Islam and the Quran

Delegation of Divorce Right To Women

Question: I would like to ask you about the right of divorce delegated to a woman at the time of marriage by her husband. Does Quran and Sunnah/Hadith support its validity?

There is no concept in Quran as “delegation of the right of divorce”. It is not possible and there is no need for it. According to Quran, both parties in marriage have a natural right to divorce. Men’s right to divorce is called talaq and women’s right to divorce is called iftidaa.

A woman is one of two parties in marriage. She doesn’t need to be represented by her father or anyone. She marries in the supervision of her Wali and witnesses. She has no obstacle on divorcing from her husband whenever she wishes. Women are not some commodity. They are human and they are not any different than men in terms of human rights.

Allah the Almighty commands:
“(…)Women have equivalent rights and responsibilities (in marriage) according to the acceptable terms.(…)” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:228)
If a woman wishes to divorce from her husband, she has to give him back what she received as Mahr.
Allah the Almighty commands:
“(…)If you worry that they will not be able to keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame upon them if she sets herself free by giving back out of what she received.(…)” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:229)
There is an example of women divorcing their husbands in Qur’an.
Allah the Almighty commands:
“Believers! When believing women come to you as emigrants, test them. Allah knows their true faith. If you think them to be believing women, do not send them back to those concealers. Those women are no longer lawful to them, nor are they lawful to those women. Send them (their ex-husbands) what they gave (as mahr). There is no blame upon you to marry those women when you give them their mahr. Do not hold on to your marriages with concealer women. Request what you gave (to them as mahr) and let them (divorced men like you) request what they spent (to their ex-wives as mahr). Such is Allah’s command. He judges between you. Allah knows and judges rightly.(Al-Mumtahanah/ The Examined One 60:10)
As you see, the phrase “those women are no longer lawful to them, nor are they lawful to those women” shows that emigrant women were divorced from their husbands. These are the words of Allah.

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