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.


I don’t know how to start , but here it is … I am nikkahfied (nikkah done but no rukhsati yet) to a man I didn’t like at all but had to marry because of some family emotional pressure. After 1st week of nikkah he was totally normal and nice because he was on holidays and we talked quite regularly which helped us get to know each other (as it was a total arranged marriage) we went to dine out once and that was the time I met him one-one. I instantly regretted because he was not close to what I imagined him to be . Before nikkah he said he never smoked sheesha but after nikkah I found out he goes quite regularly to the sheesha place. I ignored this. But now after 3 months he is becoming more negligent towards me , don’t bother to talk much, goes for sheesha. Asked my brother for money to help him, didn’t even bother to wish me on my birthday, he sleeps for 2 days and without even telling me I feel ghosted , I don’t know what to do , should I wait for Rukhsati or are these the red signals and I should get separation? 


United Kingdom

My husband and I met when I was an undergraduate. He's a caring type then but usually fight over little things and once he feels ok, he will come begging as usual. We spent more than 6 years dating each other. Probably due to the fact that I told him that he can't touch me till after marriage which he respected or his dad involvement which I respected or I not wanting to commit any zina made me marry him but deep down I wasn't happy because we always fight virtually everyday. When we got married, he became worse that I cried everyday and I will begged him but refused until his mind is settled for like 2 weeks before he can talk to me again. I continued these for 6 months, but my mental health couldn't take it any longer when it reached the point where I couldn't breathe properly because of depression and over crying. He has no respect for me even at home or outside, he want me to have no say on anything. Any issue like this, he will always refer to the fact that I'm a first class that's why I didn't respect him , always feeling intimidated and inferior over little things. I packed out and left but his family later came begging but mind you, I always report him to his family but sincerely his father is not in support of this behaviour but his mother see it as no big issues. The two families reconcile and I was pregnant with twins the next month I moved back. Everything changed from there, he said he was relocating back to the state where his family is staying which I agreed but sincerely it was the biggest mistake. We stayed with his mother but she told him not to bother with any apartment till I give birth, no buying of new clothes as my bump is getting bigger, she said it's not necessary and many other things that I went through. They're nice a little but what she ever wanted was for his son and I and other grandchildren and his two grown daughters to stay with her in one single and parlour self contain. I don't have enough privacy with my husband and he too seems to not care. Couple with my husband nonchalant attitudes and behaviors, and his family drama when I was pregnant, I managed to withstand everything. I'm not a lazy person, despite I was pregnant, I do all chores except washing clothes because I can't bend down. My husband didn't see the stress as nothing, I fasted during Ramadan and even sita shawwal though landed in the hospital. The stress was too much on me, I started having some complications due to multiple babies, high blood pressure, blurry vision, severe headache but his family said it's normal which is not, not until doctor said I will have to go through CS which I did but still went through lot of complications after giving birth. I didn't see lot of support in my mother-in-law house probably because she's too old and couple with the fact that she also has to attend to her shops that the government was to evacuate, and moreso my father-in-law was seriously sick. My sister-in-laws were not helpful that much because they need to go to shop and their daughter are not to write home about. I managed this till 41 says and couldn't cope any longer, I told my husband to let me go to my parent's house so I can be properly take care of because my BP is rising and can't see properly, the stress is just too much on me. His mother and sisters disagreed saying they dreamt that I can't travel to anywhere that I have to stay behind for a year, I changed it for my husband too, do you need to see my die before you take action as a man, must she be the one taking control of our marriage all the time? The two families were fighting over the issue, my body too was getting weaker all day so my husband drive me back to my parent's house even though they were not happy. A week I left was when my father-in-law died, my husband told me but didn't bother to call my family but my dad didn't take it to heart. I told him maybe I should come back, he said no but to reach his mother so that we can sympathize with her since they said they will bury him at his hometown which is very far. They didn't pick calls and my husband bother not to carry us along with the ceremony until I saw him posted it a day to the D-Day due to the fact that they're angry that I went to my parent's house to recuperate.Till this moment, the two families were not in good terms, even my husband that wasn't angry initially was dragged into the fight and always use his dead father-in-law to accuse me whenever we had misunderstanding. We went to our own house after a month, I was not lazy, I do all chores quickly so that I won't be a burden to him . He hardly help and when he's a home to help me carry the babies, he will always remind me that i left when his family want to help and we will start fighting over it. As time goes, his behaviors changed to worst. I have ulcer, despite that I will have to take care of my children before eating and this is getting to me, he cares not when he's angry. His attitude became worst day by day, shouting in the house so that our neighbors can intercede, no respect for him outside or inside. He barely touched him, he will left angrily for days. I was bittered about everything one day that I was busy crying in the room that I forgot that I left food on the gas, the gas was leaking out, it's only Allah that protect us that day. Since I'm not worried about these, he concluded to leave the house, leaving me and the children with empty stomach despite having ulcer for days. He will travelled and I won't be aware. I will have to call my parents for money so that my babies and I can eat. He left the house one day fo work and the next 20 minutes, he called to tell me that he has travelled to repair his car, leaving us without food. I have to lock my children inside to get food, pampers and other stuff, he doesn't care about our survival or protection and he spent a week only to come with his mother to spent festival. I didn't say a word, thinking that he spent a whole week with your mom and left us in hunger and your mom couldn't care less either. I didn't show any kind of disrespect and I had a wedding coming up in my parent's place, so I just left. This man, hates my family to the core but still want me to love his own family. He hold grudges for years and won't forgive easily even if you beg million times, just too adamant. He keeps apologizing but won't accept my family but decided not to accept his too. I've left his house, I want to quit like seriously. Reasons are, lack of attention and care, lack of sexual right, failure of responsibility, emotional and mental abuse, lack of respect. Till this time, his family didn't bother to ask about the children talkless of their wife which is obvious they don't want me.




Long story short, during my entire pregnancy I was stuck in UK due to Covid lockdowns away from my husband. I spent the entire 9 months plus labour plus post 5 months away from him. In that time he cheated on me which I found out when we reunited after that dreadful depressing year. My love for him turned into hatred especially cos of our situation and what I endured all alone.

He is remorseful and doesn’t do anything of the sort anymore (maybe cos I’m here with him now) but I just can’t get over the violation and betrayal.

I want to leave cos I genuinely can’t stand him although he’s putting in work. But I’m staying cos of my daughter. I don’t know if I’m making the right choice.



In my honest opinion you will never be able to trust this man again. There is so much truth in the saying 'Trust takes time to build, a second to break and a lifetime to rebuild'. Don't spend your life worrying about what could happen. You might think that you are staying for your child but they will pick up on the friction between you. Take your life with both hands and spend your precious time with honest true people who make you smile xx take care x



Hate my husbabd hes a toxic pathetic childish person.

I have 2 kids ones 6 and one is 7mths old.

He calls fat etc tells me to commit suicide i hate him ...thing is i dont even need him hes broke and still is nasty 



I marry a Muslim guy 14 years ago. We have 2 kids . Now my husband left Islam. What should I do.

Salam pls my husband has been in a sexual relationship with another lady for more than 2 years now I have confronted him time and again over this issue and he has refused to put an end to it. Now the girl has finally let the country and his trying to make things right but I feel it’s because she is not around now and not because his sorry or regret it and honestly as am tired of the marriage he sexually repulses me when we are at it . And deep down the only reason am still in this marriage bus because am not financially strong and can’t stand on my own for my two kids. Pls I need advice bin what to do.



I met my husband nearly 2 years ago and he fell for me instantly. Later that year we ended up speaking to each other and after about 3 months decided to get married and so we did. We prayed for guidance and the marriage was accepted from both sides. We loved each other dearly but have had perservering issues from the get go. His father and sisters mistreat me & speak to me in any which way they want to. They don't care about me feelings and constantly tell me I'm too emotional or sensitive. His father has threatened me with telling his son to divorce me on 2 occasions over little matters and he constantly tells me that I will only get his sons "off-cut" times and that I'm encouraging disunity within the family because I want to live with my husband in their backyard! His little sisters have been rude to me, said hurtful things to me and raised their voices at me on multiple occasions. My husband could never set boundaries with our marriage for his family members and he believes his father when his father tells him I'm the problem. Recently, I decided to come home for a short break and I received a phone call from his dad telling us that they want a separation to decide if we want to be together or separate permanently. My father in law has wanted me out his family for a long time and he saw me being at home as the perfect opportunity to do that. So my husband and I have been instructed not to speak to each other at all and my husband says that he is okay with that and that this is what he wants. This absolutely shattered my heart because what happened to all those promises he made me? From what I have heard, ever since we have gone on separation, his parents have granted him more freedom to go out and do what he wants, he is doing things he knows I dislike behind my back. And recently, while in no contact it reached my ears that he had had an incestuous relationship with his sister. My heart just broke when I heard that but I believed it because I have noticed that their relationship was a bit weird from the start and that they were abnormally close in ways brothers and sisters shouldn't be. My family all want me to leave him & that I don't have a future with in laws who have mentally abused and oppressed me from the start and a husband who cannot support me and set boundaries. Deep down I believe this but I don't know how to let go or what to do... 


South Africa

He was gentle, kind, caring  and loving before I married him. He is non of those things now, we went through a lot together.  He changed as soon as I married him, everything is on his terms. We have to  children,  I support them and him. He has dirty habits,  he repluses me and he's unkind and unloving. I don't love him, I don't like him.  He says he will go if he can the children.


United Kingdom

Salaam sisters and brothers, my is a very complicated one. He married me after converting after marriage he converted, he became so so mean, very insultive of me and my entire family, he bearly provides, I don't want to work,I have done everything I can think of and I am drained of this marriage,he bad mouth me to his friends it doesn't help that when I loss my temper I say things that shouldn't be heard from a woman or a Muslim the few that now the truth said to be patient. I have two sons Masha Allah. I take almost 90%of financial responsibility. Now he knows I'm serious about living and his is trying to be nice. I'm so tired. I want to live but I'm scared of the out come I don't know y.




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