“It is not fitting for a Believer man or a woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision. If anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed clearly on a wrong path.” (Al Quran sura #33, aayat #36)
The Divine injunctions given in Islam are never the means to degrade any human but are meant to uplift the character of a person, to enable us to live amicably and most importantly to fulfil one’s obligations towards the Creator. Had they been meant to degrade or to humiliate any human, especially a woman, then Allah (swt) would not have said that all human beings are equal and it is only their grade of Taqwa which makes them superior (suraHujraat, sura#49, aayat #13).
The national media these days is abuzz with why triple talaaq is a grave injustice to the Muslim women. Let us analyse what Islam has decreed on this matter. Firstly, although Talaaq or divorce is permissible in Islam, it has been called as the most disliked thing that is permissible in Islam. Our Beloved Prophet (salallahualaihiwasallm) has said, “Divorce is the most hateful in the sight of Allah.” (Abu Dawood, SunanNisaai).According to the Islamic law, provided a divorced woman agrees to return to her former husband and provided that she had not since remarried another man, a man is allowed to reconcile with a woman he has divorced up to 2 times. The biggest misconception, not only amongst the non-Muslims but even amongst the Muslims is that whether a man pronounces Talaaq or divorce once, thrice or a thousand times, it is treated as only once.This confusion began during the Caliphate of Umer bin Al Khattab (radiallahuanhu) as is mentioned in Sahih Muslim hadith# 1472.The pronouncement of three divorces during the lifetime of Prophet (salallahualaihiwasallm) and that of Abu Bakr (radiallahuanhu) and during the two years of the Caliphate of Umer bin Khattab (radiallahuanhu) was treated as one. But Umer bin Khattabhas said, “Verily people have begun to haste in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So, let us impose this i.e. three pronouncements to be three divorces upon them”.
The biggest misconception, not only amongst the non-Muslims but even amongst the Muslims is that whether a man pronounces Talaaq or divorce once, thrice or a thousand times, it is treated as only once.This confusion began during the Caliphate of Umer bin Al Khattab (radiallahuanhu) as is mentioned in Sahih Muslim hadith# 1472.The pronouncement of three divorces during the lifetime of Prophet (salallahualaihiwasallm) and that of Abu Bakr (radiallahuanhu) and during the two years of the Caliphate of Umer bin Khattab (radiallahuanhu) was treated as one.
Let us analyse in detail how many times a man can divorce his wife and in what ways. When a man divorces his wife, the woman is not supposed to immediately leave her husband’s house. She needs to complete a period ofiddat(Prescribed Period) constituting of three monthly cycles in her husband’s house and the maintenance of the wife during the period of iddat falls upon the husband.Allah (swt) says in suraTalaaq, sura #65, aayat#4 and aayat#6, “Such of your woman as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if you have any doubts, is three months and for those who have no courses, it is the same: for those who are pregnant, their period is until they deliver their burdens and for those who fear Allah, He will make things easy for them.Let the woman live in iddat in the same style as you live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them and if they are pregnant, then spent your substance on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your offspring, give them their recompense.”
Naafi reported that IbnUmer (radiallahuanhuma) divorced his wife during the period of her mensuration. When Umer (radiallahuanhu) asked the Prophet (salallahualaihiwasallm) about it, he commanded Abdullah bin Umer to get her back and then allow her respite until she enters the period of second mensuration and then allow her respite until she is purified, then divorce her before having sexual intercourse with her for that is the prescribed period which Allah (swt) has commanded for divorcing a women. When IbnUmer was asked about the person who divorces his wife in the state of mensuration, he said, “if you pronounce one divorce or two, the Prophet (salallahualaihiwasallm) has commanded to take her back and then allow her respite until she enters the period of her second mensuration and the allow her respite until she is purified and then divorce her before touching her and if you have pronounced three at one time, you have in fact disobeyed Allah with regards to what hehas commanded you about divorcing your wife. But she is however finally separated from you. [MUTTAFIQ ALAIHI SahihBukhari hadith#4908 and Sahih Muslim hadith #1471].
Where divorce for mutual incompatibility is allowed, there is a danger that the parties might act hastily, then repent their decision and want toreconcile. To prevent such capricious actions repeatedly, a limit has been prescribed. Two divorces with a reconciliation between the couple is allowed. After that the parties must definitely make up their minds to either dissolve their union permanently or to live honourable lives together in mutual love and forbearance. Allah says in sura #2, aayat#229, “A divorce is only permissible twice, after that the parties should either hold together or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you [men] to take back any ofyour gifts from your wives except when both parties fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah (swt).
Thus, two divorces followed by a reunion are permissible and the third time the divorce become irrevocable and the couple can’t reconcile until the woman marries some other man and he divorces her willingly after consummating the marriage (TalaaqHalala). This condition discourages a man from taking a hasty decision in his anger. If the man takes back his wife after two divorces, he must do so only on equitable terms i.e. he must not put pressure onthe woman and they must live clean and honourable lives, respecting each other. There are two conditional clauses:
First, when you divorce your women and second, when they fulfil their iddat. These are followed by two consequential clauses. To take them back on equitable terms or to set them free with kindness. Therefore,if the husband wishes to resume the marital relations, he need not wait for iddat. But if he does not wish so, she is free to marry someone else after completing her iddat. All these evidences and narrations make it clear that Islam upholds human rights and dignities according to one’s Fitah (nature) because Islam is Deen-ul-fitrat.We, as Muslims have no other choice but to submit our will to the will of Allah (swt) for only those who follow the path of guidance can lead peaceful lives.
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