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Automatic divorce?

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Automatic divorce?

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:00 pm

Q. Brother, can you tell me please if it is true that if 4 months pass without intercourse between a married couple then they are automatically divorced?

A. This is not correct... in sha Allah the following might clarify:
There are situations where the wife can seek a divorce or where the Islamic courts can rule that the husband and wife should be divorced because of the husband not fulfilling his nuptial duties, for example not fulfilling his wife's sexual needs. But these cases are not automatic; this would be an injustice to one or both spouses. Such cases are taken to the Muslim judge. Even qualified scholars will not give a fatwa on such issues just from hearing one side of the story, because this is an issue where there is a dispute between the spouses and legal disputes are resolved through the judicial process.

There is also the issue of when a husband is missing, and there is no contact or news about his whereabouts. How long before the marriage is dissolved in such cases? This is another situation where a certain amount of time passing may lead to a divorce / annulment of the marriage. Again the legal authorities are in a place to judge on such cases.

Answered by Sheikh Abu Abdillah Owais Al-Hashimi


From your mentioning of the four months, I think you may be referring to what is known in Islamic terminology as Eelaa. This is where a husband takes an oath that he will never again approach his wife sexually, or he swears that he will not do so for a period longer than four months. In this situation, if he then has intercourse with his wife within the four months, the Eelaa comes to an end, but he has to expiate for the breaking of an oath. If four months pass without him having relations with his wife, she can demand her sexual rights. If he complies, he has to still expiate for the breaking of an oath. If he does not comply, the Muslim judge can rule on the marriage and may judge that the marriage has to end because the wife is being harmed and not getting her rights.

This is just a quick overview of situations where a certain amount of time elapsing might lead to the ending of a marriage. But as I said, these things do not happen automatically, and whoever claims they do is either grossly mistaken or trying to portray the just and pure Shariah of Islam in a bad light.

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