By: Fatima Subhan
Student of B.A III YEAR
An oft-quoted ḥadīth in regards to divorce is the following:
“Indeed, the most detested thing from [what is] permissible, with Allah, is divorce.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah]
Divorce is something that is very much discouraged in Islam. Aaccording to one of the Hadith of the Prophet Sal Allahu
alayhi wa Sallam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ‘the most hateful thing that is permissible.’”
Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (ra) narrated:
“Don’t divorce women except when you doubt them because Allah does not like the male or female taster (one who seeks trying many of the other genders).” (Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al- Waseet, Vol. Vol. 8, p. 24, al-Num’ani, al-Lubab fi Ulum al-
Kitab, Vol. 17, p. 145)
It was also narrated the Prophet (saw) said:
“If any woman asks her husband for divorce without good
reason, the odour of Paradise will be forbidden to her.” (Abu Dawud 2226, Ibn Majah 2055, Tirmidhi 1187)
While divorce is a painful and stressful
process, divorce is neither good nor bad.
Most people experience major losses during their divorce—loss of future dreams, loss of family life as they knew it, loss of the familiar and financial loss. In spite of these losses, most people say that they do not regret their divorce and go on to lead fulfilling lives post-divorce, with the great majority recoupling within three years. There are, however, good and bad divorces. Good divorces allow for continuing family relationships, minimizing the emotional and financial losses, and ensuring that children
suffer no long-term consequences. In bad divorces, anger escalates and post-divorce family relationships are destroyed. Children are often the damaged as a result. Divorce is the socially and legally recognized dissolution of a marriage. Like marriage, it is governed by a variety of cultural and legal regulations that show how difficult it is to accomplish and the social and personal consequences it produces. Sometimes, the dissolution is by stages, for example, in a sequence of avoidance, suit for separate maintenance, legal separation, and finally an absolute divorce. A couple with high expectations of marital bliss, but relatively little marital disorganization, may seek divorce as an exit from marriage. The demographic approach stresses the changing prevalence of divorce in various countries. In a finding by M. Le Balance in 1997, it was found that youths were more violent than thirty years ago and one reason for that was the breaking down of the family unit. Sociologists have pointed out the similarities in the process of adjustment that are required by divorce or bereavement. In both, a set of role relations has been found to be disrupted and adjustments are required throughout the family network. Each marriage relationship is unique in many ways. It is not always possible to find an appropriate replacement for the missing partner. Apparently, in all societies,
the death of spouse creates an obligation for kinfolk and friends to help the bereaved person, to offer solace, to make small or large gestures of support. In divorce, even when one spouse is very unhappy about the divorce, only a few very close friends may feel any obligation to offer emotional solace. Divorce in Various Cultures and Tribes Obtaining divorce varies from culture to culture. Among Muslims, divorce is only the husband’s privilege; and he can have it even without assigning a cause. Divorce can be obtained by merely repeating three times the formula of repudiation (Talaq) in the presence of at least two witnesses. A husband has to pay ‘meher’, which is a settlement, to the wife out of his property to compensate her in the event of divorce. Under certain circumstances, Islamic law does give a wife the permission of unilateral action. Are you interested in knowing about the process of divorce among the tribes? In the case of Khasis, a tribe from Meghalaya, divorce is permitted for reasons of adultery, barrenness and incompatibility of temperament. The separation can take place only after mutual consent. There is no possibility of remarriage between two such people who have separated by divorce. The divorce is obtained in a public ceremony. Among the Gonds (tribe), divorce can be obtained on grounds of marital infidelity, carelessness in household work, barrenness and quarrelsome disposition. The initiative may be taken either by a husband or wife. The Kharias (tribe) allow divorce on grounds of marital infidelity, sterility, laziness, refusal of the wife to live with her husband and theft. Among the Hindus, divorce can be obtained with the help of law–the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.Among the Christians, there are two popularly known denominations, namely the Catholics, who owe allegiance to the Pope and the Protestants. Catholics do not officially accept the possibility of divorce, though they accept the possibility of declaring a marriage annulled. This means that the marriage was right from the beginning null and void due to certain reasons like prior impotence, serious deception, etc. Protestants are more lenient with regard to the question of divorce and remarriage.
Divorce and its Effects
Any change from the present situation to another situation creates disruptions in life. Divorce is a devastating situation for both the partners. The partners, who got united because of a shared goal or for proximity, when faced with the actual situation of divorce, take some time to adjust to the new situation. While the divorce process is in progress, and for some time afterward, both parties are likely to feel personally rejected, cheated in the economic arrangements, misrepresented legally, bitter about the co-partner arrangements, lonely because they have lost a friend, and afraid of living alone. This disrupting process gives rise to many behavioural changes among the partners and those who are also affected directly or indirectly by it. Let us analyze some of these effects one by one.
1) Stress 195 Stress can be defined as a bodily reaction that can occur in response to either internal, cognitive stimuli or external environmental stimuli. A stimulus that causes stress is known as a stressor. The stress, which is experienced, consists of bodily responses, increased heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth, rapid breathing and so forth. The stressors producing these responses are our own internal reactions or comments of our friends and neighbours. Significant events, such as marriage, death of a family member and divorce disrupt normal life and cause more stress. These stressful life events may have negative effect on health. In a scale developed for ranking the stressful life events, divorce acquires the second rank; it has been rated as a chronic stressor. As stated earlier, stressful events lead the body to undergo several minor or major physiological changes. These changes are very important to understand because they can lower the body’s resistance to disease. The fact that many diseases are either caused by or made far worse by stress, has been accepted by the medical practitioners as well. Even before the divorce is legalized, the partners have to undergo many legalities, which are painful for them. All the more, it is a human tendency that after the process has been initiated, there’s no turning back because it hurts the ego of the partners. The process of divorce somehow makes the partners think about their past in which they remember the happy times as well. It creates mental stress among the partners, which is sometimes followed by physical stress.
2) Low Self-esteem and a Feeling of Failure The divorce sometimes leaves a negative effect of reduced self-esteem on the partners. It can affect one’s performance in day-to-day activities.
3) Rise in Aggressiveness or Anger Many a times, the negative emotions may lead to mental imbalance of the people, which can result in raised anger or aggression in the temperament.
4) Depression Divorce has been rated as the second main cause of stress for the partners and their children. The process tires a person mentally as well as physically, sometimes resulting in depression and sense of regret.
5) Rise in Delinquency It has been found through various studies that the major percentage of the delinquents and rise in crime among the young people result from children coming from broken homes or a single parent family. Marriage is strongly institutionalized, not just in India but everywhere in the world and is a preferred context for intimate relations. It is the cornerstone of family life. Marriage offers stability, providing an atmosphere of love, encouragement, acceptance and trust. With the practice of divorce, all of these lose their meaning as well as leave a negative impact on the partners as well as the children. The close relatives of the partners also get affected by its negative impact. Effects of Divorce I will discuss the effects of divorce under the three broad headings given below:
i) Effect on the children
II)Effect on the partners
iii) Effect on the family.
IV)Effect on Children Children are the direct sufferers by the dissolution of the marriage. The incapability of the adults to get along well affects the child negatively. Single parenting is a difficult situation for the child in all the stages of his/ her growth. In the infancy stage, the child misses the affection of both the parents, as one of the parents is not present and one parent may not be able to substitute the other. Children are distressed when their parents divorce. Children under the age of five may react with rage and grief. The older children grasp the situation better, but sometimes tend to blame themselves. The adolescents, who themselves are in a situation of identity crisis; feel socially embarrassed by the breakup. This deprivation of an affectionate relationship is most damaging in early childhood. Deprivation can ruin the self-concept of the child in childhood. It can show its implication in late adulthood too. Like a person who is hungry for food, a person starving for affection becomes irritable and unreasonable. Sometimes, these emotional behaviours vary from mild irritability to severe psychoses. The specific effects of emotional deprivation have been reported to be:
Physical – The physical symptoms are restlessness, loss of appetite, quietness, general apathy and psychosomatic illness.
Social – The social behaviour of the child gets affected, which results in handicaps in learning how to get along with people, lack of responsiveness to the advances of others, lack of co-operation and hostility towards others.
Emotional – The children of the divorced parents lack emotional responsiveness. They sometimes develop deep related feelings of insecurity, anti-social behaviour, restlessness, anxiety, temper tantrums and many other forms of maladaptive behaviours. Apart from these, many delinquents were and are found to be children from broken homes.
ii) Introduction to Family Life Education Effect on Partners As stated earlier, divorce causes a devastating experience for both the partners. The two persons, who have been hitherto sharing a common goal, separate, which gives an emotional as well as social shock to both of them. Emotional shock in terms of the habit of staying together, fulfilling the needs of each other, caring and the bond of love, which suddenly comes as a shock. Though the capability of adjusting oneself to a particular situation is a typical feature of the human species, divorce takes time and many a times, the vacuum remains for a lifetime. In Indian society, divorce is not welcomed whole heartedly by most people. The process of divorce for a middle class family becomes socially intolerable. Among the lower socio-economic strata of the Indian society, divorce is not very common. Usually, people do not face the society’s disapproval even if one leaves his/her present partner and starts living with another. Very often, they do not go for the legal process to obtain divorce. For middle class people, informal sanction of the society becomes very important. Queries about partner and children can be a source of mental tension for some time. iii) Effect on the Family Divorce is predominantly an urban phenomenon. Regarding marriage, Kirkpatrick says, “the essence of the contract is consent with full expectation of exclusiveness and indissolubility”. In other words, the idea of marriage as sacred made it dissoluble. Though divorce takes place between the two partners, who united as a result of marriage, the family is also affected in the process. The growing rate of divorce and the breaking down of the family unit is posing as a societal threat. Family,
Which is the basic unit of the society, is negatively affected by the quitting of the partners from the marriage bond. Children, an important part of the family, are the worst sufferers of divorce. Even the parents of the divorced partners also face difficulty to cope up with the situation. Other than the causes discussed above, some other factors like migration and subsequent separation also lead to divorce..
Possible reasons for the failure of marriage through divorce, almost count The marriage of two unique characters different backgrounds can live together under one roof. This is perhaps the main reason for divorce before the marriage, a marriage on the other hand, the expectation is over the limit. These expectations include: social status, sex, reputation, physical health, job security and the role a person expects from his wife. Passionate love in modern societies, marriage is considered an important factor. Before marriage, a couple believe their love to each other as long as that does not subside, come on every problem can be overcome. They soon recognize Their former love for the fire subsides And to solve their problems should learn to use a more practical way.
What can couples do to avoid divorce?
The scholors recommends the following steps to couples who are in difficulty:
1. Both spouses should have the fear of Allah. They should remember that if they are unfair to their spouse, they will be judged on their behavior by Allah.
2. They should try to resolve the problem amongst themselves, then within family members
3. They should not hesitate to involve other members of the community. For instance, they should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to meet and speak with their local Imam (if he is someone fair and trustworthy to the husband and the wife).
4. Seek counseling, preferably from a Muslim counselor. If that is not possible than from a non-Muslim counselor. However, they should be aware of Islamic guidelines so they can take advice from that which is in line with Islamic values.
“As physically we can get sick, our relations also can get sick sometimes,”The sooner we take care of this problem the better. We should not prolong it. We should resolve the differences as soon as possible and as much as possible. But when problems go on and on, then the wounds will grow. Its recommended that Muslim couples draft a prenuptial agreement and specify that all conflicts in marriage should be resolved islamically and in the case of divorce, this process, if it happens, is also handled in a manner in line with Islamic guidelines.
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