The sacred institution of marriage has always been suspect to the target of our avowed enemy, Shaitan. It is a one-of-a-kind relationship that is formed by merely saying a few words in a controlled setting before witnesses. Sadly, this foundational relationship, one that brings the future generations of the Muslim Ummah into this world, also ends with utterance of a few words.
The different issues surrounding Muslim divorce, the ifs and buts of jurisprudence regarding it, are complicated matters that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have detailed in the Qur’an and Sunnah. There is a short but profound Surah (chapter) in the Qur’an titled “Al-Talaq” (The Divorce), which mentions few rulings regarding the treatment of wives during divorce. What is interesting is the number of times the Surah mentions “Taqwa”, or consciousness of Allah and His commands, and its associated rewards and results.
The simile of Taqwa is like walking through prickly branches or thorns in a thick forest in such a manner that you avoid being pricked or getting your clothes torn. In Islamic terminology, Taqwa of Allah means to be very wary or careful of not committing any actions that displease Allah. The reason Taqwa of Allah is mentioned so many times when talking about divorce is that when a marital relationship breaks, it is rarely civil; people on both sides are usually bitter, angry and resentful. As a result, they resort to ugly words and actions to avenge the bad doled out to them. That is why, in this Surah, Allah mentions Taqwa several times, promising the following rewards for the one who acts according to it:
Allah will make a way
out for him
“...And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).” (Qur’an, 65:2)
When the situation reaches to a point that divorce – a woman seeking Khula or a husband giving Talaq – becomes inevitable, Allah reminds the couple that if they are conscious of Him during their divorce proceedings, they can be rest assured that He will indeed make a way out for them from every difficulty.
Allah will provide for
him from where he does
“And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine...” (Qur’an, 65:3)
After divorce, both ex-partners worry about their life and survival without the spouse. The woman may fear about her maintenance, the man may get lonely without his family, and so on. Both might worry if they will ever get married again. “Will I find another spouse, a better marriage, and a blissful home and children?” Allah reassures them here that if they are conscious of Him during divorce, He will provide for them from where they cannot even perceive.
Allah will be sufficient
“And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (Qur’an, 65:3)
Allah reminds believers they should place their trust only in Him. Sometimes, instead of turning first to Allah, people turn to parents, friends, or lawyers for help and legal proceedings. They rely on others for emotional support. They are being reminded that it is Allah whom they should be conscious of foremost. He will suffice them in every possible way by making them self-sufficient and strong. He will make them indifferent to people and material resources.
Allah will make ease
for him in his matter
“...and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.” (Qur’an, 65:4)
Divorce is a difficult process that exhausts completely anyone involved in it. Most of the time, divorce involves a lot of complaining, backbiting and slander, as each side puts the blame on the other and throws forth accusations and insults. It gets worse when relatives chime in and interfere, fanning the flames and sparking more fires.
Allah reminds believers going through divorce that if they remain conscious of Him – meaning, they abide by His prohibitions, especially those of the tongue – He will make the difficult divorce process and any subsequent constraints e.g. packing, moving, migrating, separation from children and financial adjustment, easy for them.
Allah will remove faults
and enlarge the reward
“...and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward.” (Qur’an, 65:5)
It is not easy to be civil and polite when going through a divorce; to not backbite, lie, get angry or slander the other party. It is also not easy to give back gifts, belongings and other items, and the bitterest pill to swallow is to not protest to giving up the company of one’s children for even a short period of time.
However, the one who is conscious of Allah will nevertheless try to do all that during divorce. For such a person, Allah promises to remove his/her evil deeds, shortcomings, faults and bad habits, and further, enlarge his/her reward in the Hereafter.
Since divorce results in the uncovering of each spouse’s faults and past mistakes, this promise from Allah is indeed one that is of great value. When Allah covers someone’s faults, or removes from the shortcomings, it helps the person find a suitable, in fact, better spouse in the future. However, this only happens for the one who is conscious of Allah when going through divorce and guards himself/herself against the prohibitions of Islamic Shar’iah.
It is clear then, that divorce is a matter during which believers should be extra conscious of Allah – of remaining within His limits and staying away from His prohibitions, especially pertaining to the use of the tongue during this trying period in their lives. It is a time of emotional and physical upheaval, distress and pain. The future is unclear and hope may be minimal.
In this short yet powerful Surah however, Allah mentions Taqwa five times, with its associated, promised results and rewards, to give hope to the believer and make him/her turn only to His merciful Lord for hope, relief and provision after passing through this difficult storm in life. – SG