May Allah ﷻ reward you Shaykh. This is the seventeenth question, and it is from Libya. The questioner states: I have been married for approximately two years, and my wife and I are at each others necks, each one of us has wronged the other. We rectified the situation one and a half months ago and agreed to fulfil each others rights accordingly. However, two days ago my wife made the mistake of hitting me, this infuriated me and almost led me to declare a divorce. Instead, I composed myself and said to her, “you are forbidden for me just like my mother“. I didn’t know that this is considered ‘zihār‘ which is impermissible, and I didn’t intend to divorce her (with this statement) but rather I meant to scold and punish her. What would your advice be – Allah ﷻ preserve you – and what obligations are binding upon my wife and I?
Shaykh ʿUbayd al-Jābirī:
My son, as long as she hits you, she is not suitable for you from my point of view. My advice is to divorce her honourably. I have come across some cases of women of the common folk, who have been at the receiving end of painful and severe abuse from their husbands, yet, they couldn’t find it in themselves to raise their hands in hitting back. That is the natural disposition of a sensible and intelligent woman that honours the man.
As for striking out as a plain reaction to anger! I say; May Allah break her arm ﷻ, and if I were in your position, I would not have allowed her to remain under my guardianship for even a minute. I would have given her an honourable divorce. But if it is a must that you remain with her for other reasons such having children together, and fear that you may lose them – although it appears that you do not have children together – in this case, raise the issue with her family so they discipline her if this is her personality. If they succeed in disciplining her and she becomes repentant and (she) makes a determined resolution to listen to her husband and obey him in goodness, along with each party fulfilling the others rights appropriately, there shouldn’t be a reason to separate.
Nonetheless, I really hold the viewpoint that any woman who lashes out at her husband and does so in a regular fashion should be provided an honourable divorce.