The relationship between husband and wife improves when they spend quality time together. This also includes having intercourse. However, there are situations when a husband has to stay away from home for weeks, months, or even several years.
Islam has very specific rules regarding this issue, as this is something quite serious for both persons. Staying away from each other can often lead to sins, therefore the matter should not be taken lightly.
This leads us to the question, of how long husband and wife can live separately in Islam, and under what circumstances.
How Long Husband and Wife can Live Separately in Islam
Husband and wife are supposed to live together. But, in case of necessities, they can live apart from each other for a certain period of time according to Islam law.
Generally, a husband is allowed to live separately from his wife for 5-6 months. This can be for education, business, job, etc. purposes.
However, if the wife permits the husband to live separately more than that, then the husband is not obliged to live together.
As long as the wife does not feel fear of committing any sin for his husband’s absence, and allows him to live somewhere else for any legit or non-legit reason, Islam does not have to say anything regarding this.
But if the wife fears committing sin and security, the husband must return to his wife within 5-6 months. Otherwise, the husband will be committing a major sin by not fulfilling the right of his wife.
There is a long hadith about this specific issue. During the period of Umar Radiallahu Anhu, he heard a woman crying for her husband, missing his presence badly. Her husband was in the jihad in Syria during that time.
So Umar went to his daughter Hafsa Radiallahu Anha and asked about how many days a woman can live without a husband. Hafsa replied ‘5 or 6 months.
Umar, then set a rule for husbands that they can stay away from their wives for not more than 6 months. They have to come back if it is not for travelling for seeking knowledge, doing obligatory Hajj, or other necessary provisions that the husband is not obliged to come back. If a person has a valid excuse, then he will not come under this ruling.
Otherwise, if there is no excuse, then the Qadhi or Islamic judge will send a letter to him asking him to return. If still he refuses to come back, the Judge will annul the marriage with the permission of the wife of that person.
According to the Hanbali scholars, if a husband is away from his wife for any period of time without any excuse, then the wife has the right to ask for a divorce. But, if the husband has a legit reason, then she cannot ask for the separation.
Maliki scholars, however, said that if a husband is absent from his wife for a while whether for a valid reason or not, the wife can ask for a divorce due to her right of having intimacy.
But, the earlier opinion is more sound and accepted by mass people.
So, to sum up, everything, if a wife does not have any issue with her husband living separately for more than 6 months or even years, and his wife is in a secure place with food and all financial solvency, there is no problem for the husband.
But, if she does not allow her husband to live separately for more than 6 months, she can go to the Shari’ah judges to verify if the reason for living separately is still valid or not, and can ask for a divorce if the matter is not excusable.
Can Husband and Wife Live Separately without Divorce in Islam?
Another circumstance can be due to a disagreement regarding any matter that leads both husband and wife or any of them to live separately.
If the husband finds his wife disrespectful and ill-acting, then he can live separately. He can separate beds and refuse to talk to her, for disciplinary purposes.
Allah SWT says –
“As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great” [an-Nisa’ 4:34]
But if otherwise, meaning the wife isn’t disobedient or showing any ill-act, then it is not permissible for the husband to separate beds and not talk to her.
The wife has the right to have intimacy with the husband to protect his chastity and needs. If the husband does not have intercourse with his wife once every four months, or according to her need and ability, it would be a sinful act. And this is the opinion of Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah Rahimahullah.
Sleeping in Separate Rooms when Angry Islam
More or less all couples disagree on matters be it small or big, and often this leads to a fight. Separating rooms while angry is pretty common.
If the separation is for not overreacting and leaving the place to make sure the disagreement does not turn into a fight, then this kind of separation for a short time is good. Because when both husband and wife disagree on an issue, it does not bring any good.
So, if you sleep in a separate room for a few days to minimize the disagreement, there is nothing wrong with it.
But if it lasts for months or even years, and basic rights such as having intimacy, taking care of each other, etc. are overlooked, then it will be a major sin. And this may lead to other major sins for both the husband and wife.
The same ruling goes for husband and wife not talking for days in Islam. Husband and wife not sleeping together in Islam are only considered if there’s absolutely necessary for the welfare of both parties.
Living Separately for a Long Time in First World Country
As a husband, it is okay for you to earn a good amount of money going abroad for a specific period of time. However, if you live for years leaving your wife and kids in the other country, this can make them commit sins. Wives these days want more time from their husbands. And during their absences, Shaitan will take the chance and open doors for doing haram.
There are lots of cases where the father lives abroad, and his kids became corrupted by their father’s absence. No amount of money, luxury, or wealth can make that up for you. If the moral and Islamic values of your family are lost, you will be left with deep regret for your high ambition.
How many days a wife can stay away from her husband in Islam?
There is nothing specific ruling to this in Islam. As long as the husband permits, the wife can stay away without any problem. But if the husband wants her presence, she must return.
How long can I stay away from my wife?
According to the Shari’ah, you can stay away from your wife for up to 6 months. After this period, if your wife wants your presence, it would be obligatory for you to return unless you are engaged in obligatory worship.
Is it haram to not sleep with your husband?
A wife staying away from her husband in Islam is considered as a sinful act without any valid reason. If the wife does not respond to her husband for fulfilling physical rights when she is not on her period, it is not after childbirth, and he is not asking for anal sex, this would be a major sin for the wife.
What happens in a relationship without intimacy?
For younger couples, this is one of the biggest reasons for a divorce. However, for older couples that do not feel the sexual urge that much, this might not be a reason for separation.
If you made it this far, hope that you got a clear understanding of how long husband and wife can live separately in Islam.