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‘You are my wife in public only!’

Published: 24/08/2011 01:26:00 PM GMT
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My wife refused to have conjugal relations with me one night and I said to her in anger: “From this moment forward, consider yourself my wife in public only, but you are not my wife in what is between you and me.” I meant by it that she is not like my wife with respect to sex. Does this count as a pronouncement of divorce?

Answered by

Sheikh Sa`ûd al-Funaysân, former professor at al-Imâm University

A statement like this does not bring about a divorce, because you did not intend by it to bring about a divorce. You only meant by it that you were not going to have sexual relations with her. That is clear from the very wording itself, not to mention your intentions.

Also, such a statement does not prohibit you from having sexual relations with your wife if you wish to do so.

Finally, please know that Islam gives a stern warning to a woman who forbids her husband intimacy when he calls her to be intimate with him.

Abû Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses him, so he spends the night angry with her, the angels will curse her until the morning.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3237) and Sahîh Muslim (1436)]

In another narration it reads: “…those in the heavens remain angry with her until he is happy with her.” [Sahîh Muslim (1736)]

However, this does not apply in a case where the woman has a legitimate reason to refuse her husband. This could be on account of illness or any other sensible reason.

Also, the husband needs to take his wife’s circumstances, moods, and feelings into consideration in such sensitive matters.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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