Reasons to consider divorce

Reasons to consider divorce

The divorce rate in America is one of the highest in the world (over 50 percent). But the divorce rate of Muslims in North America is almost as high, according to New York based sociologist Ilyas Ba-Yunus.

Yes, it's true. Muslims today are divorcing in larger numbers than before. There are clearly problems within families that have not been addressed: dysfunction, miscommunication, and in a number of cases violence and abuse.

But while Muslims are taking this step in larger numbers, what does Islam have to say about it?

The Islamic perspective on divorce

"Divorce is something that is very much discouraged in Islam," explains Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

"It is called, according to one of the Hadith of the Prophet Sal Allahu alayhi wa Sallam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 'the most hateful thing that is permissible.'"

This stance discouraging divorce needs to be seen in a balanced way, notes Siddiqi.

"It has to be used very carefully," he says.

What are some legitimate reasons for a couple to consider divorce?

There are definitely valid reasons Muslim men and women can seek divorce.

"One legitimate reason is if there is immoral behavior, unIslamic behavior on the part of a spouse," says Siddiqi. "If a spouse is involved in that, then there is a breakdown."

"For example if one of the spouses, God forbid, is involved in adultery or fornication. In that case, they have a right to separate and this is a legitimate ground for separation."

Another valid reason for divorce is apostasy on the part of either spouse. If a Muslim man or woman's spouse leaves Islam, Siddiqi says the marriage is null and void and the couple can no longer be together.

Abdalla Idris Ali is a member of ISNA's executive body and former president of the organization. He adds to the list of legitimate reasons for seeking divorce dishonesty prior to marriage.

For instance, if a husband told his wife before marriage that he did not consume alcohol or drugs and she discovers after marriage that he is an alcoholic or drug addict.

Some other reasons are:

  • a woman was married before and she did not tell her husband
  • a woman marries man and he is impotent, and she finds out after marriage.
  • cruelty
  • a man's inability or refusal to support his wife
  • a wife's refusal to live with her husband or be with him.
  • if one of the spouses is unable to have conjugal relations
  • one spouse feels repulsion towards the other.

Ali, however, cautions against jumping to divorce quickly and adds that every case has to be looked at individually.

"It is one thing to speak about a ruling. It is another thing to speak about a judgement in a certain case," he says in an interview with Sound Vision and

"If you ask me now, what is the ruling in Islam for a young man who commits Zina (adultery and fornication)? I'll tell you Allah says, give him 100 lashes. This is what the Quran says."

"But you bring me a man and say, this man committed Zina. I'm not going just to give him 100 lashes. This is a case. I have to investigate it, to see whether he did it, you cannot just go and apply the rule."

Illegitimate reasons to seek divorce

Along with legitimate reasons for seeking divorce, Siddiqi and Ali also point to those that are not so acceptable.

Siddiqi gives the example of a husband not liking the way a wife cooks or dresses.

"One should not expect perfection on the part of the spouse because nobody's perfect except Allah and His Messenger. Everybody has shortcomings," he says in an interview with Sound Vision from his home in Orange County, California.

"One should have willingness to sacrifice some of the things," he adds. "This is how the family is established, how it becomes a better family.

Another reason that should not be grounds for divorce is just moodiness on the part of a spouse, says Ali.

What can couples do to avoid divorce?

Siddiqi recommends the following steps to couples who are in difficulty:

1. Both spouses should have the fear of Allah. They should remember that if they are unfair to their spouse, they will be judged on their behavior by Allah.
2. They should try to resolve the problem amongst themselves, then within family members
3. They should not hesitate to involve other members of the community. For instance, they should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to meet and speak with their local Imam (if he is someone fair and trustworthy to the husband and the wife).
4. Seek counseling, preferably from a Muslim counselor. If that is not possible than from a non-Muslim counselor. However, they should be aware of Islamic guidelines so they can take advice from that which is in line with Islamic values.

"As physically we can get sick, our relations also can get sick sometimes," says Siddiqi. "The sooner we take care of this problem the better. We should not prolong it. We should resolve the differences as soon as possible and as much as possible. But when problems go on and on, then the wounds will grow."

Siddiqi recommends Muslim couples draft a prenuptial agreement and specify that all conflicts in marriage should be resolved Islamically and in the case of divorce, this process, if it happens, is also handled in a manner in line with Islamic guidelines.


Im married 15 yrs , I found out that he was married n he told me they were divorced then after we were married with 2 kids he told me they were always married n knew I wouldnt marry him. Then now after all this time he has only seen her 2 times in this times . Hes not their for me wont do anything with me , but says he lives me ! Help im a convert n need to know what to do !

I have been married for a year and a half. I left my country to come and live with my husband so we could spend time together. the issue is ever since we got married he seem to have changed she never spend any time with me and complains that he has to provide for me because I don't work make a long story short I don't think the love is here anymore and to be honest I feel like I'm wasting my time and energy on somebody whose heart left a long time ago.he says that I will never find another man like him and that my life will just go downhill if I leave him. is this valid ground for me to leave seeing that I am unhappy



hi, my husband and I were muslim (he converted) so we can get married. Now things changed he wants to file a divorce he's in other while i'm in the philippines. For any circumstances he said he just want to make it formal that he just do not love me anymore we have kids together. What's the process and any idea how long it will take? Btw, we got married in Philippines. As a woman do I have the any right on this situation?



Asalamau aleykum wrw wbr to all I am married for 10 years, and I have 4 kids. Me and my husband we have problems he is not providing any thing in financally secondly he is impotent for 7 years I tried and tried that things work out but now I am really tired of triying. He does not care about this problems if I ask him we need money to buy things that the children need he says where can I get the money. We get money from social assistance because he does nott want to work and he never did I wondering if I can ask for divorce since I did my best and nothing changes asc


Assalam'moualaikoum I am married for 15years and mother of two children.My husband always keep busy in work ,does not show love and affection towards me and did not support me me in any development we wish to make for our children.He seldom has physical relashionship and when ask for the cause he replies that he is not like others.Later on i found out that he did not have any savings and when asked he replies that he did not keep any account of his expenses and that he did not commit anything wrong.But one day i discover about 15 pornographic films in his drawer and he denies that he has ever watched them.He is not violent,he is suffering from impotency,he does know how to read quran.,he performs namaz but actually we are living in different rooms and to be frank i do not love him any more and we seldom talk to each other.Thank to Allah i am independent but i wish to know whether i cant ask for divorce base on these facts.Thank you


I have been married for nearly two years and have recently found out that my husband is married to his first wife whom he never mentioned for 6 years he has a 2 and half year old and a 7 month old baby with her but none with me. He told me he had divorced her. He has told her that he has given me talaaq but hasn't as he is still in love with me as I am with him. He can't tell his first wife he loves me because she has threatened to take their children and go, or that he wishes to keep us both. What do I do? Plz help me.


Salaam! My question is what if Muslim woman says talaaq in her heart by using her husband's name what would happened.. Even though she didn't really mean it?



salaam,can somebody help me,i've been married for six years now and have 2 kids.since two weeks after we got married the problems husband was extemely hung up on the fact that his father wouldnt allow him to marry his ex and forced him to marry me.and i knew non of this before we married.and ever since his been chatting to many women on his phone inappropritaely,this happened about six times and i kept on forgiving him and trying to hang in there hoping thing would get better.but it didnt,he then had an affair with my sister over the phone and internet .and again i forgave him.and even after that he swears at me every single day,calls me the ugliest names.i cant even kiss him any more im so repulsed by him wat should i do?help please



Can a Muslim women leave her husband just for an other guy, becasue he is still waiting for me, hes parents are telling him to get married but he doesn't want to becuase he need's me. he luvs truely since mani years, he has done alot to have me, but nothing workd at all!!! i just don't know what to do? Im so stress out!!! i need help! becuase he still thinks that I will come back in his life again.




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