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Living With The Ex-wife In One House

Question

Kindly shed some light on the following matter because we were taught at madressa that a man and woman cannot live together after they divorce. I would appreciate supporting material to high light this so I can forward it to someone

The couple that I am referring to had been married for about 30yrs, during which time the husband supported his wife and ran the home and the wife was a home executive. They continue to live together because the wife is an orphan and does not have any brothers to take care of her.

Her x-husband continues to support her because he does not expect her to go to work at this stage of her life and he acknowledges that she helped him to be where he is today and in being who he is.

They have separate bedrooms and do not have any conjugal relations.

Is this living arrangement permissible under any circumstances?

Answer

If a husband issues a single clear Talaaq/divorce to his wife after which the Iddat period of three menstrual cycles terminate then the Nikah between the spouses have terminated and they should regard each other as Na-Mahram (total strangers). If a person intends taking his wife back after she has served her Iddat, then the Nikah should be renewed. However, in the said form of Talaaq, the wife should spend the Iddat period at the husband’s residence but in a separate room as he is responsible for her maintenance during the Iddat period. 

Similarly, if a person issues two clear Talaaqs to his wife after which the Iddat period of three menstrual cycles terminate, the Nikah will be regarded to have ended and they will have to regard each other as strangers. If the husband does decide to take the wife back he will have to renew his Nikah. In this situation too, the wife should spend her Iddat at the husband’s residence as
well as explained above.

In the case where the husband issues three divorces to his wife then the Nikah will terminate irrevocably and the spouses will be regarded as total strangers immediately. The woman will not spend the Iddat together with the ex-husband under one roof even though he is responsible for her maintenance during the Iddat period. He will have to provide accommodation for the wife for the
duration of the Iddat either by moving out of the house or hiring another place for her. In the query that you have forwarded to us, you have not stated how many divorces have been issued. 

If the husband had issued one or two divorces and the Iddat period was over then the spouses should separate immediately and live in different venues. It is not permissible for them to maintain any sort of interaction. Similarly in the case of three Talaaqs, the spouses should separate as soon as the Talaaqs are issued as explained above. If the husband intends assisting his ex-wife
financially he may contribute towards her expenditure, accommodation etc. for which he will be rewarded, but under no circumstances is he permitted to live with her under one roof. She should now observe total Purdah from him and both individuals should make Tauba (repent) for having spent time in the same house as Na-Mahrams.

The ex-husband will not be able to re-marry her after issuing three Talaaqs, until the wife marries another person (after serving her iddat). If the husband (second husband) then decides to divorce her for some reason, she will have to once again serve her iddat of three menstrual cycles.

Then only it will be permissible for the first husband to remarry her. 

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

Fataawa Mahmoodiyya pg.374 vol 13

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