Should a Muslim woman check her husband’s mobile phone?
Allah has commanded that man and wife be the keepers of the sacred bonds of marriage, that they must love each other and be true to each other. “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21) “Your wives are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” (2:187) “And live with your wives in kindness.” (4:19) “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones” (66:6)
It is the husband who is the head of the family. But it is not to him alone that God entrusted the keeping of the family hearth. “And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable.” (2:228) The wife has every right thus to expect from her husband faithfulness, respect, care, love. When the husband fails in his family duties, transgresses against the rules and regulations of Islam, it is the wife’s right to seek divorce. What this means is that Allah has given the wife the right to demand from the husband that he abide by the obligations of a Muslim family man in the same way as He has given the husband the right to control his wife.
The only right He has not given the wife is the right for unjustified suspicion and pretentious assumption. Such suspicion is a grave sin, the prompting of Satan, a deed much condemned both in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths of the Prophet. If by way of exercising this suspicion and assumption the wife should violate her husband’s secrecy of correspondence which is intended only for himself and Allah, she will be in a very grave sin. “O you who have believed, avoid much negative assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (49:12)
The Prophet said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers as Allah has ordered you!” (Sahih al-Bukhari. 6064)
Can the wife check her husband’s correspondence in his mobile phone without his consent? The answer to that question is dependent on the degree of her certainty that her husband is mixed up in wrongdoing. If the wife has iron-cast reason to believe her husband is doing improper things (like seeing a different woman secretly), she may indeed check out the correspondence in his mobile phone without his consent. But she must have the kind of certainty of suspicion that would allow her to issue a ‘virtual search warrant’, and finding suspicion sufficiently grounded must not come easy, same as it does in the court of law. Remember that in case of discovering nothing you will be subjected to the harshest of censures at the Day of Judgement: “If there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.” (49:6)