Husband making his wife unlawful for him

Q: I had a disagreement with my wife and was very outraged. I flied into fury, lost my temper, and told her that she was unlawful to me and I would not approach her. Your Eminence, please advise. May Allah grant you success.

A: If you mean by these words Zhihar (a man likening his wife to an unmarriageable relative), you must make Kaffarah (expiation) for Zhihar which is to set free a believing slave. If you are incapable of doing so, you must fast for two successive months. If you are not able to do this, you must feed sixty needy persons before you approach your wife. On the other hand, if you intend by your words Talaq (divorce pronounced by a husband), it will be considered one pronouncement of Talaq and it is permissible for you to take her back during her `Iddah (woman's prescribed waiting period after divorce or widowhood) as long as this is not the last of the three pronouncements of Talaq. If by saying so, you only mean not to approach her, and not to divorce or make Zhihar, you have to make Kaffarah (expiation) for breaking the oath. That is to set free a believing slave, feed or clothe ten needy persons, but if you cannot afford that, you must observe fasting for three days. (Part No. 20; Page No. 299) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.