“I can’t tolerate being in this marriage anymore. I just have to get divorced!”
Does this thought ever go through your mind? Especially after yet another fight with your significant other, or the consistency of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of your spouse/in-laws?
Before you jump the gun and do something drastic and irrational, you should first pause and think about the reality of what you are contemplating.
In order to do this, you have to ask yourself some deeply important questions that will impact your future, once you have calmed down and are able to think rationally.
Is the Problem In Your Marriage Solvable?
The most obvious question that needs consideration is whether the cause of your desire for divorcing your spouse, has a significant chance of going away with time and mutual effort, or not.
For example, factors such as relocation to a new country, oppression at the hands of in-laws, temporary inability to conceive a child, mental immaturity and stubborn behavior, lack of ability to find and keep a job, mild physical or mental illness, a casual fling that is over and regretted — all these are examples of temporary issues causing turbulence in marriage, which can get sorted out over time, with the will and help of Allah.
These situations definitely have potential for seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and can be solved with mutual discussion, therapy, rehabilitation, and patience, over a span of time.
What is Your Spouse’s Attitude and Religiosity?
This is another very significant factor that should be considered, in order to determine whether divorce really is the solution to your marital woes or not.
What is your spouse’s attitude towards seeking a solution to your problems? How do they react and behave during and after an argument, or a big fight?
Do they eventually admit their mistake? Most importantly, how obedient and humble are they before Allah? Do they adhere to the obligations of Islam, or at least want to? Or do they sincerely desire to improve as a Muslim? Do they acknowledge their sins as sins, or are they defiantly unapologetic and unashamed about them?
You must remain rational and see things as they really are. For example, a spouse who slipped and had an affair with a coworker, or suffers from a pornography addiction, but regrets this sin deeply and is willing to repent for it and move on. Such a spouse is still better than one who is morally pure, but nevertheless unapologetically disbelieves in one or more of the articles of the Islamic faith.
The former involves the case of temporary blackness of major sins upon an otherwise good, humble heart, whereas the latter is a more serious case of a heart on the brink of disbelief, even if outward character is good.
Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire?
This is perhaps the single, most prudent factor that many who are married, often younger people, tend to overlook when they hastily decide to go for divorce.
Divorce is not merely a means of escape from a painful and abusive situation. It is an often irreversible decision that has long-term effects upon more than one person, often for life. It has social, financial, familial, economic and psychological repercussions, all of which require much effort and patience to readjust to.
Most often, it affects the divorcee’s whole family, particularly their parents, siblings, and children. Change of living arrangements post-split, as well as economic circumstances, directly affect these relationships further once the divorce has taken place.
Single parenting is never easy, nor is marriage to someone who already has a child from a previous marriage.
Many married people who contemplate divorce often do not realize that they will need to work very hard afterwards in order to support not just themselves, but also their children as well as elderly parents.
Often, this will need to be done single-handedly, and this hardship could have negative ripple effects on their entire family.
Not to mention, getting married again will require even harder work and adjustment. It is doable, but tough to pull off.
Pause, Turn to Allah, and Do Istikharah
Often, it is the younger, more inexperienced lot who tend to view divorce only through the single-angled lens of release from a union that has become toxic and painful. Their lack of life experience and knowledge of the realities of life can often make them lose patience quickly.
They can even become totally hopeless at often trivial marital matters that, if left to sort themselves out naturally, can get successfully resolved, with time, age, and forbearance.
Therefore, in order to ensure that they do not regret it in the future, it is imperative for a Muslim to perform sincere istikharah prayers before deciding to go for divorce with finality.
Lastly, it is also highly recommended that they read up on, and adhere to, the laws and code of ethics of divorce in Islam, in order to earn rewards instead of sins even during this painful but decisive turning point in their life.
Conclusion: Divorce for the Right Reasons, is a Blessing
The Quran contains many verses detailing the ethics of divorce, including an entire chapter titled upon this topic.
Divorce in Islam is a welcome and cherished blessing for someone whose marriage is making them lose their religiosity and faith.
In addition, it provides relief and emancipation to someone putting up with unabating oppression, anguish, emotional turmoil, and even physical harm. A Muslim should never allow or put up with constant, deliberate abuse, exploitation, injustice, or oppression.
For such tormented souls, Allah says reassuringly in the Quran:
But if they separate [by divorce], Allah will enrich each [of them] from His abundance. And ever is Allah Encompassing and Wise. (4:130)