How Does Khula’ Work in the Shafi’i School?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


1.     Is Khula‘ valid without the husband’s consent if he has not given Mahr to his wife during the nikah?
2.     Is Khula‘ valid if it was obtained through deception, where the wife lied on the form to attain it because she wanted a divorce, the husband refused, and when he received letters, he did not respond? Is the Khula‘ valid in this case, or is she still considered in his nikah?
3.     What is the prescribed procedure for Khula‘ according to the Shafi’i madhhab?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.
1 & 2. Khula‘ is not valid without the husband’s consent.
3.     A Comprehensive Guide to Khula‘ (Release for Payment) in Islamic Jurisprudence
In Islamic jurisprudence, Khula‘, also known as a “Release for Payment,” is a process that allows a woman to seek a separation from her husband by offering compensation. It is distinct from a threefold divorce in that the couple may remarry without the wife having to marry another man first. In this article, we will explore the conditions, rules, and implications of Khula‘ as detailed in the Shafi’i School adapted from the explanations by Imam Nawawi in al-Majmu‘ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab.
Validity of Khula‘
In the Shafi’i School, Khula‘ is considered valid for any person whose divorce is valid. It allows a wife to seek separation from her husband by offering compensation, effectively finalizing the cancellation of the marriage agreement.
When Is Khula‘ Permissible
Khula‘ is generally considered offensive, except in specific circumstances, including:
(1) Fear of Transgressing Allah’s Limits: If the husband or wife fear that they will not be able to maintain the obligatory limits set by Allah (e.g., fulfilling marital obligations or maintaining a harmonious relationship) while the marriage continues.
(2) Oath to Pronounce a Threefold Divorce: When the husband swears that he must perform an action that would necessitate a threefold divorce but later finds himself in a situation where he cannot fulfill the oath without offering Khula‘. In such cases, the husband may release his wife, marry her again with a new agreement, new marriage payment (mahr), witnesses, and then perform the action in question.
Validity in Case of Foolhardiness:
A husband’s granting of Khula‘ remains valid even if he is deemed foolhardy (i.e., someone suspended from dealing with their own money by court order due to chronic carelessness). However, the compensation should be accepted by his guardian.
Notably, a wife considered foolhardy is not permitted to offer Khula‘.
The Verbal Formula for Khula‘
Khula‘ is validly effected using specific phrases that combine divorce and release terms. For instance, if the husband says, “You are divorced for a thousand,” or “I release you for a thousand,” and the wife responds with acceptance, she is separated from her husband and owes him the agreed-upon compensation.
Alternatively, a husband might say, “If you give me a thousand, you are divorced,” and the wife complies. In this case, she is released and owes the specified amount.
Compensation for Khula‘
Following the Shafi’i School, any item that qualifies as a marriage payment (mahr) may be used as compensation for Khula‘. Suppose the husband releases his wife for something of indeterminate value or with no lawful worth, such as wine. In that case, the wife is released in exchange for an amount typically paid to women of similar standing as a marriage payment.
Khula‘ as Divorce
It’s important to note that Khula‘, when effectuated through specific verbal expressions, functions as a divorce. This means it has a waiting period, does not require a specific intention, and represents a finalised dissolution of the marriage. However, in the Shafi’i School, the husband and wife are permitted to remarry each other, even before the end of the waiting period, without the wife first having to marry another man.
In the Shafi’i School, Khula‘, or a “Release for Payment,” is a lawful avenue for women to seek a separation from their husbands under specific conditions. While it may seem complex, understanding the rules and procedures related to Khula‘ is essential when addressing marital issues. Seekers of guidance are encouraged to consult knowledgeable scholars to navigate this process according to Islamic principles and the Shafi’i tradition.
May Allah grant ease to those facing difficulties in their marital life and guide us all to uphold the teachings of Islam.
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.