The Koran, that book that deems it necessary to repeat everything over and over again. This is not unlike the Bible, but the Koran really enjoys pushing the same point for multiple verses in a row, while the Bible makes you wait a few chapters. So, today we are once again dealing with divorce and how we should treat divorced women. I must again admit that not all of the divorce laws in the Koran are bad, if we hold the world-view that the man is the head of the household and the sole bread winner. Unfortunately, this is not in line with the reality we live in, but I think this should be kept in mind when looking at the verses that follow.
The value of sex in any relationship cannot be understated, in fact I would say that if your sex life is bad, your marriage may not last unless you adhere to some strict moral set that does not allow divorce, or if you adopt a polyamorous life to deal with those basic needs. As such the Koran lets us know that a divorce can easily take place if the marriage is not consummated, but at the same time it says that even in these circumstances the man should take care of his ex-wife.
"There is no sin upon you if you divorce women while you have not yet
touched them or settled a dowry for them. Yet provide for them —the
well-off according to his capacity, and the poorly-off according to his
capacity— with a sustenance that is honourable, an obligation on the
For those observant readers the fact that if the dowry has not been paid also allows divorce does mean that you can still bang and run. Interestingly this law does rely on the goodwill of those involved with an appeal to the virtue of the husband, as such the husband that does not care will still not care in all likelihood.
The next verse tells us what to do in case of a dowry that has been paid, yet you have not had the chance to consummate the marriage. It also does a great job at dodging what should be done.
"And if you divorce them before you touch them, and you have already
settled a dowry for them, then [pay them] half of what you have settled,
unless they forgo it, or someone in whose hand is the marriage tie
Now the male pays the dowry in Isalm, and if he divorces then he should get at least half of the money back. However, he is able to get all the money back if the wife allows it, or if the person who holds the marriage tie allows it. Now in Islam the marriage tie is held by the man and so he can effectively always get the money back, yet the Koran says he should only get half......contradiction anyone?
The next verse regarding divorce has to do with personal responsibility, basically it tells husbands that they should prepare for their family in case they die. This verse to me is freaking awesome.
"Those of you who die leaving wives shall bequeath for their wives
providing for a year, without turning them out; but if they leave, there
is no sin upon you in respect of what they may do with themselves
observing honourable norms. And Allah is all-mighty, all-wise."
Perhaps I should mention here something that I tell many theists. There may be good stuff in your holy book, however, that does not mean God is real.
I think one really important thing to remember in Islam is that it
relies on the honesty of the person who claims to be a Muslim. If said
person is an ass they will be an ass, if they are a good person they
will be good. As such Islam has no need for a God, unless that God is
there to breed fear into the believer to force them to be good.
Finally I get to say, that was divorce rules.
Interestingly, among all these divorce rules is the following tidbit of information regarding the importance of prayer
"and should you fear [a danger], then [pray] on foot or mounted, and when
you are safe, remember Allah, as He taught you what you did not know."
Basically this verse can be interpreted as follows. During fighting there is no need to stop and pray, as long as you pray and thank Allah for not allowing you to die during the fighting. Now, why would Allah allow you to be attacked in the first place if you have to pray for thanks after is not addressed, but it does make me wonder if Allah is so impotent as to not be able to stop people attacking his loyal servants. This is essentially the problem with these almighty gods, they are very far away from any type of almightiness.
There you have it, get married, get divorced and just remember to pray so that you can thank the almighty Allah for allowing you to marry a person that is going to divorce you.
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