Articles

The Phenomenon of Divorce (Talaq)
Author : Ali Al-Fakhir
Date Added : 15-04-2024

 

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

 

When issuing religious rulings to people regarding divorce, the mufti notices a prevailing culture in our societies manifested in people's urgent question after uttering the word divorce: Is this a valid divorce?

 

The question posed by the person uttering divorce is solely focused on protecting himself from the financial and social consequences of this word. They do not take the Sharia dimension of their actions into consideration; they do not ask themselves: "In the sight of Allah, am I committing a sin?!" How will I answer to the Almighty when I stand before Him on the Day of Reckoning?!

 

Yes, a cultural mindset that says: "I have uttered the divorce word... I need a fatwa (religious edict)... and perhaps it will resolve the matter!" without considering any other aspect. This is to the extent that some people believe that the fatwa is what allows them to continue their marriage or end it!

 

It is not uncommon to find someone who, despite being fully aware and conscious of issuing a clear divorce, reacts with indifference when informed by the mufti that the divorce took place. They might even say, with a calm demeanor: "Consider it not as such, O Sheikh!" Meaning, don`t count it as an instance of divorce.

 

Seriously and alarmingly, this culture indicates that the family is being threatened. This is because the success and protection of the family is fundamentally tied to the mature understanding of the sanctity and importance of the institution of marriage.

 

Perhaps this boldness in uttering divorce for trivial reasons is also linked to the lack of conscience, among Muslim individuals, regarding the fear of Allah. We know that marriage is one of the most serious contracts in our noble religion, and Islam has been keen on safeguarding and building it on solid foundation.

 

Setting material considerations aside, marriage is a contract that binds souls first. It unifies families, expands the circle of relationships and compassion. It also establishes the meanings of peace, love, and mercy. Through marriage, man achieves succession on earth by continuing the human race and multiplying to fulfill the duty of cultivating the earth that Allah has entrusted him with.

 Indeed, the marriage contract is not a business transaction; rather, it is a contract whose fruits are souls, and whose reward, for those who fulfill its requirements, is Paradise.

 

For all of the aforementioned, the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) called the marriage contract "the word of Allah" and "the trust of Allah." In a hadith narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said during his farewell pilgrimage: "Fear Allah regarding women, for you have taken them as a trust from Allah, and intimacy with them has been made lawful by the word of Allah." [Abu Dawood].

 

Understanding the profound meaning and the spiritual aspect of the philosophy of the marriage contract, especially when combined with the fear of Allah, can, Insha`Allah, serve as a powerful deterrent for individuals against hasty utterances of divorce, using expressions forbidding wife to her husband, and engaging in common practices related to divorce oaths that have become prevalent.

 

The person who frequently uses phrases like "I swear by divorce" or "I swear by the forbidden" and others does not appreciate the meaning of "the word of Allah" and does not preserve "the trust of Allah." In other words, it is as if he is mocking this word and this trust. So, what will he answer his Lord when he stands before Him on the Day of Reckoning?!

 

This is what a Muslim should consider when uttering divorce words, rather than focusing on whether they count as a divorce or not.

 

We are indeed facing a serious problem where divorce words are used extensively without considering their significance, turning it into a common occurrence rather than a last resort. This requires us to pause and earnestly search for solutions.

 

Divorce, as a last resort, means that there should be steps and attempts to reconcile marital life, starting with sincere, open, and conscious dialogue about areas of disagreement, followed by advising the wrongdoer. All of this is based on the methods of reconciliation outlined in the Quran where Allah, The Most Exalted, Says (what means): "As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For God is Most High, great (above you all)." [An-Nisaa`/34].

 

After this, neutral and sincere parties intervene with the intention of making reconciliation between the spouses, as indicated in the Quran verse, it states (What means): "And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted." [An-Nisa/35].

 

All of these steps are accompanied by awareness from both spouses of each other's needs and the psychological and material circumstances they may be experiencing. There is an understanding that achieving harmony between them takes time because it is not reasonable to expect harmony between two individuals who have lived in different environments: different living standards, behaviors, personalities, priorities, and even in the details of everyday life. They may even differ in the taste of food or the amount of salt they prefer, among other things.

 

Accompanied by awareness of these facts, time is indeed sufficient to fix marital life and achieve harmony. Over the years, couples can reach an advanced stage of harmony, even to the point of near-complete resemblance as far as behaviors and feelings are concerned.

 

If we examine divorce cases, we find that very few of them go through these steps or follow this process. In our time, divorce has become a quick emotional word that spreads rapidly amongst men.

 

The above constitutes a description of a problem that requires a solution, starting with serious efforts to repair people's conscience and sense of morality. The driving force behind human behavior and actions, as well as the words and positions they express, is their internal content or, in other words, their faith-filled conscience. Those whose conscience is filled with faith in all its aspects tend to have disciplined behavior. Conversely, as faith diminishes within, behavior becomes erratic. Therefore, every issue in life is somehow connected to faith, especially the matter we are discussing here: divorce and the words of divorce used by people. What we often find in reality, with this enormous number of divorce cases, is closely connected to a lack of religious conviction and a diminishing sense of God-consciousness among people.

 

How can we repair people's conscience and increase their sense of fearing Allah?!

This is not just a question I claim to have the answer to; rather, it is a general concern that requires a comprehensive project where the efforts of multiple institutions come together. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.

 

هذا المقال يعبر عن رأي كاتبه، ولا يعبر بالضرورة عن رأي دائرة الإفتاء العام

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