الآية رقم (227) - وَإِنْ عَزَمُواْ الطَّلاَقَ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

(227) - (And if they decide on divorce - then indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.)

The woman has the right to ask for divorce if ‘Ilaa’ goes on for more than four months.

Setting the rules for divorce and the waiting period and all respective issues, Islam has guaranteed the dignity and rights of humans, both men and women. Allah (swt) is the One who created couples: male and female:

 {يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ }

(O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted..)  (Al-Hujuraat: 13)

When we talk about women and their respective issues, we should keep in mind that one of the lengthy Suras is named Al-Nisaa (women in Arabic), and there is no such thing for men. In addition, Allah (swt) exemplified by the woman of Pharoh:

 {وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا امْرَأَتَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ }

(And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, “My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.”.)  (Al-Tahrim: 11)

Another Surah is also named with the Virgin Mary (Mariam), and Allah (swt) spoke in details about the wife of Imran, the grandmother of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and not about Imran, his grandfather. These are all signs of honoring woman:

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ آدَمَ وَنُوحًا وَآلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ * ذُرِّيَّةً بَعْضُهَا مِن بَعْضٍ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ * إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ * فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ۖ وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ * فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

(Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds – % Descendants, some of them from others. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. % [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” % But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah].” % So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?” She said, “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.”.)  (Al-Imran:  32-37)

A woman, Virgin Mary, taught Prophet Zakaiah (PBUH) that Allah (swt) provides for whom He wills without account. So the talk was about the grandmother of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and then his mother, Virgin Mary.

Women in the pre-Islam era used to be treated as an object of decoration and desire, have neither dignity nor social or economic rights. They had nothing. however, when Islam came it addressed men and women in the same way in terms of rights and duties:

 {وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ }

(…And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable….)  (Al-Baqara: 228)

Additionally, set out the golden rule for the relationship between the man and the woman in the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saws):

“Fear Allah concerning women! They are dependent upon you and have nothing for themselves.  You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone other than you to sit on your bed nor anyone whom you do not like into your home. But if you fear their deviation, you can advise, leave them in bed alone, or chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah.[1]

Throughout our history, there were many virtuous women who were known for their wisdom and sober-mindedness. An example of that is Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her). Prophet Muhammad (saws) was shivering when he returned from the Cave of Hira after revelation first came to him and saying: ‘cover me, cover me.’ They covered him till his fear was over and after that he (saws) told her everything that had happened to him and said: “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.”[2] Khadija then took him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal. Other examples include Aisha, who used to teach people the rules of Islam, Fatima, Zainab … etc (May Allah be pleased with them). So, women have been the main theme of the rights set out by Islam.

In this context, we say: texts should not be torn apart like when someone reads this verse and does not continue:

 {فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ }

(So woe to those who pray.)  (Al-Maoon: 4)

We should not also take arguable particularities of religion as an excuse to refute its fundamentals without considering the purposes of the Islamic Sharia as some ignorant Muslims do. Allah (swt) says:

 {وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ }

(And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision,)  (Al-Imran: 169) And:

 {الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى ۙ لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ }

(Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.)  (Al-Baqara: 262) And:

The first verse is about martyrs; the second is about spending; and both are (in the way/cause of Allah). Is the cause/way of Allah (swt) a call for Allah (swt)? We should answer this question and clarify to people and generations what the cause/way of Allah (swt) is. Prophet Muhammad (saws) stated in the Hadith narrated by Kaab Bin Ajra who said:

“A man passed by Prophet Muhammad (saws), and the companions of the Prophet liked his physique and activity so they said: ‘what if he is in the way of Allah?’ The Prophet then says:

“He’s in the way of Allah if he’s out to provide for little kids, or for old parents; or if he’s out to preserve his chastity. Yet, he’s in the way of Satan if he’s out for the sake of pretension and showing off.[3]

Accordingly, the way of Allah (swt), then, is not the call for Allah (swt) which should be by wisdom and good instruction as stated by Allah (swt):

 {ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ}

(Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.)  (Al-Nahl: 125)

The call for Allah (swt) is by reasoning, persuasion, providing proof and evidence and not by sword, force or compulsion. In the way of Allah means by whatever serves the interests of humans that Allah (swt) has made legitimate; this is the way of Allah (swt). The interests of humans won’t be attained by theft, bribery or adultery. Nonetheless, the way of Allah (swt) is that of public good and benefit, that of the whole society. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said:

“Allah Almighty allotted character between you as He divided provision between you. Allah Almighty bestows wealth on those He loves and those He does not love. He only bestows faith upon those who He loves. So He loves the ones to whom He bestows faith. By the One who has my soul in His hands, a servant never embraces Islam truly until his heart and tongue are pure and never believes until his neighbor feels safe from his evil. They said: what’s his evil? The Prophet says: his ignorance and injustice.[4]

Once, the Prophet (saws) charged Ibn Allutabiya on the Sadaqa (charitable money). Upon his return, the man said (dividing the things he brought with him): ‘This is yours, and this is gifted to me.’ The Prophet (saws) then said:

Why don’t you stay at your father’s house or your mother’s house to see whether you will be given gifts or not, if you are telling the truth?” After He prayed Dhuhr (noon) prayer, Allah’s Messenger (saws) stood up and addressed the people, and after glorifying and praising Allah, he says: Amma Ba’du (then after) I employ some men from among you for some job which Allah has placed in my charge, and then one of you comes to me and says, ‘This (amount) is for you and this is a gift given to me.’ Why doesn’t he stay at the house of his father or the house of his mother and see whether he will be given gifts or not if he was telling the truth by Allah, none of you takes anything of it (i.e., Zakat) for himself but he will meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection carrying it on his neck! I do not want to see any of you carrying a grunting camel or a mooing cow or a bleating sheep on meeting Allah.” Then the Prophet (saws) raised both his hands till I saw the whiteness of his armpits, and says, “(No doubt)! Haven’t I conveyed Allah’s Message! (Thrice)[5]

This is the religion, the good for and rectification of the society and people. The religion prohibits whatever is harmful and legitimizes whatever is good for all people. This would be my approach to the verses on divorce because when we talk about divorce, we shouldn’t consider the particularities of the religion based on the things we mistakenly bear in our minds. The verses on divorce should be considered as part of such themes when looked into.

[1] Kanz-ul-Ummal Vol of Rules from the Last Pilgrimage, Haj and Omrah, Hadith no. 12357.

[2] Sahih Al-Bukhari, Revelation, Hadith No. 3

[3] Al-Mujam Al-Awsat, Vol. 7, Hadith no. 6835.

[4] Shauab al-Iman, Thity Eighth Branch of Iman, Chapter: Withholding Prohibited Money, Hadith no. 5524.

[5] Sahih Ibn Habban, Assiyar Vol., Chapter: Caliphate and Emirate Hadith no. 4515.