Wife considers seeking divorce after husband's lenghty travel takes toll
Fatwa No: 292117

Question

Salamu alaikum,I am married with two very young children. Recently my health has deteriorated and I am struggling to look after the children. My husband is currently working away (has been on-off for the last few years) and I've asked him to leave his work to come home to look after me and help raise the children. He is refusing and asking me to be patient even though I am in alot of pain most of the time. He has been away for months now and each day is harder for me. It appears he is neglecting me and our family. I am considering requesting a divorce as he is not there for me at my most difficult time to help me raise our children.Would it be wrong to request a divorce. I feel like a single parent with the way he works away from home. It appears that making money is his priority. He is able to cover his expenses and would be given financial support should he decide to be my carer. I am only asking him to return home temporarily until my health improves and the children are a little more independent.Your advice in this matter would be much appreciated.

Answer

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.

It has been confirmed in the authentic Sunnah that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, forbade women from seeking divorce from their husbands without a legitimate reason. The scholars clarified the sound reasons for which a woman may seek divorce; so please refer to them in Fatwa 84309.

The husband is permitted to be absent from his wife for up to six months even without her consent, but he is not permitted to be absent from her for more than six months without her permission, as the jurists have declared. They stated that if he is requested to return, he is obligated to return unless he has a sound reason. If he refuses, she has the right to seek divorce.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Kaafi: “If he (the husband) is absent from her for more than six months and she requests that he return, he is obligated to return unless he has a sound excuse, and if he refuses and she requests separation, they will be separated (i.e. divorce will be granted to the wife).” [End of quote]

In any case, we do not recommend that you hasten to ask for divorce. Instead, we advise you to be patient, try to reach mutual understanding and do what is beneficial for the family, especially since Allaah has blessed you with children. Divorce generally has negative consequences on them.

We advise the husbands to fear Allaah with respect to their wives. If one is incidentally distant from his wife because of work or the like, he should endeavor to bring his wife to reside with him wherever he resides, or he should not be absent from her for a long time.

Finally, it should be noted that raising the children is the shared responsibility of the parents. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for those under his guardianship. The leader is a guardian and is responsible for those under his guardianship, a man is a guardian of his household and is responsible for those under his guardianship, and a woman is a guardian of her husband's home and child, and she is responsible for those under her guardianship. Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for those under his guardianship.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allaah Knows best.

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