Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 1: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book to the issues related to marriage and divorce. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the eighth section overall – and the first on divorce – : 12345678 – 9 – 10

 قال الله تعالى في أحكام الطلاق والعدد: {الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّ‌تَانِ} إلى قوله : {وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ} [البقرة: ٢٢٩-٢٣١] ، وقال : {يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ} [الطلاق ١] الآيات . ـ

Regarding the rulings of divorce and ‘idad (plural of ‘iddah – waiting periods), Allah said:

الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّ‌تَانِ

The divorce is twice… [2:229]

Until His statement:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

… and know that Allah is All-Aware of everything [2:231]

And He said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ

O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them at their ‘iddah … [65:1]

until the end of the relevant ayaat.

ذكر الله أحكام الفراق كما ذكر أحكام النكاح والدخول فيه، تقدم أنه تعالى حث الزوج على الصبر على زوجته ما دام متمكنا من الصبر، وفي هذا ذكر الله أنه إذا كان لا بد له من الطلاق، فعليه أن يطلق زوجته لعدتها، أي: لتستقبل عدتها، وذلك أن يطلقها مرة واحدة في طهر لم يجامعها فيه، أو يطلقها وهي حامل قد تبين حملها، أو وهي آيسة أو صغيرة؛ لأنها في هذه الأحوال كلها تبتدئ بالعدة البينة الواضحة، فمن طلقها أكثر من واحدة، أو وهي حائض أو نفساء، أو في طهر قد وطئ فيه ولم يتبين حملها فإنه آثم متعد لحدود الله، وإذا طلقها هذا الطلاق المشروع فله أن يراجعها ما دامت في العدة كما قال تعالى: {وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُوا إِصْلَاحًا} [البقرة: 228] وسواء رضيت أو كرهت. ـ

Allah has mentioned the rulings of separation just as he mentioned the rulings of marriage and entering into marriage. And we have already mentioned how He encourages the husband to be patient with his wife for as long as he is able to do so. But on this note, Allah has mentioned that when he must resort to divorce, then he should divorce his wife at her ‘iddah – meaning: when she enters her ‘iddah – and that is that he divorces her one time while she is in a state of purity [i.e. not during her menses] during which they have not yet had intercourse, or that he divorces her while she is pregnant and her pregnancy has become clear, or while she is beyond the age of menses or being too young for menses because all of these circumstances are initiated by a clear and apparent ‘iddah.

But whoever divorces his wife more than once (at a single time), or divorces her while she is menstruating or in postpartum bleeding, or in a state a purity in which he has already had intercourse with her but it is not clearly known if she is pregnant, then in these cases he is a sinner transgressing the bounds of Allah. But if he divorces her in the legislated manner, then he has the option to take her back as long as the ‘iddah is ongoing, as Allah said:

وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُوا إِصْلَاحًا

And their husbands are most entitled to take them back during that time, if they wish for reconciliation [2:228]

and this is regardless of whether she likes or dislikes that.

وهذا الطلاق الذي يتمكن فيه العبد من الرجعة هو الطلاق بواحدة إلى ثنتين بلا عوض، فإن طلقها الطلقة الثالثة فلا تحل له حتى تنقضي عدتها، وتنكح زوجا غيره نكاح رغبة لا نكاح تحليل، ويطأها ويطلقها رغبة في طلاقها، وتنقضي عدتها منه فله أن ينكحها برضاها، وببقية شروط النكاح من الولي ومن الصداق وغيره، فإن طلقها بعوض بلفظ الطلاق أو الخلع أو الفداء، أو غيرها من الألفاظ، فقد أباح الله هذا الفداء عند الحاجة، وهي التي نص عليها بقوله: {فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ} [البقرة: 229] سواء كان العوض بقليل أو كثير لعموم الآية، فإذا فارقها على هذا الوجه حصل لها الفكاك منه، ولم يكن له عليها رجعة إلا إذا شاءت بنكاح جديد . ـ

And this divorce in which the slave is able to take her back is the first or second divorce, and one which did not involve any payment from the wife. But if he divorces her a third time, then she is not lawful for him until she fulfills her ‘iddah, then marries another husband in a marriage of mutual desire – not a marriage just for the purposes of making her first husband permissible again -, then that husband has intercourse with her and subsequently divorces her out of his own desire to divorce her, and she then fulfills her ‘iddah from that divorce. After that, he can then marry her with her permission and so long as the rest of the conditions of marriage are in place, such as a walee, a dowry, and so on. But if he divorces her for some sort of compensation from his wife – regardless of whether it is referred to as al-talaaq or al-khula’ or al-fidaa’ or some other wording -, then Allah has permitted this fidaa’ (ransom) in the case of dire need, and that is what has been mentioned in His statement:

فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّـهِ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ

But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself [2:229]

and this applies whether the compensation is small or large, due to the generality of the wording used. So if he separates from her in this manner, then he has brought about a complete separation between her and himself and he does not have any right to take her back unless she wishes to have a new marriage contract.

 وعند التراجع بين الزوجين إذا رغب كل منهما في الآخر، فليس لولي الأنثى أن يعضلها ويمنعها أن تراجع بعلها الأول أو الذي فارقها، بغضا له أو نكاية له وغضبا عليه، أو طمعا في بذلها أو بذله له شيئا من المال، فكل هذا لا يحل للولي أن يفعله، بل عليه أن يسعى في التأليف بينها وبين زوجها، وأقل ما عليه أن لا يعارض في ذلك، وإذا كان منهيا عن ذلك بعد الطلاق أو الفداء ونحوهما، فكيف في ابتداء الأمر؟ ولكن بشرط أن يكون الزوج كفئا وترضى المرأة فيه. ـ

But when a mutual coming back together of the two (former) spouses takes place where each of them desires the other, then it is not appropriate for the woman’s walee to make this difficult for her or to prevent her from returning to her first husband or the one who divorced her – it is not appropriate for him to do this out of enmity, annoyance or hate towards him, or in hopes that this former husband would give her or himself some wealth. None of this is permissible for the walee to do; rather it is incumbent upon him strive for togetherness between her and her husband. At the very least, he ought not to oppose this. And if he is forbidden from this type of behavior after the divorce or ‘ransom’ or whatever other kind of separation it was, then what about how he ought to be for the first step of marriage? However all of this is predicated on the condition that the husband is compatible and that the wife is pleased with him.

وأما إذا منعها من تزوج من ليس كفئا لها في دينه أو غيره من الصفات المعتبرة شرعا فهو محسن، لأن منعها عما فيه ضررها إحسان عليها، وهذا أحد الأسباب في اعتبار الولي للمرأة في النكاح . ـ

But as for if the walee prevents her from marrying whomever is not compatible with her in terms of his deen or in terms of other characteristics which are given weight in the sharee’ah, then in this case he is doing good. Because preventing her from what contains harm is an act of good treatment towards her, and this is one of the reasons for the high role of the walee in relation to the women when it comes to marriage.

وفي قوله في الرجعة: {إِنْ أَرَادُوا إِصْلَاحًا} [البقرة: 228] وفي التراجع {إِنْ ظَنَّا أَنْ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ } [البقرة: 230] اعتبار هذا الشرط في الرجعة والتراجع، وإلا فلا يراجع، ولا يتراجعا للضرار وللبقاء على غير ما يحبه الله . ـ

In both Allah’s statement concerning the husband’s taking her back:

إِنْ أَرَادُوا إِصْلَاحًا

… if they want reconciliation [2:228]

and His statement regarding their mutually coming back together:

إِنْ ظَنَّا أَنْ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ

… if they think that they can keep [within] the limits of Allah [2:230]

in both of these statements this same condition is given important: in both the case of his taking her back (after a non-permanent divorce) and the case of them mutually coming back together (after a final divorce). Otherwise, he should not take her back nor should they come back together because that will entail harm and remaining in something that Allah does not love.

وفي هذا أن الأفعال مبنية على مقاصدها، وأن الأمر الذي يقصد فيه الخير والصلاح لا بد أن يجعل الله فيه بركة، كما أن الذي يقصد به غير ذلك ولو مكن منه العبد فإنه ضرر حاضر، ويخشى أن تكون عواقبه ذميمة. ـ

And this point illustrates the fact that deeds are based upon their motives, and that Allah will definitely place blessing in something which was motivated by a desire for good and reconciliation. Conversely, that which is motivated by a desire for something other than good even if it is technically permissible – then indeed that is something harmful in the here-and-now, and it is feared that it will ultimately come for a humiliating end for him.

ويستفاد من هذا معنى كلي نافع، وهو أنه ينبغي للعبد إذا أراد أن يدخل في أمر من الأمور مثل الأمور التي يترتب عليها حقوق كثيرة، ومثل الولايات الكبار والصغار والأمور المهمة أن يتأنى وينظر في نفسه وعاقبة أمره، فإن رأى من نفسه قوة على ذلك، ووثق بقيامه بما فيها من الحقوق تقدم إليها متوكلا على الله، وإلا أحجم واغتنم السلامة عن الدخول في الأمور الخطرة . ـ

And one of the benefits derived from this is a meaning of extensive benefit, which is that when the slave wants to enter into any kind of issue – such as the matters which involve a lot of responsibilities or such as the legal guardianship of the old and the young and other important affairs – then the slave ought to take his time and look within himself and at the outcome of this matter of his. If he sees that he has the capacity within himself to do it and he is confident in his ability to fulfill the responsibilities that it entails, then he should take to it while placing his reliance upon Allah. Otherwise, he ought to refrain from it and reap the bounties of being safe from entering into dangerous matters.

وأمر تعالى الأزواج أن يمسكوا زوجاتهم بمعروف أو يسرحوهن بمعروف، فإن أمسكها أمسكها بعشرة حسنة، وإن فارقها فليكن على وجه الشرع بطمأنينة من غير مغاضبة ولا مشاتمة ولا عداوات تقع بينه وبينها، أو بينه وبين أهلها. ـ

And Allah has commanded husbands to either retain their wives according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms. So if he retains her, he should retain her with good interactions. And if he separates from her, then that should be done according to the divine legislation with calmness and without any hatred, insults, or hard feelings occurring between him and her or between him and her family.

ومن التسريح بالمعروف أن يعطيها شيئا من المال تتمتع به وينجبر به خاطرها، وتذهب عن زوجها شاكرة، ولا يكون لهذا الفراق على هذا الوجه إلا العواقب الطيبة للطرفين. ـ

And part of releasing her on acceptable terms is that he gives her some wealth for her to use and to assuage her thoughts, and that she separates from her her husband while being grateful. So this type of separation done in this way should not produce anything except for a good end for both parties.

ولما بين الباري هذه الأحكام الجليلة غاية التبيين، وكان القصد بها أن يعلمها العباد ويعملوا بها، ويقفوا عندها ولا يتجاوزوها، فإنه لم ينزلها عبثا بل أنزلها بالعلم والصدق والحق النافع والجد، نهى عن اتخاذها هزوا أي: لعبا بها، وهو التجري عليها وعدم الامتثال لواجبها مثل المضارة في الإمساك والإرسال، أو كثرة الطلاق وجمع الثلاث . ـ

So the Creator clarified these wonderful rulings with the height of clarification, and the purpose of this was so that the slaves would know them and act according to them and stop at their limits and not trespass them. For surely they were not revealed without any purpose – rather, Allah sent them down with knowledge, veracity, beneficial truth and generosity. He forbade taking them in jest, i.e. playing games with them, which is trespassing against them and not complying with their obligations, such as retaining her or divorcing her with harmful intent, or engaging in many divorces, or joining three divorces at once.

وقال: {وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ} [البقرة: 231] عموما باللسان حمدا وثناء، وبالقلب اعترافا وإقرارا، وبالأركان بأن يستعان بنعمه على طاعته، وخصوصا ما أنزل عليكم من الكتاب والحكمة، فإن في الكتاب والسنة من بيان الحق والهدى من الضلال، والحلال من الحرام، وجميع ما يحتاجه العباد في أمور دينهم ودنياهم ما يوجب للعباد أن يشكروه شكرا كثيرا، ويقوموا بحقه ويخضعوا لأحكامه . ـ

And He said broadly:

وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ

And remember the favor of Allah upon you [2:231]

This is done with the tongue through thanks and praise, and with the heart through recognition and acknowledgement, and with the limbs that he uses these blessings to aid him in carrying out Allah’s commands – particularly:

مَا أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ

what has been revealed to you of the Book and the Hikmah [2:231]

For indeed in the Book and the Sunnah hold the clarification of truth and guidance from misguidance, lawful from unlawful, and all of what the slaves needs for the affairs of their deen and their dunya, as well as what is obligated upon the slaves that they would be grateful to Him with abundant gratitude, and that they would establish His rights, and would be submissive to His rulings.

وختم الآيات بعموم علمه تنبيه على أن أحكامه قد شرعها العليم الحكيم صالحة للعباد في كل زمان ومكان. ـ

And He concluded these ayaat with the encompassing nature of His knowledge – an proclamation that His rulings have been divinely legislated by the One who is all-knowing and completely wise regarding the beneficial matters for His slaves in every time and every place.

وقد ذكر عدة المفارقة بحسب أحوالها في كتابه، فذكر أن المفارقة بطلاق إن كانت تحيض باستكمال ثلاثة قروء من بعد وقوع الطلاق عليها، وأن الآيسة والتي لم تحض لصغر ونحوه عدتها ثلاثة أشهر، وأن المفارقة بموت زوجها تربص أربعة أشهر وعشرا، وأن الحامل من المفارقات في الحياة وبعد الممات عدتها بوضع الحمل. ـ

And He also mentioned the ‘idad (plural of ‘iddah – waiting periods) of separation according to their various circumstances in His Book. So He mentioned that the separation for divorce if she is a woman who menstruates is to complete three cycles following the occurrence of her divorce. And if she is a woman who no longer menstruates or who does not yet menstruate due to young age or similar situations, then her ‘iddah is three months. And the separation that occurs due to the death of her husband is to wait for four months and ten days. And for the divorced women who are pregnant that were separated from their husbands – either while they the husbands are still living or following their deaths -, their ‘iddah is until delivering the baby.

وفي هذه العدد وتقديرها من الأسرار والحكم والمنافع للزوجين وغيرهما ما هو من آيات الله للمتأملين المستبصرين . ـ

And in these ‘idad and their measurements there are secrets, wisdoms, and matters of benefit – both for spouses and others – which are some of Allah’s miraculous signs for those who ponder and have insight.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 218-221]

This article is the eighth in a ten-part series on Marriage and Divorce in the Qur’an. Please consult our Series Guide to see the other sections and for more details.

Continue reading here: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di

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9 thoughts on “Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 1: Imam al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.7 – Justice Between Wives: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.6 – Settlement: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.5 – Marital Discord: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.4 – The Husband’s Roles and Responsibilities: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.3 – Prohibited Relationships: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.2 – Rights of Wives: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: Marriage in the Qur’an pt.1 – Conditions for Marriage: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  8. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  9. Pingback: Special Circumstances of Marriage and Divorce: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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