In Islam, wife is like a prisoner, and Islam closed all the doors upon her in order get her freedom an evil husband. Even if a husband is a psychopath, and beats her brutally with bruises. Or even if he imprisons her in the house and neither let her go out, nor let others to enter his house. Or even if he tortures her mentally too along with physical torture. 

The next step of Islam in this direction is where it allowed such psychopath husbands to not to not only imprison them in the house, but also to not to show any kindness or affection towards them, and not to do any intercourse with them for several years (in order to torture them mentally). 

Such psychopath husbands only have to pay the maintenance money, and after that no Islamic court help the poor women to get rid of such psychopaths and get her freedom.

Fatwa from Dar-ul-Ifta Deoband (link):

Question:If husband and wife do not do sex, in how many days their Nikah will be broken?
Answer:
Nikah does not break by not doing intercourse, even if they do not have sex the whole of their life, but by doing so the husband will be violating her due rights. 

There are traditions that prior to the caliphate of Umar, Muslim warriors stayed away from their wives for longer period of time (may be years). But when Umar became caliph, he consulted his daughter Hafsa, and asked her how long a wife could stay without her husband. And she told it may be 4 months to 6 months. After that, Umar was the first one who stipulated that Muslim warrior should not be sent on the fronts for so long that they were separated from their wives for more than 6 months (Reference: Mufti Ebrahim Desai)

Please also remember, despite the recommendation by Umar about 6 months, still it is not a part of Islamic Sharia, while it was only Muhammad who was allowed to tell if Allah made something a part of Sharia or not. 

Blackmailing the wives by showing ill treatment and aversion towards them

Please remember:

  • Muslim Husbands can use these tactics in order to compel their wives to accept all of his demands, even if they are unjust. 
  • Muhammad/Allah already practically 'abrogated' the verse 4:3 of doing 'Adl (Justice)' with the wives. 
  • And the new verse 4:128-129 is a license for husbands to show aversion, ill treatment and desertion towards their wives, and thus compel them to give away their rights in name of settlement. And reason for this license is that men are not able to do 'Adl (justice) with them, even if they try to do it. 

(Quran 4:128-129) And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them (i.e. woman agrees upon leaving some of her rights) … And you will never be able to do Justice (Arabic: تَعْدِلُوْا) between wives, even if you should strive [to do so].

For more details, please read our article: Muhammad's journey from 4 marriages to 9 marriages with the help of Revelation

Difference from Ila (الإيلاء):

In Ila (الإيلاء), a man 'swears' to Allah that he will not do an intercourse with his wife for 4 months. Therefore, after 4 months, woman gets her freedom through divorce. 

While, if a Muslim man does not swear to Allah, then he is free to tease and punish the woman for unlimited period of time, and she will not be able to get her freedom in any way. 

Actually, in Ila (الإيلاء) too, a man could punish the wife for unlimited period of time. He only has to break his swear once before the end of 4 months, and rape his wife. And after that, he could again start with new Ila for another 4 months. The atonement of breaking swear is also minimal i.e. fasting for 3 days, or feeding 10 poor people. 

 

 

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Don't forget the Bigger Picture: Whereas a woman in the West gets her freedom just by going to the court, Muslim women suffer horribly in an Islamic system due to these unjust and oppressive 10 Sharia Rulings. Islam provided women with almost no protection, and exposed them badly for blackmailing at the hands of their abusive husbands. Muhammad took all these rulings regarding divorce from the pre-Islamic era of ignorance (like only husband having the right to give divorce, the system of 3 Talaqs, Halala, Ila, Zihar etc.). All of them are not only extremely oppressive against the women, but they are also illogical and unnecessary. They became part of Islamic Sharia while no divine Allah is present above in the heavens, and Muhammad was making the revelation and Sharia rulings on his own. Thus, we see the human errors and influence of the era of ignorance in these Islamic rulings.