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f:957 -    How long can husband and wife stay away from each other
Country : India,
Name : Muhammad Waris
Question:     My question is how long can husband stay away from wife? Neither Khula has been done nor divorce and there is a condition for reuniting them.  My sister's husband is my wife's brother.  Almost 2 years ago, he (sister's husband) had a 2nd marriage and settled down with his 2nd wife without informing anybody.  There was no maintenance and nothing else.  We found out this on investigation.  Our demand was that leave your second wife or your sister will lose her husband.  2 years have passed.  Neither did he divorce his second wife nor did his sister meet her husband.  What I want to know is as so much time has passed, is the Nikah still valid?  I have heard that if the wife and husband are separated for 4 months, then a Talaq Bain is passed.
Answer:     What you have heard that if the couple is separated for more than 4 months, then a Talaq Bain (irrevocable divorce) is affected, is wrong.  As long as the husband does not give divorce, only separation of the wife does not affect a divorce.

When your brother-in-law is not fulfilling the rights of your sister, then in the light of the Shariah, he is oppressing her, which is a great sin.

In the Shariah, it is the responsibility of the person who marries more than once to be equally just with both wives.  Even in the fulfillment of conjugal rights, this equality has to be maintained.  If the husband spends one night with one wife, then he should spend one night with the other also.  If 2 nights with one wife, then the same number of nights with the other.  If he cannot maintain justice between 2 wives, then on the Day of Judgment, one of his hands will be cut.  As given in this Hadith:

Translation of Hadith:  It has been narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be well pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: If a person who has 2 wives and he does not maintain justice between them, then in Qiyamah, he will come with one of his hands cut.

(Jame' Tirmidhi, Hadith No: 1171)

Thus, the husband should realize his responsibility and fulfill the right of both the wives and maintain justice between them while doing so.  

You explain this nicely to our brother-in-law and also ask the elder, influential people of the family to do so.  As given in Fatawa A'alamgiri, Kitab Un Nikah.

Your separation with your wife, who is your brother-in-law's sister, is not correct.  In the same way the condition that you have kept that leave the 2nd wife or your sister will lose her husband is not the Islamic way.  You are demanding the rights of your sister and in the event of failure you are threatening to deprive your wife of her rights without any mistake of hers.  Taking revenge of the brother's mistake with his sister is itself an act of oppression.

Change your method, treat your wife nicely, fulfill her rights and convince your sister's husband in a permissible way.

And Allah The Mighty and The Exalted knows best.

Mufti Hafidh Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri

[Professor, Islamic Law, Jamia Nizamia,
Founder-Director, Abul Hasanaat Islamic Research Center]
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