Islam gave both men and women the right to seek divorce if all efforts to live a life of harmony have failed. This provision is amongst the many mercies of Allah (subhanahu wata’ala). Divorce should never be taken lightly. Although Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) didn’t forbid divorce, the prophet (salla Allahu alaihiwasalam) said, “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.”

Divorce isn’t intended to be used as a tool by one partner to impose unfair conditions on the other partner. Nor should it be used as a means to run away from responsibility. Remember Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) is aware of our feelings and intentions. Either partner can petition the court to dissolve the marriage. Before you decide to file for divorce, take time and consider the good traits of your partner. Be honest with yourself regarding your decision to seek divorce. Ask yourself: (1) Am I expecting to find something better? Don’t be fooled by the idea that the grass is greener on the other side. (2) Are you fully convinced that you are justified by the sharia in seeking divorce? (3) Is your decision influenced by ulterior motives resulting from bad advice, rumors or innuendos? (4) Are you prepared to deal with the long term emotional and financial impact of divorce?

Most fights that occur during divorce proceedings are related to custody of the children, money, and seeking to unfairly punish the other partner. Make sure that what you ask for is in compliance with sharia. Don’t try to punish your partner by asking for more than your legal Islamic rights. You shouldn’t deny your partner or your children what is rightfully theirs. Remember one day you have to answer in the court of Allah (subhanahu wata’ala). False claims and accusations are major sins (kaba’ir). Many injustices occur when divorce takes place. Here are a few examples: (1) Using the children as weapons to frustrate, punish and pressure your partner. Examples of this behavior include: denying your partner visitation rights, not paying child support on time, paying less than what the children deserve, and planting hatred of your ex-partner in the minds of the children. The children need the love and support of both parents. If Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) wills, a child who is taught to love both parents may be the cupid that brings the parents together again. (2) Denying the wife her postponed part of the dowry, which is commonly called al mahr al mu’ajjal, (3) In a world where both men and women contribute to assets attained during marriage, sorting of assets becomes increasingly difficult. Determining who should take what can be complicated. Scholars should be consulted to insure that no one walks off with what is not lawfully his/hers. (4) Making false accusations in order to win in court is haram.

If divorce becomes inevitable, Allah tells us in Surah At-Talaq 65:2, “ When they’ve (women) reached the end of their waiting periods, either retain them in a fair manner, or part with them in a fair matter.” Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) knows best. A couple had problems. His friends asks him and he said I don’t talk about my wife. Then they divorced. His friend asked again and he said I do not talk about other people’s daughter. The woman later remarried so his friend asked again. He said I do not talk about other people’s wives.

By Dr. Bassam Jody