DIVORCE IN ISLAM
Divorce existed before Islam, but the advent of Islam made the divorce process much more favourable to women. Women’s property is not divided during a divorce. Whatever a woman earns or is given before and during the course of the marriage remains her property if the marriage ends. This prevents men from taking advantage of women’s property or wealth through marriage. On the other hand, the man’s property is divided if a divorce occurs according to the couple’s marriage contract. A woman is entitled to support and maintenance from her former husband if she requires. There are also special instructions if divorce occurs before the marriage is consummated and before or after the dowry is set. Islam also instituted a three-month waiting period for women called Iddah. During this three-month period women are not permitted to re-marry. The basic reason for this rule is to determine whether woman was pregnant before she remarried so the proper father could be ascertained. This practice also ensures the child’s identity and lineage can be accurately determined. A husband and wife are also allowed to attempt reconciliation during the waiting period. However, men are specifically instructed not to take back their wives to “injure or take undue advantage” of them.Determining the proper procedure for divorce is highly dependent upon the timing of the divorce, the reasons for divorce, the client’s Islamic School of Thought (Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi), whether he or she is Sunni or Shiite, and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.The scope of this article cannot cover all the conceivable scenarios or grounds for divorce but will seek to address the basic requirements for divorce. It is important to keep in mind different schools of thought can cause some variances in the basic structure described below.
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