Reasons that allow couples to divorce according to Islam
Divorce is not at all viewed favourably in Islam; rather it has been either condemned or discouraged unless warranted by valid reasons. The Prophet, peace be upon him, cautioned against senseless exercise of divorce when he said, “divorce is the most abominable of all permissible acts in the sight of Allah.” So no one with the sound Islamic spirit and attitude must resort to divorce except in extreme and unavoidable cases, where it has been considered as legitimate in Islam.
Because of that Islam considers marriage as a solemn contract (mithaq ghaleezh); and reckons it as the duty of both parties who have entered into such contract by invoking God’s name and words, to seek to preserve it intact according to the best of their abilities.
Divorce however, must not be considered a closed door; there are genuine cases when divorce is the only option available: here are a few valid reasons that allow couples to divorce according to Islam:
1) Physical, mental or emotional abuse or torture; when one of the spouses becomes abusive and inflicts physical, mental or emotional torture, and is not willing to change by taking practical measures through therapy or counselling, then it is a valid reason for seeking divorce, for the Islamic principle states, “There shall be no inflicting or receiving of harm/injury.” Zulm (injustice) is not tolerated in Islam, regardless of who the perpetrator it.
2) When marriage fails to fulfil the objectives and purposes for which it was instated in the first place; this can be utter incompatibility between the partners; this incompatibility is expressed by their irreconcilable differences in temperaments, likes and dislikes.
3) Marital infidelity; which can be a major cause for dissolution of marriage; for marriage is built on trust and confidence; its main purpose is to preserve the chastity and modesty of those involved; once this foundation is eroded and undermined and there is no chance to restore the same, then divorce is the way to go.
4) When the man who is considered the provider and maintainer of the family fails to shoulder his responsibilities and the wife decides that she cannot continue tolerating his shirking of responsibility.
But before deciding to divorce there are two steps to try:
1)Seeking counsel from those who possess wisdom, experience and knowledge and seek to solve the outstanding issues among yourself after gaining insight and advice from them;
2)In the event that such efforts fail, both spouses must resort to professional Islamic arbitration; in this arbitration one should have parties representing both sides. They should submit to abide by the decisions thus agreed upon.
The reason for this is that often humans become so pre-occupied with their temporary personal likes and dislikes that they fail to see their own destructive behaviours and weaknesses. Thus they are encouragted to seek advice and wisdom from those with experience and knowledge, who may help them to empower themselves to take charge of rectifying their behaviour and attitudes.
May Allah help us all to conduct our affairs with sound wisdom, understanding and sincerity and faith. Aameen.
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