…Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allâh, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it) for her Al Khul ( divorce). The Noble Qur'an - 2:229
For a long-time I’ve wanted to write about the issue of Khul (divorce), but I kept procrastinating until I got the following letter from a friend, which provoked me to finally write.
My dear Sister,
My hands are trembling and my body is shivering. You know that my marriage is a disaster but I am unable to tell anyone about it, as I fear the society. I tried telling my family about it but they asked me to be patient. My husband is a good man but I am unable to endure with him for various reasons, which my family does not understand. They feel any woman would be able to endure with a man if his character is good and they also feel it is impossible for a woman not to love a man who provides food, shelter and luxury for her. My family is asking me to hold on to my marriage for my child’s sake. For my child’s sake, I suppressed all my feelings and tried pretending to live a normal life but it has left me with severe depression. Due to my depression I am not able to take care of my child nor am I able to concentrate on anything. Today, I was in the verge of committing a sin but by the grace of God I was saved but don’t know if I would not be tempted again. I want to take a Khul but nobody is coming forward to help me. I tried seeking help from masjid, they said they would not be able to help without my family or relatives consent.
If I continue with my marriage I fear that I would become ungrateful to Allah. This marriage is a great fitnah for me.
Is there anyway you can help me to get a Khul? I would be grateful if you could help me.
Aminah (** name changed for privacy sake)
As I read the letter, I knew why she approached me; I was once in a similar boat! I was living a dead life, stuck in a disastrous marriage, until I discovered the beauty of Islam.
Most of us are raised as a Muslim from birth, with little knowledge of Islam other than the basic five pillars and little bits of haraam and halaal rulings we have learned over the years.
We know that Islam has given women so many rights, but are we aware what they are?
A question kept ringing in my head, “If Islam gave women all the rights she needs, then why would women be leading a prisioner’s life in this world?”
It was my disastrous marriage which made me desperate to learn about the rights of women in Islam.
The moment I started reading about Islam, I saw the solution for my problems. I got the courage to demand my rights! I knew that if I didn’t act immediately, I would continue to be a slave to society and culture and I would be answerable to Allah (swt).
The following are some of the hadith that gave me the confidence and courage to speak out:
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 199: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The wife of Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I cannot endure to live with him and I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become unthankful (or behave in an unIslamic manner) for Allah's Blessings." On that, Allah's Apostle said (to her), 'Will you return his garden to him?" She said, "Yes." So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet told him to divorce her.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 206: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
Barira's husband was a slave called Mughith, as if I am seeing him now, going behind Barira and weeping with his tears flowing down his beard. The Prophet said to 'Abbas, "O 'Abbas! Are you not astonished at the love of Mughith for Barira and the hatred of Barira for Mughith?" The Prophet then said to Barira, "Why don't you return to him?" She said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you order me to do so?" He said, "No, I only intercede for him." She said, "I am not in need of him.”
Thus, indeed, it was my dead married life that paved the way for me to get closer to Allah (swt) and to become fully aware of the beauty in Islam! It was not easy, but I asserted my rights to end my marriage. But the society was stubborn and cold to my assertion and refused to acknowledge my God given right. I struggled for two years to get a divorce… Finally, I was freed from the marriage through a Talaq.
Divorce was certainly not a happy decision, but it has made all the difference in my life. Freed from weight of a joyless marriage, I was able to find the joy in life again, and to rediscover my love for Allah.
Though Islam condemns male chauvinism, we see chauvinism obvious among many Muslim societies. Even in the case of divorce, a male easily gives talaq to his wife if he is unable to endure with her. But it isn’t the same with the wife. In fact, she is asked to be patient all the time, instead of using her own right to end a relationship. I don’t understand how they can neglect the rights given to the Muslim Women by Allah (swt).
Unfortunately, in some societies it is culturally unacceptable that a woman should be aware of her rights, and that she might actually wish to exercise those rights! Many brand the woman with ugly names, such as adulteress, psychic, possessed by Jinn, masculine, arrogant, etc., just for intending to implement her rights ordained by Allah (swt).
When a Muslim woman seeks a Khul (divorce) , she often must endure constant mental and physical torment from her neighbors, friends, even family who do not understand that this is her God given right, and no shame should follow upon it.
These are some of the reasons why most women chose to remain silent, enduring painful and lifeless marital situations.
Also, people often used the following hadith to advocate their views on divorce, and to convince me to stay in an unpleasant marriage:
"Among all the permitted acts, divorce is the most hateful to God" (Abu Dawood).
The above hadith is persistently referred together with the line, "If you take a Khul, evil would befall you and you would be subject to misery in this world till your death."
Upon hearing this in my own situation, I asked myself, “Then how come the Prophet allowed a woman to divorce merely for disliking her husband? ” (Referring to Barira’s case) I decided to research more in detail and in my research I found that many Islamic scholars rated the above-mentioned hadith as weak, i.e., Dhahabi, Abu Hatim, Al-Albani, and others . (www.dorar.net)
Even when provided with reasonable explanations regarding these hadith, long-held misinterpretations were held onto steadfastly, leaving me in complete frustration with regard to my own dilemma.
I remember a sister telling me, “I approached the masjid for a Khul as I did not get any support from my family , they are not able to understand my problem. They feared their honour would be shattered in the society if I took Khul,. This forced me to seek guidance and help from the masjid.” She added “But the masjid Imam said he will not be able to help me without my parents’ consent.”
In actual sharia law, parental consent is neither necessary nor obligatory for a woman to obtain a divorce, so why are the imams asking for it?
If she is unable to endure with her husband and is unable to fulfill her rights as a wife, who will be answerable?! Will her parents or the society intercede for her on the Day of Judgment?!
According to the Sharia, Khul can be obtained ,if the wife returns the mahr (dowry), or any part of it that the husband agrees to (as long as it does not EXCEED the dowry), the husband is commanded to accept this in exchange for divorce.
(To be continued…)