An adult daughter may stay with her divorced mother who remarried
Fatwa No: 308878

  • Fatwa Date:4-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 24, 1437
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Question

Two divorced parents have a 15-year-old daughter. When the mother got remarried, the father asked the daughter to move to live with him and said that he would give her sufficient time to spend with her mother provided that she stays with him overnight. However, the daughter refused that because her mom convinced her that the Shaafi'i scholars say that custody ends with puberty. Accordingly, the daughter has the right to choose where and with whom to stay and is not obliged to follow her father. Is the Shaafi'i view practiced and in line with the dominant social customs in most Muslim communities, where the guardianship of the father continues till the daughter gets married? Is it permissible for the mother to instill such dangerous and devastating concepts in a young girl’s mind in order to make her rebellious towards her father? What is the best way to guide a daughter to the understanding that it is unlawful to live with her mom’s husband, challenging the will of her father?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The view of the Shaafi'i school is that if a daughter reaches the age of puberty, it is better for her to be with one of her parents, and she may live wherever she wishes provided that that place is safe and free of accusations or suspicion.

Tuhfatul-Muhtaaj, authored by Al-Khateeb Ash-Shirbeeni from the Shaafi'i school, reads, “If she is a female, then when she reaches the age of puberty and is sane, it is better for her to be with one of her parents until she gets married if they are separated, and with both of them if her parents are living together; this is in order to avoid any threats to her safety, and she may live wherever she wishes, even if she is a virgin; this is in case there is no suspicion...

There is no harm if the father tries to convince his daughter to be with him and if he has a legitimate, favorable environment where her interests can be achieved, then he may convince her of that.

It should be mentioned that there is nothing wrong with her living with her stepfather provided that there is no suspicion, especially given that he is a mahram (permanently unmarriageable) for her; as she becomes his stepdaughter once he consummates the marriage with her mother. Allaah says, while mentioning the women who are prohibited for marriage (what means): {…and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in.} [Quran 4:23]

Allaah knows best.

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