Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

Summary of Marriage and Divorce Rulings


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

know the man before getting married

[in the light of Surah Al-Baqarah Ayaat 228 – 242]

When we come across the ayaat or the topic of divorce, we should not frown or skip them because it is also a reality of life. Nobody knows what test tomorrow might bring for them. If not us, someone else, our sister, our cousin, our friend or our daughter can one day be in this test. We should know the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in this regard.

► Nikkah is a contract between a woman and a man about which each of them will be answerable. Tying this knot means abiding by the rulings of this contract.

[Keep Religion in Mind When Getting Married]

► Therefore, the first step to take before entering this contract is the choice of partner. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands us to give preference to one’s Deen over their worldly status and glamour. It does not mean that the person should be a Hafidh Qur’an or an ‘Aalim, but at least they should be regular with their obligatory duties particularly the five daily prayers. This is the only act of worship that appears between the ayaat of divorce. It teaches us that prayer is the most important things. Do not fall for someone’s Islamic name, beard or religious talk, see if they also honor the Rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Because he who honors the Rights of the Creator will not oppress the creation.

[Maintain with Care the Obligatory Prayers]

Sadly, many divorces occur because we pay least attention to one’s Deen.

► For a nikkah to be valid, there should a wali [guardian] of the woman, mahr [dowry], witnesses and ejaab and qabool.

► If the mahr is not decided and there is no intention to pay it either, then this is not nikkah but zina [adultery].

[Seek Lawful Women for Marriage and Pay Dowry]

► Any marriage contract entered with deception will be void of any kind of khair [blessing]. The secret of a happy married life is to be honest, sincere and being aware of one’s responsibilities.

► Marrying in the month of Shawwal [the month after Ramadan] is mustahab [preferred], however, this is not a condition. Also remember that in Islam we do not believe in bad omens. There is no prohibition in marrying in Muharram or Safr.

► The nikkah should be announced; eloping or marrying in court without the permission of the wali is not allowed. This means having secret lovers is also prohibited. Be honorable.

► A Muslim woman cannot be married to a non-Muslim man (including men from the People of the Book). Respect your women and protect their Deen! Do not congratulate someone if they get married to a Hindu, a Buddhist, an atheist, or a Christian and a Jew. Do not participate in their sin.

► There are three ways through which a marriage contract can be terminated: talaq,simple nikkah khula and fasq. Talaq can only be given by the husband. It has two types: revocable and irrevocable. The Sunnah way is to divorce the wife only once and let the waiting period expire. The wife should then be sent to her parents’ homes with mata’ [material gifts]Giving three divorces at one time is reprehensible and an innovation. The Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum would not divorce their wives in such a manner.

[Divorce is Thrice]

In revocable divorce (first divorce), wife will complete her ‘Iddah [waiting period] in her husband’s home and also adorn herself. If she is pregnant she will inform the husband. During this waiting period, no other man can send her marriage proposal. At the end of this term, the husband has a choice either to take back his wife or to let the waiting period expire and set her free. If he retains her then this should be done with kindness. She should not be retained to be harmed and humiliated. The words used in these ayaat are ma’aroof and ehsaan and there is also a constant reminder of taqwa [Allah consciousness]. He who fears Allah will refrain from harming others or mistreating them.

[Special Instructions for Revocation of Divorce or Annulment of Marriage]

In khula, the wife can return the dowry and ransom herself. It is taken when a woman dislikes her husband to the intensity that she cannot fulfill his conjugal rights. Taking khula without a valid reason is a sinful act. A hadeeth recorded by Imam Bukhari narrates: “Any woman who seeks a divorce [khula] without a legitimate reason, she will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.”  

[Examples of Acceptable Reasons for Asking One’s Husband for Khula’]

The waiting period for divorce taken through khula is one month. There can be no reconciliation from the husband, but if the wife wishes she can reconcile, redo the nikkah and return to the first husband.

Fasq is only given by the judge when husband refuses to divorce the wife.  

► The ‘Iddah for divorce is up to three menstrual cycles (calculated as per lunar calendar) whereas for khula it is only one menstrual cycle. In khula, the woman has to complete her ‘Iddah at a place other than husband’s house. Same is the case with irrevocable divorce. Once the waiting term comes to an end, the woman can marry anywhere she desires in an acceptable way and her guardians cannot stop her (particularly when there is nothing displeasing about it).

[The Waiting Period for the Divorced Woman]

‘Iddah is a woman’s healing period during which she must not be harmed, insulted or abused in any way. She must stay in her home and not step out unless there is a genuine need such as doctor’s visit. It is not appropriate to take her out for picnic or to restaurants to distract her mind. A widow is permitted by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to mourn her husband’s death up to four months and ten days. For all others, it is only three days then everyone should return to their routine lives.

During the ‘Iddah, a woman must not adorn herself (for irrevocable divorce and widows), apply perfume or wear attractive clothes. This does not mean she will not take bath or wear tatters but she will remain simple.

[The ‘Iddah [Waiting Period] of the Widow]

Watching Indian movies, we have adopted a trend where we make divorced women or widows wear plain white clothes, break their bangles and utter heart-wrenching, pitiful statements. This is not the Islamic way. The woman can quietly get up, change into simple clothes and take off her jewelry. She doesn’t need to be abused to grieve her pain.

Once her waiting period is over both the divorced women and widows are permitted by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to do whatever they wish to do with their lives in an acceptable way. This can include getting remarried, starting working or anything else. As long as what they decide for themselves is ma’aroof their wali [guardian] does not have the right to stop them. Families are encouraged to cooperate with one another in ma’aroof to curtail widespread Fitnah.

[Rules for A Divorced Woman’s Remarriage]

► Divorced parents should not harm one another or their children after parting their ways.

► Rulings regarding payment of mahr: the most preferred way is to pay the mahr right with the rukhsati [when the bride leaves her parents’ home for her husband’s home after nikkah], there should be no delay in it because this is a debt on the husband. If the husband dies, then this dowry will be paid first (similar to debt) and then the inheritance shares will be distributed among the heirs.

If nikkah has taken place but mahr has not been decided and neither has the rukhsati taken place and the woman is divorced, then she will be given mut’ah talaq according to husband’s financial standing.

If nikkah has taken place and mahr too has been decided, however rukhsati didn’t take place and the woman is divorced, in this case, she will receive half of her mahr amount. In this situation, both the woman and the husband have been commanded by Allah to forgive and forego their due right. It means that the girl should forego her entire dowry and not even take the half amount whereas the husband should be generous and pay the entire amount of dowry.

[Divorce before consummating the Marriage]

If rukhsati took place with mahr being decided, then mahr mithal must be paid. Itlearn the Quran means paying an amount equivalent to the dowry of other women in the girl’s family.

These are instructions derived from the ayaat of the Qur’an that every woman must know. Please share it with others, so that we stop playing with Allah’s ayaat and learn what it means to be a Muslim.

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