Divorce and Islam: A historical retrospect

Published at February 13, 2019 01:03 AM 0Comment(s)1878views

Shazia Ahad Bhat

Muslims are governed by their personal laws under which Nikkahthat is marriage is a contract and permits a man four wives if he treats all of them equally. It was the Holy Quran that for the first time in the history of the Arabia, concept of divorce was recognized.

Among the pre Islamic Arabs, the power of divorce was unlimited they could divorce their wives at any time, for any reason or without any reason. They could also revoke their divorce and divorce again as many times as they preferred.

The reforms of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) marked a new departure in the history of eastern legislation. He restrained the unlimited power of divorce by the husband and gave to the women the right of obtaining a separation on reasonable grounds. He pronounced Talak to be the most detestable before God of all permitted things for it prevented conjugal happiness.

Divorce is the most hated permissible things in the sight of Allah. It dissolves families and deprives children the family atmosphere.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:“The most hateful permissible thing (al-Halal) in the sight of Allah is divorce,”(Abu Dawud, Hadith 1863, IbnMajah, Hadith 2008).

Divorce is the most hateful thing to Allah, but it is allowed (halal) only in the case of absolute necessity.

Divorce or dissolution of marriage is one of the ways society attempts to rectify broken marriages. Divorce has been explained as the dissolution of a valid and subsisting marriage. Divorce follows only when married life cannot be endured. But one thing is comprehensible that divorce is permissible in Islam only in cases of extreme emergency.

When all efforts for effecting reconciliation have failed, the parties may proceed to dissolution of marriage by Talak or by Khula. Divorce is contrary to the laws of nature the annulling of the marriage bond and the separation of those who should be life partners is a denial of a true nature of man as created and as at his best.

Any society, in which divorce becomes more numerous, with his consequent breakup of families, evidences its deviation from nature and her requirement.

The Prophet (PBUH) however, warned of all things which have been permitted “Divorce is the most hated by Allah.”

Due to the sacredness of the marriage contract, Islam asks both the husband and the wife to keep and respect this bond.

Thus, each partner in this sacred relationship must treat the other kindly and properly. A man must not divorce his wife to bring harm upon her, as this constitutes an act that demolishes this noble establishment, breaks the woman’s heart, and possibly separates the woman from her children without any reason.

Thus, the separation between a man and his wife was considered one of the major and grave sins, and one of the most beloved actions of Satan, as was narrated in a number of Hadith.

This is, of course, a form of oppression which is totally forbidden in Islam. Since the husband must never divorce his wife in order to bring harm upon her without reason, it is also forbidden for a woman to ask for a divorce without a sensible reason.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:“Any woman who asks her husband to divorce her without an acceptable reason will never smell the scent of Paradise.”

Given the above, it becomes crystal clear that neither the husband nor the wife has the right to resort to divorce without justification. Divorce should be the last resort after all attempts of reconciliation fail.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Let a believing man not dislike a believing woman. If something in her is displeasing to him, another trait may be pleasing.”

And Allah Almighty says: “And consort with them in kindness, for if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good,” (An-Nisa'4:19).

It is to be remembered that each device has multiple effects on their own self and also for children who get hung between father and mother. Islam fences in the man’s power of divorce with many limiting safeguards, a man may not put away his wife by violence, harassment, injury or in a way which may drive her to life of immorality and corruption.

Thus Islam has far centuries surpassed anything achieved in western countries in its initiative to remove differences and restore understanding in family life.

If a couple tried their best to reconcile their differences, but they still could not agree and they found impossible to live with each other, then only in that case they should separate in a proper and decent manner.


Author is a research scholar, Department of Law, University of Kashmir



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