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Our Islamic Legal Services team discuss Islamic Divorce

Avid fans of Eastenders will have seen ‘Masood’, a Muslim husband, give his onscreen wife ‘Zainab’ a ‘Talaq’ (an Islamic divorce) in the episode aired on Monday 26th September 2011. By having pronounced ‘Talaq’ three times in succession, it appeared that he had divorced his wife with immediate and devastating effect.  A member of our Islamic Legal Services team says that in the context the show appeared, divorce and family law have long been misunderstood.The Quran expressly sets out the method of divorce. Simply put, an Islamic divorce requires:
  • a statement of divorce;
  • attempts at reconciliation mediated by representatives from each side; and
  • a waiting period of 3 menstrual cycles by the wife (to ensure that any children of the marriage are financially supported by the husband) during which the wife can remain at home financially supported by the husband
Only one divorce should be pronounced, leaving room for reconciliation. If three divorces have taken place, the couple cannot reconcile as this would make a mockery of divorce. Various forms of Talaq have naturally developed over time and different cultures. The 'triple Talaq', when three divorces are given at once, is called 'talaq bid'a' (‘disapproved’) or ‘talaq ghaleeza’ (‘filthy’) which shows that it is the most detested form of divorce and in most Muslims’ eyes, amounts to a sin. Whilst a minority of Muslim scholars accept the triple Talaq, the vast majority denounce its practice strongly. For example, it is not recognised as legal in most Muslim countries. Islam requires that a divorce is given in kindness and only when it is the very last resort. This may not make such dramatic TV, but is vastly preferable for everyone! It now remains to be seen how Zainab will deal with the aftershocks of this crude divorce.If you have any queries regarding Islamic divorce, please do not hesitate to contact our Islamic Legal Services team on 0800 884 0110 or email ‘islamiclegal@rjw.co.uk’.

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