Should I Divorce My Wife or Appease My Relatives?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

I married more than five years ago and have reached a point where I do not wish to be married anymore. We’ve had no communication for five years, and I wish to move on, but the family disagrees with a divorce as they are worried about its effects on relatives. I pray you can shed some light on this matter.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.

It would be best to base your decision on whether you can manage to maintain Allah’s law in your marriage and not on what other people may say. If you mean the children by “effects on relatives”, you should consider whether they would be better off witnessing a potentially dysfunctional marriage or a divorce. Still, it would be best if you didn’t decide to divorce lightly as it is generally disliked, and Allah knows best.

The Most Detested Lawful Act

It is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.” [Ibn Maja]

The above hadith is not sahih, but its meaning is sound: Allah detests divorce, but He allows it upon His servants to make things easier.

The Ruling on Divorce

If there is a legitimate (religiously legislated) or acceptable reason for divorce, it is permissible and depends on the likely outcome of staying in the marriage. If staying in the marriage will likely lead to contravening Sacred law, such as a lack of religious commitment or chastity, it is better to divorce. If there is no valid reason, it is better not to divorce. In that case, divorce is disliked (makruh). [Nawawi, Minhaj al-Talibin]

The Quran on When Divorce is Better

Allah says: “…So if you fear they will not be able to keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame if the wife compensates the husband to obtain a divorce. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah, they are the (true) wrongdoers.

So, if a husband divorces his wife (three times), it is not lawful for him to remarry her until she has married another man and then is divorced. Then it is permissible for them to reunite if they feel they can maintain the limits of Allah. These are the limits set by Allah, which He clarifies for people of knowledge. [Quran, 2:229-230]

I pray that this benefits.
[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 pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.