A person telling his wife, "You are...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

A person telling his wife, "You are unlawful to me"


I told my wife: "You are to me like my mother and sister" with the intention of refraining from conjugal relations with her. I then fasted for sixty consecutive days in expiation. On another occasion, I told her, "If you spend the night at your father's house you will be to me like my mother and sister," again with the intention of not engaging in intercourse with her. What is the ruling for this since she did spend the night at her father's house?



The inquirer's intention on both the first and second occasions may be interpreted as the husband wishing to suspend conjugal relations with his wife on either a temporary or a permanent basis. Zihar involves the husband likening his wife to his mother or sister such as by saying, “You are to me like my mother’s or sister’s back,” thus the prohibition of continuing conjugal relations with her. Zihar does not constitute divorce but requires expiation.
In reference to the question, zihar has not been affected if the husband had intended to temporarily refrain from engaging in sexual relations with his wife. However, if he intended permanency, it is considered zihar.

The expiation for zihar

The husband must fast two consecutive months. If he cannot, he is to feed sixty poor persons.

The ruling

Since the inquirer made expiation after he uttered the first statement, it is incumbent upon him to make expiation for the second statement because the act upon which he made zihar conditional occurred. Neither of these two statements is considered divorce.

And God Almighty knows best.

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