10 NOV 2014
Talaq, Khula, Faskh and Tafweedh: The different methods of Islamic separation - Part 1
A lot of my Muslim clients tell me about how they have separated from an Islamic point of view. It is the view amongst Muslims all over the world that when they marry, they should first marry in the eyes of God and if there is a separate, civil registry to be performed, then that can be done at a later date. This is sometimes put off indefinitely as the couple are quite often of the view that they have performed the main ceremony, the Islamic Nikah ceremony. This is especially true of Muslims in Britain, previously discussed in my article, ‘The Big Islamic Nikah Myth’.
So when Muslims separate, a similar mindset operates and they are of the view that the Islamic separation must be done as soon as possible so that they are no longer married in the eyes of God. Unfortunately this is where the problems begin. Divorce (Talaq) in Islam is permissible, however, due to the cultural traditions of the Muslims in the UK (a big majority hailing from the Asian sub-continent), it is still very much frowned upon.
This has led to very little education within Muslims as to the correct method of pronouncing Talaq because it is still very much a taboo subject. And as is always the case when there is ignorance on any matter, this has led to many divorces being pronounced by Muslims in an incorrect manner, which although still effective, have had devastating consequences on the separating couples and their families. This is important because, as you will see later on, the type of separation used affects various factors within the marriage, such as the scope for reconciliation and the repayment (or not) of the dowry (Mehr) by the wife.
The Islamic Methods of Separation
There are 4 main methods of separation in Islam:
• Granting of Divorce by the Husband – Talaq
• Separation by way of consent between the parties – Khula
• Dissolution of Marriage – Faskh-e-Nikah
• When the power of Talaq is transferred to the Wife – Tafweedh-e-Talaq
Unlike English law where neither of the parties have the power of granting divorce and it is in the hands of the Judge, Islamic law puts the power in the hands of the man or the woman (depending on the type of separation used). Furthermore, each of the above mentioned methods is a different type of separation which can be effected by different parties.
For example, Talaq is the unilateral right of the man and can only be given by him. However, if he agrees to transfer his power of Talaq, then the wife will also have the same right, known as Tafweedh-e-Talaq.
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