Duties & Responsibilities upon a Man after Divorce

Question:

In Islam if a husband divorced his wife, what is his responsibilities after divorce and for what period? And is it incumbent upon him to give her anything after divorce?

Answer:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We begin by commending your pursuit and eagerness to seek the teachings of Islam, and we appreciate the great confidence you have in us.

In Islam there are two types of divorces:

(1) At-talaaq al baa-in (irrevocable divorce)

(2) At-talaaq-ar-raj’ee (revocable divorce)

In the case of an irrevocable divorce, the marriage is immediately terminated and both man and woman becomes total strangers to each other and hence the laws of hijab will be applicable.

In the case of a revocable divorce the couple will remain as husband and wife. The matrimonial relationship (Nikah) will continue to exist. Except if the waiting period has elapsed and the husband did not exercise Raja’h (i.e. return to his wife).In such a case the marriage/nikah will be terminated and the couple will be total stranger to each other.

Raja’h, within the waiting period, can be done in three ways:[1]

  1. Intercourse
  2. Touch/kiss/caress with desire
  3. Speech e.g. “I take you back as my wife”

The waiting period of a divorced woman is three complete menstrual cycles, whether the time involved is long or short (i.e. the moment she becomes pure from the third menses). If however, a woman does not menstruate, either because she is very young or old and past menopause, then her waiting period is three lunar months.

In the case of a pregnant woman, until she delivers her child, whether that is a long time or a short one.

When a man divorces his wife he still has responsibilities and obligations upon him, some of which will last until her waiting period is completed. This irrespective of whether the he issued one two or three divorces, and irrespective of whether he issued a revocable or irrevocable divorce.

These obligations and responsibilities include the following:

(1) Residence -A woman has the right to stay in the house of the husband after the divorce provided that she is not troublesome and intolerable. It is the duty of the husband to house and shelter her until her waiting period has elapsed.

Allah ﷻ mentions in the Holy Quran      

أَسكِنوهُنَّ مِن حَيثُ سَكَنتُم مِن وُجدِكُم

House the (divorced) women where you live, according to your mean (65:4)

NB: If the woman refuses to remain at her matrimonial house, she will not entitled to any financial support [2]

(2) Maintenance – It is obligatory upon the man to financially support his divorced wife. The financial situation of the man is a decisive factor in determining the degree of expenditure and maintenance.

Both residence and maintenance are obligatory upon the husband whether the divorce was revocable or irrevocable.[3]

NB– If the marriage was not consummated there will be no waiting period hence no lodging and no maintenance. If however there existed al-khalwa (privacy/seclusion) a waiting period will follow.[4]

(3) Loans and Debts– Whatever debts incurred by either spouse while married to each other will remain his/her responsibility after divorce. Except in cases where the wife acted as an agent, transacting on behalf of the husband, in such cases the husband will be fully responsible for payment of all loans and debts resulting from such transactions. This is regardless if such transactions were initiated for the benefit and welfare of the wife.

(3) Muta’h- It is recommended by the Shariah that the husband gives to his wife muta’h, which is a gift or consolation payment after divorcing her.

Allah ﷻ mentions:

وَلِلْمُطَلَّقَاتِ مَتَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ

And for divorced women, muta’h (gift) on reasonable (scale). This is a duty on Al-Muttaqin (the pious).

This muta’h (gift) is something recommended and not obligatory upon the husband. Except in the case where a marriage took place without a mahr (dowry) being stipulated and thereafter a divorce occurred, without the marriage being consummated. In such a case mut’ah is obligatory [5] upon the ex-husband. He is however, not obliged to give a muta’h which exceeds the value of half the mahr (dowry) normally given to such a woman (i.e. ex-wife).[6] Mut’ah can also be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Other legal obligations upon the man after the occurrence of divorce:

(A) Mahr (dowry) all outstanding dowry must be paid, if not, the man will remain indebted, unless the woman absolves him of it.

(B) Child Maintenance– The man will have to financially support his male children who have not yet reached the maturity (bulugh) as at this age they are able to earn their livelihood. If however he has a mature child who is disabled and cannot earn a livelihood he will have to financially support him. With regards to his daughters, he should provide for them until they get married.

His responsibilities entails; their housing, clothing, food and Islamic education.

However, if the father is poor and has no money to spend on his children, then the mother should spend on her children if she is able to do so, and she has no right to ask him for compensation.

NB: Child Maintenance is obligatory even though the children are living with the mother.

(C) Custody-The mother has the right to the custody of the children, as for a male child, until he can physically take care of himself (viz. eating drinking, toileting by himself) which is approximately seven years of age. As for a girl child until bulugh (maturity). Thereafter, custody will be the right of the father. The issue of custody of the child can also be resolved by both parents through mutual agreement.

NB– If the mother is neglectful of her duties towards her children or she re-marries to someone who is not a relative to the child then the right of custody will be given to the female blood relatives of the child with the closest in relation given the first preference.

(D) Inheritance- In the event of the demise of the husband or wife after a revocable divorce, the laws of Islamic Inheritance will also be applicable. One will inherit from the other provided that the waiting period has not elapsed.

If however the divorce was irrevocable none will inherit from the other.

 

 

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Kaleem Muhammad

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

[1] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (3/ 183)

[ركن الرجعة]

وأما ركن الرجعة فهو قول أو فعل يدل على الرجعة: أما القول فنحو أن يقول لها: راجعتك أو رددتك أو رجعتك أو أعدتك أو راجعت امرأتي أو راجعتها أو رددتها أو أعدتها، ونحو ذلك؛ لأن الرجعة رد، وإعادة إلى الحالة الأولى، ولو قال لما نكحتك أو تزوجتك كان رجعة في ظاهر الرواية

 

بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (3/ 183)

وأما الفعل الدال على الرجعة فهو أن يجامعها أو يمس شيئا من أعضائها لشهوة أو ينظر إلى فرجها عن شهوة أو يوجد شيء من ذلك

[2] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (3/ 210)

وهكذا نقول فيمن خرجت من بيت زوجها في عدتها أو كان منها سبب أوجب الخروج أنها لا تستحق النفقة ما دامت في بيت غير الزوج

[3] اللباب في الجمع بين السنة والكتاب (2/ 700)

وَقَوله تَعَالَى: {وَإِن كن أولات حمل} . انتظمت المبتوتة والرجعية.

 

[4] البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (3/ 166)

(قوله وتجب العدة فيها) أي تجب العدة على المطلقة بعد الخلوة احتياطا، وإنما أفرد هذا الحكم مع أنه معلوم ومن جعلها كالوطء؛ لأن هذا الحكم لا يخص الصحيحة بل حكم الخلوة ولو فاسدة احتياطا استحسانا لتوهم الشغل والعدة حق الشرع والولد لأجل النسب فلا تصدق في إبطال حق الغير بخلاف المهر؛ لأنه مال لا يحتاط في إيجابه،

[5] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 303)

(وأما) الذي تستحب فيه المتعة، فهو الطلاق بعد الدخول، والطلاق قبل الدخول في نكاح فيه تسمية، وهذا عندنا.

[6] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 304)

(وأما) تفسير المتعة الواجبة، فقد قال أصحابنا: إنها ثلاثة أثواب درع، وخمار، وملحفة وهكذا روي عن الحسن، وسعيد بن المسيب، وعطاء، والشعبي هـ

بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 304)

ثم المتعة الواجبة لا تزاد على نصف مهر المثل بل هو نهاية المتعة لا مزيد عليه هـ