Over four-month lapse in husband's affection
Fatwa No: 90233

  • Fatwa Date:28-6-2005 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 22, 1426
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Question

My husband does not sleep with me for over four-month and what I hard is that if married couples stayed without making love for four-month without any reason that their marriage is over that is as good as three Talaaq.

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

In Islam the husband is obliged to live honourably with his wife, Allaah says (which means): {And live with them honourably.}[Quran 4:19]. So a husband should sleep in the same bed with his wife and he should fulfil her right as regards having intercourse with her according to her need as long as he is able to do so. If the husband does not have sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of four months or more, this does not render his wife divorced. But if he makes an oath not to have intercourse with her for this period of time, and then has intercourse with her before four months, he has to expiate for breaking the oath. If he did not have sexual intercourse after this period, then she has the right to ask him either to have sexual intercourse with her or to divorce her, and, in this case, the judge will give him the choice either to have intercourse with her or to divorce her. This is the view of the majority of the scholars and the most preponderant opinion. However, some jurists may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them are of the view that she is divorced after the expiry of four months if the husband did not break his oath.

The period starts from the time of the oath, and it is not a condition that the judge should confirm this. Tuhfatul-Muhtaaj, one of the books of the Shaafi'ee school reads: 'The period starts from the time the husband made the oath, even if there is no judge to confirm this period as it is proven by text [from the Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )], however, if the man is impotent, then we start counting the period from the time the issue is taken to the judge.'

Finally, if your husband did not have sexual intercourse with you for all this period, then you should advise him in a good manner as he might regain reason. However, if he does not do so and you fear to be harmed, then you have the right to take the matter to an Islamic court to look into it and make the appropriate decision.   

Allaah Knows best.

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