Husband telling wife he is separating from her in bed is not divorce
Fatwa No: 367732

  • Fatwa Date:3-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 16, 1439
  • Rating:

Question

I have a question regarding implicit phrases of divorce. I had a minor argument with my wife while in bed, and in order to show her that I was upset, I started separating the bed with my blanket. When she asked me what I was doing, I said, "Separation from you;" and after a brief pause and in order to make it absolutely clear, I quickly said, "Separation from you on the bed." However, this was absolutely clear, as when I said the phrase, "Separation form you," I was separating the bed with my blanket, and that is exactly how she understood it. I would like to emphasize and make it absolutely clear that I had no intention of divorce. I merely wanted to indicate that I was upset and was hoping that she would realize it and try to appease me. Also, instead of shouting or arguing, I thought that separation in the bed is a better option, and we are also allowed to do so (Surat An-Nisa, verse 34). My question is regarding the phrase and the use of the wording "separation". Can the phrase "separation from you in bed" or just "separation" within this particular context where it implies as leaving alone in bed be considered as an implicit phrase of divorce? I have been thinking, and in English, I could not find a word other than "separation or separating” to properly indicate that I am refraining from sleeping with her (i.e separating the bed) and to express that I am upset. I understand by reading you previous fatwas and that of other religious scholars that implicit phrases do not result in divorce unless there is intention. My question is regarding the phrases which include the word separation, as in the English language, the word separation is used in so many ways other than divorce. I understand from your fatwa No. 337339 that the word separation can be considered an implicit or explicit word of divorce. I want to know whether using the word "separation" in English in this particular context implies separating in bed to show that one is upset; could it be considered as an implicit phrase of divorce?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The word 'separation' that you used in this context has absolutely nothing to do with divorce, and it has no legal effects. So stop thinking about it or giving it any concern lest it becomes an obsessive doubt that embitters your life. The basic principle is that the marriage bond is still intact, and it is not undone except with certainty.

Be kind to your wife, just as you like her to be kind to you. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {...And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable...} [Quran 2:228] Each of you should fulfill the rights of the other over them so that you would live in happiness and enjoy a stable marriage.

To learn the rights of the spouses over each other, please refer to fatwas 85308 and 83157. We advise you to strive in avoiding problems as much as you can and to address any misunderstanding wisely.

Abandoning the wife in bed is one of the means to discipline the rebellious, disobedient wife. The husband should not resort to it except after he takes the first step in disciplining her, which is to admonish her and remind her of Allah and of her husband's rights over her. The scholars explained the manner of abandonment in bed. Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "Abandonment in bed means that he sleeps with his wife in the same bed but he turns his back towards her and does not have intercourse with her..."

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa