Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: 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 ninth section overall – and the second on divorce – : 12345678 – 9 – 10

وقال تعالى: {يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا} [الأحزاب: 49] ـ

And Allah said:

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا

O you who believe! When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, then there is not any ‘iddah to count concerning them for you. Then provide for them, and release them in a handsome manner. [33:49]

ففي هذه الآية أن المفارقة في الحياة بطلاق ونحوه ليس لزوجها عليها عدة إذا لم يدخل أو يخل بها، بل بمجرد ما يطلقها لها التزوج في الحال. ـ

So this ayah contains the fact that separation while both are alive due to divorce and the likes of that does not require any ‘iddah (waiting period) for the wife if the husband has not had intercourse with her or been alone with her in seclusion. Rather, from the very moment of her being divorced she is able to marry (another person) in that scenario.

وفي هذا أن العدة تثبت بالدخول، وكذلك الخلوة، كما ثبت عن الخلفاء الراشدين، ومفهوم الآية أن الفراق بالموت تعتد له الزوجة المعقود عليها ولو قبل الدخول . ـ

And this ayah also contains the fact that the ‘iddah is confirmed in the case of intercourse, and likewise in the case of seclusion, as has been authenticated by the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa’. And the implication of this ayah is that in the case of separation by death, the wife who is engaged in a marriage contract must complete the ‘iddah for her husband even if the death took place prior to intercourse.

وكما يؤخذ من مفهوم هذه فإنه يؤخذ من عموم قوله: {وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا يَتَرَبَّصْنَ} [البقرة: 234] الآية . ـ

That is derived from the implication of this ayah, just as the same point is also derived from the general wording of Allah’s statement:

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنكُمْ وَيَذَرُ‌ونَ أَزْوَاجًا يَتَرَ‌بَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْ‌بَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ‌ وَعَشْرً‌ا ۖ فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُ‌وفِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ‌

And those among you who are taken in death and leave wives behind – the wives shall wait four months and ten days. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is fully Acquainted with what you do. [2:234]

وفيها أن العدة من حقوق الزوج؛ لتمكنه من الرجعة ولحفظ فراشه ومائه من الاختلاط . ـ

And this makes clear that the ‘iddah is one of the rights of the husband, that he can take her back (after a non-final divorce) and in order to protect his marital bed and his seed from being ambiguous as a result of mixing.

وحق لها أيضا؛ فإن المعتدة نوعان: ـ

And it is also a right of hers, for the woman in her ‘iddah falls into one of two categories:

نوع حامل لها النفقة بكل حال. قال تعالى:{وَإِنْ كُنَّ أُولَاتِ حَمْلٍ فَأَنْفِقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ حَتَّى يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ} [الطلاق: 6] . ـ

1) The category of being pregnant. She has a right to being provided for in all circumstances. Allah said:

وَإِنْ كُنَّ أُولَاتِ حَمْلٍ فَأَنْفِقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ حَتَّى يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ

And if they are pregnant, then spend on them until they deliver [65:6]

ونوع غير حامل، وهي أيضا نوعان: ـ

Or 2) the category of not being pregnant, and this type of woman also falls into one of two categories:

مفارقة بائنة بموت أو فسخ أو خلع أو ثلاث أو عوض، فهؤلاء كلهن لا نفقة لهن ولا كسوة ولا مسكن إلا على وجه المعروف والإحسان . ـ

2a) An irrevocable separation due to death, a court-ordered divorce, a divorce initiated by the wife, three divorces by the husband, or a case where the husband and wife agreed to compensation in exchange for divorce. So none of these types of women are due spending, clothing or lodging; if this is done it is only out of good treatment and al-ihsaan.

 ومفارقة رجعية فما دامت في العدة فلها النفقة والكسوة والمسكن وتوابعها على الزوج، وحكمها حكم الزوجة التي في حباله في كل حال إلا في القسم فلا قسم له؛ لأن الله سماه بعلا لها في قوله: {وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ} [البقرة: 228] ولأن له أن يرجعها إلى الزوجية التامة رضيت أو كرهت ما دامت في العدة. ـ

And 2b) a non-irrevocable separation, so as long as she remains in her ‘iddah, then spending, clothing, lodging and what is related to that is all due to her from the husband. And her legal status is one of a wife who is under his care and authority in every way except for the division of the nights for he does not have his nights with her. This is because Allah has referred to the husband as a “B’al” [lit. “lord/master”] in relation to her in His statement:

  وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ

And their bu’ool [plural of B’al – master husbands] have the better right to take them back [2:228]

And also because he has the right to take her back to the full and complete marital status – whether she is pleased with that or displeased – for as long as she is in her ‘iddah.

وفي قوله: {وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَنْ يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِي أَرْحَامِهِنَّ} [البقرة: 228] دليل على أمانتها على نفسها، وقبول قولها في وجود الحيض وانقطاعه؛ لأنه توعدها بكتمان ذلك، وهذا دليل على أن قولها معتبر . ـ

And in His statement:

وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَنْ يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِي أَرْحَامِهِنَّ

and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs [2:228]

This statement contains an evidence that she is trusted when it comes to information about herself, and to accept her statement concerning her menstruation and its secession (i.e. without the need for independent verification), because Allah has warned her about concealing this news. This is an evidence that her statement has legal weight.

 وفي قوله: {إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ} [الأحزاب: 49] دليل على أنه لا يقع الطلاق إلا بعد النكاح، وأن من علق طلاقا بنكاح امرأة لم ينعقد هذا التعليق، ولم يقع عليها شيء إذا نكحها؛ لأن النكاح لا يراد به خلاف مقصوده، وهذا بخلاف تعليق عتق المملوك للغير بملكه إياه، فإنه صحيح ويعتق إذا ملكه؛ لأن تملك الرقيق يقصد به العتق، وهو مقصود شرعي صحيح. ـ

And in His statement:

إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ

When you marry believing women, and then divorce them… [33:49]

There is a proof in this statement that divorce cannot occur until after marriage, and that whoever stipulates a divorce along with the marriage of a woman, then this condition does not take effect and nothing happens if he marries her, because marriage ought not to be used for the opposite of its intended goal. All this is in contrast to stipulating the emancipation of slave owned by another party if the slave comes into his ownership, for this condition is valid and the slave would be freed if he comes to own him, because the taking possession of a slave can done with the intention of emancipation and this is a valid legislated goal.

وقوله: {فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ} [الأحزاب: 49] فيه الأمر بتمتيع المفارقة بالطلاق قبل المسيس مطلقا، وفي آية البقرة الأمر بالتمتيع إذا لم يسم لها مهرا، فإن سمى لها مهرا فإنه يتنصف إذا طلقها قبل الدخول، ويكون نصف الصداق هو المتعة كما قال تعالى: {لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ مَا لَمْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ أَوْ تَفْرِضُوا لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدَرُهُ مَتَاعًا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ – وَإِنْ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ وَقَدْ فَرَضْتُمْ لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً فَنِصْفُ مَا فَرَضْتُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ يَعْفُونَ أَوْ يَعْفُوَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ وَأَنْ تَعْفُوا أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ} [البقرة: 236 – 237] فحث على العفو في هذا الموضع الخاص لنفعه وعظم موقعه . ـ

And His statement:

فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ

So provide for them [33:49]

Therein is a command to provide for the one who was separated through divorce before being touched at all. And there is a command in the ayah of surah al-Baqarah [2:236] to provide for her if you have not specified the dowry. But if you have specified the dowry due to her, then it should be halved if you divorce her prior to having intercourse with her, and that half of the dowry is the provision, just as Allah said:

لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ مَا لَمْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ أَوْ تَفْرِضُوا لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدَرُهُ مَتَاعًا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ * وَإِنْ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ وَقَدْ فَرَضْتُمْ لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً فَنِصْفُ مَا فَرَضْتُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ يَعْفُونَ أَوْ يَعْفُوَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ عُقْدَةُ النِّكَاحِ وَأَنْ تَعْفُوا أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى

There is no blame upon you if you divorce women you have not touched nor specified for them an obligation. But give them [a gift of] compensation – the wealthy according to his capability and the poor according to his capability – a provision according to what is acceptable, a duty upon the doers of good. * And if you divorce them before you have touched them and you have already specified for them an obligation, then [give] half of what you specified – unless they forgo the right or the one in whose hand is the marriage contract forgoes it. And to forgo it is nearer to righteousness. [2:236-237]

So Allah encouraged forgoing in this particular situation according to its feasibility and the stature of one’s (economic) status.

 وقال: {وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ} [البقرة: 237] وهذا إرشاد عظيم نافع في جميع المعاملات أنه ينبغي للعبد فيها أن لا يستقصي في كل شيء، بل يجعل للفضل محلا من عفو ومحاباة وإعطاء أزيد مما في الذمة قدرا أو وصفا، وقبول أدنى من الحق كمية وكيفية، فكم حصل بهذا الفضل – وإن كان طفيفا – خير كثير وأجر كبير، ومعروف وبركة، وراحة فكر وطمأنينة قلب. ـ

And He said:

وَلَا تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ

And do not forget graciousness between you [2:237]

And this is a great and beneficial guidance in regards to all forms of interactions: that the slave ought not to be exacting and overly critical about everything. Rather, he should give importance to gracious by pardoning, favorable treatment and giving more than he is obligated – whether in terms of quantity or quality -, and he should accept less than he is due both in quantity and quality. And how much abundant good, great reward, goodness, blessings, peace of mind and calmness of the heart one can achieve through this graciousness – even if the graciousness is only in small amounts.

وفي قوله: {وَلِلْمُطَلَّقَاتِ مَتَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ} [البقرة: 241] وهذا العموم يقتضي أن كل مطلقة لها على زوجها متعة، لكن إن كانت غير مدخول بها ولم يسم لها مهر، فالمتعة واجبة كما تقدم بحسب يسار الزوج وإعساره، وإن كان قد سمي لها مهر تنصف المهر وكان النصف الحاصل لها هو المتعة، فإن لم يكن الأمر كذلك كانت المتعة حقا معروفا وإحسانا جميلا؛ لما فيها من جبر خاطرها وقضاء نوائبها التي هي مظنة الحاجة إليها في تلك الحال، وكون ذلك عنوانا على التسريح بالمعروف، ودفعا للمشاغبات والعداوات التي تحدث لكثير من الناس عند الطلاق، واحتياطا لبراءة ذمته مما لعله لحقه لها من الحقوق، وتسهيلا للرجعة أو المراجعة إذا تغيرت الحال، وأحدث الله بعد ذلك أمرا، ولها من الفوائد شيء كثير . ـ

And in His statement:

وَلِلْمُطَلَّقَاتِ مَتَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ

And for divorced women is a provision according to what is acceptable – a duty upon the righteous. [2:241]

And this is general, entailing that every divorced women has a right to provision from her husband. However if they had not had intercourse and her dowry had not been specified then providing for her is obligatory, according to the level of affluence or poverty of the husband, as has been stated previously. But if he has told her what her dowry would be, then the dowry is halved and the half that is given to her is the provision. But if the situation is not like that, then a provision is a right and an act of goodness and a form of beautiful treatment. This is because of what it entails of putting her mind at ease and alleviating her difficulties which are a likely occurrence for her in this situation. And that is the very essence of releasing her upon goodness and repelling the tumult and enmity which occur between many people when they divorce. And it is also a precaution to absolve himself of any rights of hers which he may not have fulfilled. And it eases the way for taking her back [after a non-final divorce] or their mutual coming back together [after an irrevocable divorce] if the situation changes and Allah causes that to happen later. And there are many other benefits to this as well.

ومدح الله هذه الأحكام الجليلة بقوله: {كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ} [البقرة: 242] فسمى هذه الأحكام آيات؛ لأنها تدل أكبر دلالة على عنايته ولطفه بعباده، وأنه شرع لهم من الأحكام، الأحكام الصالحة لكل زمان ومكان، ولا يصلح العباد غيرها. ـ

And Allah praised these magnificent rulings with His statement:

كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Thus does Allah make clear to you His signs in order that you might use reason [2:242]

So He referred to these rulings as “signs” because these demonstrate with the utmost proof His care and kindness towards His slaves and that out of the things which He has legislated for them are rulings which are appropriate for every time and every time, and there is nothing else which will rectify the slaves other than these.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 222-225]

Continue reading: Special Circumstances of Marriage and Divorce in the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

This article is the ninth 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.

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9 thoughts on “Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 2: Imam al-Sa’di

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Pingback: Divorce in the Qur’an – Part 1: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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

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