Praying in the house
With regard to men, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of prayer is a man’s prayer in his house – apart from the prescribed prayers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 731).
It is obligatory to pray (the five daily prayers) in the mosque, except if there is a valid excuse. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “A man’s voluntary prayers in his house will bring more reward than his voluntary prayers at other people’s places, just as his obligatory prayers with the people are better than his obligatory prayers alone.” (Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2953).
With regard to women, the deeper inside her home her place of prayer is, the better, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best prayer for women is [that offered] in the furthest part of their houses.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3311).
A man should not be led in prayer in his own home, and no one should sit in the place where the master of the house usually sits, except with his permission. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man should not be led in prayer in his place of authority, and no one should sit in his place in his house, except with his permission.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2772). I.e., no one should go forward to lead him in prayer, even if they recite Qur’aan better than he does, in a place that he owns or where he has authority, such as a householder in his home, or an imaam in a mosque. Similarly, it is not permitted to sit in the private spot of the head of the master of the house, such as a bed or mattress, etc., except with his permission.
Seeking permission to enter.
“O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them, that is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you. And Allaah is All-Knower of what you do.” [al-Noor 24:27-28 – interpretation of the meaning].
“… so enter houses through their proper doors…” [al-Baqarah 2:189 – interpretation of the meaning].
It is permissible to enter houses that are empty if one has some legitimate business there, such as a house prepared for guests. “There is no sin on you that you enter (without taking permission) houses uninhabited (i.e., not possessed by anybody), (when) you have any interest in them. And Allaah has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal.” [al-Noor 24:29 – interpretation of the meaning].
Not feeling too shy to eat in the houses of friends and relatives, and in houses of friends and relatives and others to which one has the keys, if they have no objection to that. “There is no restriction on the blind, nor any restriction on the lame, nor any restriction on the sick, nor on yourselves, if you eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your father’s brothers, or the houses of your father’s sisters, or the houses of your mother’s brothers, or the houses of your mother’s sisters, or (from that) whereof you hold keys, or (from the house) of a friend. No sin on you whether you eat together or apart…” [al-Noor 24:61].
Telling children and servants not to barge in to the parents’ bedroom without permission at the times when people usually sleep, i.e., before Fajr, at siesta time and after ‘Isha’, lest they see something inappropriate. If they see something accidentally at other times, this is forgivable, because they are tawwaafeen (those who go about in the house) and it is difficult to stop them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions: before Fajr prayer, and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the ‘Isha prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, - attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allaah makes clear the aayaat (verses of this Qur’aan, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [al-Noor 24:57].
It is forbidden to look into the houses of other people without their permission. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever looks into someone’s house without their permission, put his eyes out, and there is no diyah or qisaas [blood money or retaliation] in this case.” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Musnad, 2/385; Saheeh al-Jaami, 6046).
A woman who has been divorced by talaaq for a first or second time [and could still go back to her husband] should not leave or be made to leave her home during the ‘iddah, and she should still be supported financially. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their ‘iddah (prescribed periods), and count (accurately) their ‘iddah (periods). And fear Allaah your Lord (O Muslims), and turn them not out of their (husband’s) homes, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open illegal sexual intercourse. And those are the set limits of Allaah. And whoever transgresses the set limits of Allaah, then indeed he has wronged himself. You (the one who divorces his wife) know not, it may be that Allaah will afterward bring some new thing to pass (i.e., to return her back to you, if this as the first or second divorce).” [al-Talaaq 65:1]
It is permissible for a man to forsake his rebellious wife inside or outside the home, according to the interests prescribed by sharee’ah in any given case. The evidence for forsaking her inside the home is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… refuse to share their beds…” [al-Nisa’ 4:34]. With regard to forsaking women outside the home, this is what happened when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forsook his wives, leaving them in their apartments and staying in a room outside the houses of his wives. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Talaaq, Baab fi’l-Eelaa’).
One should not stay alone overnight in the house. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade being alone and said that a man should not stay overnight alone or travel alone. (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 2/91). This is because of the feelings of loneliness etc., that come from being alone, and also because of the possibility of attacks by enemies or robbers, or the possibility of sickness. If one has a companion, he can help fight off attacks, and can help if one gets sick. (See al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 5/64).
Not sleeping on the roof of a house that has no protecting wall, lest one fall. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever sleeps on the roof of a house that has no protecting wall, nobody is responsible for what happens to him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, al-Sunan, no. 5041; Saheeh al-Jaami, 6113; its commentary is in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 13/384). This is because one who is asleep may roll over in his sleep, and if there is no wall he may fall off the roof and be killed. In such a case, nobody would be to blame for his death; or his negligence would cause Allaah to lift His protection from him, because he did not take the necessary precautions. The hadeeth may mean either.
Pet cats do not make vessels naajis (impure) if they drink from them, or make food naajis if they eat from it. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Qutaadah reported from his father that water was put out for him to make wudoo’, and a cat came and lapped at the water. He took the water and did wudoo’ with it, and they said, “O Abu Qutaadah! The cat drank from it.” He said, I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘Cats are part of the household, and they are among those who go around in your houses.’” (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/309; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3694). According to another report he said: “They [cats] are not naajis; they are among those who go around [al-tawwaafeen wa’l-tawwaafaat – refers to children, servants, etc.] in your houses.” (Reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 5/309; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2437).