How to Avoid the Dangerous Paths that Lead to Talāq (Divorce)
Abu Khadeejah ʿAbdul-Wāhid Ibn Sālih Alam.
In the name of Allāh, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
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All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.
From the clear and apparent calamities and evils that have become widespread in Muslim communities, especially in these times is the increase in the incidences of divorce—and the Salafis are not immune from this affair.
It is true to say that the Salafis deal with discord better than others due to their reliance on the teachings of the Book and Sunnah, and the understanding of the Sahābah in family matters—and they encourage their communities to return all differing and discord to Allah and His Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) for resolution.
We do not accept the accusation that divorce rates are higher in Salafi communities and between Salafi couples—and I can speak with some level of authority since I have been involved in advising families and couples for 25 years. However, those in whose hearts there is a disease invent these falsehoods to malign the Salafis.
Nevertheless, it is still important that we caution the people about the dangers of divorce due to what can result from it of animosities, discord, broken homes, splitting of families, single-parent households, and absent fathers.
Allah has encouraged the believers to live with one’s spouse in goodness, to work on building the marriage, and to block the means that lead to discord. Allah (the Most High) said:
وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْـًٔا وَيَجْعَلَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا ١٩
“And live with your wives in kindness and honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good!” (an-Nisā: 19)
And the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) commanded the men to be good to their wives and to be patient with them—and to bear with each other’s shortcomings as long as you are both obedient to Allah and His Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam), and you accept the reminder when you are reminded.
Women, of course, require our attention because they are weaker of the two sexes are more prone to impatience and are quick to answer back which causes a man to get angry. The Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “I command you to take care of your women in a goodly manner because they are created from a rib—and the most crooked of the ribs is in the upper part of the ribcage—if you try and straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked. So, I command you to take care of women in a good way.” (Al-Bukhāri, no. 5186)
This means that there are certain things that men have to tolerate in the character of a woman and work out ways to change her without damaging the marriage. And there may be shortcomings that a woman sees in her husband such as his character that she can help rectify over time without harming their relationship. Look at the patience of ʿUmar Ibn Khattāb (radiyallāhu ʿanhu), his tolerance with his wife, and his advice to his daughter. ʿUmar (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) said: “We, the Quraish used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar in Madinah, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women.
Once I shouted at my wife and she answered me back! I told her off that she should not answer me back. She said, ‘Why do you take offence that I respond to you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) answer him back! One of them may not speak with him for the whole day till the night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be at a great loss!’
Then I got dressed and went to Hafsah (his daughter and wife of the Prophet) and asked her, ‘Does any of you make Allah’s Messenger angry for all the day until the night?’ She replied: ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘She is ruined and at a loss! Doesn’t she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah’s Messenger and thus she will be ruined? Do not ask Allah’s Messenger too many things, and do not answer him back [when he admonishes you] in any situation, and do not boycott him or stop talking to him (i.e., sulk with him)…” (Bukhāri, no. 2468)
So, when differing does occur, and becomes serious, you should seek arbitration and judgement between you—and if you desire peace, Allah will grant it, inshā’-Allāh. Allah (the Most High) said in his Book:
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَٱبْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِۦ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَآ إِن يُرِيدَآ إِصْلَـٰحًا يُوَفِّقِ ٱللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَآ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا ٣٥
“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allāh will cause it between them. Indeed, Allāh is ever Knowing and Aware.” (an-Nisā 4:35)
Sometimes, couples allow their differences and discord to fester, they don’t seek advice from trusted family members, elders in the community or people of knowledge. They allow the discord to reach such proportions that by the time they call out for help, it’s too late to save the marriage. The outcome is divorce and constant arguments over child custody and finances. Do not allow things to reach the point of no return!
Iblees loves the destruction of families. Jābir (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “Iblees has placed his throne on the ocean—and he sends out his troops to tempt the people—and the greatest of them in relation to him is the one who causes the greatest fitnah. So, one of them will come and say: ‘I have done such and such.’ Iblees responds: ‘You’ve done nothing!’ Then another comes and says: ‘I did not leave so-and-so until I separated him and his wife.’ So, Iblees brings him near and embraces him, saying: ‘You are the one!’” (Muslim, no. 2813)
Unfortunately, women pursue divorce more than men—this is proven through experience and published statistics. She sees things from her husband that displeases her, and she cannot tolerate it or remain patient, so demands to be divorced.
Much of the displeasure of women is because they compare their lives to the lives of other couples and families. So, she starts to think that her existence with this man is not good. She is often convinced by the apparent lifestyles of other women, even if those women are sinful or unbelievers, they see them as being better off. So, her soul begins to rebel against her husband—maybe she spends too much time on social media watches videos, looks at magazines and compares all of that to her life, and comes to the conclusion that her husband is unworthy of her, and that ‘the grass on the other side is greener’, i.e., that life without him will be better and happier!
So, she begins to mistreat him, deny him his marital rites, does not serve him, and is no longer kind, gentle and loving towards him. She looks for reasons to find faults with him and his character until she demands a divorce… in her eyes, he’s not earning enough, she is left alone to look after the children while he’s at work, or because she has some unfulfilled career ambitions! So, eventually, they divorce. My sisters, my daughters! Before it reaches this critical stage, ask for help, and seek arbitration and someone who can judgement between you.
There are many causes of discord that may lead to divorce that you should pay attention to early on. If these causes are understood and dealt with, the divorce rate would be greatly reduced in Muslim communities, inshā’-Allāh.
Many divorces take place in the first year of marriage, or the seeds of discord are sown in the first year. This is due to a lack of acquaintance and understanding between the husband and wife, or because they did not look at each other properly before agreeing to the marriage. Maybe they did not investigate the background of their spouse thoroughly enough—or because you concealed an illness or deficiency whether mental or physical. So, you need to be transparent, ask the right questions, and ask the right people in the community about the one you intend to marry: questions about their Islam, Sunnah, family background and heritage, where you are going to live, where does he work, what are your hijrah plans, about provision (is it halāl), domesticity, prior and present illnesses, previous marriages and future children. Unfortunately, you are so eager to marry that you fail to ask the right questions—and then when things go wrong, you are just as eager to divorce!
Once you are married, be patient as you learn to live with each other: talk often (politely), don’t reveal your previous sins, about your likes and dislikes, habits and pleasures. Bārakallāhu feekum.
Be careful that your marriage has not been afflicted with evil-eye or magic. A sign of that is when a couple who were loving and kind to one another can no longer stand to be in the company of their spouse!
She (or he) may be triggered by the smallest of things that did not previously concern them—so now they keep thinking of getting away and wanting to separate. So, recognise when this is happening to you! Be constant in your morning and evening supplications, be thankful to Allah, give in Sadaqah, seek refuge with Him from every evil—and be careful not to share good news, future plans, and bounties of your homes to people outside the home or to strangers, and especially not on social-media (the fitnah of our age, wallāhul-mustaʿān)! If you fear evil-eye, jinn or magic, download the ruqyah book from this website.
Some husbands, especially in these times do not take their responsibilities in the home and their marriages seriously enough. They don’t carry out their duties as a husband should: they don’t spend on their families as the Shareeʿah requires for example. They are obligated by Allah to provide for their wives and children, to clothe them, to shelter them, and nurture them and give them access to study the Religion, to protect them and their honour. Allah has said:
ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۢ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتُ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٌ حَـٰفِظَـٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّـٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ
“Men are in charge of women, they are their protectors and maintainers because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because the men spend on their families from their wealth. So, therefore, the righteous women are obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (i.e., their chastity and their husband’s property). And as for those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them…” (an-Nisā: 34) So the husband must take their duties seriously.
From the means that lead to divorce is not sharing the legislated responsibility in nurturing and raising the children including their cultivation, education and discipline. It is not correct for a man to leave all of that to the woman, or for the woman to be negligent since she is the primary cultivator of young children: teaching them good manners, keeping them fed and clothed (with the wealth provided by the husband), washed and happy. When either of you falls short in their respective duties, and throws the burden onto the other, then differing, resentment and discord are inevitable. I advise you to work hard with your children, both mother and father and seek your reward from Allah—and you’ll see the good fruits of your labour as they grow into adulthood, inshā’-Allāh. You will go to bed tired and exhausted, but the effort (by Allah) is worth the reward!
The husband always being out of the home especially at night, away from his wife and children, is a reason for discord in marriages—one who is constantly out with friends—and it is even worse if he has sinful friends who watch movies, listen to music or waste their time in gossip. Likewise, my sisters and daughters (may Allah bless you), it is not good if you’re always out of the house, shopping in the malls—or constantly busy with your phone updating your profiles on social media, or wasting your time on YouTube or Instagram! This is not good for you, your marriage or your children!
These kinds of habits open the door for Shaytan to enter and cause discord between you. Spend more time with each other when you are not working or busy with household chores. Sit next to each other, read to each other, benefit each other in conversation even if it is little—or just play with each other with friendly words and actions. This is a key ingredient in making a marriage last for decades!
Be careful of the constant interference of in-laws and relatives in your household, and in the lives of your children. This is especially serious when your relatives are irreligious and sinful. They will draw you and your children into their sinful and irreligious lifestyles! They may offer futile un-Islamic advice that opposes the Sunnah, and they get offended when you do not follow their customs, celebrations, and ways. They may harm your marriage without realising the damage they are causing, so be on your guard! Visit and mix with these types of relatives only occasionally and save your wife and children from being affected by them.
A wife who overburdens her husband beyond his ability—always demanding what is beyond him will harm their marriage. She is miserable, sad, and even grief-stricken till she gets her way! She wants more possessions that he cannot afford, a better house, better newer clothes, more furnishings, etc. And because she is ‘unhappy’ she disobeys him and lets into the house people he does not like, she leaves the home without his permission, and she does not look after the children as she should. She is rarely satisfied, constantly complaining to others about her dissatisfaction. My sisters, save yourselves from ingratitude. Don’t ruin your homes and ruin your marriages, may Allah bless you—you will end up divorced, lonely, old and sad if you’re not careful! No man wants a woman like this! So let us change our attitude, and be patient, supportive and satisfied with whatever Allah has provided. Get to Jannah, and you’ll have your heart’s desire!
Discord can occur when a man takes custody of the wealth of his wife unjustly, mistreats her, gets angry with her for no reason—and is abusive towards her or her parents. This is unacceptable my brothers and sons, you should fear Allah. The Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) said: “I command you to take of your women in a goodly manner…” Anas (radiyallāhu ʿanhu) stated, “Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) had a black slave who would join him in some of his journeys and his name was Anjashah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu). He would drive forth the mounts with the songs of the camel drivers, so Allah’s Messenger said to him, ‘O Anjashah! Be gentle when you are driving the camels that carry the fragile vessels (i.e., women).’” (Muslim 2323) In a narration of Bukhārī (no. 6211), he (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Drive them slowly, O Anjashah! Do not break the fragile vessels.”
And the fact is that women are fragile vessels and men should take care of how they deal with and interact with them, whether they are their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, and so on. Women and men are not the same in their physiological makeup, in their psychology or their emotional responses to situations. Parents should therefore not raise girls in the same manner that they raise boys because they have been created differently.
Each of them responds differently to the events that take place around them. Girls and young women should be encouraged to be feminine in the traditional sense: in the way that they speak, dress, behave and interact. This includes nurturing noble characteristics of modesty, polite speech, tenderness, devotion, and shyness as well as learning how to manage a home, beautify themselves, dress appropriately in different situations, cook (for family and guests) and raise children. Women should be taught that they are different to men and that they should not be brash and coarse in their mannerisms—and as wives, they are taught to be obedient and courteous.
In conclusion, when discord occurs and difference arises (which is inevitable in all marriages), talk and listen to one another, and communicate without raising voices or displaying anger (even if you feel it inside).
Aim to make the relationship work—my brothers and sons (may Allah bless you), do not threaten with divorce in times of anger—that is a dangerous path! My sisters and daughters do not be hasty in demanding a divorce or separation. Reach out and ask for help and advice from your righteous elders before acting.
Hastiness and anger are the traps of Shaytān to destroy your marriage. Be wise, mature, and patient—ask the pious married elders in your community for help and guidance, those who have been married for 20, 30 or 40 years! Ask them, ‘What is your advice for a successful marriage O auntie, O uncle? How did you make it work?’ And make duʿā that Allah guides you and your spouse, and bestows upon you tolerance and patience. And remember the words of Allah (the Most High):
وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْـًٔا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْـًٔا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ٢١٦
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you—and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allāh knows, while you know not.” (al-Baqarah 2:216)
May Allah bless you.
والحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين.
سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت، أستغفرك وأتوب إليك
Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wāhid.
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