Do I have a right to seek these records

QUESTION:

I have a question regarding my rights under Shariah as a husband. I recently asked my wife to provide me with her telephone records as well as her bank statements for the past five years. I also offered her the same from my end for a longer duration of time. 10 years worth of bank statements and as far back as I have records for where the telepone bills are concerned.

We got married on a certain date. She said that she would provide me with phone records from that date onwards and records before that date were none of my business!

From my point of view I did get married to her on that particular date. But I interacted with her for a a couple of months prior to that. I have found her statements to be untrue on at least three ocassions where she has accepted them as being false. Thus my decision to marry her was based on what she told me during this period. I would just like to satisfy myself by going through these records and reconcile her statements made to me with the facts.

Do I have the right to seek these records?

ANSWER:

According to Shariah, a woman is not obliged to make her telephone records nor her bank statements available to her husband. However, due to the fact that the husband and wife stay together and are dependent on one another, the error of one may cause harm to the other. Furthermore, it is not permissible for a wife to keep in contact with a strange man without the permission of her husband.

For this reason it is important for them to discuss their personal matters to each other, in order to live a comfortable life.

A comfortable married life is dependent on the trust and reliance of both parties. If a husband suspects that his wife is keeping in contact with a strange man even after marriage then he should demand clarification regarding the stranger. If after clarification of the matter, no flaw was encountered, then the husband should remove his doubts and abstain from fighting.

If the wife fails to clarify the matter, then the husband has a choice to either live with her without fighting or to leave her.

And Allah Ta’aala knows best

Mufti Muhammed Ashraf

19 JULY 2010 / 7 SHA’BAAN 1431