By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
25 October 2016
Religious and social customs in almost all
societies and in all walks of life were constructed by Males to give them
greater advantages over the Females. This is true even today. In many
progressive countries there are ministries and commissions to protect women’s
rights to counter gender discrimination.
Discrimination against women is alive and
well and universal. The UN in its Article1 of Charter to promote says:
“…co-operation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for
fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of race, sex, language or
religion”. For that reason there are established conventions such as The
Convention for the Status of Women (CSW) and others such as The Convention on
the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)! In many
parts of the world, backed by legislation, the attitudes are changing for the
Strangely, it is in the Muslim countries
that women have led the field and occupied highest positions in the political
hierarchy. Yet in the traditional/Sharia based Muslim countries the situation
The well-meaning, learned and enlightened
scholars never tire of telling the world that Quran, whence Islam originates,
was the first ‘ordinance’ to grant unprecedented rights to women and empower
them, centuries ago. For that reason the poet philosopher Dr. Iqbal is quoted
as saying that it appears to him that the Quran is written by a woman for
It may be so, but in practice the
religiously implemented rules and regulations named “Sharia” – to falsely give
it Arabic/Quranic tinge -- in many countries and societies of Muslims not only
contradict but reject Quran’s ordinances. They utterly humiliate the female in
their customs of marriage, divorce and reunion! This is focused on here, in
only one aspect.
This issue is discussed on some of the very
important principles of Quran, viz:-
1. Mankind, including womankind is created on
the basis of “dignity”.
2. Accepting the naturally occurring
weaknesses of females, man and woman have “equal rights”.
3. Man is therefore the “protector” of
the weaker sex.
4. In the normality of social structure, Man
is the “provider” of the weaker sex.
5. Human relations are based on “Justice”.
Where Justice is composed of a package of: a) Equality, b) Equity,
c) Compassion and d) Generosity.
6. Mankind is endowed with intelligence to
conduct itself “rightly”.
These principles are paramount and are to
be applied always.
Marriage in Quran is serious event based
on: promise, understanding and commitment by two consenting and fully
mature adults to comply within the agreed terms of the union. This
commitment or ‘contract’ must be witnessed by at least two respectable
members of the community, one each representing the bride and the groom. This
is to ensure that the community at large is assured that the union is: moral,
ethical and in terms of the laws of the land, legal. There are literally
hundreds of verses in Quran referring to marriage conditions; prohibited
marriages, age of maturity, consent, waiting period, exchange of gift, divorce,
reunion and other related issues.
Just one feature of the religious/Sharia
practice is focused on here; that of couple seeking reunion in marriage after
their ‘final divorce’ has taken place. This final divorce is the one
that is enforced by Quran following reconciliation of the couple to come
together in marriage twice previously, having gone through two divorces.
Divorce, though allowed in Quran is but
reluctantly; it is not to be trivialized. Two chances are therefore given to
come together in the event of breakup. The reconciliation is to be attempted by
two people, agreed by the couple. In some progressive countries this function
of reconciliation is performed under State legislation.
There is an additional important condition
that of “waiting period” for the female; that is primarily to determine
the matter of any issue that may eventuate that is, “The child of the marriage
bed”. If the reconciliation is unsuccessful, the third divorce is taken as the
Reunion for the couple after this breakup,
in consideration of many issues, for example the children, family and the
community relationship etc. is possible; but is made very difficult. So, one
more chance is given to the couple to reunite, if both are so desperate to.
But religion has wangled a way out of the
difficulties; in the process putting the female in the most degrading and
humiliating position, not discussed in details here, but briefly!
The common practice among some Muslims, if
the female and her former husband want to reunite after the third divorce then
she is to ‘marry’ a complete stranger for the specific purpose of getting a
divorce from him. After consummating the marriage and then divorced, she
can reunite with her former husband. No difficulties are encountered
As pointed above, the seriousness of
marriage union and divorce has been established as a solemn,
honourable and legal protocol in Quran.
But this is trivialized to the extent that it defies all human civilized
standards of decencies in the treatment of the female in common practice!
As with any other contract written or
otherwise, the dissolution of it is to take place exactly in the manner as it
was made in the first place with formality and legality involved; so too it is
with the dissolution of marriage contract.
The principle set out therein is THREE
divorces to make the final break of the first marriage. The absolute last
chance for reunion now can only be taken after the woman gets married to a new
suitor of her choice. Then if this new marriage too fails, after having gone
through all the processes as before and the final divorce and after the
required waiting period, she can remarry her first husband if they both so
desire! How unlikely would that be?!
Therefore the proponents of common
religious/Sharia practice have just a few pertinent questions to answer:-
1. What happened to the waiting period?
1. Has the new husband got to be a certified
eunuch, to prevent an “issue” from this marriage?
2. If he is not, what if the lady conceives
3. Or is the foetus given a DNA test? …And
takes the responsibility for the child?
But there is more…The former husband who
takes her back – by now perhaps she is the mother of few of his children --
after the humiliation the poor woman is put through…he must either be an
Angel or an ignorant stupid man. Whatever the case, is it not a wonder then as
to why they both went through all these traumas if they were so desperate to
As stated above it is ‘highly unlikely’ to
ever succeed in practice because in the first place the new marriage too has to
be on Quranic principles:-
· It has to be committed and contracted
to on the moral, honourable and ethical basis.
· There must be an attempt made for
· The three divorces and the
waiting period requirement must be followed to make it final. There is NO
exception given in Quran to its rules.
It is highly likely, considering the long
time that must elapse in this rigmarole and the aging of the couple the new
marriage may turn out to be a permanent one and therefore a blessing to all
concerned. Then all is well that ends well.
But in the worst case, the new marriage
eventuating in the final divorce, in spite the attempted reconciliation and
waiting period as required, the remarriage with the first husband - with pomp
and glory, witnessed by hundreds of invitees as usual - becomes valid,
honourable, moral and ethical and with the required “dignity” maintained all
round. Hopefully the remarried couple would be old enough by now and matured to
have learnt their lesson.
That is Islamic since it gives even
more dignity 49-13 to mankind including womankind by their noble acts. But
religious people do not study the scripture but practice the hearsay religions
instead to degrade half of humanity.
تِین طلاقوں سے گھروالی کو گھر سے بیگھر کیا!
With three divorces the Home Mistress is
2-44, Do you enjoin right conduct on
others and forget to practice it yourselves, and yet you say you study
scriptures? Will you not use your intelligence?
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.)
Thanks again Naseer Saheb.
In your explanation there is an element of enforcement
in “must reconcile” and an element of trivialization of the
solemnity of marriage and gravity of divorce in “any number of times”,
which seems to negate the spirit of the ordinance.
But then it must be my faulty understanding!
Rashid Sb, The Quranic message is very clear. There are two stages in a divorce
Stage 1 Starts with either
A well-considered decision (Surah 65) which means after the wife has had
her periods and there is no cohabitation thereafter meaning after being
reasonably satisfied that the wife is not pregnant
A sudden decision
Stage 2 After the iddat period or after 3 menstrual cycles
There is no stage 3
In the Quranic language divorce at each of the stages is considered a
divorce and reconciliation is possible even after these two stages.
At the end of stage 2 the choice is to either retain her in kindness and
justice or let her go and she is free to marry even a former husband if she
wishes to do so. If she leaves at the end of stage 2 as a divorced woman, the
divorce process is complete and irrevocable. Else the divorce is off and they
A couple may initiate a divorce process any number
of times and reconcile an equal number of times before the divorce process
becomes complete and irrevocable. Any reconciliation must be with mutual
consent except when the divorce process started with a sudden decision and the
wife is later found to be pregnant during the iddat period. In such a case, the
iddat period is extended upto the delivery of the child and the man has the
right to unilaterally revoke the divorce because his decision in the first
place was without knowledge that the woman was carrying their child.
A divorced couple cannot remarry unless the woman
has married another man and has been divorced by him. The laws are designed to
protect the woman as she is the vulnerable party and not to favour the man.
Mr Naseer Ahmad’s comment is taken
seriously and with thanks. I am always ready to be corrected.
However, I do not find any
contradiction with Quran in what I have written. To reiterate the Principles given
in the Book and to Focus on the matter of final divorce, Three divorces,
there is room to clarify what is said; however with trepidations.
Quran’s Principles as stated remain
valid for all human interactions, male or female.
The Process pertaining to final divorce
must therefore be based of the above principles. In the Muslim church-based process,
the Male has broken even the simplest moral limits let alone the ethical
and legal standards set out by mankind!
The Quranic process of final divorce-
the third, may need elaborating: “at tallaqu
marratain 2-229”, there can be
only Two divorces. Not being a scholar
of Arabic myself and depending entirely on various translations and
commentaries by non-cleric type enlightened Arabic and Quranic scholars and accepting
entirely the given principles therein; I understand that there are TWO sets of
Marriages/Divorces. That is;
First marriage with 1st
husband resulting in --> separation –->
reconciliation –-> reunion –-> Divorce. This is the First Divorce.
Second marriage with
2nd Husband resulting in --> separation –->
reconciliation –-> reunion --> Divorce. This is the Second
Divorce. …Then according to 2-230.
with the 1st Husband is possible– if this marriage now
breaks down, then that is THE END. The final divorce- the Third Divorce!
The focus therefore was on the 2nd
Set, there is no exception to the rule as devised by the churches!
The Process for Divorce in the Quran
Also read the comment under the same article By Naseer Ahmed - 9/12/2015 3:22:37 AM