Does Remaining Separated in a Strained Relationship For a Long Period Constitute Divorce?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Despite separating eight years ago and initiating divorce proceedings, she maintains ties with her husband’s friend abroad under the same roof. Her parents are aware but haven’t intervened. Is their marriage still valid, given these circumstances?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question. I am sad to hear about this situation.

They are still considered married as the husband is the one who issues divorce. If the wife has divorce papers, they are used only if the husband signs them. Eight years is a long time to remain separate in a marriage. They should sit down one last time and agree to live in a good way or separate amicably.

Allah tells us, “Live with them fairly” [Quran 4:19] or “Or leave them fairly” [Quran 65:2]


The husband can divorce her with one clear divorce. This way, they are both separate. She will spend three months in a waiting period (idda), during which they can reconcile. Otherwise, their marriage will end unless they remarry with a renewed marriage contract with witnesses and a new dowry. Read this for further details.

The Ruling of a Revocable Divorce

When a man divorces his wife with a single revocable divorce or two revocable pronouncements of divorce, he may take her back during her waiting period (`idda), whether the woman consents to that retraction or does not consent.

[Maydani, Al-Lubab Fi Sharh al-Kitab]

To revoke a divorce, one needs to say, ‘I take you back,’ or engage in any act that displays intimacy, such as a kiss or a hug. They become a married couple again.

[Maydani, Al-Lubab Fi Sharh al-Kitab; Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Due to the sensitivity of this situation, I would advise you to consult local scholars – people who are reliable, pious, have wisdom, and understand family and community dynamics.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.


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I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel has received traditional education in various countries. He started his schooling in the UK and completed his hifz of the Quran in India. After that, he joined an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied secular and Aalimiyya sciences. Later, he traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries to further his education. Mawlana has served as an Imam in the Republic of Ireland for several years and taught the Quran and other Islamic sciences to both children and adults. He also worked as a teacher and librarian at a local Islamic seminary in the UK for 12 years. Presently, he lives in the UK with his wife and is interested in books and gardening.