Indifference of the husband

If a husband does not maintain any physical interaction or even verbal communication with his wife for a long (about 5+ years) time after marriage, and also do not order her any task to do, and the wife is only bound to do typical home chores and serving her in-laws, what is the ruling of Islam in this regard? What is the woman supposed to do?

Men have to live with their wives in acceptable terms.

Allah the Almighty commands:

“(…) Live with your wives in acceptable terms. If you dislike them, (remember that) Allah may create much goodness in something/someone you dislike.” (4:19)

In this situation, the woman is being ill-treated by her husband. So what she has to do is, to try to communicate with her husband and understand the problem.

Allah the Almighty commands:

“If a woman worries of an ill-treatment or aversion from her husband, it is not wrong for them to reconcile with one another (by compromising on their rights), for the reconciliation is better, and (because) the human soul is always prone to selfishness. So do good and guard yourselves (against evil), Allah is all aware of what you do.” (4:128)

If the couple wants to reconcile, they should strive for it in order to return to a normal life. They should communicate with each other and try to solve the problems together. They should be solution-oriented and compromise on their rights if needed. Marriage cannot go on without mutual consent.

If the problems do not get resolved, the woman always has the right to divorce from her husband if she decides she doesn’t want him anymore.

Allah the Almighty commands:

“(…) If you worry that they will not be able to keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame upon them if she sets herself free by giving back what she received. These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. The ones that transgress the limits of Allah are the real wrongdoers.” (2:229)

If the woman gets divorced from her husband she should give him back what she received as Mahr. She shouldn’t be afraid to become poor or needy. Allah the Almighty commands:

“If they (husband and wife) separate, Allah will enrich them by His prosperity (He won’t make them dependent to one another). Allah is the holder of wide possibilities and He always judges rightly.” (4:130)

There are examples of women who got divorced from their husbands during the life of our Prophet.

One of them is like the following:

“The daughter of Sahl of the Ansar was married to Sabit Ibn. Qays. One day while the prophet was going to fulfill the morning prayer, he noticed Habibe in front of his door. “Who are you?” he asked. “Habibe, the daughter of Sahl” she answered. “What has happened?” was his second question. “I don’t want to continue to live with Sabit”. The prophet called Sabit and when Sabit came, he turned to him and said: “Habibe, here present, explained me everything.” Habibe said: “Messenger of Allah, I have everything he gave me” Then, the Messenger of God told Sabit: “Accept that property from her.” Sabit accepted it and Habibe went to live with her family.” (Al-Muwatta, Talaq/Divorce, 11)

Another narration from the period of Umar is like the following:

“Once a woman came to Umar Ibn. Al-Khattab and complained about her husband. The woman was asked to pass the night in a hut of straw and thatch. In the morning, Umar came to the hut and asked the woman about her night. She replied that she never had a better one. Then Umar asked the woman about her husband. She praised him and later added “He is what he is, but I can’t help it.” After this event, Umar approved the woman’s request and permitted her get divorced from her husband.” (Mâlik Ibn. Anas, Mudawwana, II/341)

Both Muhammad and Umar did not ask the women their reason for divorce.

These are the limits of Allah. The woman should decide what to do in these limits in her own responsibility.

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Date: Jun 14, 2013