Last week we dealt with divorce, but also not really as the focus was more on a womens rights in Islam. So this week, lets learn a bit more on the restrictions for divorce as laid out in the Koran.
Well verse 229, is a cracker (and no, thats not cracker as in what I am as a white male),
"[Revocable] divorce may be only twice; then [let there be] either an
honourable retention, or a kindly release. And it is not lawful for you
to take back anything from what you have given them, unless
the couple fear that they may not maintain Allah’s bounds. So if you
fear they would not maintain Allah’s bounds, there is no sin upon them
in what she may give to secure her release. These are Allah’s bounds,
so do not transgress them, and whoever transgresses the bounds of Allah
—it is they who are the wrongdoers."
Firstly, we need to understand what revocable divorce is, and simply put this is the divorce where the man can decide if he wants to stay with the women or not. As explained last week there are times when a man can decide maybe he is not happy with his wife and then he can separate from her for four months, this is classified as revocable divorce. So to combat men doing this all the time, in other words whenever they need some side fun, the Koran strictly forbids these separations to twice. After these two separations then a man must make a decision whether to divorce or not, as such a women is not entitled to enact this divorce as the man is the holder of the marriage. If the man then decides to divorce they must treat the ex-wife kindly and not cast her aside, as such the Koran is specific in the fact that the man must not take anything back that was given to his ex-wife. This means the wife is to maintain the dowry price placed on her head by her father, this is good in that apparently it will make a man think twice about divorcing his wife. Granted, this is probably true so I would have to say nice law, although I think happy marriages or amicable separations would be a better solution.
Finally the last part of this verse 229 deals with a women being allowed to ask for a divorce
"So if you fear they would not maintain Allah’s bounds, there is no sin upon them in what she may give to secure her release."
Or should I say that is what the apologetics say about it. The fact is this sentence does claim that a women may ask for a divorce, but only if both partners agree to the divorce, so in this case the couple are then separating on agreed terms. Remarkably, in this case of divorce the women does not get to keep the dowry. As such the Koran is contradicting itself in the same verse, as it says couples who divorce should be treated kindly and the women keep the dowry. on the other hand it says couples who divorce should be treated kindly and the women must not keep the dowry. Perhaps this sentence was added to benefit men who like sleeping around, and wanted to keep their property for their next marriage?
On a side note we will not be dealing with irrevocable divorce at present, but if you want your mind blown click here.
Verse 230 says the following
"And if he divorces her, she will not be lawful for him until she marries a husband other than him, and if he divorces her,
there is no sin upon them to remarry if they think that they can
maintain Allah’s bounds. These are Allah’s bounds, which He clarifies
for a people who have knowledge"
Interpreted in simple English, after two revocable divorces a man is not allowed to remarry this ex-wife until she has been through another marriage with another man. If this man and her then divorce, the original couple can marry again. So, here we get another addendum to an already complicated double divorce system. However, what really blows my mind is the continual mention that couples should only marry if "they think that they can
maintain Allah’s bounds", seriously if you are getting divorced so many times then I think you need to look inward and work out what the hell is going on in your mind, as clearly you are not maintaining Allah's bounds very well.
This is something that really irks me about believers, they say they are doing the right thing when clearly there are laws (or interpretations of laws) that allow them to do the wrong thing. So what is right and what is wrong is clearly a subjective issue and not objective as one would expect from an all knowing God. Or, is this me simplifying things way to much, and in fact theists when they choose to obey laws have some direct hot-line to their God who is changing the laws as they are needed, so that said theist can lead a happy and fulfilled life by the grace of God?
This week will only be three verses as its so bloody confusing, so lets look at the last one verse 231.
"When you divorce women and they complete their term, then either retain
them honourably or release them honourably, and do not retain them
maliciously in order that you may transgress; and whoever does that
certainly wrongs himself. Do not take the signs of Allah in derision,
and remember Allah’s blessing upon you, and what He has sent down to you
of the Book and wisdom, to advise you therewith. Be wary of Allah, and
know that Allah has knowledge of all things."
Here it says a man must divorce his wife if he is causing his wife harm, as by causing his wife harm he is transgressing. This is remarkable, as it shows again that women are not important enough to be protected from abuse, rather they are the reason behind the abuse being perpetrated. After all, we do not want the husband to transgress as that would lead to him being cursed into hell by Allah all because his wife made him hit her?
Ok, as happens with the Koran readings I have a headache. Time to take my Tylenol.
The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm