In Islam, the relations between the spouses should be based on tranquility, love and mercy. Allah says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (Ar-Rum: 21)

Tranquillity, love and mercy are very important concepts in Islam, for they summarize the ideals of Islamic marriage. Thus it is the duty of the husband and wife to see that they are a source of comfort and tranquillity for each other. They should do everything physically, emotionally and spiritually to make each other feel happy and comfortable. They must care for each other. They should not inflict any harm or injury, neither physically nor verbally, to each other.

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: “Islam enjoins husbands to deal with their spouses not whimsically or erratically but in full conformity with standards of kindness, decency and fairness. This has been best summed up in the Quranic imperative: “And deal with them on terms of al-ma`ruf.” (An-Nisa’: 19). When we enquire what is considered al- al-ma`ruf, al-Qurtubi, a prominent commentator of the Qur’an, explains that it involves all that is mandated by standards of decency, fairness and kindness. Ibn `Abbas, the inspired commentator of the Qur’an, reminds us that while dealing with their wives, men ought to be more forgiving in regards to their slips and mistakes, while being more diligent in fulfilling their own obligations towards them.

While enjoining compassion as the norm and standard governing spousal relations, the Prophet, peace be upon him, placed the onus for it squarely on husbands rather than on wives when he said, “The best of you is the one who is the kindest to his spouse and I am the kindest to my spouse!.”

Now coming to your specific question, it may help us to pose the question in this way: Suppose there are two friends who are on extremely good terms, then suddenly one of them takes off without letting his friend know, wouldn’t it be considered as unfair and unkind? If that is certainly the case, then how could we tolerate such behaviour from a husband towards his wife? Isn’t the relationship between husband and wife, who are supposed to be life-long partners, stronger than that of two friends?

Therefore, I must conclude that such behaviour of a husband is considered a violation of the norms and standards of fairness and kindness as mandated by the Qur’an.”