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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Family Matrimonial Rights

Matrimonial Rights - Divorce in Islam

Article Index



Islam has been also criticized nonsensically for allowing divorce, which, from the viewpoint of the criticizers, threatens woman’s entity with ruination. Hence, for a single state of stupidity of the husband, the wife may change into homeless, heartbroke n woman.

This is in fact one of the false accusations against Islam. Since the most ancient ages, divorce was enacted in such an improvised form that wasted the wife’s rights and dignity. Unconditional divorce was common among the Greek. The Romans, though their first generations forbade it, allowed divorce in their religious and governmental laws. The Jewish code narrowed the zone of divorce and made it lawful in three cases only: fornication, barrenness, and moral or physical defect. Christianity forbade divor ce except in two cases: fornication of one or both spouses and barrenness.

These were the reasons that urged the modern Western nations importunately to codify the civil divorce, even if this may contradict the religion.

When Islam emerged with its prosperous reign and inclusive legislation, it has enacted divorce and encompassed it with a number of precautionary measures that contribute in reducing its problems.

In sight of Islam, divorce is the most discommended legal matter to God. There are certain states in which the disagreement between spouses reaches climax to make any association and mutual understanding impossible. Treating such cases, Islam provides so lutions step by step. It does not hurry to untie the sacred matrimonial bond at first blush, but it tries the best to fasten it. First of all, Islam repeats the words of God:

“Always treat them reasonably. If you dislike them, you could be disliking that which Allah has filled with abundant good. (4:19)”

This is an invitation to wait and be patient even in case of dislike.

If the matter surpasses the question of like or dislike to reach to alienation, divorce is still not the first solution that Islam advances. It should be preceded by efforts of other parties who intend righteousness:

“And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint judge from his people and a judge from her people; if they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them, surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. 4:35”

“And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better. 4:129”

If this mediation is of no use, too, then the matter has reached a considerable stage of seriousness, and there must have been impossibility to continue. Such being the case, it is futile to coerce the two spouses to stand such a situation, and it is wis e to put an end for this manner of life so long as there is no other way.

Such separation may create in the mentalities of the two spouses the desire to begin anew. It frequently happens that we feel the advantages of a thing after we lose it. Hence, there is still an opportunity:

“A marital relation can only be resumed after the first and second divorce, otherwise it must be continued with fairness or terminated with kindness. 2:229”

There is also the term of waiting for the consummated wives. During this term, it is obligatory upon the divorcing husbands to meet the material needs of their divorcees generously. During this term, also, it is permissible for the regretting husbands to reassume marriage and begin new marital life without being in need for any matrimonial procedures.

If the term of waiting passed without reconciliation between the spouses, they, also, can reassume their matrimonial life, but with a new matrimonial contract.

This is, so far, the first experiment for both the spouses to realize the reality of their feelings towards each other and the seriousness of the reasons that led to separation. If these reasons, or any others, rise again to cause the husband to declare a second divorcement, he then will lose the second opportunity, and will have to encounter a very difficult situation, because of his frivolity, if he repeats the divorce for a third time:

“After a divorce for the third time, it is not lawful for the husband to resume marital relations with her or remarry her until she has been married and divorced by another husband. 2:230”

Why then are the blabbers criticizing Islam for allowing divorce? Do they want to annul the law of divorce so that the tragedies that have been suffered by the Catholic nations whose laws of forbidding divorce and polygamy obliged people to take numbers of girlfriends and commit fornication— do they want such tragedies to prevail on the Islamic society?