certifired_img

Books and Documents

Debating Islam (08 Sep 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)


The Process for Divorce in the Quran


 

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

8 September 2015

The following are a few of the verses that describe the relationship between a married couple and between men and women in general.

(7:189) It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): "If Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful."

(30:21) And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.

(4:1) O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; - reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.

The relationship is one of love, mercy, trust, tranquillity, and mutual support. O mankind! Reverence the wombs that bore you says it all. This is not about reverencing only your mothers but reverencing all mothers and potential mothers or any female for the fact that she bears children and is capable of motherhood.

Sexual Relations between Man and Wife

The following verse if followed in practice as it is meant to be followed, primes the man for appropriate sexual behaviour:

(2:223) "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe".

The preceding verse (2:222) is about avoiding sex when the wife is having her periods. What this verse says is that outside the prohibition for sex during the period the wife is having her menses; sex is permissible anytime and in any position (not just the 'missionary position').The state of mind in which to approach the wife for sex is governed by the rest of the verse which says "do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter)"

We know from psychological studies the power of priming. A person who does an act of kindness before sex is primed for behaving kindly towards his wife. Also the admonishment to fear Allah and to know with certainty that they are to meet Allah eliminates every chance of cruelty or coercion. The verse doubly ensures that the sexual act will be with kindness and generosity and without cruelty or coercion. Also the requirement of fulfilling conditions  before sex, elevates the act itself to the status of  a precious gift from the Almighty which requires thanks to be shown by performing some good act even before enjoying the gift.

Procedure for Resolving Marital Conflict

(4:34) Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband´s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).

The verse covers the process for resolving serious domestic conflict. The next verse talks about arbitration by close relatives from both sides if the measures in 4:34 fail to produce the desired results and assures that Allah will cause their reconciliation should both desire peace.

(4:35) if ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.

This verse is discussed in greater detail in my article:

Qur’anic Wisdom: Marriage and Treatment of Women

For Those Who Seek Divorce, Is There A Need To Justify It?

No reason is required to be given for divorce. The man or the woman does not have to fling dirt on their spouse to create a “valid reason” for seeking divorce. They do not require anyone’s permission or approval and therefore are in no need to justify the act. In practice however, a woman needs the help of the judicial process to seek a divorce since the contract of marriage is cemented with the payment of Mehar or marriage gift besides numerous gifts that a wife receives from her husband in the course of their relationship. The husband can ask for these back as a condition for agreeing to the divorce initiated by his wife. In case the man initiates the proceedings, the Quran clearly rules that the husband cannot take back anything that he gave to his wife.

The Quran discourages divorce if it is based on a subjective dislike for the other person. It also favours reconciliation to divorce:

4:19 says “If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.”

(4:128) If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband´s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men´s souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

What the Quran does not favour is keeping the woman against her wish and practicing cruelty on her in any form.

The Divorce Process in the Quran

A man/woman may choose to end the relationship for any reason. Once they have so decided, they have to follow the process as described in the Quran. The process for divorce by the man starts with an intention to divorce that is made known to Allah and is in the form of an oath.

لِّلَّذِينَ يُؤْلُونَ مِن نِّسَآئِهِمْ تَرَبُّصُ أَرْبَعَةِ أَشْهُرٍ فَإِنْ فَآؤُوا فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

وَإِنْ عَزَمُواْ الطَّلاَقَ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

2:226 Lilladhīna (For those who) Yu'ulūna (take an oath to abstain) Min (from) Nisā'ihim (their wives) Tarabbuşu (a waiting period)  'Arba`ati ' (of four) Ash/hurin (months) ۖ Fa'in (then if) Fā'ū (they return) Fa'inna (then indeed) Allāha Ghafūrun Raĥīmun (Allah is oft Forgiving and most Merciful)

2:227 Wa 'In (And indeed) `Azamū (if they resolve) Aţ-Ţalāqa (on divorce) Fa'inna (then indeed) Allāha Samī`un `Alīmun (Allah is all Hearing and all Knowing)

(2:226) For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Is saying “Talaq” to the wife necessary? No, it isn’t. The wife may remain unaware of the man’s intention to divorce and his oath to abstain from sex until completion of the Iddat period followed by physical separation or complete divorce. The mere taking of oath is deemed as divorce even though the woman may be unaware of it. This is followed by abstention from the wife for a four month period that covers his wife’s three menstrual cycles. During this period of abstention, the man may regret his decision and choose to reunite and he is free to do so. What about his oath? The fact that he could not keep his oath means that the oath was taken in a state of mind that was not stable and firm. It was a thoughtless oath. And Allah says:

(2:225) Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing.

Also in verse 2:226 cited above, Allah says that “if then they return, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” meaning that if the man goes unto his wife and cohabits, Allah will forgive him for the thoughtlessness in his oath and he is free to reunite with his wife and the divorce is off and he is relieved of his unintended oath. If the man did not make it known to his wife about “his oath” which amounted to “divorce” and has reunited, the woman as well as the man has been spared much agony and pain and the reunion is much easier.

In a four month period of abstention which is unusually long, the wife will make attempts to break the ice and especially as she is unaware of the man’s “oath amounting to divorce”, in which case there is no hurt or pride or resentment that is involved. A woman making such an attempt knows how to break her man’s resolve and will succeed more often than not. If they cohabit, the divorce is off and the woman has remained unaware of it. If the man is successfully able to hold back, his wife is then sure to ask whether he intends divorce. This is when he will for the first time end up hurting his wife and making the process formal by saying yes. He is therefore likely to do so after careful and serious consideration. Maybe, his resolve will break down when faced with this situation and he may decide to reunite. 

The oath for abstention from wife at the beginning of the Iddat period is the first divorce.

(227) But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

At the end of the four month Iddat period is when the man needs to make a formal announcement to his wife that he is divorcing her if he has not done so earlier.

(228) Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

In case she is carrying a child in her womb, she must make this known to the husband and the Iddat period is then extended upto the delivery of the child. If the man wishes for reconciliation during this period, then although the wife’s wish to remain in wedlock is important, the husband’s wish for reconciliation shall be allowed to prevail and he can revoke the divorce.  Please make a note that only in case the woman is pregnant that the man has a better right to revoke the divorce. Else, it can be revoked only by mutual consent.

The wife need be aware of only one of the two divorces. If she is not pregnant, then she is free to leave her husband at the end of the period of Iddat, or after a divorce following abstention for four months without further ado, and even reunite with a former husband in a fresh marriage.

The divorce once made known to the woman can be revoked only by mutual consent unless the woman is pregnant.  A divorced wife cannot be compelled to remain in the relationship after she completes the period of Iddat.

(2:232) when ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (´Iddat), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is (the course Making for) most virtue and purity amongst you and Allah knows, and ye know not.

(229) A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness…..

(231) When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (´Iddat), either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms; but do not take them back to injure them, (or) to take undue advantage; if any one does that; He wrongs his own soul. Do not treat Allah´s Signs as a jest, but solemnly rehearse Allah´s favours on you, and the fact that He sent down to you the Book and Wisdom, for your instruction. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is well acquainted with all things.

As per verse 229 and 231 cited above, the couple is free to reunite if they mutually agree to do so before they have physically parted ways as a divorced couple. The physical parting of ways is an important part of the divorce and the divorce is revocable until such time. The actual packing of bags and leaving is when the couple face their ultimate “moment of truth” when they will know for sure whether their earlier oaths and resolves were thoughtless or not. There are many who will break down at this stage and choose to reconcile rather than go through the process. Until such time, the couple may show all the resolve and firmness of mind but when faced with the ultimate moment of truth, they may realize that their earlier oaths were thoughtless. They are free to reunite with Allah’s blessings and forgiveness for their earlier thoughtlessness.

If and when they separate physically as a divorced couple after completion of the period of Iddat, the divorce then becomes irrevocable and they cannot reunite unless the condition in verse 2:230 below is satisfied:

(230) So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), He cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and He has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite; provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand.

As can be seen, only one pronouncement of Talaq is necessary. The divorce takes place with the oath to Allah which marks the beginning of the period of Iddat. However, if this turns out to be a thoughtless oath, Allah forgives man for it. The four month period of abstention, the second divorce or the formal announcement of the divorce at the end of this period and the final physical parting of ways is a process to test as to how thoughtful or thoughtless was the oath/resolve and intention to divorce. They are free to reunite with mutual consent until the divorce becomes irrevocable with the final physical parting. The wife is free to leave her husband once he has pronounced divorce to her after completing the Iddat period and only if she is pregnant, does the husband get a right to unilaterally revoke the divorce during the extended Iddat period.

Treatment of the Divorced Woman:

The following is the treatment ordained in the Quran in verses 65:1 to 6

1.       Keep them in your house during the Iddat period and let them live in the same style as you live. (Please note that the couple is considered divorced during the Iddat period although the divorce is revocable at this stage and the woman may be unaware of it)

2.       Do not cause them any annoyance.

3.       After they complete the period of Iddat, divorced women are free to leave and even reunite with a former husband in a fresh marriage. Do not prevent them from doing so.

4.       Before the physical parting of ways, the couple is free to reunite with mutual consent. The physical separation as a divorced couple completes the divorce process after which the divorce is irrevocable.

5.       Do not take back any part of the dower even if the dower was very large and generous. Do not treat them harshly to make them part with the dower (4:19,20)

6.       Take witnesses from her side while settling her claims

7.       If they are carrying a child then the Iddat period is up to delivery of the child. (If the woman is carrying a child, then the husband has a right to revoke the divorce should he desire reconciliation)

8.       Support them if they suckle the child after delivery according to what is just and reasonable and based on mutual consultations and agreement.

The divorce is a solemn process and begins with an oath to Allah and not by screaming out “Talaq” at the wife. A wife is not the property of man or owned by him but the gift of Allah and his Mercy and held in trust to Him. Man is accountable to Allah for the way he treats the trust of Allah and therefore the process of divorce begins by addressing Allah. The decision is therefore to be taken without anger or rancour and after careful consideration.

Where Does The Triple Talaq Process Stand?

We have seen that as far as the woman is concerned, only one pronouncement by the husband is enough and she is free to walk out of the relationship after completing her iddat period unless she is pregnant, in which case the husband can revoke the decision unilaterally during the extended Iddat period. The decision can also be revoked only by mutual consent any time before they physically part company as husband and wife. The two divorces mentioned in the Quran are the oath for abstention which begins the period Iddat and the one at the end of the Iddat period. Of these two, only one divorce needs to be pronounced either at the beginning of the Iddat period or after. At the end of the Iddat period, they either part company as husband and wife which then makes the divorce irrevocable or mutually agree to reunite. The number of times Talaq is pronounced is immaterial.

 If a divorce is revoked, that ends the process and it will not count for anything in the future.  A fresh divorce process initiated any time in the future will again start with the first divorce which can simply be an oath for abstention followed by the Iddat period and the second divorce after which they either part company or mutually decide to reunite. This can repeat any number of times as long as the wife is a willing party to the revocation before they part company as husband and wife at the end of the Iddat period. Once they part company at the end of the Iddat period, the divorce is complete and irrevocable. 

The triple Talaq process in the man-made Shariat law is sheer mockery of the Quran. The process described in the Quran empowers the woman to end the relationship even after a single pronouncement of Talaq. The process also allows both to mutually agree to revoke the divorce before they actually part company as husband and wife at the end of the Iddat period irrespective of the number of times Talaq was pronounced. The triple Talaq process is based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of verse (2:229) “A divorce is only permissible twice…….” which is taken to mean the number of times Talaq is pronounced. As we have seen, pronouncing the word once is enough and even a million times insufficient, if they mutually decide to revoke the divorce before they have parted company as husband and wife.

The Quranic Shariat maintains a balance of power as closely as possible. When it is the man who initiates the divorce process, he loses control over it thereafter and no revocation is possible without the consent of the woman - the only exception being if the woman is pregnant. In the man-made Shariat, it is the man who calls all the shots. He can revoke at will after two pronouncements of Talaq and while the divorce becomes irrevocable on the third pronouncement, he is often in a position to make his wife to go through a “Halala” process in order to reunite with her. The Quran does not prescribe a “Halala” process and the very word “Halala” and the sense in which it is used blasphemes the Quran. The Quran merely allows a woman to marry a former husband after her divorce with another man and this provision is not to enable a man who has divorced his wife to reclaim her nor is it necessary for that purpose since the divorce process is four month long and the couple can reunite anytime with mutual consent before they have physically parted ways as husband and wife irrespective of the number of times Talaq was pronounced. Only one pronouncement is necessary and superfluous pronouncements is just that – superfluous!

Treatment of Divorced Women

The relevant verse from the Quran is:

(2:241) for divorced women Maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale) This is a duty on the righteous.

The above verse is open ended. What is maintenance on a reasonable scale is decided by the society in which one lives and by what is customary in that society and is not meant to be based on traditions of the seventh century Arab society. If it were so, the verse would not have been so open-ended.

The Shah Bano case was decided by the SC based on this verse alone. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 which was ostensibly meant to reverse the SC verdict achieved little as is clear from later judgments such as Shamima Farooqui versus Shahid Khan case, and the fact that a bench of the SC upheld the judgment in the Shah Bano case. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 proved to be in fructuous because it was based on the premise that the SC had meddled with the Shariat law and the SC showed that it had not meddled with the Shariat law in the Quran but had in fact based its verdict on the clear wording of the Quran in verse 2:241.

What the Muslims lost because of the ill-advised agitation against the SC judgment in the Shah Bano case is history. Without it, Babri Masjid would have remained a local issue; there would have been no Mumbai riots, serial bombing, Godhra, the Gujarat riots and the numerous other incidents and the communal polarization and radicalization that we witness today. I am not sure whether the Ulema even realize how much the Muslims have lost without achieving anything in their agitation in the Shah Bano case. They behaved like a bunch of ignoramuses who do not even know their own Quran and had to be told by the SC the meaning of verse 2:241. And yet they continue to be resistant to change and to reason!

The Way Forward

The way forward is obvious. The SC judgment in the Shah Bano case has demonstrated that the understanding of the Ulema as to what constitutes the Shariat is open to being contested in a court of law. What constitutes the Shariat is that marriage is a social contract in which the parties agree to unite in a marital relationship under certain explicitly stated conditions in the presence of witnesses. The Shariat does not even require the presence of a Qazi or registering of the marriage with the Waqf Board. A person is not required to produce a marriage certificate for any purpose. A mere declaration of the name of spouse for purposes of employment even for a government job is enough. No marriage certificate is required as proof for a passport either in which the name of spouse declared is mentioned as the name of the spouse. Only for a change in name consequent to marriage requires a marriage certificate but if the woman chooses not to change her name which is the case for most Muslims, and is in accordance with the Shariat, and then a marriage certificate is never put to any use.

What this means is that if a Nikahnama prepared by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan is used, it is as good as any other Nikahnama in the eyes of the law. Or if a customized agreement duly stamped is used, that would serve the purpose as well.

As far as the divorce process is concerned, a Muslim is free to follow his own understanding of the Shariat, but after due diligence and without having reason to believe that he/she may be in error. He/she does not need anyone’s help to tell them when a divorce has become irrevocable or what the correct process is. They need the help of the courts or the Qazi only when they disagree. All that the Muslims need is proper education so that they can decide for themselves and not allow the Quazis and Muftis to decide for them what is right. The Muslim society as a whole is responsible for its travails and not any particular section of their society. Change will come about when individuals become knowledgeable and learn to take responsibility for their own lives.

Related Article:

Qur’anic Wisdom: Marriage and Treatment of Women

http://www.newageislam.com/debating-islam/qur’anic-wisdom--marriage-and-treatment-of-women/d/8367

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com.

URL: http://newageislam.com/debating-islam/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/the-process-for-divorce-in-the-quran/d/104516




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   16


  • Correction: Please note the correction to 229 from 230 in my previous comment:

    The following verse 230 then says that such divorced couple (irrevocably divorced in the manner described in verse 230 229) become legally unlawful to each other unless ....


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/14/2015 2:50:34 AM



  • Excellent! And thanks for your patience and detailed responses. It is apparent to me now that you have researched thoroughly before writing the article. What you have said was so different from current practices and what is written, discussed and debated, that I had thought that perhaps you had missed something important and were completely off the track. It is reassuring to know that this is not the case and my mind is completely at ease now. The process as laid down in the Quran and described by you is a huge improvement over anything we have currently.
    By siraj - 9/13/2015 1:14:22 AM



  • Siraj Sb, To round up the discussion on the topic let us also consider the most relevant verses of Surah 65 At-Talaq viz 65:1,2,6 and 7 as follows:
    (1) O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately), their prescribed periods: And fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation.
    (2) Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out,
    (6) Let the women live (in ´iddat) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father´s) behalf.
    (7) Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.
    Here the type of Talaq is different and does not begin with an oath for abstention. It is a well-considered decision and given between two menstrual periods during which the man has not cohabited with the woman reasonably ensuring that there is no uncertainty regarding the woman's pregnancy. If she is pregnant, then this is already known and if she isn't, then the method of giving divorce reasonably ensures that she isn't pregnant. Medically speaking, there is a chance that a pregnant woman could bleed and this be mistaken for menses and hence waiting for further three menstrual cycles after divorcing is mandatory. 
    Notice that there is no mention of man having a greater right to take back the woman during or after the iddat period but everything has to be now on equitable terms. The Arabic word used is bimaʿrūfin  which is the same as in "Enjoin all that is Maruf and forbid all that is Munkar". It stands for what is good, honourable, just, fair equitable, considerate, kind, merciful and compassionate to be always enjoined and the antonym of all that is considered Munkar  to be scrupulously avoided and prohibited.   This is so since now the man has taken a decision in an environment without uncertainty regarding his wife's pregnancy and he now has no greater right than his wife even in regard to the decision to revoke the divorce. The inference that the divorced woman has a right to spurn an offer for reconciliation is therefore inescapable and beyond reasonable doubt.
    Clearly again, there are two stages: beginning of iddat period and end of iddat after which the man either takes her back on bimaʿrūfin or equitable terms (which to me means with her willingness and on terms that are acceptable to her which could mean extracting a promise from the man that he will not again ever divorce her as her condition for agreeing to the revocation) or parts with her in the presence of witnesses on equitable terms (which to me means on terms that satisfy the woman and the witnesses as being just, fair and equitable and complying with verse 6 and 7 cited above). The physical parting is what constitutes the irrevocable divorce. You can see again that there is no mention of three divorces. There are two stages and at the end of the second stage the divorce is ether off and they reconcile or they part ways which then makes the divorce irrevocable.
    The two stages also have to be necessarily traversed and cannot be bypassed and since the very meaning of iddat is that the woman spend the period in the house of her husband in a manner that ensures to his satisfaction that she has lived in sexual fidelity to him, and if she is discovered to be pregnant during this period the father is none other than himself, there cannot be an irrevocable divorce until the actual physical parting at the end of the period of iddat.
    Cohabitation between the estranged couple during the period of iddat cannot be ruled out or criminalized which then means that the divorce is off once they cohabit. The number of times "divorce" is uttered is therefore without any significance and the Quran itself attaches no significance to it and nowhere there is a mention of "three" in any of these verses. The Quran only talks about two stages. There isn't even a third stage.
    According to the ahadith however, the divorce process is entirely different and the process according to the ahadith cannot be mapped to the process according to the Quran and vice versa. The Muffasarin while trying to map the process according to the ahadith to the process described in the Quran have therefore resorted to putting in meanings in the Quran which are not there or twisting the meaning of words that are there. Verse 2:229 which says "A divorce is only permissible twice..." is taken to mean "revocation of divorce is permissible only permissible twice....." although such meaning contradicts the remaining verse which talks about parting as a consequence of the divorce which confirms that the verse is about divorce and not revocation of divorce. The verse (229) also leaves no room for doubt that the parting as a consequence of the decision to remain firm about divorce at the end of the iddat makes the divorce irrevocable. The following verse 230 then says that such divorced couple (irrevocably divorced in the manner described in verse 230) become legally unlawful to each other unless ....
    Verse 230 neither mentions a third divorce nor can this be inferred. It is only referring to the couple divorced in the manner described in the previous verse (229).  Ibn Kathir gives a meaning to the verse (230) as if the verse is about a third divorce which is irrevocable. What about the divorced couple who have parted at the end of iddat as described in verse 229? Can they reunite if the third divorce has not been said? Obviously not! The irrevocably divorced couple that verse 230 talks about are those that part company at the end of the iddat as described in verse 229 and there is not even third divorce by implication.
    What do we then make of the ahadith? The best meaning that I can give to the ahadith is that they describe a process suitable for those people of those times. The Quran is meant for all people of all times and apparently what it laid down was found to be far ahead of the people of those times for whom the process had to be simplified/customized.
    We have a choice of following the process according to the ahadith or according to the Quran. The two do not and cannot reconcile in the case of the law prescribing the process to be followed for divorce because there is a very basic or fundamental difference and any attempt to reconcile the two will end up with (God forbid) falsifying the Quran or the ahadith. Let us therefore simply accept that they are different and irreconcilable and choose one or the other. Those who would like to follow the Salaf (all sects fundamentally follow the Salaf) can choose the method in the ahadith and those who would like to follow the Quran can follow it.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/12/2015 3:22:37 AM



  • Siraj Sb,

    This is my attempt to address your unease by discussing Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir on the relevant verses. My comments begin with “My comment” and are in red, italicized and enclosed within parenthesis. Some of the formatting gets undone such as the color code and italics in which case you can still make out which part is my comment and which is the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir since they begin with My Comment and are enclosed in parenthesis.

    (2:226) Those who take an oath not to have sexual relations with their wives) meaning, swear not to have sexual relations with the wife must wait for four months,) meaning, the husband waits for four months from the time of the vow and then ends the Ila' (if the vow was for four or more months) and is required to either return to his wife or divorce her. This is why Allah said next: then if they return,) meaning, to a normal relationship, having sexual intercourse with the wife verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) with any shortcomings that occurred in the rights of the wife because of the vow of Ila'. This is the Tafsir of Ibn `Abbas, Masruq, Ash-Sha`bi, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Ibn Jarir.

    (My comment: The forgiveness is for the lack of intention in the oath since the man has chosen to reunite and not go through with the divorce)

    (227) Allah said: (And if they decide upon divorce,) indicating that divorce does not occur by merely passing the four month mark (during the Ila'). Malik reported from Nafi` that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "If the man swears to Ila' from his wife, then divorce does not occur automatically even after the four months have passed. When he stops at the four months mark, he should either divorce or return.'' Al-Bukhari also reported this Hadith. Ibn Jarir reported that Suhayl bin Abu Salih said that his father said, "I asked twelve Companions about the man who does Ila' with his wife. They all stated that he does not have to do anything until the four months have passed and then has to either retain or divorce her.'' Ad-Daraqutni also reported this from Suhayl.

    (My comment: The Quran counts the oath as the first divorce. Read verse 228 which talks about the iddat of divorced women.  The confirmation of the divorce at the end of iddat as the second divorce)

    It is also reported from `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, Abu Ad-Darda', `A'ishah, Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas. This is also the opinion of Sa`id bin Musayyib, `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Mujahid, Tawus, Muhammad bin Ka`b and Al-Qasim.

    (228. And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)

    My Comment:

    (From Yusuf Ali’s translation “And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

    The verse is talking about a specific right of the husband with reference to the divorce process. It is not talking about the general rights and duties of husband and wife nor is this an occasion to discuss that. What is the woman’s specific right similar to the rights against them? It can only be the right to spurn the offer of reconciliation over which “their husbands have the better right to take them back” in the specific situation where the woman is discovered to be pregnant during the iddat period. Ibn Kathir trivializes the discussion on the rights of a divorced woman by mentioning the general rights of a married woman which are out of place here in a discussion about divorced women.) 

                                     

    The ‘Iddah (Waiting Period) of the Divorced Woman

    This Ayah contains a command from Allah that the divorced woman, whose marriage was consummated and who still has menstruation periods, should wait for three (menstrual) periods (Quru') after the divorce and then remarry if she wishes

    Allah said:

    (...and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs,) meaning, of pregnancy or menstruation periods. This is the Tafsir of Ibn `Abbas, Ibn `Umar, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hakam bin `Utaybah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and others.

    Allah then said:

    (...if they believe in Allah and the Last Day.)

    This Ayah warns women against hiding the truth (if they were pregnant or on their menses), indicating that they are the authority in such matters as they alone know such facts about themselves. Since verifying such matters is difficult, Allah left this decision with them. Yet, women were warned not to hide the truth in case they wish to end the `Iddah sooner, or later, according to their desires. Women were thus commanded to say the truth (if they were pregnant or on their menses), no more and no less.

    Allah said:

    (And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation.)

    Hence, the husband who divorces his wife can take her back, providing she is still in her `Iddah (time spent before a divorced woman or a widow can remarry) and that his aim, by taking her back, is righteous and for the purpose of bringing things back to normal. However, this ruling applies where the husband is eligible to take his divorced wife back. We should mention that (when this Ayah 2:228 was revealed), the ruling that made the divorce thrice and specified when the husband is ineligible to take his divorced wife back, had not been revealed yet. Previously, the man used to divorce his wife and then take her back even if he had divorced her a hundred separate times. Thereafter, Allah revealed the following Ayah (2:229) that made the divorce only thrice. So there was now a reversible divorce and an irreversible final divorce.

    Allah said:

    (And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable,)

    This Ayah indicates that the wife has certain rights on her husband, just as he has certain rights on her, and each is obliged to give the other spouse his due rights. Muslim reported that Jabir said that Allah's Messenger said:

    (Fear Allah regarding your women, for you have taken them by Allah's covenant and were allowed to enjoy with them sexually by Allah's Words. You have the right on them that they do not allow anyone you dislike to sit on your mat. If they do that, then discipline them leniently. They have the right to be spent on and to be bought clothes in what is reasonable.)

    Bahz bin Hakim said that Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri related that his grandfather said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the right the wife of one of us has'' The Prophet said:

    (To feed her when you eat, buy her clothes when you buy for yourself and to refrain from striking her on the face, cursing her or staying away from her except in the house.)

    Waki` related that Ibn `Abbas said, "I like to take care of my appearance for my wife just as I like for her to take care of her appearance for me. This is because Allah says:

    (And they (women) have rights similar (to those of their husbands) over them to what is reasonable.)'' This statement is reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abu Hatim.

    Allah said:

    (but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.)

    This Ayah indicates that men are in a more advantageous position than women physically as well as in their mannerism, status, obedience (of women to them), spending, taking care of the affairs and in general, in this life and in the Hereafter. Allah said (in another Ayah):

    (Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.) (4:34)

    Allah's statement:

    (And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) means, He is Mighty in His punishment of those who disobey and defy His commands. He is Wise in what He commands, destines and legislates.

    (My comment: The discussion above on mutual rights of husband and wife is meaningless when discussing divorce which is dissolving this relationship. The rights of a divorced woman during her period of iddat and after are specifically covered in the verses 65:1 to 6 besides verses 2:229, 231, 232 and 241 and listed in my article. Ibn Kathir fails to discuss the all important similar right of a woman to that of the man’s right to revoke the divorce which takes precedence in case she is discovered to be pregnant during her iddat. What is that similar right if not the right to spurn the offer of reconciliation? What if she is not pregnant? Does the woman then have a similar right to spurn the offer of reconciliation?)

    (229. The divorce is twice, after that either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of what you gave them (the Mahr, bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah (e.g., to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it). These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the wrongdoers.)

    (230. And if he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has married another husband. Then, if the other husband divorces her, it is no sin on both of them that they reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. These are the limits of Allah, which He makes plain for the people who have knowledge.)

    (My comment: Yusuf Ali’s translation of verse 230 is  “So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably)… which  only means that if after the iddat period which is stage 2 of the divorce process and discussed in verse 229, the man has decided to let go his wife, and she has left him making the divorce irrevocable, then she is not lawful to him anymore unless ….There is no third time. The third time is artificially planted in verse 230.)

    Divorce is thrice

    This honorable Ayah abrogated the previous practice in the beginning of Islam, when the man had the right to take back his divorced wife even if he had divorced her a hundred times, as long as she was still in her `Iddah (waiting period). This situation was harmful for the wife, and this is why Allah made the divorce thrice, where the husband is allowed to take back his wife after the first and the second divorce (as long as she is still in her `Iddah). The divorce becomes irrevocable after the third divorce, as Allah said:

    (The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness.)

    (My comment: If you have released her after the iddat period, the divorce has become irrevocable)

    In his Sunan, Abu Dawud reported in Chapter: "Taking the Wife back after the third (Divorce) is an abrogated practice," that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah:

    (And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs,) (2:228) The man used to have the right to take back his wife even if he had divorced her thrice. Allah abrogated this and said:

    (The divorce is twice.)

    (My comment: Even according to Ibn Kathir’s tafseer, the divorce process begins with an oath for abstention and the couple are considered as divorced during the iddat period. End of the iddat is the time to confirm the divorce or to revoke it. On confirmation, the woman is to be released in kindness which completes the process and the divorce become irrevocable on her release.)

    This Hadith was also collected by An-Nasa'i. Ibn Abu Hatim reported that `Urwah said that a man said to his wife, "I will neither divorce you nor take you back.'' She said, "How'' He said, "I will divorce you and when your term of `Iddah nears its end, I will take you back.'' She went to Allah's Messenger and told him what happened, and Allah revealed:

    (The divorce is twice.)

    Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) also reported this Hadith in his Tafsir.

    Allah said:

    (...after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness.) meaning, `If you divorce her once or twice, you have the choice to take her back, as long as she is still in her `Iddah, intending to be kind to her and to mend differences. Otherwise, await the end of her term of `Iddah, when the divorce becomes final, and let her go her own way in peace, without committing any harm or injustice against her.' `Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the man divorces his wife twice, let him fear Allah, regarding the third time. He should either keep her with him and treat her with kindness, or let her go her own way with kindness, without infringing upon any of her rights.''

    (My comment: As per Ibn Kathir’s tafseer also, the divorce process can begin with an oath for abstention followed by the iddat period after which the man decides to take back his wife or let her go. If he decides to let her go by saying that he has divorced her then he has spoken the word only once since the process started merely with an oath. However, the Quran treats the couple as divorced after the oath itself and counts it as two divorces. After the iddat period or before it ends, they can reunite (with mutual consent according to me and unilaterally according to Ibn Kathir because nowhere in his long discourse on the rights of a woman does he speak about a woman’s right to spurn the offer of reconciliation). After the iddat period is completed at which stage the Quran counts it as two divorces, the choice is only between revoking the divorce and retaining the woman or releasing her in kindness making the divorce irrevocable. The act of releasing is not counted as a third divorce. If this was counted as a third divorce, then the act of releasing can be delayed as long as the man wishes but he is told that there is no further stage or a third divorce and he must forthwith either revoke the divorce or release the woman. The cycle ends here. Now if they decide to reunite, and the count of number of divorces is to be carried forward, then it means that should the man decide to divorce any time in future, and take the oath to abstain, the relationship is severed then and there since this is the third divorce. However the iddat has to be observed which requires staying in the former husband’s home for the period while he has become na mahram! What if the woman is found to be pregnant during the period of iddat? The divorce stays since it is irrevocable. Has the concern which was there for the unborn child in the first cycle giving man a unilateral right to revoke the divorce evaporated? Since they are forced to live together although na mahram, what if they have sex? Will it be considered illegal and will they be punished for adultery? Considering a couple who continue to live together for whatever reason as irrevocably divorced is ridiculous. It is for this reason that I have said that a divorce becomes irrevocable only on physical separation as a divorced couple and the Quran supports this concept in verse 229.  And who lives in perpetual suspense with only one chance to divorce remaining? It is the woman and not the man. Why is the woman being subjected to mental torture from a sense of insecurity? Is this law divine or man-made?

    According to my reading of the Quran the count is limited to a cycle alone. Should a reconciled couple decide to divorce again, the cycle has to repeat. There cannot be a shortcut and iddat period bypassed. And they have the chance to reconcile in each cycle. The concern about multiple repeating cycles is addressed by granting the woman rights similar to men or the right to spurn the offer of reconciliation and end the relationship at any ‘divorce’, whether the first or the fifth.) 

     


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/11/2015 6:10:36 AM



  • Naseer Saheb,

    Your challenge boils down  to proving that your understanding of verse 2:229 is incorrect. With the help of verse 229, you have shown that SS Sb's understanding is incorrect and by the same argument, everyone who talks about a "third divorce" is then equally incorrect.
     
    To recapture what you have said:

    "(2:229) A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness….

    Contradiction: Saleem Sb talks about a third divorce whereas the Quran talks about only two. There is no other verse that talks about the permissible number of divorces. Saleem Sb is interpreting the verse 2:229 to mean that revoking a divorce is permissible only twice and on the third occasion it becomes irrevocable. If verse 2:229 is taken to mean that the subject is revocation which is permitted twice, then why does the verse talk about separating? The subject of the verse is therefore divorce and not revocation of divorce. If the subject is divorce and if the choice after the second divorce is either separation or holding together on equitable terms, then once a decision is taken to hold together, this decision holds good  until death do them apart since there is no scope for a third divorce. Clearly Shehzad Sb has missed the meaning and has only “interpreted” the verse."

    Your understanding of the verse is that this refers to the two stages of divorce within a cycle after which there are only two possibilities - reunite or separate. If the cycle ends with reunion, the count has no significance beyond and is reset to zero. 

    However, If the understanding is that the count is not confined to a cycle but to the entire period as a married couple, then since there cannot be a third divorce,  then this should mean that they have chosen to reunite forever and no matter how many times a husband says Talaq to his wife in the future, having revoked the divorce twice in the past, he has lost all power to divorce since a divorce is possible only twice and he has used up both chances and chose not to separate. They therefore have no choice but to live as a couple till they are separated by death. 

    However, if we accept that the count is relevant only within a cycle, then having chosen to reunite, they begin a new chapter and could possibly start a new cycle of divorce any time in the future in which case they will go through the same process again.

    You have also used the cycle argument to say that what verse 2:229 means is  that after the iddat period there is no third alternative to either uniting or separating and the divorced woman cannot be kept in suspense any longer since the two stages of divorce are over and there is no third stage/divorce. The two divorces in the verse therefore only refer to the two stages within a cycle. 

    I cannot see a flaw in the argument and it is beyond my capability to prove you wrong. Others who are more knowledgeable can try.

    However, I must share my unease. There is a joke you may have heard about a grandmother proudly saying to all her friends that her grandson was the only cadet marching in step in the passing out parade. Looks like you have vindicated the grandmother!


    By siraj - 9/10/2015 10:59:02 AM



  • Siraj Sb,

    Thanks for your probing questions and deep interest in the subject. Your questions and suggestions have helped in the past to explore new ideas and greatly enhance my own understanding of the subject. I now request you to help me with the following:

    Since mine is a lone voice and therefore my understanding most probably flawed in some manner, please:

    1. Prove that any part of what I have said contradicts any part of any verse of the Quran.

    and/or

    2. Take up any alternate view which is different from what I have said of any scholar and show that his view also conforms with every relevant verse of the Quran and does not contradict any verse. If you are able to do this while you are not able to prove me wrong, you would have established that what I have said is just another interpretation and not necessarily "the meaning" since an alternate view point also satisfies the same conditions.

    If you or anyone else are not able to do either, then we are left with the  conclusion that what I have said is the meaning of those verses.

    There is always a scope for refining the understanding and I have always gained in the past from your questions and suggestions  and the exercise will in any case be very useful.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/10/2015 9:10:42 AM



  • Naseer Saheb,

    While you have explained everything that you have said in your article with  reference to the relevant verses of the Qur'an and also commented comprehensively on the points on which another scholar who is a follower of another renowned scholar differs with your version, do you realise that yours is a lone voice while there is consensus among the rest without exception on the magical number of three pronouncements? The only point of difference among them is on whether the three pronouncements can  be in one sitting or on three different occasions.

    You are also an exception in treating the divorce process as a cycle of events comprising the before iddat oath/divorce and the post iddat divorce or confirmation of divorce ending in either reconciliation and reuniting or separation. If the cycle ends with separation it is an irrevocable divorce and if it ends with  reconciliation then their life is so to say reset and the count for the number of divorces is also reset to zero.

    I  mean no offence  but are your ideas influenced by your IT background where pressing the reset button and making a fresh start solves most problems?

    How do you deal with all the traditions of the Prophet and case law on the subject that make the third pronouncement the all important one and the count is never reset to zero?



    By siraj - 9/10/2015 7:01:18 AM



  • Siraj Sb,  Another article that deviates from common notions and views of scholars and yet firmly grounded on logical inferences is:

    The Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (pbuh) From the Qu’ran (Part 6): The People of the Book and Jiziya


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/10/2015 3:30:27 AM



  • Siraj Sb,  Consider the following verse:
    (2:228) Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

    The context of verse 228 is that a woman who was not known to be pregnant is divorced and her pregnancy has come to light during the iddat period. The iddat period is automatically extended upto the delivery of the child and during this period, "their husbands have the better right to take them back" while the verse recognizes that in normal circumstances the women have rights similar to the rights against them. The verse is making an exception because of a changed situation on account of the pregnancy which was not known when the woman was divorced. There is now an additional factor of the unborn child to be considered towards which both share a responsibility beyond its birth. While the woman may still be swayed by the rejection to refuse reconciliation, for the man it is a totally different situation from the one in which he divorced his wife  and it is only right to allow him to revoke his decision.

    Now consider the verse:

    (2:232) When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (´Iddat), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is (the course Making for) most virtue and purity amongst you and Allah knows, and ye know not.

    Verse 232 is categorical that the woman may not be prevented from exercising her freedom in any manner after she completes her iddat period. There are no ifs and buts here like "if you have decided  not to take them back" etc. If the intention was to allow the man the right to revoke his decision unilaterally under any circumstances, this part would have been made part of verse 232 and not 228. 

    The balance of power between the husband and the wife is very much required to ensure that no provision is misused. It enables the wife to extract promises from the husband of not ever again resorting to divorce before agreeing to revocation etc. Else the cycle can repeat for the rest of their lives and the woman can be kept in suspense all her life and ill treated.

    The initial hypothesis that I talked about is an interpretation. It is only when one tries to go beyond mere interpretation in a methodical fashion to arrive at the meaning which is the point at which the meaning of the verse or group of verses that one is dealing with, is in conformity with the rest of the verses, and contradict no verse of the Quran, that one has transcended from mere interpretation to deriving the meaning. This is impossible by those who believe in the theory of abrogation.

    There is a qualitative difference between mere interpretation and drawing logical inferences. When it is a logical inference and not merely an interpretation, any other inference from the correct one can be proved to be wrong. With mere interpretations, we are probably dealing with two understandings both of which are off the mark and each one has its pros and cons. Both  therefore stand on more or less equal terms.

      The language of the Quran is nuanced for a very good reason. There cannot be a very direct answer to many of the questions such as "Will Christians, Jews and Polytheists go to heaven or not?" And yet, these questions can be answered categorically by drawing inferences. You may read my article :

    Is the Quran a Book of Contradictions?

    While one can get away with half baked interpretations on most topics, this is not possible when dealing with the questions on inheritance. To every question there can be only one correct answer based on logic and Math alone. The group of verses that call for drawing logical inferences to address these questions are the three verses on inheritance 4:11, 12 and 176.

    Please read my article:

    Inheritance Related Calculations Based On the Quran

    Also, ask the Editor for the utility that I have developed to calculate inheritance or write to me naseer.hmed@yahoo.in. The utility will help you to understand the article much better.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/10/2015 2:50:30 AM



  • Naseer Saheb, There is another important point on which what you have said is different from what SS Sb has said which requires elaboration.
    SS Sb does not say that revocation of divorce is possible only through mutual consent unless the woman is discovered to be pregnant during the iddat period. You have stated this most emphatically and also implied that this is to maintain equal balance of power between the couple as closely as possible. Isn't this your interpretation and not the meaning of the verses? If it is the meaning, why is the meaning not clear to others?

    By siraj - 9/9/2015 10:25:20 AM



  • Siraj Sb,   Thanks for asking a very good question. Oftentimes, the way to correctly understand the meaning of the Quran on any subject is to start with an “Initial Hypotheses” and test it against each relevant verse on the subject. If the IH contradicts any of the relevant verses, refine the IH until there are no more contradictions. You can then be reasonably certain that you have arrived at the correct meaning. An important point to keep in mind is that your aim should be to get at the meaning and not to interpret. Those who are fond of interpreting can interpret anything. The Quran is meant to be understood and not interpreted. As far as interpretation is concerned, you can have as many interpretations as there are people interpreting while there can be only one meaning intended by Allah. What that one meaning is made clear by Allah in ways that are amazing. There is always only one meaning that makes the entire subject clear without the slightest doubt or contradiction. As Allah says in the Quran, it is a Book that makes things clear and without crookedness.

     Let us test what Shehzad Saleem Sb says with verse: 2:229

     (2:229) A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness….

     Contradiction: Saleem Sb talks about a third divorce whereas the Quran talks about only two. There is no other verse that talks about the permissible number of divorces. Saleem Sb is interpreting the verse 2:229 to mean that revoking a divorce is permissible only twice and on the third occasion it becomes irrevocable. If verse 2:229 is taken to mean that the subject is revocation which is permitted twice, then why does the verse talk about separating? The subject of the verse is therefore divorce and not revocation of divorce. If the subject is divorce and if the choice after the second divorce is either separation or holding together on equitable terms, then once a decision is taken to hold together, this decision holds good  until death do them apart since there is no scope for a third divorce. Clearly Shehzad Sb has missed the meaning and has only “interpreted” the verse.

     The correct meaning because it is the only meaning that makes sense without the slightest contradiction:

     Verses 2:226 to 232 describe a single cycle of the divorce process

     (226) For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

     Verse 226 covers Divorce 1 or stage 1 of the cycle. At this stage no decision can be taken regarding separation since a mandatory iddat period has to be observed. They can reunite however and therefore the verse speaks only of “if then they return” which means if then they unite.

     (227) But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

     Verse 227 is divorce 2 or stage 2 of the cycle when the iddat period is completed without the couple uniting.

     (2:229) A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness….

     This is the stage at divorce 2 that a decision needs to be taken whether to separate or hold together. Since there is no third divorce, a wife cannot be held in suspense any longer. The divorce must either be revoked or the two should separate.

     If they separate, there is no further cycle, else the cycle could repeat at a future date. There is no limit on the number of times this cycle could repeat but as already discussed, revocation is possible only with mutual consent each time.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/9/2015 7:15:14 AM



  • Naseer Saheb,  Please refer to "The Qur'anic Concept of Divorce" Author: Shehzad Saleem based on Javed Ahmad Ghamidi's interpretation. This is part of an article by the Editor. This is what he says:

     “If a husband has decided to divorce his wife, he should utter the divorce sentence just once. However, the husband may revoke his decision during the Iddat period. If after annulment of this divorce, due to some reason, the untoward situation arises a second time that the husband intends to divorce his wife, the Qur'an says that the husband can exercise his right of divorce for the second time as well. He should pronounce just one talaaq sentence to repudiate his wife. Again, the post-divorce period shall be observed in the manner just described. Once again, if the husband wishes, he has the chance to revise his decision during this period, in which case the divorce shall be considered null and void. If, unfortunately, for the third time, the situation arises that divorce becomes inevitable, the Qur'an says that a husband can exercise his right for the third time as well and pronounce the divorce sentence. However, this time the wife she shall be permanently separated from him. After divorcing his wife for the third time, he cannot re-marry her now, unless and until, the wife marries some other person.”

     

    Your version differs from his version in a very significant way. What do you have to say?


    By siraj - 9/9/2015 5:00:34 AM



  • Informative and scholarly article Naseer Sahab
    By Raihan Nezami - 9/9/2015 3:42:51 AM



  • Siraj Sb,  We know what the meaning of the two divorces is in the Quran. The first is what marks the beginning of the period of iddat and the second is at the end of the iddat period after which either the couple should part ways or reunite. The third possibility is to keep the woman in suspense especially if she is not keen to leave. Her status is then undefined and worse than that of a housemaid. It is this that the Quran is against in verse 229 where it says:

     (229) A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness......

     What the verse means to communicate is that after the iddat period is completed, there is no third alternative - either they should separate with kindness or reunite. If there was a concept of a third, fourth ... nth divorce, then they could go on living together until the nth divorce. The Quran is making it clear that there is nothing beyond the iddat period except to part ways or reunite.

     So, even after pronouncing divorce at the end of the iddat period which is the second divorce, the couple can still unite according to verse 229, but this decision must be taken before the couple part which then makes the divorce irrevocable. There is no third divorce according to the Quran and therefore no reason for the couple to continue to live together at the end of the iddat period except when they choose to revoke the divorce and reunite.

    A divorced woman whose family members are unsupportive and who has nowhere to go will tend to hang on to the relationship as long as possible in the hope that her husband may change his mind. This creates an environment for exploitation of the woman. Verse 229 disallows any uncertainty regarding her status once she completes her period of iddat and thus protects her from possible exploitation.

     People have correctly understood verse 229 to mean that the divorce at the end of the period of iddat can still be revoked but incorrectly understood it to mean that a third divorce is required to make it irrevocable. There is no concept of a third divorce at all. What revokes it is a decision to reunite and what makes it irrevocable is a decision to part ways and to actually part ways.

    There cannot be the second divorce until the end of the iddat period and the first divorce can be in the form of an oath and unknown to the wife. There is no concept of pronouncing Talaq thrice either in one sitting or three sittings in the Quran. Pronouncing it once is enough and superfluous pronouncements are without meaning.

     I hope I am clear. Scholars who oppose triple talaq in one sitting are also not very clear about the meaning of verse 229 and they incorrectly assume that after the second divorce, if they choose to reunite, then in future, a single utterance of the word “Talaq” is enough to severe the relationship because “A divorce is only permissible twice….”. That is not the meaning and intention of verse 229 according to me. Verse 229 only means that after the second divorce, the couple must adopt one of the two courses – renite or part. If they choose to reunite and at some time in the future decide to divorce, they will have to go through the process afresh which should be fairly obvious. How can they just divorce and part ways without observing the iddat period? So in any case that would make it four divorces! It should therefore be clear that the count does not carry forward to a future process and is limited to a given process.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/9/2015 1:00:41 AM



  • Naseer Saheb, After you have said it, it is easy to see that what you say is what is there in the Qur'an and yet no one has said anything even close to it before! So, I wonder whether you have missed something that the others haven't?

    Please elaborate more on why uttering  Talaq thrice does not make the divorce irrevocable according to the Quran.

    The highlight of your article is telling people that change is in their own hands and they are free to follow their own understanding when Muslims in general believe that no change is possible without a  fatwa from the clerics or the AIMPLB agreeing to the change.  It is a strange feeling to discover that we have been free to change all the time and were chained to the Ulema only by our ignorance.


    By siraj - 9/8/2015 11:03:04 PM



Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Comments
Fill the text
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.

Content