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Can Women Do Zihar With Their Husbands?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Maulana Mohammed Dilwar Hussain


I am extremely anxious as I wasn’t aware of this notion of Zihar by any means. I am a woman and I was sitting in Itikaf. Just as a means of clarifying or explaining to my husband how not to treat me/what to expect of me these days like not touching me without the need (not having sexual intercourse was not implied here at all or meant as that was clearly understood and obvious beforehand, just as it is obvious in the case mensuration). I don’t remember the exact words which I uttered out of ignorance (I wasn’t aware of the insensitive issue of Zihar) but what I meant was ‘right now I am like your any other mahram take me as your wife of course I said, but you should treat me ‘right now like you would treat them, in other words, don’t touch me without any need in order to maintain the sanctity of Itikaf. The intention of using the analogy was to explain/guide him on how to act in this particular situation and not to imply that I am not his wife these days. Does the situation fall under Zihar? 

I am scared to the core. I came across this concept while studying some fiqhi masail in Itikaf. Please respond ASAP please! I am on the verge of crying! I can assure you there was no implication of sexual intercourse by any means (for that was 110% understood like in the case of periods), and the words were said without any aim or purpose except as a way of explaining that he should not touch me, cuddle me in Itikaf but he can sit with me, eat with me, yet maintain a distance like one maintains from other mahrams. Does Zihar apply to women?

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Allāh Ta’ālā says in the Noble Qur’an; Those who declare Zihār against their wives, then retract what they said, obligated on them is to free the neck (of a slave) before the two (spouses) touch one another. This is what you are advised, and Allah is well aware of what you do. [Surah al Mujādilah; 58:3] [1]

Furthermore, it has come in Al-Hidāyah, that when a man says to his wife, “you are for me like the back of my mother” (this was a common saying among the Arabs pre-Islam) then she becomes Haraam on him. He is not permitted to be intimate with her, touch her or kiss her until an expiation is done for the Zihār. The expiation is as explained in the verse above.

In the pre-Islamic era, Zihār was used in place of Talāq (i.e., giving divorce). Shariah kept the principle of the ruling but changed the outcome to a temporary prohibition with a means of expiation rather than ending a marriage. [Al-Hidāyah; Volume 2, page 419] [2]

From there, we understand that Zihār is something which can only be done by the husband and not the wife. So, you would not be able to do Zihār on your husband.

Only Allah knows best.

Written by Maulana Mohammed Dilwar Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

}[1]وَٱلَّذِينَ يُظَٰهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمۡ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُواْ فَتَحۡرِيرُ رَقَبَة مِّن قَبۡلِ أَن يَتَمَآسَّاۚ ذَٰلِكُمۡ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِۦۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِير{

[2]وإذا قال الرجل لامرأته: أنت عليّ كظهر أمي، فقد حرمت عليه لا يحّل له وطؤها ولا مسّها ولا تقبيلها، حتى يكفر عن ظهاره… والظهار كان طلاقا في الجاهلية، فقرّر الشرع أصله، ونقل حكمه إلى تحريم موقّت بالكفّارة غير مزيل للنكاح

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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