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A person with work commitments may be attracted to someone with comparable work ethics, and therefore comparable work commitments. However, this gives rise to practical difficulties in finding a spouse, where both are unable to relocate. In these circumstances, compatible partners may not be able to be together physically due to external commitments. Hence...

Question: Is a long-distance Islamic marriage permissible and practicable?

I have in mind a relationship that would otherwise be halal, but the partners agree to spend a substantial amount of time separated for work commitments, or other reasons.

I can't think of any specific reason that it wouldn't be halal, but it might be regarded as haram e.g. because the husband would not be performing his role as his wife's guardian. (An IslamWeb fatwa describes the technical details of performing such a marriage; presumably their response would have been different if it were haram.)

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Among the sunni schools of thought, there is Misyar marriage, where the husband and wife mutually agree to waive some rights and norms of marriage. From islamqa:

Misyaar marriage is where a man does a shar’i marriage contract with a woman, meeting the conditions of marriage, but the woman gives up some of her rights such as accommodation, maintenance or the husband’s staying overnight with her.

Such marriages are usually common among Muslims who stay for work in foreign countries, they are allowed to have sexual relations in a halal manner while not having to deal with the complete responsibilities of a married life.

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It is halal. And I know a lot of marriages that work this way. The husband works abroad and wife takes care of the budding children. They meet once or twice a year for a period of 1 month.

When the kids age out and are ready to go to school, things may change depending on their financial capacity. One thing I know for sure about any relationship is that the more you stay apart the more you value your relationship.

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The term practical is, somewhat relative.

There are certain duties (nafaqa or sexual duties both parties have) which need to be addressed. <-- These are not relative. Either they are addressed or not. If not addressed then someone is committing a sin.

However the quality of marriage can be agreed on. As in a spouses could agree to see each other infrequently, ie they could say I don't want to be committed more than such. For such a couple seeing each other isn't practical.

For another couple their agreement is to be in the same house indefinitely.

Having that said Islam's default way of marriage is that husband and wife are to be together. And that's how a family is becomes more effective.

  • "If not addressed then someone is committing a sin." Is that still the case if husband and wife agree that they will waive their mutual rights whenever they can't meet? It sounds like your answer is saying that a mutual agreement could stipulate that, but I'm not sure that's what you mean. I think a reference would be helpful either way. – G. Bach Mar 30 '17 at 21:25
  • @G.Bach what does an agreement mean? Universally it means something 'on top of' the default. Marriage is a contract just like any other contract. Comes with a default. Agreements can change that default. So yes mutual agreement can stipulate that. Does agreement mean something else to you? If so then please elaborate. – Honey Mar 30 '17 at 21:52
  • See this question: the matter isn't as clear cut, there will be conditions that are not valid in a marriage contract. Can it stipulate one spouse can kill the other in their sleep if they want and it will be considered halal for that spouse to kill the other one? Probably not. Can it stipulate that the husband has to take the wife on a date once every 3 months or he owes her 100€? Probably. The issue in question? Don't know, need references. – G. Bach Mar 30 '17 at 23:53

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