Dear reverend Kyai, my name is Wulan, 38 years old, married to Edi, 40 years old. During 18 years of our marriage, Alhamdulillah, we are blessed with 3 sons.
At present, our marriage is on the brink of ending since my husband has been in the property business. In the past two years he returned home once a week, then once a month, then once a year, and now he never returns home at all. We communicate only via cell phone. Even so, my husband only wants to communicate with our children. He completely neglects me. It makes me feel broken because he has abandoned his family.
He stops providing us the financial support. Moreover recently, my husband’s debts in the form of bank loan were imposed on me and my parents. In fact, I don’t know where my husband is. My parents and I become burdened with this problem. What is more, I have to bear the burden of providing for our daily life and the future of our three children.
Dear reverend Kyai, if I may ask, is it true that in Islam if a husband leaves his wife for 6 consecutive months, and does not financially support her then automatically falls a divorce? Is it necessary for the wife to first file for a divorce? What do you think if I file for a divorce for these various reasons? Can my actions be justified in religion? Can my husband be charged for this act? I really hope to get a solution and enlightenment on the issue that I face.
Wassalamu ‘alaikum Wr. Wb.
Wulan- Kompleks Radar
Cijantung – East Jakarta
First of all, we personally sympathize with the hardship that you face. May Allah SWT give you strength, patience, and multiple rewards. We are sure there must be a big scenario prepared by Allah SWT for you so that you become strong, mature and highly devoted to Allah SWT. Amen…
Regarding the question that you asked, first we want to assert that Islamic law has established a primary obligation for a husband to provide for his family. This has been symbolized since the beginning of marriage by ordering the husband to pay the dowry to his wife. In the Qur’an, this obligation has been affirmed:
وَعَلىَ المَْوْلوُدِ لهَ رزِْقهُنَُّ وَكسِْوَتهُنَُّ
) باِلْمَعْرُوفِ )البقرة، 332
Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable.
Interpreting this verse, Ibn Katsir said that a husband is obliged to provide a living for his wife and children. Even after they are divorced and the ex-wife still needs money to raise her children, for example when she is still nursing her baby, then the ex-husband is still obliged to provide for the ex-wife. (Tafsir Ibn Katsir, Juz 1 page 479)
In the Compilation of Islamic Law article 80 paragraph 4, as a rule that applies in Indonesia, it also mentions about the obligation of the husband to provide a living for his children and his wife in the form of housing, clothing, household expenses, medication and also education.
Therefore, when the husband does not give his wife a living, it is a violation. The husband is sinful because he does not fulfill his obligations and run away from the responsibilities that have been mandated by Allah SWT to him.
According to the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence (UUPKDRT), the act is classified as neglecting the household and thus violating article 9 paragraph 1 of the Law which states that ‘no man may abandon anyone within his household, when according to the law that binds him or because of an agreement, he is obliged to provide a living, care or protection.’
Therefore, there is no prohibition for you to file for a divorce so that the process can be legalized. Islamic law stipulates that women may file for a divorce to the court on the grounds that they do not earn a living from their husband, both physically and mentally. However, this process must be brought to court because according to Islamic jurists, the absence of a living from a husband does not automatically result in divorce. As long as the husband is believed to be alive even though he has never provided a living, the marriage still prevails. (Al Aziz Syarh Al Wajiz, chapter 9 p. 484-485)
Furthermore, in your situation, can the husband be sued? If we refer to the UUPKDRT on violence, especially in terms of neglecting the family, then the problem that you face can already be brought into the court. A husband is considered to have committed domestic violence when he does not provide a living and burdens his debts to you which he should have borne. But to take this path requires a very thorough preparation so that it can be truly proven. Otherwise, it could be that the lawsuit can turn to your own disadvantage.
Maybe that’s all we can share with you. But one thing for sure is that the real solution comes from Allah who knows the best for His creatures. Therefore, you must pray a lot and ask for His guidance and protection so that you will always be given the best solution for the problems you face.