A Brief of Islamic Law


  1. A man who divorces his wife must be adult sane, and should divorce of his own free will, therefore, if someone compels him to divorce his wife, that divorce will be void. It is also necessary that a man seriously intends to divorce; therefore, if he pronounces the formule of divorce jokingly, the divorce will not be valid.

  2. It is necessary that at the time of divorce, wife is pure (Naqiyyah) from Hayd and Nifas, and that the husband should not have had sexual intercourse with her during that per iod of purity.

  3. It is valid to divorce a woman even if she is in Haydh or Nifas in the following circumstances:

(i) If the husband has not had sexual intercourse with her after marriage.

(ii) If it is known that she is pregnant. And if this fact is not known and the husband divorces her during Haydh, and he comes to know later that she was pregnant, that divorce will be void.

(iii) If due to the husband's absence or imprisonment, he is not able to ascertain whether or not she is pure from Haydh or Nifas. But in this case, as an olbigatory precaution, man must wait for at least one month after separation from his wife and then divorce.

  1. If a man wishes to divorce his wife who does not menstruate at all by habit, or because of some disease or suckling a child or taking drug etc., while other women of her age habitually see Haydh, he should refrain from having sexual intercourse with her for three months from the time has had the intercourse, and then divorce her.

  2. It is necessary that the formule of divorce is pronounced in correct Arabic, using the word I`àliq; and two just (Adil) persons should hear it. If the husband wishes to pronounce the formula of divorce hinself and his wife's name is, for example, Fatimah, he should say, Zawjati Fatimah I`àliq (i.e. my wife Fatimah is divorced) and if he appoints another person as his Wakil to pronounce the formula of divorce, the Wakil should say, Zawjatu woman is identified, it is not necessary to mention her name; and if she is present it is enough to point to her and say, Hadhiht I`àliq or say facing her, Anti I`àliq. And if the husband cannot pronounce divorce in Arabic, or cannot find a Wakil to do so, he can divorce in any language using the words of the same meaning as in Arabic formula.

  3. There is no divorce in the case of a woman with whom temporary marriage is contracted, for example, for one month or one year. She becomes free when the period of her marriage expires or when the mam forgoes the perid of her marriage by saying, I hereby exempt you from the remaining time of marriage, and it is not necessary to have a witness nor that the woman should be pure from her Haydh.

Iddah of Divorce (The Waiting Period after Divorce)

  1. A wife who is under nine and who is in her menopause will not be required to observe any waiting period. It means that, even if the husband has had sexual intercourse with her, she can remarry immediately after being divorced.

  2. If a wife who has complated nine years of her age and is not in menopause, is divorced by her husband after sexual intercourse, it is necessary for her to observe the waiting period of divorce. the waiting period of a free woman is that after her husband divorces her during her purity period she should wait till she sees H “ayd “twice and be comes pure if the time between two menses is less than three months. Thereafter, as soon as she sees Hayd for the third will be over and she can marry again. If, however, a husband divorces his wife before having sexual intercourse with her, there is no waiting period for her and she can marry another man immediately after being divorced, except if some semen of her husband in any way has entered into her vagina, in which case she should observe Iddah.

  3. If a woman does not see Haydh or menstruates but the period between two menses is three months or more who normally see Hayd, and her husband divorces her after sexual intercourse, she should observe Iddah for three lunar months after divorce.

  4. If a woman whose Iddah is of three months, is divorced on the first of a lunar month, she should observe Iddah for three lunar months, that is, for three months from the time the new moon is sighted. And if she is divorced during the month, she should observe Iddah for the remaining days in the month added to two months thereafter, and again for the balance from the fourth month so as to complete three months. For example, if she is divorced on the 20th of the month at the time of sunset and that month is of 30 days, she should observe Iddah till the sunset of 20th of the fourth month, and if that month is of 29 days she should, as an obligatory precaution, observe Iddah for nine days of that month and the two months following it, and for twenty one days of the fourth month so that the total number of the days of the first month and the fourth month comes to thirty.

  5. If a pregnant woman is divorced, her Iddah lasts till the bieth or miscarriage of the child. Hence, if, for example, she gives birth to a child one hour after being divorced, her Iddah is over. But this is in the case of a legitimate child of the husband who is divorcing. If the pregnancy is illegitimate, and her husband divorces her, the Iddah will not be over.

  6. If a woman who has completed nine years of age, and is not in menopause, contracts a temporary marriage, for example, if she marries a man for a period of one month or a year, and the period of her marriage comes to an end, or her husband exempts her from the remaining period, she should observe Iddah, providing that the husband has had sexual intercourse with her. If she sees Haydh, she should, as a precaution, observe Iddah for two periods of Haydh and not marry again during that period. But if she does not see Haydh, then she should refrain from marrying another man for forty five days. And if she is pregnant, she should observe Iddah till the birth or miscarriage of the child, and as a recommended precaution, she should wait for forty five days or till the birth of the child whichever is longer.

  7. The time of the Iddah of divorce commences when the formula of divorce is pronounced, irrespective of whether the wife known about it or not. Hence, if she comes to know after the end of the Iddah that she had been divorced, it is not necessary for her to observe Iddah again.

Iddah (Waiting Period) of a Widow

  1. If a woman is free and is not pregnant and her husband dies, she should observe Iddah (the waiting period) for four lunar months and ten days, that is, she should not marry during that period even if she under nine or has entered into menopause or his husband had contracted temporary marriage with her, or she is Kafir or is in Iddah for revocable divorce or he may not have sexual intercourse with her and even if her husbandhas been insane or a child. If, however, she is pregnant, she should observe the waiting period till the birth of the child. But if the child is born before the end of four months and ten days from the death of her husband, she should wait till the expiry of that period. This Iddah is called the waiting period after death (Iddah-ul-wafat).

  2. It is Halal (allowed) for a woman who is observing the Iddah of death to wear pightly coloured dresses, or to use collyrium and to do any such act which is considered to be an adornment, but going out of the house is not Halal (allowed).

  3. The Iddah of death begins, in situation when the husband has disappeared or is absent, when the wife learns of his death, and not from the time when he actually died. But this rule does not, as a precaution, apply to a wife who has not attained the age of Bulugh, or if she is insane.

  4. If a woman says that her Iddah is over, her word can be accepted unless she is known to be unreliable, in which case, her word, as a precaution, will not be accepted. For example, if she claims to have menstruted three times in one month, her claim will not be trusted, except when her woman relatives confirm that it is her menstrual period.

Irrevocable and Revocable Divorce

  1. Irrevocable (Ba'in) divorce means that after the divorce, the husband is not entitled to take back his wife, that is, he is not entitled to take her as his wife without Nikàa*. This divorce is of six kinds, namely:

(i) The divorce of a woman who has not completed nine years of age. (ii) The divorce of a woman who is in menopause. (iii) The divorce of a woman whose husband has not had sexual intercourse with her after their marriage. (iv) The third divorce of a woman who has been divorced three times. (v) The divorce called Khul and Mubàràt. (vi) The divorce by intervention of Mujtahid, in the case of a wife whose husband neither agrees to maintain her nor to divorce her.

Rules pertaining to these kinds of divorces will be detailed later. Divorces other than these are revocable (Raji), in the sense that as long as wife is observing Iddah her husband can take her back.

  1. When a person has given revocable divorce to his wife, if is Halal (allowed) for him to expel her out of the house in which she was residing at the time of divorce. However, in certain cases, like, when she has committed fornication or adultery there is no harm in expelling her. Also, it is Halal (allowed) for the wife to go out of the house unnecessarily, without her husband's permission. And it is obligatory for the man to give her maintenance during the Iddah.

Orders Regarding Return (Ruju)

  1. In the case of a revocable divorce a man can take back his wife in two ways:

(i) By telling her words which would mean that he wants her again as his wife.

(ii) By acting in a manner which would convey his intention to take her back.

And taking her back will be established by sexual intercourse although the husband may not have intended to return, and some jurisprudents believe that even touching or kissing, with or without intention of taking her back establishes the return, though this is not free from Ishkal, and as an obligatory precaution, he should divorce her again, if he does not wish to return.

  1. It is not necessary for taking her back that the husband should call any person to witness, or sholud inform his wife. In other words if he takes her back without any one else realising this, the Ruju is in order. However, if the husband claims after the completion of Iddah that he took his wife back during Iddah but the woman does not confirms it, he must prove it.

  2. If a man divorces a woman twice and takes her back, or divorces her twice and takes her back by Nikàa*, or takes her back after one divorce and returns her by Nikah after the second divrce, she becomes Haram for him after the third divorce. But if she marries another man after the third divorce, she becomesHalal (allowed) for the first husband on fulfilment of five conditions, that is, only then he can remarry her.

(i) The marriage with the second person should have been of permanent nature. If he contracts with the her a temporary marriage for one month or a year, and then separates from her, the first husband cannot marry her.

(ii) The second husband should have had sexual intercourse with her, and the obligatory precaution is that the sexual intercourse should have taken place in vagina. (iii) The second husband divorces her, or dies. (iv) The waiting period (Iddah) of divorce or Iddah of death of the second husband should have come to an end. (v) On the basis of obligaotry precaution the second husband should have been Bàligh at the time of intercourse.

Khul Divorce or Talaq-ul-Khul

  1. The divorce of a wife who develops an aversion from husband and hates him, and surrenders to him her Mahr or some of her property so that he may divorce her, is called Khul divorce. The hatred must have reached a proportion where she would not allow him conjugal rights.

  2. If the husband himself wishes to pronounce the formule of the divorce and his wife's name is, say, Fatimah, he should say afetr receiving the property, Zawjati Fatimatu Khala tuha ala ma badhalat, and should also say as a recommended precaution, Hiya I`àlaq; i.e. I have given Khul divorce to my wife Fatimah in lieu of what she has given me, and she is free. And if the wife is identified, it is not necessary to mention her name in I`àliq-ul-Khul and also in Mubàràt divorce.

  3. If a woman appoints a person as her representative to surrender her Mahr to her husband, and the husband, too, appoints the same person as his representative to divorce his wife, and if, for instance, the name of the husband is Mua*ammad and the name of the wife is Fatimah, the representative will pronounce the formula of divorce thus: An muwakkilati Fatimah badhaltu mahraha li-muwaakkili nuh ammad, li-yakhla ‘aha ‘alayh. Then he says immediately: Zawjatu muwakkili khala tuha ala ma badhalat, fa hiya I`àliq. And if a woman appoints a person as her representative to give something other than Mahr to her husband, so that he may divorce her, the representative should utter the name of that thing instead of the word Mahraha’ (her Mahr). For example, if the woman gives $100 he should say, bedhaltu mi'ata dular.

Mubàràt Divorce

  1. If the husband and the wife develop mutual aversion and hatred and the woman gives some property to the man so that he may divorce her, this divorce is called Mubàràt.

  2. If the husband wishes to pronounce the formula of Mubàràt, and for example, his wife's name is Fatimah he hsould say, Bara'tu zawjati Fatimata ala ma badhalat. And as an obligatory precaution, he must add, Fa-hiya I`àliq; that is, my wife Fatimah and I separate from each other in consideration of what she has given me, hence, she is free. And if he appoints someone as his representative, the representative should say, An qibali muwakkili bara'tu zawjatahu Fatimata ala ma badhalat, fa-hiya I`àliq. And in either case, if he says, bima badhalat, instead of the words ala ma badhalat, there is no harm in it.

  3. It is necessary that the formula of Khul or Mubàràt divorce is pronounced in correct Arabic, if possible. And if that is not possible, then the rule explained in 1215 will apply. However, if for the sake of giving her property, the wife says in English or any language that, I give you such and such property in lieu of divorce, it will be sufficient.

  4. If during the waiting period of khul or Mubàràt divorce the wife changes her mind and does not give her property to the husband, he can take her back as a wife without Nikàa*.

  5. The property which the husband takes in Mubàràt divorce should not exceed the Mahr of the wife, and even as an obligatory precaution it should be less than the Mahr. But in the case of Khul divorce, there is no harm if it exceeds her Mahr.

Various Rules Regarding Divorce

  1. If a man had sexual intercourse with a non-Mahram woman under the impression that she was his wife, the woman should observe Iddah irrespective of whether she knew that the man was not her husband or thought that perhapse he was her husband.

  2. If a man commits fornication with a woman knowing that she is not his wife, it is not necessary for the woman to observe ‘Iddah. But if she thou ght that the man was probably her hus band, as an obligatory precaution, she should obsrve ‘Iddah.

  3. If a man seduces a woman so that her husband decides to divorce her and then she can marry him, the divorce and marriage are in order, but both of them have committed a major sin.

  4. If a woman lays a condition at the time of Nikàa* that if her husband goes on a long journey or in prison or, for example, does not give her maintenance for six months, she will have the right of divorce, the condition is void. However, if she lays a condition that in some conditions or in any case, she will be his Wakil for her own divorce, the condition is in order, and thereafter the husband cannot stop her Wikalah, and if she divorces her, the divorce will be in order.

  5. A woman who is divorced revocably, is his husband’s lawful wife before completion of her ‘Iddah. Hennce, she should not refrain any sexuel treating by her Husband, and it is permissible and even recommended to adorn herse if for him, and it is not permissible for her to go out of the house without his permission, and if she is not disobedient, giving her maintenance is obligatory on her husband.

Kafan and Zakat-ul-fitrah of the woman should also be given by the husband, and after death of either of them, they inherit from each other. Also the man cannot marry her sister during the ‘Iddah.