First of all, a Muslim should know that marriage never ends automatically, rather there are three ways of ending the marriage; either by the husband’s actual uttering of the words of divorce, by divorcing a wife in absentia or by resorting to the judge who can declare the marriage contract annulled.
Thus, in a husband’s absence, a wife is not allowed to marry another man until she has resorted to a judge to take the due procedure either to notify him to come (if he is available) or to issue a judgment declaring him to be absent.
Shedding more light on this issue, we’d like to cite the statement of Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq, may Allah have mercy on him, which goes as follows:
“Nullifying the marriage due to the absence of the husband is the view adopted by Malik and Ahmad so as to remove the harm inflicted on the wife. Hence, a wife is allowed to seek divorce due to her husband’s absence even if he has left for her sufficient provision.”