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Yes, Islam grants women full divorce rights

Reader comment on item: What Are Islamic Schools Teaching?
in response to reader comment: Women's rights in Islam

Submitted by Fazhil (Proud Muslim) (South Africa), Jun 4, 2010 at 01:37

Dear Ronald,

Islam permits divorce for ANY reason (but discourages it, especially if done for petty reasons). If a woman (or man) is slapped, raped, is being forced to give birth to more children, or is uncomfortable in marriage for ANY reason, she is free to file for a divorce. If the Kadhi attempts to reconcile them and any of them insists, he is obligated to grant/witness the divorce.

On the second question of children, Islam recognises that children are the responsibility of their father and as such, if she choses to leave, the children stay with the father. However, if there is mutual understanding that the father will provide for them from wherever the mum will relocate to, she may go with some or all of them. There is no sin on the two if they agree provided the new environment with the mother is appropriate for proper Islamic upbringing. For instance, my own wife's mum stays with some of her children after divorce and my other inlaws stay with their father-and thats how it was agreed but all children remain the responsibility of the father for all provision and sustenance.

This is definitely more fair and reasonable and leaves room for cordial relation between the former spuses than the abstract concept of alimony.

Contrary to common claims that only Islam establishes the man as a breadwinner and uses that allegedly superior position to suppress women's freedoms, it is a universally acknowledged fact the world over that children and their mother are all the responsibility of the husband.

According to Wikipedia, the concept of modern alimony in the US derives from English ecclesiastical courts which awarded alimony in cases of separation and divorce. 'Alimony Pendente lite' was given until the divorce decree, based on the husband's duty to support the wife during a marriage that still continued. Post-divorce or permanent alimony was also based on the notion that the marriage continued, as ecclesiastical courts could only award a divorce a 'mensa et thora', similar to a legal separation today. As divorce did not end the marriage, the husband's duty to support his wife remained intact.

Modern alimony is therefore premised on the fact that the marriage is still on, a flaw that is adressed by Islam. Whereas Islam recognises that the marriage is no more and has ended, it still holds the man responsible for his children, and additionally, the man must provide for the wife for three months after the divorce. Thereafter, he may cease supporting the wife but not the children. And only Allah knows the ultimate truth.

May Allah grant us all full knowledge of the truth.


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