65 - At Talaq (Divorce)

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 65.1


O Prophet, meaning [to address] his community, on account of what follows; or, [it means] say to them: when you [men] divorce women, when you intend to [effect a] divorce, divorce them by their prescribed period, at the beginning of it, such that the divorce is effected while she is pure and has not been touched [sexually], based on the Prophet’s (s) explaining it in this way, [as] reported by the two Shaykhs [al-Bukhārī and Muslim]. And count the prescribed period, keep record of it, so that you may repeal [your decision] before it is concluded; and fear God your Lord, obey Him in His commands and prohibitions. Do not expel them from their houses, nor let them go forth, from them until their prescribed period is concluded, unless they commit a blatant [act of] indecency, [such as] adultery (read mubayyana or mubayyina, corresponding [respectively] to buyyinat, ‘one that has been proven’, and bayyina, ‘blatant’), in which case they are brought out in order to carry out the [prescribed] legal punishment against them. And those, mentioned [stipulations], are God’s bounds; and whoever transgresses the bounds of God has verily wronged his soul. You never know: it may be that God will bring something new to pass afterwards, [after] the divorce, [such as] a retraction, in the event that it was the first or second [declaration of divorce].

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women, put them away for their (legal) period…) [65:1]. Qatadah reported that Anas said: “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, divorced Hafsah and so Allah, exalted is, revealed this verse. It was said to him: ‘Take her back, for she is one who fasts often and stands up in night vigil prayer’ often, and she is one of your wives in the Garden’ ”. Al-Suddi said: “This verse was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar who divorced his wife while she was in her menses. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, ordered him to take her back and keep her until the period of her menses was over and then wait again until she was in her menses. When she became pure, he was free to divorce her provided that he did not sleep with her before that, for this was the waiting period which Allah has commanded to observe”. Mansur ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab ibn Ahmad al-Shalanji> Abu ‘Amr Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hiri> Muhammad ibn Zanjawayh> ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Yahya> al-Layth ibn Sa‘d> Nafi‘> Ibn ‘Umar who divorced his wife one single divorce while she was still in her menses. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded him to keep her until the period of her menses was over. He had then to wait until she was in her period, and if he was still determined to divorce, he had to wait until her period was over, provided that he did not sleep with her before divorcing her. This was the waiting period in which Allah, exalted is He, has ordered that women be divorced. This was narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from Qutaybah and al-Layth respectively.

Ibn Al Kathir

There is a Period during which Divorced Women remain in Their Homes

The Prophet was addressed first in this Ayah, to honor him, even though his Ummah is also being addressed in Allah's statement,

يأيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَآءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ

(O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their `Iddah) Al-Bukhari recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar divorced his wife, during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger, while she was menstruating. `Umar bin Al-Khattab mentioned that to Allah's Messenger. Allah's Messenger became angry and said,

«لِيُرَاجِعْهَا ثُمَّ يُمْسِكْهَا حَتْى تَطْهُرَ، ثُمَّ تَحِيضَ فَتَطْهُرَ، فَإِنْ بَدَا لَهُ أَنْ يُطَلِّقَهَا، فَلْيُطَلِّقْهَا طَاهِرًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَمَسَّهَا، فَتِلْكَ الْعِدَّةُ الَّتِي أَمَرَ بِهَا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَل»

(Order him to take her back and keep her until she is clean from her menses, and then to wait until she gets her next period and becomes clean again. Then, if he wishes to divorce her, he can divorce her when she is clean from her menses, before he has sexual intercourse with her. This is the `Iddah which Allah the Exalted and Most Honored has fixed.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in several parts of his Sahih. Muslim collected this Hadith and his narration uses these words,

«فَتِلْكَ الْعِدَّةُ الَّتِي أَمَرَ اللهُ أَنْ يُطَلَّقَ لَهَا النِّسَاء»

(This is the `Iddah which Allah has fixed for the women being divorced.) In his Sahih, Muslim has recorded a Hadith which is a more appropriate version from a narration of Ibn Jurayj who said that Abu Az-Zubayr informed him that he heard `Abdur-Rahman bin Ayman, the freed slave of `Azzah, questioning `Abdullah bin `Umar. And Abu Az-Zubayr heard the question, "What about a man who divorces his wife while she is still on her menses'' `Abdullah answered, "During the time of Allah's Messenger, `Abdullah bin `Umar divorced his wife who was menstruating in the life time of Allah's Messenger. So Allah's Messenger said:


(Let him take her back.) so she returned and he said:

«إِذَا طَهُرَتْ فَلْيُطَلِّقْ أَوْ يُمْسِك»

(When she is pure, then either divorce or keep her.) `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "Allah's Messenger recited this Ayah: (ياأَيُّها النَّبِيُّ إِذا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّساءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ فِي قُبُلِ عِدَّتِهِنَّ) (O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their `Iddah) And `Abdullah (Ibn Mas`ud) commented on Allah's statement,

فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ

(divorce them at their `Iddah) He said, "Purity without intercourse.'' Similar was reported from Ibn `Umar, `Ata', Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Qatadah, Maymun bin Mihran and Muqatil bin Hayyan. It is also reported from `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak.`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas about the Ayah;

فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ

(divorce them at their `Iddah), "He does not divorce her while she is on her menses nor while she is pure if he has had intercourse during that (purity). Rather, he leaves her until she has her menses and after the menses ends, then he divorces her once.'' And `Ikrimah said about

فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ

(divorce them at their `Iddah), "The `Iddah is made up of clean- liness and the menstrual period.'' So he divorces her while it is clear that she is pregnant, or he does not due to having sex, or since he does not know if she is pregnant or not. This is why the scholars said that there are two types of divorce, one that conforms to the Sunnah and another innovated. The divorce that conforms to the Sunnah is one where the husband pronounces one divorce to his wife when she is not having her menses and without having had sexual intercourse with her after the menses ended. One could divorce his wife when it is clear that she is pregnant. As for the innovated divorce, it occurs when one divorces his wife when she is having her menses, or after the menses ends, has sexual intercourse with her and then divorces her, even though he does not know if she became pregnant or not. There is a third type of divorce, which is neither a Sunnah nor an innovation where one divorces a young wife who has not begun to have menses, the wife who is beyond the age of having menses, and divorcing one's wife before the marriage was consummated. Allah said,

وَأَحْصُواْ الْعِدَّةَ

(and count their `Iddah.) meaning, count for it and know its beginning and end, so that the `Iddah does not become prolonged for the woman and she cannot get married again,

وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ

(And have Taqwa of Allah, your Lord.) in this matter.

Spending and Housing is up to the Husband during the Revocable `Iddah Period

Allah said,

لاَ تُخْرِجُوهُنَّ مِن بُيُوتِهِنَّ وَلاَ يَخْرُجْنَ

(And turn them not out of their homes nor shall they leave,) meaning, during the duration of the `Iddah, she has the right to housing from her husband, as long as the `Iddah period continues. Therefore, the husband does not have the right to force her out of her house, nor is she allowed to leave his house, because she is still tied to the marriage contract. Allah said,

إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ

(except in case they are guilty of Fahishah Mubayyinah.) meaning that the divorced wife is not to abandon her husband's house unless she commits Fahishah Mubayyinah, in which case, she vacates her husband's house. For example, Fahishah Mubayyinah implies adultery, according to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Qilabah, Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak, Zayd bin Aslam, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi, Sa`id bin Hilal and others. Fahishah Mubayyinah implies disobeying her husband openly or when she abuses her husband's family in words and actions, according to Ubay bin Ka`b, Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and others. Allah's statement,

وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ

(And those are the set limits of Allah.) means, these are from His legislation and prohibitions,

وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ

(And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah,) meaning, whoever violates these limits, transgresses them and implements anything else besides them,

فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ

(then indeed he has wronged himself.) by doing so.

The Wisdom of `Iddah at the Husband's House

Allah said,

لاَ تَدْرِى لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ أَمْراً

(You know not, it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass.) meaning, `We commanded that the divorced wife remains in her husband's house during the `Iddah period, so that the husband might regret his action and Allah decides that the husband feels in his heart for the marriage to continue.' This way, returning to his wife will be easier for him. Az-Zuhri said that `Ubaydullah bin `Abdullah said that Fatimah bint Qays said about Allah's statement,

لاَ تَدْرِى لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ أَمْراً

(You know not, it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass.) "Taking her back.'' Similar was said by Ash-Sha`bi, `Ata', Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Ath-Thawri.

The Irrevocably Divorced Woman does not have a Right to Provisions and Accommodations from the Husba

Here the view of the scholars of the Salaf and those who follow them is that housing is not obligatory in the case of the irrevocably divorced woman. They also relied on the Hadith of Fatimah bint Qays Al-Fihriyah when her husband Abu `Amr bin Hafs divorced her the third and final time. He was away from her in Yemen at the time, and he sent her his decision to divorce her. He also sent some barley with his messenger, but she did not like the amount or method of compensation. He said, "By Allah I am not obligated to spend upon you.'' So, she went to Allah's Messenger, who said,

«لَيْسَ لَكِ عَلَيْهِ نَفَقَة»

(There is no obligation on him to spend on you.) Muslim added in his narration,

«وَلَا سُكْنَى»

(nor housing.) And he ordered her to finish her `Iddah period in the house of Umm Sharik. He then said,

«تِلْكَ امْرَأَةٌ يَغْشَاهَا أَصْحَابِي، اعْتَدِّي عِنْدَ ابْنِ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ، فَإِنَّهُ رَجُلٌ أَعْمَى تَضَعِينَ ثِيَابَك»

(She is a woman my Companions visit. Spend this period in the house of Ibn Umm Maktum, for he is a blind man; he cannot see you if you take off your garments.) Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith using another chain of narration. In his narration, the Messenger of Allah said,

«انْظُرِي يَا بِنْتَ آلِ قَيْسٍ إِنَّمَا النَّفَقَةُ وَالسُّكْنَى لِلْمَرْأَةِ عَلَى زَوْجِهَا، مَا كَانَتْ لَهُ عَلَيْهَا رَجْعَةٌ، فَإِذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ عَلَيْهَا رَجْعَةٌ فَلَا نَفَقَةَ وَلَا سُكْنَى،اخْرُجِي فَانْزِلِي عَلَى فُلَانَة»

(Look O daughter of the family of Qays! Spending and housing are required from the husband who can return to his wife. So if he does not have the right to return to her, then she does not have the right to spending and housing. So leave his house and go to so-and-so woman.) He then said,

«إِنَّهُ يُتَحَدَّثُ إِلَيْهَا، انْزِلِي عَلَى ابْنِ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ فَإِنَّهُ أَعْمَى لَا يَرَاك»

(They speak to her. Therefore, go to Ibn Umm Maktum, for he is a blind man and cannot see you.) Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani recorded that `Amir Ash-Sha`bi went to Fatimah bint Qays, sister of Ad-Dahhak bin Qays, from the tribe of Quraysh. Fatimah was married to Abu `Amr bin Hafs bin Al-Mughirah, from Bani Makhzum. She said, "Abu `Amr bin Hafs sent me his decision to divorce me while he was in an army that had gone to Yemen. I asked his friends to provide me with financial provisions and housing. They said, `He did not send us anything for that, nor did he request it from us.' I went to Allah's Messenger and said to him, `O Allah's Messenger! Abu `Amr bin Hafs divorced me, and I asked his friends to provide me with spending and housing and they said that he did not send them anything for that.' Allah's Messenger said,

«إِنَّمَا السُّكْنَى وَالنَّفَقَةُ لِلْمَرْأَةِ إِذَا كَانَ لِزَوْجِهَا عَلَيْهَا رَجْعَةٌ، فَإِذَا كَانَتْ لَا تَحِلُّ لَهُ حَتْى تَنْكِحَ زَوْجًا غَيْرَهُ:فَلَا نَفَقَةَ لَهَا وَلَا سُكْنَى»

(Spending and housing are required from the husband for his divorced wife if he can return to her. If she is not permitted for him anymore, until she marries another husband, then he does not have to provide her with spending and housing.)'' An-Nasa'i also recorded this narration.

Kashf Al-Asrar

O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them for the set period.

This explains the ruling on divorce. Although the Shariah permits divorce, God hates it, for it is the cause of separation. MuṣṬafā said, “Among the permitted things most hateful to God is divorce.”

He also said, “Take spouses and do not divorce, for the Throne shudders at divorce. Whenever a woman asks her husband for divorce, the ease of the Garden is forbidden to her.” He is saying, “Get married and do not seek divorce, for the Tremendous Throne trembles at divorce and separation. Any woman who seeks divorce from her husband without his having harmed her or made her suffer will never smell the scent of the eight paradises.”

Marriage is the cause of joining, and God loves union. Divorce is the cause of parting, and God hates separation. The wall of separation's world is affliction, and the water of separation's ocean is the bloody tears of remorse. The day of separation has no sun and the night of severance no day. If there were any drink more bitter than separation, it would have been placed on that rejected one of the Threshold, Iblis. A bowl was prepared of curses, the drink of severance and separation was poured into it, and it was put in his hand. He drank it all down, not leaving a drop. That was expressed like this: “Upon thee shall be My curse until the Day of Doom” [38:78].

The great ones of the religion have said that two goblets appeared from the Unseen. One was And he was one of the unbelievers [2:34] and the other was He is Ever-Merciful toward the faithful [33:43]. The cup of unbelief was full of the drink of separation and the cup of mercy full of the drink of union. He sent the cup of mercy on the hand of welcome with the escort of bounty to the spirit of MuṣṬafā the Arab. God says, “Surely God's bounty upon thee is magnificent” [4:113]. The cup of unbelief was given by the hand of justice with the description of abasement to Iblis the abandoned. It was said, “I shall surely fill Gehenna with thee and whosoever follows thee, all together” [38:85].

Rābiʿa ʿAdawī said, “Unbelief has the flavor of separation, and faith has the pleasure of union.

That flavor and this pleasure will appear tomorrow at the resurrection. In the plain of awe and the courtyard of harshness it will be said to one group, 'Separation without union!', and to another group, 'Union without end!'” Those burned by separation will keep on saying,

“Separation from Him turns a moment into a thousand days,

Trial from Him makes one night a thousand years.” [DS 864] Those lit up by union will keep on saying,

“On the day of caresses He pulls back union's curtain

and beats the drum of departure for separation from the Friend.”

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

That is, "O believers, you should not make undue haste in the Matter of pronouncing divorce: your minor family quarrels should not so incite you that you should pronounce the final divorce in a fit of anger and there remains no chance for reconciliation. However When you have to divorce your wives, you should divorce them for their prescribed waiting-period." Pronouncing divorce for the waiting period has two meanings and both are implied here.

This is the first meaning "divorcing for the prescribed waiting-period", which applies only to those women marriage with whom has been consummated, who menstruate and may possibly conceive. As for its second meaning it is this: "If you have to divorce your wives, you should divorce them till the expiry of their waiting-period". That is "Do not pronounce three divorces all at once leading to permanent separation, but pronounce one, or at the most two divorces, and wait till the end of the waiting-period, so that there remains some chance for reconciliation for you at any time during this period." According to this meaning; this commandment is also useful in respect of those woman marriage with whom has been consummated and who menstruate as well as of those who no longer menstruate, or those who have not yet menstruated, or those whose pregnancy at the time of the pronouncement of divorce is known. If this Divine Command is rightly followed, no one will regret after having pronounced divorce, for if divorce is pronounced in this way, there remains room for reconciliation within the waiting. period, and even after the expiry of the waiting-period the possibility remains that the separated husband and wife may remarry if they wish reconciliation.

The intention of this verse was best explained by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) himself on the occasion when Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar had divorced his wife while she was discharging the menses.. The, details of thin incident have been reported in almost all collections of Hadith and the same. in fact. are the source of the law in this connection. It so happened that when Hadrat `Abdullah divorced hi: wife while she was menstruating, Hadrat Umar came before the Holy Prophet and mentioned it to him. The Holy Prophet expressed great displeasure and said: Command him to take her back and keep her as his wife till she is purified, that she again menstruates and is again Purified: then if he so desires he may divorce her in her state of purity without having any sexual intercourse with her. This is the waiting-period which Allah Almighty has prescribed for the divorce of women." In a tradition the words are to the effect: "Either one may pronounce the divorce in the woman's state of purity without having a sexual intercourse, or in the state when her being pregnant becomes fully known".

In the details of the incident concerning Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar, which have been related in Daraqutni and Ibn Abi Shaibah, another thing also is that when the Holy Prophet commanded Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Umar to take his wife back, he asked: Had I pronounced three divorces on her, could I have taken her back even then? The Holy Prophet replied: No, she would have stood separated from you, and this would have been an act of sin." In another tradition the Holy Prophet's words are to the effect: “Had you done this, you would have committed disobedience of your Lord while your wife would have been separated from you.”

Sa'id bin Mansur has related this very thing from Hadrat Anas on sound authority. In this connection. the general opinion of the Companions. which Ibn Abi Shaibah and Imam Muhammad have related from Ibrahim Nakha'i (may Allah bless them) was: "The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) approved of this method that one may pronounce a single divorce on the wife and leave her alone till she completes three monthly courses." These are the words of Ibn Abi Shaibah. The words of Imam Muhammad are to the effect: '`The approved method with them was that in the matter of divorce one should not exceed one divorce tilt the waiting-period is completed."

According to Imam Malik also divorce is of three kinds. Sunni, bid'i makruh and bid'i haram. The divorce according to the Sunnah is that a single divorce be pronounced on the woman marriage with whom has been consummated and who menstruates, during her state of purity without having had sexual intercourse, and the woman be left to complete her waiting-period. The bid'i makrnh form is that divorce be pronounced in the period-of purity during which one may have had sexual intercourse, or more divorces than one be pronounced in the period of purity while there was no sexual intercourse, or three divorces be pronounced, one each in separate periods of purity within the waiting-period, or three divorces be pronounced alI at once. And bid i haram is that divorce be pronounced during menstruation. (Hashiyah ad-Dusuqi alal-Sharh-al-Kabir Ibn aI- Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur an).

Ta'us and 'Ikrimah say that only one divorce takes place if divorce is pronounced thrice at once, and this very view has been adopted by Imam Ibn Taimiyyah. The source of his this opinion is that Abu as-Sahba' asked Ibn 'Abbas: 'Don't you know that in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) and Hadrat Abu Bakr and in the early period of Hadrat 'Umar a triple divorce was considered a single divorce? He replied: Yes." (Bukhari, Muslim)..And in Muslim, Abu Da'ud and Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Abbas's this statement has been cited: "In the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and Hadrat Abu Bakr and during the first two years of the caliphate of Hadrat `Umar a triple divorce was considered a single divorce. Then Hadrat `Umar expressed the view: As the people have started acting hasty in a matter in which they had been advised to act judiciously and prudently, why should we not enforce this practice? So, he enforced It."

Ibn 'Abbas says that this implies calling to witness two men both at divorce and at reconciliation. (Ibn Jarir). Hadrat `Imran bin Husain was asked: "A man divorced his wife and then took her back, but he neither called anybody to witness pronouncement of the divorce nor resumption of the relation." He replied: “You pronounced the divorce against the Sunnah and you took your wife back against the Sunnah. You should call to witness men both at divorce and at resumption of relation, and you should not commit this mistake again." (Abu Da'ud, Iba Majah). But the four Sunni Imams are agreed that to call men to witness the divorce and the resumption and separation is no condition for these acts to be valid, so that if there was no witness, neither divorce should take place nor resumption should be valid nor separation. But this condition has been enjoined so that the parties may not deny any of the facts later and in case there was a dispute the matter might be settled easily and any suspicions and doubts might also be removed. This Command is just like the Command "Have witnesses in case of commercial transactions." (AI-Baqarat: 282). This does not mean that it is obligatory to have witnesses at business transactions, and if there was no witness, the transaction would be invalid; but this is a wise instruction which has been given to prevent disputes and it is good to follow it. Likewise, in the case of divorce and resumption also although a person's act and conduct would be legally valid even without the witnesses yet caution demands that whatever is done, it should be witnessed, simultaneously or later, by two just men.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said in the interpretation of Allah's saying (O Prophet!): '(O Prophet!) And this includes his community. (When ye (men) put away women) He says: tell your people, when you want to divorce women, (put them away for their (legal) period) divorce them when they become pure from their menses and they have not had sexual intercourse with them (and reckon the period) reckon their periods of purity following three periods of menstruation which are followed by major ritual ablution which, for this denotes the end of the waiting period (and keep your duty to Allah) and fear Allah, (your Lord) and do not divorce them when they are not ritually pure, as this goes against the prophetic practice. (Expel them not from their houses) where the divorce has taken place until the waiting period is over (nor let them go forth) until the elapse of the waiting period (unless they commit open immorality) unless they commit an evident sin, i.e. going out during the waiting period without her husbands' permission. Thus, expelling them from their homes during the waiting period is a sin and their going out in their waiting period is also a sin; it is also said that (unless they commit open immorality) means: unless they commit an act of adultery witnessed by four people, in which case they should be stoned. (Such are the limits (imposed by) Allah) these are the legal rulings and obligations of Allah about women regarding expenditure and lodgement; (and whoso transgresseth Allah's limits) and whoever transgresses Allah's legal rulings and obligations and that which He has commanded regarding expenditure and lodgement, (he verily wrongeth his soul) he harms his own person. (Thou knowest not) i.e. the husband does not know: (it may be that Allah will afterward) after the first pronouncement of divorce and before the end of the waiting period (bring some new thing to pass) i.e. love between the husband and wife and return to each other.