Question: Why is it that a man can independently and unilaterally divorce his wife, while a woman can only get a divorce with his agreement or through legal intervention?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
The reason why Allah has given different rights and responsibilities to men and women is that men and women are physically and emotionally different.
Allah has said in the Quran, ‘Men are in charge of women because We have given more to some than others.’ (Qur’an, 4: 34)
Generally speaking, men can independently enter and exit a marriage, while generally speaking women cannot independently enter and exit a marriage. This is not to harm women, but to protect them. The need to protect women is something recognizable to many people who have lived life and is demonstrable by the differences between men and women.
In the case of genuine physical or emotional harm, she can exit the marriage. But in order to be fair, there has to be some kind of greater legal authority to judge whether or not there is genuine physical or emotional harm. (Hashiya al Dasuqi)
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language