By Dr. Shabbir Ahmed
I receive at least two queries about divorce per week. Muslims in general get confused at the hands of Mullahs, the so-called Ulema. The obvious reason is their abandonment of the Book of Allah.
Here is the clear, Ultimate Qur'anic Guidance.
Surah 65 At-Talaq
[Author's note] This is the 65th Surah of the Qur'an. It has 12 verses. Allah holds man accountable only to the extent what He has given to him.
Some very important Laws for divorce are propounded in this Surah in addition to 2:228-234, 4:3, 4:19, 4:35, 4:128, 33:49, 58:1-3, 65:1-4.
NO ROOM FOR INSTANT DIVORCE:
According to the Qur'an, there is absolutely no room for an instant divorce. The process must take months in order to allow reconsideration on the part of the husband and wife.
THE QUR'AN DISREGARDED: It is highly unfortunate and shameful that Muslim jurists have been ignoring and practically revoking these clear verses of the Book of Allah for centuries, in favor of their own conjecture. According to their exploitative and erroneous edicts, if a husband utters the word "Divorce" three times in anger or under any kind of duress or even in a stage drama or movie, divorce takes effect instantly. What a mockery of the Qur'an! They are then declared unlawful for each other. ANYONE EATING OR DRINKING IN THEIR HOME COMMITS HARAM!
THE SOMERSAULT: It is interesting to note that the so called "Fuqaha" (Jurists and Mullahs) who otherwise uphold Hadith in preference to the Word of Allah, conveniently disregard even their 'treasure' whenever it suits their whims or purpose. (They even 'abrogate' the Qur'anic verses against Hadith!)
HADITH IGNORED: In this instance, there is a Hadith in Ibn Majah. The exalted Prophet is reported to have said, "La talaqa fil Ighlaq" = There is absolutely no divorce under any kind of duress, coercion, suddenness, anger etc. This Hadith which is in total harmony with the Qur'an remains obscure or redundant to the "Ulema".
UPHOLD THE QUR'AN: Incidentally there is another beautiful Hadith that strikes a cord with 65:2. The exalted Prophet is reported to have said, "For you O people! Just this verse of the Qur'an could be sufficient. Anyone who is mindful of Allah, He will always grant a way out for him (from difficult situations).
THE WAITING PERIOD BEFORE WOMEN REMARRY. HOMES BELONG TO WOMEN:
65:1 O Prophet! When you men intend to divorce women, make sure that the waiting period is observed. Keep precise account of this interim. Be mindful of Allah, your Lord. Never expel them from THEIR homes, nor shall they themselves leave their homes unless they commit open immorality. These are, then, the limits imposed by Allah. And whoever crosses Allah's limits, he verily hurts his own 'Self'. You know not that Allah may bring about thereafter a new situation (help create reconciliation).
65:2 And so when they have reached their waiting term, either retain them in kindness or part with them in kindness. And let there be two just persons among you to witness, and establish the evidence straight for Allah. This exhortation is for him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And anyone who is mindful of Allah, He will always grant a way out for him (from difficult situations).
ARBITERS: Three months of attempts to affect reconciliation by arbiters is one of the pre-requisites for divorce.
ATTEMPTS AT RECONCILIATION:
4:35- (Families and communities must adopt a proactive approach regarding a husband and a wife in discord). If you fear a breach between a husband and wife, appoint two arbiters, one from his family and one from her family. If they decide to reconcile, Allah will help them get together. Verily, Allah is Knower, Aware. (2:228-234, 4:3, 4:19, 4:35, 4:128, 33:49, 58:1 65:1-4).
THE ONLY VALID PROCEDURE: The only valid procedure of divorce is clearly given in 2:224-232
SILLY STATEMENTS DO NOT MATTER:
2:224- Let not your senseless oaths in the Name of Allah deter you from doing good to others, from being mindful of the Divine Laws, and from making peace between people. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
2:225- Allah will not task you for your senseless swearing. He holds you responsible for your intentional doings. Allah is Forgiving, Clement. (Therefore, a marriage will not be dissolved for senseless utterances of the husband or the wife).
FOUR MONTHS OF GRACE:
2:226- Men who take an oath that they will not approach their wives shall have four months of grace. And if they go back on their oath during these four months, behold, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (They must rethink their decision during this grace period and circumstances might change. Similar rules apply for women, since they have equal rights and obligations, and since no man is permitted to forcibly keep his wife in wedlock against her will as stated later in the Book (2:228, 4:19, 4:21, 4:34, 7:189).
BE MINDFUL OF ALLAH'S COMMANDS:
2:227 If they decide upon divorce let them remember that Allah is Hearer, Knower. (They must bear in mind that since marriage is a Solemn Covenant 4:21, divorce can take place only in accordance with this Book of Law).
WAITING TO REMARRY. THEY CAN STILL RECONCILE DURING THE WAITING PERIOD:
2:228 After divorce, women shall wait three menstruations before remarriage. There is no waiting period for a woman who is divorced before intimate relations with her husband (33:49). And it is three months if they do not habitually menstruate (65:4). They shall not conceal pregnancy if they believe in Allah and in the Hereafter. In case of pregnancy, their waiting period shall be until delivery (65:4). And during this period their husbands would do better to take them back if both of them desire reconciliation. The husband and the wife have the right to reconcile during this waiting period of the wife. Women, by Ordinance, have rights similar to men. Men, however, do not have a waiting period for remarriage for obvious physiological reasons. That is where men are on a platform different from them. (2:228-234, 4:3, 4:19, 4:35, 4:128, 33:49, 58:1, 65:1-4).
THE WHOLE CYCLE OF THREE MONTHS REQUIRED FOR DIVORCE IS PERMITTED TWICE IN A LIFE-TIME:
2:229- In a given couple's lifetime, a divorce is permissible twice. (The whole period of divorce i.e. three menstruations / three months, or until delivery can be taken back twice). Then the divorced woman must be retained in honor or released in kindness. She shall be allowed to live in the same home amicably, or leave it amicably. At or after divorce, it is not lawful for you to take back anything of what you have ever given to her. However, if both of you fear that you might (in waves of emotion) transgress the bounds set by Allah, there shall be no blame on either of you for what the wife willingly gives back, whatever she chooses. These are the Limits set by Allah; transgress them not. Whoever transgresses the bounds set by Allah, such are the wrongdoers.
THE THIRD AND FINAL CHANCE:
2:230 If a man divorces his wife on a third different time during their marital life, it shall be unlawful for him to remarry her. It may so happen that the woman marries another man, and those two do not get along, and the other husband divorces her. In that case, there is nothing wrong if both (the previous couple) decide to come together again, if they consider that they will be able to observe the Limits set by Allah. These Limits have been made clear for people to make use of the Divine gift of knowledge (and make no crookedness in the Straight Path).
HALALA OR HARAMA? Here comes the most shameful deed unique to the Mullahs in the whole world. They maintain that a woman has to go through HALALA (planned marriage with another man for one night followed by divorce in the morning) even if the husband uttered senseless words pointing to separation or divorce. The Mullahs offer their own "Noble Services" for being the bridegroom for one night and even charge a hefty fee for it! "Authorized" HALALA offices abound in many so-called Muslim countries!
WIVES CAN BE RETAINED EVEN AFTER COMPLETING THE WAITING PERIOD (The first two divorces):
2:231 When you have divorced women, and they have completed their waiting period, then retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. You shall allow them to live in the same home amicably, or let them leave amicably. Do not force them to stay against their will, as revenge. Anyone who does this wrongs his own "Self". Do not make the Revelations of Allah a laughing stock. Remember Allah's Blessings upon you and the Book and Wisdom He has sent down to you in order to enlighten you. Be mindful of Allah's Commands and know that Allah is Aware of all things.
NO OBSTRUCTIONS IF THEY WISH TO REMARRY:
2:232- And when you have divorced women, and they have completed their waiting period, people in the society shall not place difficulties if both of them wish to remarry each other in kindness. And do not place difficulties if the woman decides to marry a different husband upon mutual agreement. This instruction is for all among you who believe in Allah and the Last Day. Following the Commands helps you develop your personality and stay clear of vice. Allah knows, you know not.
THERE IS NO ROOM FOR "KHULA'" (woman going through a court of law begging for divorce, a process that might take years in the "Muslim" societies):
4:19- O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! It is not lawful for you to force women into marrying or holding on to them in marriage against their will. Pressuring women to remain in wedlock by threatening to take away the marital gift is forbidden. A wife could forfeit the right to the marital gift only if she has indulged in clear lewdness. You shall treat your wives nicely. Even if you dislike them, it may happen that Allah has placed much good in what you have failed to realise.