Islamic marriage advice and family advice

What does Islam say about long term separation from spouse?

muslim woman holding onto quran

Asalam alaikum,

I came across this site in my search of honest advice on my issue. I've been married for 6 yrs with a son and my husband has been away from our country of residence for 4 yrs now in search of greener pastures. Before he left he never said anything about staying this long. But he kept giving me one reason or the other to butress is stay. He sends monthly upkeep to my son and I but he has never come home in these 4 yrs. And there is no set date or time for his return. Please I need honest advices. Islamically, can this marriage be termed as still valid? Would it be wise if I decide to move on? Jazakumlau khaeran.


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24 Responses »

  1. Islamically, this marriage is valid but 4 years is a very long time. Don't you two talk to each other on phone? Explain the matter to him that this long-distance relationship doesn't work after marriage
    Even before marriage, it works very seldom
    I am not to sure but islamically, a wife can tolerate her husband's absence for four months only.

    • What kind of wife cant tolerate husband absence even if its number of years ,, if the circumstances theyre in gives them no other option.... Common sense dictates love and regular communication and financial support should be present..... Different situation calls for different approach and understanding.....Allah is the best to handle all men's affairs.... What is important is the sincerity to pursue the relation or the marriage....
      Time has changed.... People need to be patient in resolving matters be it marriage, being a couple, or family life... True love means full of compassion , hard work, broad understanding and sacrifice....

  2. Sister,

    The maximum limit a husband is allowed to be away from his wife is four months, or six months according to the view of the Hanbali scholars. This is the maximum period a woman can endure separation from her husband.

    Commentators of the Glorious Qur'an narrate the following incident in support of this opinion.

    One night Caliph `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was making his rounds of Madinah when he heard a woman singing:

    The night is long, darkness all around me;

    I am sleepless, for I have no friend to play with.

    By Allah, had there been no fear of Him,

    This cot would be shaking from side to side.

    Upon investigation, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) found that the woman's husband had been on a military expedition for a long time. He then asked his daughter, Hafsah, a widow of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "How long can a woman endure separation from her husband?" She replied, "Four months." As a consequence, he decided that he would not send a married man away from his wife for a period exceeding four months.

    However, if a wife agrees to give up this right for more than this period, then it is lawful and there is no wrong in this.

    You need to speak to your husband and let him know that you can no longer live this way. You have a right to happiness in your life. Women have needs just like men do. Living alone raising your son is no way for any woman to live.


  3. Oh, wow. 4 years?! That.s not right. A husband and wife should definitely not be apart for 4 years! If you can move to be with him, then yeah, go do that! Your son is growing up, it's better to make the move now than to wait until they he has made friends in school and moving will be much harder.

  4. Assalaamualaikam

    4 years is a long time to be apart; is there no way the two of you can be together? If you can, it might be best for you to discuss what could be done to move your family to one place again. I can understand that he may have gone abroad with good intentions and to provide for you financially, but there's more to life than that - women have emotional and physical needs too, and your son needs his father.

    As far as I'm aware, the marriage would still be considered valid, but you have rights that are not being met. So, if you did decide to seek to end the relationship, I think many people would have sympathy for your position. I'd urge you to try to sort things out with your husband if you can, though.

    May Allah comfort all our brothers and sisters who are enduring separation from their loved ones.

    Midnightmoon editor

  5. Salaams,

    I am very concerned about the length of time he is staying away, without it seeming to be any problem for him at all. Let's be frank, how are his sexual needs being met? Most men would want to have sex with a woman, especially their wives. They wouldn't be able to go years like this without that type of intimacy.

    I could be wrong, but it seems there's a possibility there may be another wife. It may be he has his own life wherever he is living, and just keeping you and your son out of courtesy. He needs to be confronted, and you need to be clear with him about what you want and what you're willing to accept. If he's managed to keep you in suspense for 4 years already, he could do it indefinitely. How much longer are YOU willing to abide with this arrangement?

    -Amy Editor

  6. I have posted on this website too but i can't see the question i have posted regarding "separation" so thank you for your answers as they are helping me too. My scenario is different and i am wondering if you could help me a little here (Sorry sister Kudirat, i know this is your question)

    Me and my husband have been separated for 6 mths now. We have two kids, there have been no talks of reconciliation from his side. I am now not divorced neither am i married. we do not live with each other. He says he does not believe in divorce yet he says he is not a man if he comes back to the house. I have heard that if you have been apart from more than 6 mths then if you do happen to reconcile, you'll have to redo the nikkah with a new dowry. What can i do? i cannot be in this situation where i have no title. So confusing, the greatest abuse you can do to someone is make them feel like they don't even exist sub7ana'Allah

    • If your husband does not believe in divorce. He needs to work on the marriage. Why does he feel he is not a man if he returns to the house? You should go to your local imam and ask for help or Islamic counselling . If he is not willing to do that then you should get a Khula

  7. It is not right to make someone feel like they don't matter or exist. Long story short. My husband won't divorce me, yet he married someone else and had 2 more children with her. This second marriage failed and said he was divorcing her, but I saw physical proof on his neck of his having physical contact with his second wife. My 2 daughters and I have suffered greatly. I am not treated like a wife or given food, shelter, or maintenance, yet he will not divorce me. I will not divorce him because I feel like he should have to be held responsible for my mistreaemt & he should divorce me if he doesn't want me. I still love him, but I am so sad and lonely neither married or divorced and living in limbo. I am financially broke and emotionally drained; left alone to try and raise my 2 daughters alone,

  8. I'm in the same situation. Have been apart from my husband for eight months. We have had some contact but on his terms. He does not want recinciliation yet he is not sending the divorce papers either. In fact he has left me feeling distressed and gone off on holiday to enjoy himself!! I have decided to do it myself, file for divorce, at least this way I can move on and try to build my life and InshaAllah find someone who is a real man.

    Keeping someone In limbo is Sinful behaviour. It's hurtful and cruel. In islam it js made clear that you either let them go in kindness or take them back with kindness. If your husbands are not man enough to make a decision and are simply bringing you down then you need to be strong women and make that decision for yourself. What do you want to do, spend the rest of your life sitting in limbo and in pain or close the chapter and move on and perhaps even remarry again.

    I understand all the hurt and pain of waiting and hoping, and I know how difficult it is to let go but if the other person is not willing to try then you should also let go and be selfish, focus on yourself. I'd rather be alone and miserable then be married and miserable.

    Alternatively If your husband has remarried and does not want to divorce you then he needs to give you equal rights. You and your children are still his responsibility, he needs to provide for his childrrn even after he divorces you if that's what he decides to do!

    Also perhaps involve your families in this matter to help you settle things. I pray Allah swt places love and mercy in the hearts of all husbands Ameen.

  9. For the sister who has posted the original question - if I was in your shoes i would go and surprise him at his address abroad! See firsthand what's keeping him from coming back to his wife and child. This is ridiculous behaviour, what was the point of him marrying if he was planning to spend the entire time away from you.

  10. Dear All, i did love marrige...

  11. I just wanted to know me & my husband stayed at same house & sleep at the same bed my 4 yrs son sleep with us also in between us..last 2 yrs we don’t have no physical relationship not even hug or kiss.but we are married for last 10 yrs. is that our marriage still safe or what is that call pls let me ans..

    • Assalaamualaikum

      It sounds like neither of you has requested divorce or abandoned each other, so legally there shouldn't be an issue. But two years is a long time to go without any intimacy. It might be worth speaking with your husband about this and trying to put some intimacy back in your relationship - hugging, kissing, spending time just the two of you, etc. If you have any relatives, might they be able to look after your son for a few hours so you can spend some time reconnecting? And at 4 years old, your son is certainly old enough to have a bed of his own if you can afford that.

      Midnightmoon editor

    • Baishakhi: I just wanted to know me & my husband stayed at same house & sleep at the same bed my 4 yrs son sleep with us also in between us..last 2 yrs we don’t have no physical relationship not even hug or kiss.but we are married for last 10 yrs. is that our marriage still safe or what is that call pls let me ans.

      Do you remember how "physical relationship" stopped? Was he very active and stopped all of a sudden one day? Do you remember what happened the last time he had physical relation with you? Have you suggested to your husband to see a doctor/sex therapist?

  12. Dear all,
    Good day.
    Although its not my post,i shouldnt ask for help on others post, but since its also relates to me, i couldnt help but asking.. I do stay with my husband but we dont have physical relations with each other for last 5years.we stay at same home and have one son..he may be staying with me for my son.i have tried to solve our problem but he has not get any interest on per islam is it a valid marriage or not.can anyone please answer

    • Malihat, the marriage is still valid. It's not a good or healthy marriage, but it is still valid. Lack of intimacy for any length of time does not affect the validity of a nikah.

      Wael Editor

  13. Dear friends, salaam

    Not to over take the conversation here, but i stumbled across this website while looking for answers myself. Can you please give me some insight into the Islamic requirements and guidance here.

    My husband of 20+ years has been very insensitive towards me, verbally abusive and has a bad temper. We have kids too. He goes on foreign trips without letting me know for weeks. He comes back and wants things to be normal, i cannot do that any more. He is out of the house now because he was ordered by law to stay away from me and the house. Now he is all apologetic and sorry, trying to be nice ..... please tell me what i should do, take him back or end the marriage.??? It has been two months already, and knowing we have four months, i need to make a decision soon. Please advise .... thank you!

  14. im married for 36years and my wife decided after 35 years that she no longer see me as her husband we have 3 children eldest is a branch manager at a leading supermarket 2nd a qualified electrician last one at uct 2nd year she still wants me to do everything a husband must do but at night she sleeps with my daughter and i have to sleep in a diff room now for more than a year .are we still married

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