In the name of Allah,
Limited zihar is the practice of zihar with one’s wife for a limited amount of time, followed by having sexual relations with her before the allotted time has passed. There is disagreement among scholars as to the circumstances in which he kept his word and did not violate it. If he told his wife, “To me, you are just like my mother’s back until the night,” Malik and Ibn Abi Layla said, “Even though he didn’t approach her, he still needs to make the atonement. Most scholars agree that if he had not approached her, he would not have needed to atone[i].
If someone says, “You are like my sister till I’m pleased,” that person is using a temporary type of zihaar that only lasts as long as you’re pleased with her. Based on this, he must offer the zihaar expiation if he had sexual relations with his wife before he was satisfied with her, but he is exempted from doing so if he did so after he was pleased.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Temporary zihaar is valid, such as saying, “You are to me like the back of my mother for one month, or until the month of Ramadaan is over.” When the time has passed, zihaar is no longer in effect and his wife becomes permissible with no expiation, and he does not take her back except by having intercourse within the specified time. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Ata’, Qataadah, al-Thawri, Ishaaq, and Abu Thawr, and it is one of the two views of al-Shaafa’i… because of the hadeeth of Salamah ibn Sakhar, who said: “I have separated from my wife by zihaar until the month of Ramadaan is over.” But he told the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he had had intercourse with her during that month, and he told him to offer the expiation, but he did not rebuke him for setting a time limit. End quote from al-Mughni (11/68).
When he said: “You are to me like my mother’s back for the rest of this week, or this month,” Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have compassion on him) provided an example of temporary zihaar. This is legitimate as zihaar, but when we say that something is legitimate, we don’t mean that it’s correct; we mean that it counts. He doesn’t need to offer atonement if they have sexual intercourse after the zihaar time limit has passed because the ruling on zihaar is no longer in effect at that point. However, if the husband engages in sexual activity with his wife within the period he designated as zihaar, he must atone. However, zihaar is no longer applicable if the period expires and he engages in sexual activity afterward [ii]. End quote from al-Sharh al-Mumti’ ‘ala Zaad al-Mustaqni’, 5/593.
Imam As-Shawkani said,
“The Qur’an makes it clear that for the man to get reunited with his wife, atonement (from Dhihar) will be necessary. Therefore, for a time-limited Dhihar, the desire to return to the wife cannot require any atonement once the allotted time has passed. Therefore, in that circumstance, no atonement is required[iii].
Shaikh Ibn Baaz said,
‘According to the most reputable opinion of the scholars, there is no atonement for situations like these if he did not have sexual contact with her throughout the mentioned month. If someone said, “You are like my mother’s back to me during the month of Ramadan,” If the month is over and he hasn’t had any sexual activity with her, he won’t need to atone because he didn’t go back on his word[iv]”.
Compiled from the sources:
[i] Fiqh of the Muslim family, A manual book in Islamic jurisprudence Hassan Ayub Al Falah staff members. Islamic inc publications. Page 304
[iii] Shawkani, Muhammad bin Aliy, (2019). Comprehensive Islamic jurisprudence, According to the Quraan and authentic Sunnah, trans: Abu Aisha Murtadha Salahuddin. Malaysia: Dakwah Corner Bookstore. Page 369
[iv]Fatwa Islamiyah (Islamic Verdicts) Vol 6 From the noble scholars Abdullah bib Baaz, Shaikh Uthaymeen, Ibn Jibreen ( May Allah have mercy on them) along with the permanent committee. Darussalam Publications Page 78