Divorce in Islam

Divorce in Islam – Rules and General Proceedings

Getting a divorce is always a ravaging process, and you never know exactly how you will come out of it, but a divorce in Islam is even more unpredictable. The rules of divorcing are very different, and both partners ought to know them well.

Explicit or implicit divorce in Islam

There are two types of Islamic divorce: explicit and implicit. The explicit divorce is when the husband says to his wife “I divorce you”, or when he gives a positive answer when asked if he divorces his wife.

The implicit divorce implies an intention. The husband does not say exactly that he divorces his wife, but his intention can be understood from a statement such as “you are on your own”, or “I am sending you back to your parents”.

Another type of divorce can occur when the husband forbids his wife to do a certain thing, or else she will be divorced. In this case, if the wife does the respective thing, then she will indeed be divorced.

In Islam, a woman cannot initiate a divorce, only the husband has this right.

Reconciliation after a divorce in Islam

Once a couple is divorced, the woman enters the iddah period, which is usually meant to make sure that she is not pregnant. After three cleanliness periods, the iddah is over. If the woman is pregnant, then the iddah is over after she gives birth; if the woman is at her menopause, then the iddah lasts for three months after the divorce.

If the husband wishes to reconcile, he just has to say it during the iddah period. If the husband decides he wants his wife back after the iddah period is over, then a new marriage contract is needed. This can only happen twice during a marriage.

In case the husband has divorced his wife the third time and wishes to reconcile, their relationship will be unlawful. The only way the two can get back together is if the wife waits for the iddah period to be over, marries another man and consumes their marriage, divorces that man, waits for the new iddah period to be over, and then remarries her first husband, with a new contract.

Divorce in Islam: sinful or not sinful

The permissible or not sinful divorce is the one carried out after the first sexual intercourse between the two spouses, not during the wife’s cleanliness period. The divorce commences immediately in this case. There is no regret in this divorce type.

The sinful divorce is when the husband wants to divorce his wife after they had sexual intercourse in a cleanliness period, if the wife is experiencing postpartum bleeding, or if she is in her menstruation period, cases in which it is sinful to divorce her.

As you can see, divorce in Islam has quite strict rules, many of them very different from the Christian divorce; however, there is one thing they both have in common: divorce is not something to be taken lightly.

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