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Are Certain Cases of Marriage Incurable Like Cancer?

In such cases divorce does not depend on the will and pleasure of the husband. If such a man is not willing to divorce, the woman cannot be allowed to endure the agony without having a remedy. Islam does not play the role of a silent spectator in such cases.

Many people are under the false impression that from the Islamic point of view, such a situation is incurable. They think that it is a sort of cancer which afflicts some unfortunate people, but cannot be cured and so the woman has no alternative but to continue to suffer patiently till she dies.

In our view this mode of thinking is repugnant to the principles of Islam. Islam is a religion which always upholds justice. The establishment of a just society has been the basic aim of all the Prophets. The Holy Qur'an says: Certainly we sent Our Messengers with clear proofs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that humankind may conduct itself with equity. (Surah al-Hadid, 57:25) Islam cannot tolerate such a flagrant injustice, nor can it be imagined that it would formulate a law which may cause a malady comparable to cancer.

It is regrettable that some people, who admit that Islam is a religion of justice, still hold such a view. If one 'black law' can be attributed to Islam and accepted as a cancer, there can be no valid objection to regarding some other 'cruel' laws as tetanus, tuberculosis, paralysis etc.

Such an allegation is against the principle of justice, which is a cardinal principle of Islamic law.

Further, if it is possible to remove the cancer by a simple operation, will it not be wise to take prompt action and relieve the patient of his disease?

Take the case of a woman who joins a man in all earnestness as his partner in life, but subsequently the man ceases to take interest in her. If the man misuses his powers, does not divorce her and keeps her, in the words of the Qur'an, 'hanging', not because he wants her to live with him as his wife, but just to prevent her from seeking another suitable husband, such a woman is really afflicted with a cancer. But this cancer is easily operable, and after one operation the patient is expected to recover fully. This operation can be performed by a qualified judge only.

As stated earlier, it is a big problem of our society that some callous husbands refuse to divorce, and thus perpetrate a grave injustice. They use religion as a pretext to justify their highly objectionable conduct. When they say that woman should bear patiently their high-handedness as an incurable cancer, they certainly bring a bad name to Islam.

Though the subject is rather technical, yet we propose to discuss it briefly, to remove the doubts of the evil-minded persons and to elucidate the teachings of Islam in this respect.

Adapted from the book: "Woman and Her Rights" by: "Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari

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