The issue of timing of Zhihar:
The first view is: It is permissible to time Zhihar such as to say: You are prohibited to me like the back of my mother for a day or month because of the Hadith of Salamah ibn Sakhr who said: "I was a man who was more given than others in sexual intercourse with women. When the month of Ramadan came, I feared lest I should have intercourse with my wife, and this evil should remain with me till the morning. So, I made my wife like my mother's back to me till the end of Ramadan. But one night when she was serving me, something of her was revealed. Suddenly, I jumped upon her. When the morning came I went to my people and informed them about this matter. I said: Go along with me to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).They said: No, by Allah. So, I went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and informed him of the matter. He said: Have you really committed it, Salamah? I said: I committed it twice, O Messenger of Allah. I am content with the Commandment of Allah, the Exalted; so take a decision about me according to what Allah has shown you. He said: Free a slave. I said: By Him Who sent you with truth, I do not possess a neck [a slave] other than this: and I struck the surface of my neck. He said: Then fast two consecutive months. I said: Whatever I suffered is due to fasting. He said: Feed sixty poor people with a wasq of dates. I said: By Him Who sent you with the truth, we passed the night hungry; there was no food in our house. He said: Then go to the collector of charities of Banu Zurayq; he must give it to you. Then feed sixty poor people with a wasq of dates; and you and your family eat the remaining dates. Then I came back to my people, and said (to them) : I found with you poverty and bad opinion; and I found with the Prophet(peace be upon him)prosperity and good opinion. He has commanded me -or commanded to me- to give alms to you." (1)
When the time ends, Zhihar shall not be effective and the woman shall become lawful without penance. If the husband has sexual intercourse with his wife more than once during the period of Zhihar, there will be nothing due on him as long as he pais the penance according to the view of Ibn `Abbas, `Ata', Qatadah, Ath-Thawry, Ishaq, Abu Thawr, Ash-Shafi`y, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
The Hadith of Salamah ibn Sakhr is explicit in this regard because it contains the phrase of: "I made my wife like my mother's back to me till the end of Ramadan." Salamah informed the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he had sexual intercourse with his wife more than once, and he commanded him to pay the penance and did not blame him for the second time and did not limit the matter for him.
Moreover, he prevented himself from approaching his wife by an oath, so it is permissible to time it like Ila' and because it is an oath that was not broken, so it is incumbent on him to pay a penance.
The second view which is the view of Abu Hanifah, Ibn Abu Layla, and Al Layth that timing Zhihar is not a type Zhihar because the Shari`ah mentioned the word Zhihar without timing and this was timed, so it is like prohibiting his wife for himself sometimes.
The third view, which is the view of Imam Malik, is: Timing is overlooked and Zhihar will be absolute because the wording of Zhihar entails the prohibition of the wife and if the husband times it, it will not stop but will continue as the case in divorce.
The most probable is the first view because of the mentioned proofs. The proofs of the other two views are refuted as follows:
- Likening the timed Zhihar with the one who prohibits his wife sometimes is different because prohibiting one’s wife is partial, whereas the prohibition of his mother or his sister is permanent.
- As for likening the timed Zhihar with the temporary divorce, it is also different because divorce is the removal of possession, so it cannot be timed. As for Zhihar, it entails prohibition that is removed by the penance, so it is permissible to time it.
The issue of suspending Zhihar on a condition:
If a husband says to his wife: If you enter the house, you shall be prohibited to me like the back of my mother, or says: If so and so comes, or so and so wills, I shall practice Zhihar from my wife. This is the view of the majority of scholars because it is a type of oaths that can be suspended on a condition such as Ila'.
And because the origin of Zhihar was divorce, and divorce can be suspended on a condition like Zhihar.
(1) Reported by Abu Dawud, in the chapter on Zhihar, Hadith No. 2215 - 2/233, and At-Tirmidhy in Surat Al Mujadalah, Hadith No. 3299 - 5/405 and said: This is a good Hadith. It was also reported by Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 2062 - 1/665 and Ad-Darimy reported in the chapter on Zhihar, Hadith No. 2273 - 1/217, and Al Albany graded it as authentic in his verification to Sunan Ibn Majah.