By Sancheet Hoque
One of the most beautiful things in this world given to mankind by Allah is marriage. Having someone to confide in, grow with, learn from, cry to, and so much more is an experience that can help one get closer to Allah. That being said, not all marriages end well due to many reasons. The spouses may not be compatible in lifestyle, drive, or culture. There could be uncontrolled emotions that lead to violence or abuse. Maybe the extended families do not get along whatsoever. Whatever the reason, it happens, and it is important to make dua and ask Allah to help during trying times. For this reason, Allah allows for divorce, but under his laws. There are many verses regarding the manners and actions one must take during a divorce to ensure that peace is maintained. This article will focus on being mindful of Allah during the stressful times of divorce through 5 verses from the Quran.
1. Compensation before consummation
There is no blame if you divorce women before the marriage is consummated or the dowry is settled. But give them a ˹suitable˺ compensation—the rich according to his means and the poor according to his. A reasonable compensation is an obligation on the good-doers.
And if you divorce them before consummating the marriage but after deciding on a dowry, pay half of the dowry, unless the wife graciously waives it or the husband graciously pays in full. Graciousness is closer to righteousness. And do not forget kindness among yourselves. Surely Allah is All-Seeing of what you do. [2:236-237]
This situation refers to when two people get married but did not follow through with consummation or other parts of the marriage. In many cultures, this is seen as an unfortunate case, but it doesn’t have to be an end-all situation. One should do their best to appease both parties and make sure that there are no ill feelings. If it means paying the dowry, giving gifts to the family, connecting them to another spouse, or helping them with the after-effects. Whatever it takes to make sure everyone is happy! When Allah says “Graciousness is closer to righteousness” this is what he means. This can apply to all situations and Allah will know the intention even if the result doesn’t end up with everyone satisfied. One of the famous hadiths narrated by Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him):
Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. [Bukhari & Muslim]
So intending and putting in the effort gives the reward, regardless of the result!
2. Plan for the Iddah
O Prophet! ˹Instruct the believers:˺ When you ˹intend to˺ divorce women, then divorce them with concern for their waiting period, and count it accurately. And fear Allah, your Lord. Do not force them out of their homes, nor should they leave—unless they commit blatant misconduct. These are the limits set by Allah. And whoever transgresses Allah’s limits has truly wronged his own soul. You never know, perhaps Allah will bring about a change [of heart] later. [65:1]
In this verse, Allah tells men to think about the Iddah (waiting period) for women before a divorce. The iddah for divorce focuses on the number of menstruations. If the woman isn’t menstruating(such as a young girl or older woman), then the waiting period is 3 months. If they menstruate, then their iddah is 3 menstruations. If the woman is pregnant, then she must wait until she gives birth. During this period women have to stay at home unless it’s for an important reason and they are not allowed to beautify themselves. There are certain exceptions regarding the housing and items one can use. Please look at the source section for a more detailed explanation. The reason for the iddah is to make sure that there is no confusion regarding the father of the child.
As one can see sisters go through a hard time during this period, so Allah is asking the men to make sure that they think about this before divorcing their spouse. Ensure that they will have an easy time and short as well (try not to divorce right after intercourse). Allah says not to kick them out and be mindful of him. This patience by the grace of Allah may bring forth love once again.
3. Maintain your divorced wife
Let them live where you live ˹during their waiting period˺, according to your means. And do not harass them to make their stay unbearable. If they are pregnant, then maintain them until they deliver. And if they nurse your child, compensate them, and consult together courteously. But if you fail to reach an agreement, then another woman will nurse ˹the child˺ for the father. [65:6]
This verse speaks of the duties during the iddah. Specifically how one should continue to maintain their previous spouse by housing them, feeding them, and acting with grace. As Allah has said that kindness, honor, and graciousness are part of a true believer. It is important during this period to work together so that both families are satisfied. Even providing compensation for nursing is a command from Allah. If they don’t want to stay in the house after giving birth, then respect their opinion or work it out with them. Everything should be done civilly as that is what makes Allah happy.
Want to be able to read and understand the Quran without translations?
4. Separate honourably
Then when they have ˹almost˺ reached the end of their waiting period, either retain them honourably or separate from them honourably. And call two of your reliable men to witness ˹either way˺—and ˹let the witnesses˺ bear true testimony for ˹the sake of˺ Allah. This is enjoined on whoever has faith in Allah and the Last Day. And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make a way out for them [65:2]
This verse is a follow-up to a previous one. When their iddah is almost over, be respectful no matter the final result (separation or getting back together). Allah also asks for witnesses in these situations, so that there is no argument afterward. What is key is that Allah says one who has faith in him and believes in the last day has to do. These are two pillars of faith and are central to Islam. This shows that following laws made by Allah are acts of worship as one is being mindful of him. This mindfulness of Allah will open up doors that one didn’t initially see.
5. Retain the marriage to only cause harm
When you divorce women and they have ˹almost˺ reached the end of their waiting period, either retain them honourably or let them go honourably. But do not retain them ˹only˺ to harm them ˹or˺ to take advantage ˹of them˺. Whoever does that surely wrongs his own soul. Do not take Allah’s revelations lightly. Remember Allah’s favours upon you as well as the Book and wisdom He has sent down for your guidance. Be mindful of Allah, and know that Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things. [2:231]
In this verse, Allah speaks of the attitude that a man should have when he decides that he will preserve the marriage after a divorce. He should not have an ulterior motive like trying to ruin her life or trying to take advantage of her property and so forth. There should be no ill will or feelings of vengeance between the spouses if preserving the marriage has been decided on. Allah points out that one who does this is just harming himself as they are going against Allah’s commands. Thoughts and intentions are known by Allah, so there is no point in bottling up these schemes. It is understandable to be upset during these types of situations, but two wrongs do not make a right. If one knows that they still have ill feelings, then do not retain the marriage. Otherwise, if both spouses want to put in the effort to make amends, then by Allah’s will it could make the marriage stronger than it was before the divorce.
Divorces can happen and Muslims must know the proper way of going about it when it happens. Of course, the goal is to avoid divorce if it’s not necessary. When it happens, sometimes children won’t have both parents with them frequently. It also makes it easier for Shaytan to cause problems as it’s easier for him to attack when the community is divided. The smallest unit in a community is the family, so if everyone keeps strong family bonds, it will inshaAllah turn into a strong community, then to a strong city, then to a strong nation, and so forth. Be healing for one another and remember Allah!
To learn more about marriage and divorce, check this out:
- Saying of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): https://40hadithnawawi.com/hadith/1-actions-are-by-intentions/
- The Holy Quran: www.quran.com
- Comprehensive rulings on the Iddah: https://daruliftaa.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/rules_of_iddat-1.pdf