PETALING JAYA: Muslim wives can leave their homes without the permission of their husbands if they feel that they are being threatened, ruled the Perlis Fatwa Committee.
The Committee was responding to cases where abused women did not leave their houses for fear of supposedly going against the religion.
In the fatwa (edict) approved this month, the Perlis Fatwa committee ruled that the women can leave their homes if they strongly felt that their life, religion, honour, family or property was endangered.
"This is the last resort and if the wife feels that there was no other way to solve the problem besides leaving the home," they said in a statement on Tuesday.
They added that the wives could also leave the home if their husband failed to carry out his duty of providing a safe and appropriate place to live or failed to provide enough nafkah (means of livelihood) for them.
"The wife can leave the home without his permission and this would not be considered as nusyuz (unreasonable disobedience) until the husband can fulfill his responsibility," they said.
When contacted, Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin (pic) said that many Muslim wives continued enduring abuse at the hands of their husbands who would say that Islam forbids wives to leave their homes even when faced with a threat.
"We see many women here who are victims. They have been misinformed that they cannot leave their homes in any situation. Their marriages are akin to being in a prison. This purpose of this fatwa is to protect these women," he told the Star Online.
He said that the wives could also leave their homes if their husbands were dealing in drugs, had sexual-related diseases or had even borrowed money from Ah Long, leaving their wives to deal with the consequences of their actions.