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Marital dispute and separation

Fatwaa ID: 1730

After a lot of issues in their marriage, a husband and wife have now separated and they have a 1 year old child.

  1. I understand it is discouraged in Islam, but wanted to ask if it is haram/permissible for the two of them to live separate lives without a divorce? The husbands parents have also separated and have been living separate lives for the last 5 years. So the husband wanted to do the same with his wife. Mainly because divorce comes with emotional and financial baggage.
    Another reason They are avoiding a divorce so that the father can keep coming to visit the child and it will be halal and easier when it comes to co-parenting.
  2. The separation was due to the husband asking the wife to leave the house. Based on this, will he have to continue providing maintenance to his wife?
  3. The husband sent his wife a £100 specifcying it is for the child. The wife who currently lives with her parents and siblings, used the money to buy some groceries for the child such as bread, some fruits, etc. Living in a house with many people, is it necessary to separate the child’s food and fruits from the rest – as it was bought with money that was his? If the grandmother or anyone did eat from the fruits would they be sinful?
  4. When the husband visits the his wife, does he still enjoy the rights to intimacy in the case where he isn’t providing for his wife?
  5. At the age of 7, if the child (boy) chooses to stay with his mother due to love and attached, and refuses to go to his father, can his custody still be forcefully transferred to the father ?
  6. If the father has mental illnesses such as ADHD, has previously physically, emotionally, mentally and financially abused his wife, do these factors take away from him the right to have his child? We ask because there is a risk of the abuse being inflicted on the child as well.

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

May Allaah Ta’aala make it easy for the couple and place love, happiness and unity in their marriage.

  1. If the long term separation is mutual, then that is permissible, albeit unadvisable. Such separations are contrary to the purpose and dictates of a marriage. Each person has mental, emotional and sexual needs, amongst others. Separations of such nature restrict and prevent both spouses from fulfilling their marital rights and needs. We are not in a position to advise what the couple should do, but the husband’s parents are not a role model in this. The couple in question should consult with the appropriate and relevant individuals and make istikhaarah before making a decision. If it is in their best interests to go their separate ways, then the husband should amicably end the marriage with a talaaq.
  2. If the husband has asked the wife to separate and live elsewhere, then the responsibility of providing maintenance remains on him. The action of the husband however is inappropriate. That being said, he may ask her to move back in with her. She will have to comply.
  3. The wife should bear in mind the usage of the child and the others from this fund. As this money was given specifically for the child, she should reimburse and provide the balance for the child.
  4. The couple are still married. He enjoys his rights of intimacy from her and vice versa.
  5. This is not a divorce. This is a separation. Both parents must mutually and cordially decide on sharing, living and visiting the child. It is not an issue of custody. One parent cannot claim the child. Likewise, it is haraam for one parent to incite the child against the other.
  6. Present your case to your local scholars and let them assess the situation.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

02/25/1445 AH – 09/11/2023 CE

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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