English - Ma'ariful Qur'an - Mufti Shafi Usmani RA - Vol - 1
Surah Al-Baqarah - 2 : Verses 231 - 232
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Special instructions for revocation of divorce or annulment of marriage
The first rule given in the first verse is: When women divorced revocably reach near the completion of their 'iddah (waiting period), the husband has two choices; either he may revoke his divorce and let her continue to be married to him or he may not revoke his divorce, discontinue the nikah relationship and release her totally.
But along with both these choices, the noble Qur'an places a restriction which requires that a wife, if retained, must be retained in accordance with a manner well-recognized and should it come to a parting of ways, even then, the parting should be in accordance with the rule as approved by the Shari'ah. Here, the word(in fairness), which appears separately at both the places, suggests that there are some conditions and rules governing the choice of retaining, similarly as there are, in the choice of releasing. When choice is made from either of the two options, it must be done in accordance with the method prescribed by the Shari'ah and not under the heat of spot anger or sentiments. Some of these rules of Islamic law appear in the Qur'an itself. Rest of the details have been given by the Holy Prophet .
For instance, should the thought of ugly consequences of separation after the incident of divorce produce a change of heart in favour of revoking it and keeping the marriage intact, then the Shari'ah has a method. It stipulates that the purpose in doing so should be to wash out past anger and displeasure and resolve to live anew in good family relationship with intention to give her the due rights. The purpose should not be to hold the woman in captivity or to harass and torture her. Therefore, the following words were said in the verse under reference: , that is, 'do not retain them with intent to harm them unjustly'.
The other method of raj'ah (revocation) has been mentioned in Surah Al-Talaq:
And let two trustworthy persons from amongst you be witnesses; then, let witness be given if needed, precisely for the sake of Allah, (without fear or favour). (65:2)
It means that anyone intending to take his wife back by raj'ah (revocation) should invite two trustworthy Muslims to act as witnesses. Out of the many advantages it has, one is the possible use of these witnesses in case there is a legal claim against rafah filed by the woman.
Moreover, if the rule of having witnesses on rafah is not observed there is a possibility that someone, out of selfishness or Satanic instigation, comes up with a claim, even after the 'iddah has expired, that he had already done his rafah (revocation) before the expiry of 'iddah (waiting period).
In brder to eradicate these evils, the Holy Qur'an has directed that the act of revocation should have two trustworthy witnesses.
Looking at the other side of the matter, it is also possible that hearts remain heavy and anger does not go away even after the long span of 'iddah which has given them sufficient time for thinking. So, a termination of relationship may seem to be the choice, in which case the danger of hostile emotions flaring up is acute, which again may become contagious - starting from two persons, it could envelope two families and could become, for both, a danger for both this world and the Hereafter. To offset this danger, it was briefly said: : 'Or release them in fairness,' that is, if you have to leave or free a wife and sever your relationship with her, that too, must be done in accordance with the recognised method. Some details of this method are given in the noble Qur'an itself; rest of the details stand proved through what the Holy Prophet said and did.
For instance, in the preceding verse, it was said: that is, do not take back (without a valid ground admitted by the Islamic Law) that which you have already given to the woman as mahr (dower), in return for the divorce, or go about demanding some other compensation.
Then, in the following verse, it was said: , that is, 'for all divorced women, there is some benefit as recognized rightly due on those who fear Allah'. The explanation of : mata' or compensatory benefit to be given to a divorced wife is that she should be given some present or cash or a set of clothing at the least. Thus the fulfillment of some rights of the divorced wife has been made
mandatory for the divorcing husband while the fulfillment of some others has been assigned to him in the form of kind treatment and good conduct. This is a chaste lesson in high morals and social manners which points to the fact that, just as the marriage was a transaction and mutual contract, the divorce is the termination of a transaction. There is no reason why the termination of this transaction should be a hotbed of enmity and hostility. The final annulment of the transaction should also be done decently and compassionately, that is, following talaq, the divorced wife should be given some benefits.
The details of this 'benefit' are that he should allow her to stay in the family house during Hddah, pay for her total sustenance, pay the full amount of mahr (dower) if still unpaid while intercourse has already occurred; and in case the incident of divorce has occurred before intercourse, then half of the dower should be paid in good cheer. All these are obligatory rights which have to be given to a divorced woman necessarily; however, it is not only desirable but excellent as well, if the divorced wife, on her parting day, goes with some cash or at the least, with a set of clothing as parting gift. Subhan Allah, what a decent teaching it is -- all that customarily causes quarrels and fights and takes families to ruin has been so wisely transformed into everlasting goodwill and peace.
After all these injunctions, it was said: , that is, anyone who acts against these divine commands will harm none but himself. It is obvious that Hereafter (the life to come) will be the place where every injustice and cruelty will be avenged in the sight of Allah and the oppressor is not going to move one step forward unless the oppressed is avenged.
If we ponder with discernment and hindsight, we shall discover that, if some oppressor gets away with his cruelty against the oppressed, the evil consequences of this act do disgrace him, more than often, right here in this world. He may or may not comprehend it, but fairly often, he is overtaken by misfortunes which make him taste at least some retribution of his oppression during his life of the mortal world. This is what Shaykh Sa'di, mercy be on him, said in a Persian couplet:
The oppressor presumed that he had hit me. But his weapon boomeranged back into his neck while it sailed past me!
The noble Qur'an has an approach which is wise, and a style that is special, when it does not describe law in the manner penal laws of the world are described. It rather explains its injunctions in a sympathetic and persuasive manner, showing its wisdom and describing the series of losses man suffers while acting against it, which, if duly understood, will render one incapable of embarking on such crimes. So, behind every law there comes the reminder that man must fear Allah and that man should never forget his accountability in the Hereafter.
That is, And remember the grace of Allah on you and what He has revealed to you of the Book and the wisdom giving you good counsel thereby. And fear Allah, and be sure that Allah is all-knowing in respect of everything' -- It means: He knows the secrets hidden in your hearts, your intentions and your purposes. Therefore, when you have to release your wife from your marriage bond by giving divorce, you should do so with the intention of avoiding mutual disputes, loss of mutual rights and doing injustice, and not with the intention of releasing anger on your wife or disgracing or hurting her.
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