do I have, and is there any exception at that point to me traveling alone?

Answer: First, I am sorry for the late reply. The answer is that a marriage contract does not accept conditions according to most scholars. Such a condition is thus invalid. However, the husband should still look at this condition as a promise, and keep this promise for the sake of Allah.

According to the Hanbali school the marriage contract DOES accept conditions that are in the interest of the woman, as long as the condition is not something that contradicts what necessarily follows from a marriage contract, such as being available to the husband. According to this view, it is a sunnah for the husband to fulfill the condition (not an obligation or duty). If he does not, she may request from a court to annul the marriage.

As for travelling to visit your family: no, you cannot do this without your husband or a mahram (someone you cannot ever marry, no matter what happens) that has reached puberty.