Thursday, October 15, 2009

Al-Khul’: The Woman’s Choice

Published on Friday, October 09, 2009)

The situation in which the wife initiates divorce proceedings is known as Khul’a or Khul’i. It is a compensation given to a husband by his wife who desires divorce. Once the husband agrees to divorce her in exchange for some money or the remission of her dower, the divorce is known as Talaq. It is valid as the Talaq given by the man of his own initiative. Khul’i depends upon the agreement reached between the two parties. If the husband agrees to give Talaq provided that his wife either abandon her right to the dower (if the dower has not yet been paid) or return back the amount of the dower to the husband (if the dower had been paid). In the time of the Prophet (SAW), the wife of one of his Sahaba (companions), Thabit bin Qais, asked for Talaq from her husband because she did not like him. The Prophet (SAW) asked her to return back to him the garden he gave to her at the time of marriage as dower. She accepted this demand and got the Talaq.
In the holy Qur’an, Allah (SWT) said, “If you fear that they (the spouses) may not uphold the boundaries of Allah, then there is no harm upon the two of them (spouses) in the ransom offered by her (wife).” (Q1:229)
However, why should a woman seek divorce? A thorough research conducted recently by Women’s Right Advancement And Protection Alternative (WRAPA) under the auspices of the Islamic Family Law (IFL) project in seven north-western states in Nigeria revealed that women are undergoing a lot of torments in the society, thus, If a woman is unable to endure with her husband and is unable to fulfill her rights as a wife, who will be answerable? Will her parents or the society intercede for her on the Day of Judgment?
Though, Islam condemns male chauvinism, we see chauvinism obvious among many Muslim societies. Even in the case of divorce, a male easily gives Talaq to his wife if he is unable to endure with her. But it isn’t the same with the wife. In fact, she is asked to be patient all the time, instead of using her own right to end a relationship, without having a look to understand how they can neglect the rights given to them by Allah (SWT).
Therefore, at a validation meeting attended by 62 Islamic scholars, jurists and academicians at Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, WRAPA, under its IFL projects, in its contributions towards creating awareness and empowering women, resolved in a communique that the Khul’i be limited to the only Sadaq (dowry) paid by the husband. Where a husband has paid the Sadaq far above the normal, the Qadi (judge) should use his discreation to decided on what is reasonabe and affordable for the wife to pay.
Although, before reaching this conclusion, a lot of things were put into consideration. First, some observers view that by resolving to a low scale of the Khul’i, payment, it gives women an easy way to ask for divorce and probably, it may become detriment to the society once women were at liberty to seek divorce without austere measures, but the scholars argued that no woman wants her marriage crashed, but there are some instances whereby women are being denied certain marital rights and because of the culture of the husbands cajole then into being patients, they remain in their houses without given due consideration. “If you agree with me, a lot of women are silently dying due to one problems or the other. They are being denied their certain rights, for example, conjugal rights, some husbands fervidly deny their wives their matrimonial rights simply because they have alternatives, they keep mistresses outside. Therefore, what will be the faith of their innocent wives, who have no any alternative?” One of the WRAPA officials sighted.
Unfortunately, in some societies it is culturally unacceptable that a woman should be aware of her rights, and that she might actually wish to exercise those rights! Many brand the woman with ugly names, such as adulteress, psychic, possessed by Jinn, masculine, arrogant, etc., just for intending to seek her conjugal rights ordained by Allah (SWT) if she noticed the husband is not forthcoming.
When a Muslim woman seeks a Khul’i, she often must endure constant mental and physical torment from her neighbors, friends, even family who do not understand that this is her God’s given right, and no shame should follow upon it.
These are some of the reasons why most women chose to remain silent, enduring painful and lifeless marital situations. First and formost, the cultural bindings. In our northern societies, the culture of Alkunya affects the marital institution, so much so that certain issues are ignored or abolished due to this fact. Eventually, they later turn out to be detrimental to our family affairs.
I have been wanting to come up with issues relating to family affairs in our modern societies because I have come to undertand that a lot of marriages crashes not because the couples subscribed for the hurtle, but because of some impediments.
In our subsequent discussions, I will share with you instances where women call to seek advice or counselling for their marimonial wahala. Meanwhile, is Khul’i a recipe or techniques for eradicating women snags in their matrimonial lives?

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