Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Khula (Asking for Divorce)

Posted on: June 16, 2008


Khula is an Arabic term, which is derived from the root Khal’a, which means to “remove”.

In the terminology of Shariah (Islamic Jurisprudence) it refers to the termination of a Nikah (marriage) in exchange for something using the word Khula. (Fathul Qadeer v.4 pg.58)

Khula is just like any other mutual transaction, which is contracted by offer and acceptance.

If a woman, after having tried, cannot come to common grounds with her husband, and all avenues of reconciliation have been exhausted, then she may ask her husband for Talaaq (divorce). The husband in such circumstances should be reasonable and issue the talaaq.

The method of talaaq is to say to the wife, “I have divorced you,” when she is not in the state of menses and the husband has not copulated with her in that clean period. Thereafter, he should allow her to complete the Iddat. It is very unfortunate to note that many people are unaware of these rulings and their implications and in extreme anger blurt out the dreaded words of talaaq thrice. There is only regret as the husband and wife cannot reconcile unless she marries someone else, consummates that marriage and the second husband thereafter issues her a talaaq should that marriage not work out.

However, if the husband is not happy to issue a talaaq then the wife has the option of offering a monetary exchange or anything of value in lieu of divorce. If the husband accepts, then the wife will be free of the marriage bond. The Hanafi Jurists have counted Khula as Talaaq-e-Baain (irrevocable Talaaq). The procedure for Khula would be, the wife should say to her husband, “Release me of my marriage by way of Khula in exchange of eg. R1000.” The husband will then say, “I have released you from the marriage by way of Khula.”

Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:

“If you fear that they (husband and wife) are not able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them in that which the wife gives (in lieu of freedom). These are the limits ordained by Allah. And whosoever transgresses the limits of Allah, then such are the wrong-doers.”

(Surah Al Baqara verse 229)

Allah Ta’ala clearly states that there is no harm for the wife in such a case to pay something for a divorce.

Ibne Abbas (radiyallahu anhuma) reports that the wife of (the Sahabi) Thabit ibne Qays (radiyallahu anhu) came to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and said, “O Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), I have no complaints about the character and piety of Thabit, but I fear ungratefulness (of my husband) after accepting Islam.” Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) asked her, “Are you prepared to return to him his garden, (which he had given as mahr)?”

She replied in the affirmative. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) then asked Thabit (radiyallahu anhu) to accept the garden and divorce her.

(Sahih Al Bukhari)

This Hadith also clearly expresses the permissibility of Khula.

The Fuqaha (Jurists) have mentioned: –

1. The husband should not ask for more than what he had given as mahr if the wife is at fault.

2. It is highly reprehensible for the husband to take anything if he is at fault. This is based on Verse no. 20 of Surah An-Nisaa, which states: –

And if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a qintaar (great amounts) (as Mahr), take not the least bit of it back. Would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin.”

It is commonly heard nowadays that husbands demand thousands of rands/dollars from the wife. Such people should really ponder over this ayah. May Allah Almighty guide us all.

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