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  • The Social Shariah:(8) Divorce: [(v) After Divorce]

    Posted by Umer on September 5, 2020 at 5:38 am

    Once a divorce is materialized, one issue that can become a source of dispute is suckling of young children. In the under discussion verses of Surah Talaq, the Almighty has said that if their mother is willing to suckle them, then the husband shall pay her for this service and this remuneration shall be ascertained through mutual consultation and in a befitting manner. If such an agreement is not reached between the parents, then according to the Quran any woman can be asked to suckle the children. It is also told that a rich person should spend according to his means and resources and a poor one according to his. Neither is it permitted for the rich person to deal with others in a manner that is below his status nor should a poor person be burdened beyond his means. The Almighty holds a person responsible to obey His directives according to his capacity and status.

    In Surah Baqarah, this directive has been mentioned in detail:

    وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَهُ بِوَلَدِهِ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا وَإِنْ أَرَدْتُمْ أَنْ تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُمْ مَا آتَيْتُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِوَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

    And [after divorce also] mothers shall suckle their offspring for two whole years for those who desire to complete the term. And the child’s father [in such a case] shall have to bear the cost of their food and clothing according to the norms. No one should be burdened beyond his capacity. Neither shall the mother be treated unfairly because of her child, nor the father on account of his child – and his heir shall be accountable in the same way – But if they both decide on weaning by mutual consent and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. And if you decide to engage someone else to suckle your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay [the mother] in accordance with the norms [of the society] what you promised. And fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what you do.(2:233)

    Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, while summarizing the directives of suckling that these verses mention, writes:

    i) It is the responsibility of a divorced lady to suckle her offspring for two full years in case the husband wants her to complete the total suckling period.

    ii) During this period, it is the responsibility of the father to provide his divorced wife with food and clothing, keeping in view the norms of the society. In other words, the status of the husband, the needs of the divorced wife and her own status shall be kept in consideration while providing her this maintenance.

    iii) Neither of the parties shall be burdened beyond their capacity. Neither the mother shall be harmed in any way by taking advantage of the fact that she is the mother of the child nor the father be unduly pressurized in any way on the pretext that he is the father of the child.

    iv) If the father of the child is dead, his heirs will be responsible for all the above mentioned rights and obligations.

    v) If through mutual consent and consultation, the estranged husband and wife decide to terminate the suckling period before two years, they can do so.

    vi) If the child’s father or, in his absence, the heirs of the child want to suckle the child through some other lady instead of the mother, they are authorized to do so provided what has been agreed with the mother regarding her maintenance is fully honoured.[1]

    The second thing which can become a source of dispute is the husband’s attitude of hindering further marriage of his former wife. This attitude whether in the form of open forbiddance on his part or in the form of covert and stealthy schemes has been strictly prohibited by the Almighty in Surah Baqarah. He has counselled people that once a lady has been divorced, her former husband has no right to cause hindrance in any decision she makes. She has the liberty to marry whoever and whenever she wants. If her decision to marry is in accordance with the norms of the society, it cannot be objected to in any way. The Quran uses the word الْمَعْرُوف to convey this meaning. This word implies that though a man and a woman are totally free to take their decision, they must remember not to do anything that is against the norms of decency and which may damage the honour and repute of the former or future husband or of the family of the woman herself. The Quran says:

    وَإِذَا طَلَّقْتُمْ النِّسَاءَ فَبَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ أَنْ يَنكِحْنَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ إِذَاتَرَاضَوْا بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ذَلِكَ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَلِكُمْ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ(2:232)

    And when you have divorced your wives and they have reached the end of their waiting period, do not prevent them from marrying their future husbands if they have come to an agreement according to the norms [of decency]. These words of advice are given to every one of you who believes in Allah and the Last Day; this is more decent for you and more chaste. And [in reality] Allah knows, but you do not. (2:232)

    While explaining the last part of the verse, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

    These sound words of advice are being given to those who believe in Allah and the Last Day. In other words, those who have belief in Allah and the Last Day should follow what is being advised since this is the outcome of true belief. Such an attitude is more pure and seemly. If a lady is impeded in anyway to re-marry, this may result in great evils in the family and society. It is from here that back doors to clandestine relations, fornication, hijack and escaping are opened, eventually bringing great disrepute to those whose false pride induces them to obstruct natural emotions through worthless customs. The words “And Allah knows, but you do not,” at the end imply that man’s knowledge and vision is very limited. He cannot fully grasp the ups and downs of life; therefore, he should follow what the Almighty is directing him to do.[2]

    Besides the above mentioned two issues, a third matter that can cause dissension between the divorced couple is the custody of children. The shariah has not given any directive in this regard because this matter can only be decided keeping in view the welfare of the children and the circumstances of the parents, which of course vary a lot. However, those in authority can obtain a lot of guidance in this regard from the various cases decided by the Prophet (sws). Following is an account of some of them.

    Abdullah ibn Umar (rta) narrates that a lady came to the Prophet (sws) and said: “For this son of mine, it is only my belly which was his abode, and my breasts which were his vessel and my lap which was his dwelling place. Now his father has divorced me and wants to take him away from me.” The Prophet (sws) replied: “You are more entitled to keep him until you marry again.” [3]

    Abu Hurayrah (rta) narrates that in his presence once a lady came to the Prophet (sws). I heard her saying: “My husband wants to take away from me this child even though he has brought over water for me from the well of Abu Anbah and given me a lot of benefit.” The Prophet replied: “Both of you can cast a lot on this.” [Upon hearing this], the husband said: “Who will quarrel with me regarding this son of mine.” The Prophet asserted: “O son! This is your father and this is your mother; grasp the hand of the one you want to hold.” The child grasped the mother’s hand and she took him away.[4]

    (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi)

    (Translated by Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


    [1]. Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 1, 545.

    [2]. Ibid., vol. 1, 544.

    [3]. Abu Da’ud, Sunan, vol. 2, 292, (no. 2276); Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, vol. 3, 1069, (no. 2830).

    [4]. Abu Da’ud, Sunan, vol. 2, 292, (no. 2277)

    Umer replied 3 years, 7 months ago 1 Member · 3 Replies
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