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DIVORCE AS A MARITAL TRIAL

 


By

Ibn Abdillah As-udaisiy Al-IIoori


Tests in marriage come in different ways. Sometimes, a righteous person may fall in the hand of a rebellious partner. He or she might have tried unsuccessfully all necessary steps in ensuring that his or her partner repents sincerely and turns a new leaf. This is one of the circumstances in which divorce can be a solution if exercised with serious caution. 


However, in every case of divorce, all active players must ensure that the proper procedure provided by the sharī'ah is strictly followed. One of the fundamental principles in divorce that is highly undermined today in our society is 'iddah (waiting period) and the need to release one another amicably without severe pains. 


No one can stop a divorce if that is what the couple want. Not even a Judge in the Court of Law can insist on keeping a relationship when affected parties have agreed to part ways. 


Divorce is painful, but Allāh permits it when there is no other option. Nevertheless, the relevant rules must be strictly adhered to. More so, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) grant us the liberty to apply the sharī'ah fully in this aspect of our lives as Muslims. So, we have no excuse at all. 


The point here is, how many divorced couples these days go through the proper process of 'iddah? If 'iddah is properly implemented, many marriages that are hitherto on the verge of crumbling would find back the feet. The instruction of Allāh is:

فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ وَأَحۡصُوا۟ ٱلۡعِدَّةَۖ

"....divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period.." [Sahih International, Surah, At-Talaq, Q65: 2]


The concept of 'iddah provides the parties the opportunity to right their wrongs and repent sincerely from their evils that were about to cost them their precious marriage. But when 'iddah is not done properly, the hope of retrieving the marriage is lost completely. Although there are some exceptional circumstances that could make the observance of 'iddah difficult or totally impracticable, the truth remains that many pull out of marriage skipping 'iddah without any justifiable reason.


Many people find it so difficult to divorce these days without leaving incurable wounds. It is wrong to use the process of divorce to create enmity among the people. The best thing is to separate in peace, forgive each other and pray for a better future. 


Divorce is not a death sentence and no one should be stigmatized on account of it. Many of those who were better than us (salaf) faced it. It is a test from Allāh and it is based on qadar. Blames should not be apportioned unreasonably. Many of those who were once divorced now enjoy good lives in their subsequent marriages.


In the second verse of the Chapter that was revealed on the concept of divorce, Allāh specifically said:

فَإِذَا بَلَغۡنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمۡسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفٍ أَوۡ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفࣲ


And when they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or part with them according to acceptable terms.[ Sahih International, Surah, At-Talaq, Q65: 2]

In conclusion, the fact that Allāh wants 'iddah to take place before final disolution of a marriage shows that He doesn't love divorce. He provides us with more than enough opportunities to redeem a dwindling marriage. He permits couples to still marry one another even after their divorce, except after the third pronouncement. Hence, the Hadith: 


أَبْغَضُ الْحَلاَلِ إِلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى الطَّلاَقُ


Of all the lawful acts the most detestable to Allah is divorce (Sunan Abu Dawud, 2178). 


It must be noted that this hadith is not authentic according to Sheikh Al-Albaani رحمه الله and some other scholars of Hadith. However, in his explanation of it as documented in Buluughul Marām, Sheikh Sharafudden Gbadebo Raji حفظه الله said: the  meaning and rulings derivable from the hadith are traceable to some other evidences in the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

In the same vein, Allāh has tied almost all His instructions on this matter with strong admonitions and statements that go to the root of taoheed, such as transgression of the limits set by Allāh, fear of Allāh, and belief in Allāh and the Last Day. Yet, many Muslim ignore these verses and conduct divorce in accordance with their desires. 


May Allāh forgive us our sins and guide us aright.

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