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Divorce in Islam

Marriage is a union of souls in the deepest sense. Allah joins these two souls together so that they may enjoy tranquility and stability in a marital home filled with sincere love and compassionate mercy. In Islam, the righteous woman is viewed as one of the joys of this life and a great blessing to a man for he comes home to her and relaxes after facing the struggles of life and finds with her incomparable peace, comfort and pleasure. The world is just a temporary conveniences and the best comfort in this world is a righteous woman. Islam regards marriage very highly and views femininity as something to be valued and cherished.

Islam also makes provisions for divorce. Just as with Judaism, specific attitudes and practices can vary substantially from tradition to tradition. At various times in Islamic history and in various Muslim societies, divorce rates have varied. In many Islamic societies, marriage has been taken as a violable legal contract. In the flourishing medieval Islamic world, marriage was closer to the modern industrialized world in frequency.

Even though marriage is based on mutual consent, but it is not always true that this consent prevails amongst them forever and for this reason the mutuality of the commitment starts quivering and relationships do fall apart, and that is where divorce comes in. In Islam divorce is completely demoralised. However, the Islamic law provides provisions for the termination of the marriage contract if the marriage commitment fails to work. The termination of the marriage contract can be initiated by any party that has decided that the other party cannot or will not satisfactorily fulfill the commitment in the marriage contract to provide enough physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual happiness for a state of tranquility. Islam encourages both the husband and wife to appoint such persons as to help with reconciliation (known as the “Qadhi” or “Qazi”), but if these attempts also fail, then the procedures for each are established in the Holy Qur’an.

If a man initiates the divorce process, it is termed as the “Talaq.” This type of divorce by the man’s hand can either be spoken or written three times. But after the repetition of “Talaq” three times, there is a waiting period of three months known as the “Iddat”. No type of sexual relationship can take place even if both individuals are still living under the same housing. This waiting period was developed to prevent any hasty decisions that were made with anger and to determine whether or not the wife has been impregnated before that Talaq took place. If the divorce proceeds onward, then the husband must pay in full whatever dowry or “Mahr” or “Sadaq”, a contractual gift from the husband to his wife that was promised to the wife in the marriage contract.

The controversy with divorce lies in the idea that men seem to have absolute power in divorce. But, it is clear in the Holy Qur’an because the Holy Qur’an states there is a “degree” of difference with regards to the rights of men and women in divorce, but it is not clear “how much” and “what” privileges a man is entitled to. This is what the jurists have interpreted. This point should also be taken in consideration that if the dissimilarity exists in part to the man who is financial supporter, then it must not be neglected that if the woman contributes or has a major financial input to the well being of the family that, likewise a man, this privilege should also apply to her. Today many of the divorce laws are the interpretations made by scholars that have relatively few references from the Holy Qur’an. As the circumstances are changing and so are human laws, likewise divorce laws have a tendency to adapt to dynamic circumstances.

On the basis of this view of marriage and of women, the Muslim is not attracted by the empty headed attitude displayed by some girls nowadays. Rather, he is attracted by a sound Muslim personality and he takes his time in choosing a partner for life. Looking for a partner who has the right Islamic characteristics which will make for a stable and happy married life. Therefore he is not interested in the superficial physical beauty, grace and elegance that are the sole concern of empty headed youngsters. While he does not ignore physical looks, he also looks for strong religious belief and practice, intelligence and good behaviour.

Rana Ardhita is a regular Indonesian mother who runs Islam fashion shop in which tries to mix the traditional Indonesian art heritage and Islam culture

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