Reasons to consider divorce |

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.


Assalamu alaikum,
I have been married 7 years now. We have arguments. And everytime he is aggressibe, pulling my hair, pushing me, tries to hurt me. He hit me many times after marriage. Although he promise me everytime he will not do that. He is not too serious about preyar. If he prays take to long to get ready to pray. Doesnt want to help me home chores. As i have two young child. 3 and 5 years old. Everytime he hits me i have headache, body ache. O get too upset with the situation. Also he never keeps any promise. Does not care what i need, Or any present. What should i do any advice. I feel someday he will hit me very badly. When he goes away i feel lonely too. But his aggresive behaviour will not change this is for sure.



I was hoping to read something about violent marriages in the article. But the issue which many women silently suffer has been missed.

My husband is violent, threatening kicks me out the house, tells his mum to kick me out. He apologises, I hope back and within a few months the same again.

Whenever I speak to Islamic scholars, they tell me to be patient and pray, they tell me about what reward I will get. How life is a test and this is my test. They advice me how I could avoid making him angry. How I shouldn't say anything.

How far does it have to go before its better to leave, or do I just wait around till he decides to divorce me. Why are imams so afraid of telling women they should not stay in a violent marriage.

I have been married for 5 years. We have no children, my husband shows many reasons why he can't be intimate so we don't have intercourse. This seems to be my acceptable valid reason for divorce. Although this is something I can be patient about, but I can't be patient about the repeated violence.



Its like iam reading myself out 3 years ago, if you dont have a kid get out, he wont change.. i have a daughter now its gotten late , but listen it only gets worse , dont waste your youth over somebody who doesnt appreciate you.



I am saddened that you are experiencing such harsh treatment. You haven't been speaking to the right imams. Islam discourages the violence and abuse you are tolerating from your husband. You should divorce him while you can before you really get hurt and living in fear is no way to live. Your mother in law sounds horrible if she complies with her son without trying to resolve the issues or does she face beatings too by her son if she doesn't? The Quran states that the best of men is the one who is best to their wives. Allah wants you to be happy, safe, and treated well. It is okay to leave for your own safety sister. I think that the Quran text has been misconstrued by so many men to accept harsh behavior by the husband. Imams have such great knowledge of the Quran but I think you have to use your own sound judgement when interpreting the text and take the historical time into context when it was written.



Assalaamu'alaikum sister.
Having read this it has pained my heart and soul. I am young and uunmarried so reading something like this and knowing my dearest Muslim sisters are facing this makes me feel fear and sadness. but Alhamdulillah, Do not despair- Allah is with us! Sister I have no knowledge on such matters, but I do know that if you have immense Patience and Pray and tell Allah about your pain and fulfill the rights of your husband for Allah's sake, then your reward from Allah will be unimaginable. If your husband is unjust and unfair and unkind towards you, then ALLAH sees that, ALLAH sees your pain, He is closer to you than you are to yourself and ALLAH will give you your justice in due time insha allah! just be good to your husband for your own sake sister, so no blame will be on you in regards to his behaviour. Allah says in the Quran; "Oh you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer! indeed Allah is with those who are patient" - so sister, pray and keep patient, and I wil pray for you and all the people who go through what you go through, and pray for me too sister. Allah is with you, Allah is with you, Allah is with you. Salam, your sister in Islam x.



That is absolutely ridiculous. This whole thing about "being patient" and how all is with those who are patient ....Yes it's true Allah is with those who are patient. But Allah did not say one time to withstand any type of abuse or violence in marriage! Our prophet Muhammad SAW has disgraced men who have beaten their wives. He made it normal with the permission of Allah for wives to divorce husband's who were being abusive towards them. **How does any one of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then sleeps with her at night?” he once asked (Bukhari). How could a relationship that God says is based on love and mercy be characterized by the kind of vicious abuse often meted out to animals, which the Prophet also condemned?** Patience does not mean enduring violence and abuse. Patience is deeper than that. Patience is not justifiable if one's life is in danger.. no Zulum or any kind of oppression is ever justifiable. So know for sure that there is a way out. I am learning and studying about my beautiful Deen. I have done my research on this topic and I encourage all the sisters who are suffering and oppressed to never let anyone or any Muslim scholar tell you to have sabr when you are going through abuse. That is not the teachings of our prophet or our Allah. And those who tell you to be patient don't know true Islam. Save yourselves.... One of prophets SAW wives zaynab was first married to his adopted son Zayd first. It ended up in divorce and our prophet SAW had married her. Look how much of a better person she married afterwards. Never lose hope. Always have taqwa and faith in Allah. May Allah keep all you sisters safe and secure.

Get away from him if you can it will only get worse. Part of being good to your husband is pushing him to get the help he needs. You said it he will not change so if you keep doing what you're doing you'll keep getting what you're getting. Also being abused sends a message to your daughter it teaches her that that's ok. Can you go to your family? He will hurt you badly one of these days

Assalamu Aleikum,
I have a strong faith in islam i get married to a single who i made him convert into islam, i have been with him for 13 yrs, with 2 kids but the problem arise is that he does not follow islam, when he is with the single community he repeats he is in single religion and when he is with islamic community he repeats he is a muslim. secondly when we are fasting he does not fast at all, he goes for prayers only on fridays, the rest of the days no prayers or any thing . Lastly he like calling me names, abusing me, judging my doing ie am working when a former worker(men) to talk to me, he acuse me of having an affair. it has reached a stage i really hate him.
i dont want to stay with him



You need to separate and leave this man eventually. You and all women need to be aware of your rights within a marriage as a muslim woman. First, find a way to support yourself financially. Next, move out to where he cannot find you.
Good luck! PS I know where Nakuru is, I have been there before

Assalamualaikum, I have been married for almost 6 years now and two years ago my husband decided to up and leave . He moved out of the house and gave me no reason .
During that time he met a women ,his immediate family helped and encouraged their relationship . A month later he decided to come back home to a life with me and my kids .I found out 6 months later telephonically from his mistress about his affair .

I decided to forgive him as I chose to be a selfless mother and my compromise for the sake of my girls .

With the help of Allah almighty I managed to move on and continued to treat him same way I did when we got married .I believed life was good . A month ago he again says that he has had enough ,he is tired and that he wants out . He said a lot of hateful things to me during this time and one of those thing was 3 Talaaqs in one go . His exact words were ‘I give you one Talaaq , I give you another Talaaq and here take the 3rd one ,I give you 3 Talaaqs now get out “ . Since then we have shared a bed on numerous occasions . Only Allah knows why !
I would like to know since I have little or no knowledge about divorce ,Am I divorced ? Can I continue with my Iddat ?

I have decided that I am worth much more and would like to move on , if Allah wills. Please can someone advise provide clarity.


South Africa


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