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Divorce in Islam: Just the Facts

Updated on December 5, 2013

The Islamic religion, similar to many other organized religions, considers marriage to be a sacred union. Though it is possible for Islamic couples to get a divorce, it is highly frowned upon and great measures are taken to try to reconcile the couple prior to the finalization of any divorce.

The Quran outlines several guidelines for the procedure of a divorce in Islam:

  • Followers of Islam feel that divorce is never something that should be taken lightly. Before any man begins the process of divorcing his wife there must be a valid reason for ending the marriage and the declaration must be made with a sound mind (the man must be an adult, and not threatened for life or property) and in the presence of at least two male witnesses, or one male and two female.
  • Following the declaration of divorce, there is a waiting period of one to three months, in which the couple is to refrain from sexual relations. This waiting period is designed to give the husband time to reconsider his choice before the divorce is final, and to determine if the wife is pregnant, in which case the husband must provide for the infant and the wife while she is pregnant and nursing.
  • At any point during the waiting period, the husband still holds marital authority over his wife and has the opportunity to change his mind and resume relations with his wife. There are limitations to this rule, however. According to the Quran, a man is only allowed to ‘divorce’ his wife twice, so if there is a third declaration of divorce, it is usually final immediately.
  • If the husband decides not to take his wife back during the waiting period, and the wife is not pregnant or nursing, the couple will then be allowed to part ways peacefully. If children are involved, the husband will be required to provide for their needs as long as they are living in his home.
  • A woman can divorce her husband in Islam through mediation in court, in which they come to an agreement for the return of all or a portion of the dowry presented to her family in the negotiation of their marriage. However, the court must agree that the wife has sufficient reason to divorce her husband, and her husband must accept the terms of their agreement.

Because the religion of Islam considers marriage to be a sacred bond, and because of the measures taken to reconcile couples with marital issues, the divorce rate in Islamic regions is significantly lower than other areas of the world. These statistics, however, leave several questions in the minds of those outside of Islam, the answers to which are difficult to obtain.


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    • ARSHAD MAJID profile image

      ARSHAD MAJID 5 years ago

      A very useful hub indeed that may help people understand how Islam considers 'divorce'. It is a very good effort however; I would like to add a one more thing which is, "woman does not have to explain the reason to the Islamic Judge, if she likes to have a divorce. If she only tells that she does not like her husband, that is enough reason in Islam. Thus a woman does not have to undergo any embarrassing and painful cross questioning sessions before to get a divorce, nor does she has to share her money with the divorce lawyer :)

    • profile image

      seasaw 5 years ago


    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      @ib radmaster: islam doesm't give more power to man over woman, but it puts more responsbilities over man than woman and in order to fulfill those responsbilities man needs some authorities also, otherwise it will be unjust on man's part.

      good work.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico

      Interesting facts to know, learning about other cultures & religions always grabs my attention.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      interesting hub. shared. I love reading and studying religion. it always makes for an interesting read for me!

    • TMApsey profile image

      TMApsey 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Yes, it does, ib.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Doesn't Islam also give the man power over the woman in most family matters?

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      this is an informative hub...thank you for sharing...

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      I wish the U.S. was a bit more strict with marital unions, both before and after the decision. This was a very interesting read, awesome.

    • TMApsey profile image

      TMApsey 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I'm pretty sure that in countries whose laws are not based on the Quran, things are a little more lax, but I couldn't find much info to back that up. Most of the info on the net is biased.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for sharing this information. Is the procedure pretty much the same for Muslim married couples everywhere, both where civil law is based on the Koran and where it is not? Why among Muslims is starting the divorce process different for husbands and wives? Does that imply inequality of power and authority?