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The Maximum Time to Live Away from Wife

Name of Questioner: Anwar

Question: As-Salaamu `alaykum. What is the maximum amount of time a man can live away from his wife? When a person moves to Europe or America, it can take one or two years (depending on the individual) to settle down properly. If his wife joins him from the beginning, it will be difficult for him to cope with the financial pressure and concentrate on other aspects of life.

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, thank you for your question that shows your interest in Islam and its teachings.

As for your question, some scholars have stated that the maximum period a husband can live away from his wife is four or six months.

Responding to your question, Dr. Su`aad Salih, professor of Fiqh at Al-Azhar University, stated,

The maximum limit a husband is allowed to be away from his wife is four months, or six months in the view of the scholars of the Hanbali School. This is the maximum period a woman can endure separation from her husband.

Exegetes of the Glorious Qur’an narrate the following incident in support of this opinion: 

One night the Caliph `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) was making his rounds of Madinah when he heard a woman singing: 

The night is long, darkness all around me;

I am sleepless, for I have no friend to play with.

By Allah, had there been no fear of Him,

This cot would be shaking from side to side.

Upon investigation, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) found that the woman’s husband had been on a military expedition for a long time. He then asked his daughter, Hafsah, a widow of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) “How long can a woman endure separation from her husband?” She replied, “Four months.” As a consequence, he decided that he would not send a married man away from his wife for a period exceeding four months.

However, if your wife agrees to give up this right for more than this period, and allow you to travel until she is able to join you, then it is lawful and there is no wrong in this.

Allah Almighty knows best.