This article is almost completely unhelpful in explaining exactly what Sharia divorce is. It does say that “men have the right of unilateral divorce under classical Sharia” and that a Sunni Muslim divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her,” but otherwise the only information it provides is this: “A marriage can be terminated by the husband in the talaq process, or by the wife seeking divorce through khul’.”
That’s just nomenclature. The Telegraph doesn’t explain that while talaq is unilateral and all a man has to do is tell his wife that she is divorced, khul is much more complicated. The woman initiates the process but must obtain her husband’s consent for the divorce, return the dowry, and go through a waiting period before marrying again. So essentially she has no rights if her husband does not agree to the divorce, and can emerge from the process penniless after she has provided compensation to her husband.
If a Muslim man is unhappy with any of his wives, however, he is free to divorce them simply by saying the triple talaq — “I divorce you” or “you are divorced.” Recent fatwas from Islamic authorities have allowed for this pronouncement of divorce to be made via cellphone or Skype. Since men can obtain divorces so easily, they often divorce capriciously.
In Islamic law, if a man says talaq to his wife three times, even jokingly or in a fit of temper, they must separate, and cannot reconcile until she marries another man, consummates that marriage, and is divorced by him. This bizarre law is based on the Qur”an: “A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness….So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her” (2:229-230).
This has given rise to the phenomenon of “temporary husbands.” After a husband has divorced his wife in a fit of pique, these men who will “marry” the hapless divorcee for one night in order to allow her to return to her husband and family.
Is Britain going to legalize all of this?
“Sharia divorces could be allowed after legal ruling,” by Richard Alleyne in the Telegraph, February 1:
Divorces settled by religious courts including Sharia are a step closer to being allowed under British law after a landmark legal decision.
The prospect came after a couple had their divorce settlement under Beth Din, or Jewish law, referred to by the High Court.
According to the Times, it is the first time in British legal history where an English family judge has agreed to refer a divorce dispute to a religious court.
Experts said that the judgment could have far-reaching consequences and clear the way for other couples to seek a divorce in a religious court, including Sharia.
The decision was welcomed by the Muslim Council of Britain.
A spokesman told the Times: “If it leads to the eventual acceptance of Sharia court divorces, then Muslims will be very encouraged.”
Lawyers said it was significant that Mr Justice Baker cited the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and his talk on Sharia in 2008 in his ruling.
During the lecture, Dr Williams said that “citizenship in a secular society should not necessitate the abandoning of religious discipline”.
The latest case involved a couple of observant orthodox Jews in their 20s….
The Muslim laws governing divorce vary substantially between states and cultures. Men have the right of unilateral divorce under classical Sharia.
A marriage can be terminated by the husband in the talaq process, or by the wife seeking divorce through khul’.
A Sunni Muslim divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her.