Asalam alikum shaykh There is a couple i know that are separated (not divorced) for about 8 years. The separation was due to husbands bad behavior with wife and kids. Husband left his wife and kids and went backhome. Since then he had not given them a single penny. Now the husband is calling his wife back to his bckhome country. Wife is scared of her life because when he left he threatned his wife real badly. She does not trust him at all. Even the kids do not trust him because of his threats. At the same time wife is wondering that she might be sinning by not listening to her husband. What is the ruling Shaykh, what steps should she take?
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.
Separation between the spouses, no matter how long it lasts, does not mean that a divorce has taken effect as underlined in Fatwa 89825. Hence, this woman is still married to her husband and it is incumbent on her to obey him in what is lawful. She is obliged to obey his call (to go to his home country) and it is impermissible for her to refuse without a legitimate reason. Please refer to Fataawa 84856 and 99468.
This situation should not be left like this (without a proper married life but not divorced). If she believes that living with her husband is impossible and fears harm for herself, then she is advised to request divorce even if for a compensation. If he refuses to divorce her, she may refer her case to a legitimate Islamic court in the country where her husband resides and appoint a legal representative or refer her case to the concerned authorities responsible for addressing disputes of Muslims so as to ward off the harm incurred on her either by divorce or Khul‘ (negotiated divorce/annulment). Please refer to Fatwa 89039.
Finally, we would like to highlight the following points:
First, it is incumbent on the husband to provide for his wife and children and this due right (of maintenance) is not waived without a legitimate reason such as the wife's recalcitrance (although he would still be responsible for the maintenance of his children). If the wife provides for herself and children without the intention of charity (and expects to get what she spent back), then the husband is liable to pay her back everything she has spent on herself and children as explained in Fataawa 85012 and 137523.
Second, one of the due rights of the wife from her husband is to live with her in kindness as explained in Fatwa 88304.
Allaah Knows best.
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