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.


This is a domestic violence case believe it or not, even though the abuse is not physical, it is verbal abuse. Leave the destructive relationship before it gets worse. No man should talk to their wife that way and the reasons are ridiculous. My instincts tell me this man is stressed about so many other things and displaced his anger out on you, an easy target that gives him a sense of control and power and feels satisfying to him. He has anger management issues and it is clear that he does not love you anymore. Divorce him immediately. All the best!


NYC may seem hard at the moment but please be patient. Almost every woman has to go through different types of love in life and different problems with marriage. I know parents who still argue here and there and even within my own family I have people who still have actual real problems and are.together. still never perfect...if it were perfect then why would Allah say to have sabr? Keep busy in prayer and zikr and open up to your husband it will help. Ask him what is it that bothers him support him emotionally if he needs.maybe he so going through hard.time and just needs someone like his understand him . I hope he is a good man .




My husband and I have been married 2 years now with a beautiful daughter Alhamdulillah, before we got married I asked him to tell me everything he needs to tell me before we get married. He told me there was nothing that I didn't know already, ofcourse we were young and so I knew he was into weed but promised me he'd never touch it after marriage. Alhamdulillah till this day he hasn't but a few months ago he confessed to taking cocaine, I felt stupid because he used to stay up all hours all because of cocaine and there I was thinking he just had daft could I be? I come from a religious family who Alhamdulillah have never been involved in any drugs, violence etc, so I didn't know the effects of cocaine and stuff. I was heartbroken to know that he took cocaine, it was such a big piece of our relationship that he'd kept hidden for nearly 2 years! I stayed with him as I was pregnant with our daughter at the time. But I'm so upset, he still does it, I've asked him to stop. But he will never listen to me, when he is sane and sober he is the perfect husband Alhamdulillah but I pray to Allah SWT everyday because I worry that one day he'll end up dying from it and who will suffer? Me and our daughter...



He has cocaine addiction which is a really hard drug to let go because of the withdrawal symptoms. His body feels like he needs to have it when he stops. He needs professional help in this matter. You should have a family meeting with people he cares about in an effort to show support for his recovery and share your feelings about how great he can be without cocaine. You should look into drug rehab for him. Many cocaine addicts become broke because this drug becomes food to them. He needs you to help him. All the best.



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.




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