Question: I would like to know if, while I am singing a break-up song and my husband nods his head to it, that would constitute a divorce? What if he sings a break-up song to me?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Thank you for writing in.
Going by the examples you have given, no divorce has been affected.
Words that affect divorce are of two types: explicit, where the meaning is unequivocal, such as ‘I divorce you’, and implicit (of which there are a great many expressions), where the words are ambiguous and could mean divorce or could mean something else, such as ‘Leave the house’.
An explicit expression does not require an intention of divorce for divorce to be affected. An implicit expression requires an intention of divorce to be made for it to be affected.
In the specific examples you gave, the lyrics are not explicit expressions of divorce. It does not seem that they are implicit expressions of divorce either. If other lyrics were sung at other times which were implicit, then from your account, it does not sound like either of you made any intention for divorce while singing them. Your husbands nodding his head up and down to the beat of the songs in these cases also do not constitute as a divorce. As such, no divorce has taken place.
Dear sister, as much as it may seem hard to not listen to music for those of us who grew up in the West, I would highly encourage you and your husband to wean yourselves off listening to music.
There are many elements in music and songs that are impermissible, and the lyrics are most often than not incongruous with the high moral spirit of the religion, leading one to a state of heedlessness and a deadening of the heart. At the very least, it will prevent scenarios that fill one with doubts and anxieties such as you have described in your question. Needless to say, Muslims should not be supporting the music industry in any way.
The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather he looks at your hearts and actions’ [Muslim].
We must remind ourselves when Allah looks at our works, that we ensure that our actions are in accordance to what He has made lawful, not engaged with something displeasing to Him. When He looks at our hearts, we want Him to find hearts which are alive, that are filled with only good intentions and occupied with love and gratitude for Him.
The first step towards attaining to this is to gradually and systematically diminish any aspects of our lives which distract us from our real objective in life. ‘You will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better.’ [Ahmad]
I pray Allah makes you and your husband among those who are firm in the faith, and guidance to others.
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.