Is a man’s wife, who has separated from her husband for six months, considered to be divorced?
Salam u Alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu, was-salat was-salam aala sayidinah Muhammad wa Aaleh I Sheikh Barakat of Melbourne, Australia, am seeking a ruling of divorce through the Hawzah Al –Elalmiyah (The Islamic Seminary). The lady requesting divorce has been without a husband who left her almost 5 years ago after a marriage of almost 20 years. In this case she was kept practically jailed and abused by her husband who also denied her all her rights as a woman, particularly not spending on his family which includes 2 sons one of whom was quite ill for a number of years. The sons are 8 and 9 and were shown neglect and severe detachment from their father. Her then husband is quite wealthy and even so forced his wife's money to be spent on him and his sons as opposed to him providing for them. This couple has been separated for 5 years and I wish to confirm with you that under spiritual law - in accordance with instruction of Ahlul-bayt (A.S.) that a man separated from his wife for over 6 months is considered divorced? On top of all of this he is now requesting his children although he is unfit to care for them in any means and is actually planning to have his own mother raise the children although she has been harmful to the children in past experiences. Unbelievably, he is also requesting her to bring him to Australia at her expense in order to fulfill his sexual desires and without any intention of returning to her as a husband or father to the children. This man has both the means and history of travelling on his own which makes such a request unimaginable. Both the lady in question and her ex-husband are from a Shia background and I ask from you for a reference to support this case which could give custody to the children's mother in accordance with Ahlul-Bayt (A.S.) and Kitab Allah. Note that the ex-husband, who is known to be an academic, however has displayed unlawful and uncharacteristic behaviours including the use of pornography. We seek to serve justice and seek your guidance in providing us with the information that we require. A prompt reply would be most appreciated considering the urgency of this matter. Sincerely, Sheikh H. Barakat Melbourne, Australia.


Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehran (may Allah grant him long life):


In order for the man and his wife to separate from each other, divorce must be carried out by the husband in accordance with specific rules and conditions.  A woman’s abandoning her husband or vice-versa or the husband’s violent behavior towards his wife or his corrupt morals or his indifference towards the fate of the children does not cause legal separation between the couple. In fact, in such cases a woman refers to and seeks redress with a qualified Mujtahid, the Mujtahid can divorce the woman in accordance with the rules.


Website code number fa1584