Muslim Divorce System

Jodee Redmond
The Muslim divorce system sets out rules for ending a marriage.

According to the Muslim divorce system, God is definitely not in favor of people deciding to end their marriage. Divorce is available to those of the Muslim faith, but only in special circumstances.

Cooling Off Period

If a couple is considering a divorce, the Quran specifies that they are to wait for a period of four months before taking action. This "cooling off" period is designed to give them the opportunity to consider whether this is the course of action they want to take. The couple may choose to separate after the four-month mark, but the separation must be equitable.

Arbitration

A couple whose marriage is in danger of breaking down is commanded by the Quran to appoint to arbitrators to help them resolve their differences. One arbitrator will be from the husband's family and the other will be related to the wife.

Woman Divorcing Her Husband

The grounds for divorce are the same for both genders. Most of the time, the decision to divorce is a mutual one. The situation could arise where one of the couple does not consent to a divorce but the family arbitrators feel that divorce is the best solution. In that case, the divorce will proceed. The law is applied equally to men and women.

Alimony for Divorced Women

On divorce, a woman is not to be abandoned without financial support. Her former husband is directed to provide for her according to his ability to pay. Widows and divorced women are to be supported for a 12-month period, so long as they remain part of the same household.

The woman may leave if she chooses, as she has that right. She is not to be forced to stay in the home if she does not want to be there. By the same token, the woman has the right to stay in the home she occupied before the divorce.

Muslim Divorce System and Remarriage

A man and a woman may be divorced and then remarry under the Muslim divorce system. They may be divorced twice. After that point, this couple may not re-marry each other unless the woman marries someone else in the interim and is divorced from that other man. The husband is not entitled to take back anything he has given to his wife.

Waiting Period Before Remarriage

Women of childbearing years are directed to wait until three menstrual cycles have passed before remarrying after a divorce. If during this waiting period, the woman discovers that she is pregnant, then her former husband has the right to re-marry her. This is a situation where the man's wishes weigh more heavily than the woman's desires.

Post-menopausal women are also asked to wait three months before remarrying, in case there is a chance that they have conceived a child. If a marriage ends without having been consummated, then there is no waiting period to be observed before the woman remarries. Widows must wait four months and 10 days before remarrying. In the interim, they can become engaged to another man, if they wish. The engagement can be announced publicly or kept secret.

Muslim Divorce System