Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?

Maliki Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: My question is regarding whether an unmarried young woman can live alone. If someone is trying very hard to be good to her parents but cannot seem to gain their love and compassion or affection, and is a victim of emotional abuse, what can she do? Can she move away from her parents?

By abuse I mean yelling and name calling, indecent looks from the father towards his daughters, the father disconnecting from the daughters and making them and their mother feel guilty for not being financially independent from him. The mother and father also shame each other and try to involve the children in their fighting. Both of the eldest daughters have emotional and physical imbalances (depression and suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, migraines from high levels of stress, and sleeplessness) partly resulting from and aggravated by this situation. It is an atmosphere of intense suspicion and stress.

I should mention that there hasn’t been any physical punishment of the children for many years and that both parents work hard to maintain the family financially.

Answer: As salamu alaykum,

May Allah make your situation easy and give you the strength to deal with it. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said,

لا ضرر و لا ضرار

“There can be no harm nor reciprocating of harm.” (Muwatta)

If you are being harmed by being at home, then you have the right, and possibly obligation, to leave the house if you are able. You would then be obligated to maintain contact with your parents and family in whatever is feasible for you (in-person, phone, email, text, mail, sending gifts etc).

Daughter Staying at Home

If a parent if not harming their daughter, then they can say that she has to live at home until marriage. But, if they harm the daughter, then they don’t have the right to demand that nor does the daughter have the duty to obey. Sometimes, when you separate, it will allow the relationship to heal, but maybe after many years and some disagreements.

The Emigration (Hijra)

Think about the Hijra of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). He had to leave Mecca and it made his family angry and they fought him. But it took him leaving for them to realize who he was and then come to respect and accept him. Everyone will experience aspects of the seera in their lives, and thus everyone will have to make a hijra, or even multiple hijras. Maybe it is time for you to make your Hijrah.

Answers Are Based on What is Presented

I can only answer based on what you describe so I give you the answer according to that. You then have to see if the answer applies to your situation and then you make the decision. I cannot make the decision for you.

Rami Nsour