Social System of Islam 44 – Marital Problems

Jamal Badawi


Channel: Jamal Badawi


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The name of God the benevolent the merciful. I greet you with a greeting of Islam assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host Hamad Rashid. Today we have our 44th program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam. We'll be continuing with our discussion of marital problems and dissolution of marriage. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal betta. We have St. Mary's University by the Jamal Assalamu alaikum.

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Can I ask you to very quickly highlight the main points that we touched on in our discussion last week. Okay. And last week, we continued our discussion on the rights of parents and rights of relatives. And the remaining parts of the program focused mainly on the question of dissolution of marriage or divorce, the three major points were made. First of all, from the competitive standpoint, it was indicated that Islam takes a moderate position with every divorce without going or accepting the idea of near prohibition of divorce, or liberalisation of divorce or something in between.

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Secondly, we indicated that Islam urges continuity of the family and its preservation. But in the meantime, while it discourages divorce, it does not outright prohibited an ending a marriage which is unhappy and unsuccessful, and there is no way of reconciling it.

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Finally, we indicated also that the lack of complexity or too much bureaucratic steps in divorce in Islam does not mean at all, that divorce is a matter that is should be that should be taken lightly. But rather that

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there are also several checks and controls to make sure that the right of divorce will not be abused. Well, I'd like to start today's program with some examination of those checks. Can you give us some idea of what can be done to minimize the need for divorce? In the first instance, as a preventative visit a relative before actually The problem arises? When I think there are three basic areas, most of which we have discussed before, so I just list them, first of all, is caution and care in the selection of one's spouse, because again, this would

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ascertain religiosity, characters, and compatibility. Now, if these things are done, of course, it would minimize disputes and at interest time, that's one. Secondly, that Islam urges both husband and wife to try to follow the path of God and His guidance and directives in conducting their family life in establishing their relationship to each other treatment of each other, in accepting their roles cheerfully their rights and responsibilities.

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So that again, could keep both

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parties on the right track.

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A third measure is that even if it happens, that some dislike develops between husband and wife, as we have seen in the Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, that there is an appeal that the person should not hasten or be too hasty, in judging the other person or his spouse or her spouse, one should not expect the ideal and one should try to judge the person as a total person with his or her positive and negative points. So that is that appeal also is made to bring our expectation to some realistic level.

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In addition to this, there are also many additional checks and measures, which may be resorted to if all of this checks did not really work or if some problem has arisen in spite of all of this, that there are still some checks and measures to be used.

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Or perhaps I could get you to elaborate a little bit on the measures as well.

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How about the case where the wife is at fault? What is the husband permitted to do? Okay, well, I'm glad maybe before I do that, perhaps you can assume also that they could be the fourth could be a wife

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fault with the husband faults or could possibly be a fault of both of them. But in case the wife it's herself is at fault.

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Not in a sense of having a slight mistake or error because all of us commit mistakes and error but if you're really talking about something serious, that might threaten the stability of the family or her relationship with the husband. This is called an Islamic law, new shoes in Arabic might spell new sh UZ new shoes.

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This is again a word which doesn't have an exact single equivalent word in English.

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But the meaning usually of an issue is related to rebelliousness and lack of harmony. It refers to a wife who is to define to refractory does not respect her husband does not care about him rather inconsiderate, and unresponsive to reasoning.

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Well, again, with all this qualification that we're not really talking about something minor if this is the the cause of the problem and assuming, like you indicated in the question that the fault is basically hers, we find that there is a divine directive to deal with that situation. In the first chapter in the Quran, verses 34 and 35.

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In this passage, we find a number of points outlined which are very important in practical semi delivering

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the first part of the passage establishes the authority and responsibility of the husband

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for the maintenance and protection of his family, which includes material maintenance, psychological support, and also maintaining some reasonable measure of discipline and orders within the household.

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And we have indicated in previous program also that the responsibility of the husband for the family does not mean neither dictatorship nor superiority, but just matter of role differentiation.

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A second observation on the passage

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is that it praises wives, it says women but actually it's referring to wives who are reasonable, who are God fearing, pious, wives who respect themselves, respect their husbands.

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They try to live with their husbands in harmony and peace. So there is a good praise first made before even moving through exceptions.

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The third observation is that as the case with the Islamic teaching, whether it's in the Quran or the prophetic tradition, it does not always assume a sort of idealistic or ivory tower situation and just tell you what to do and the ideal situation, people also would like to see what actions may be taken when a situation which is not so ideal may arise, or else it would not provide comprehensive guidance to life.

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Now, there are cases definitely where women may not be described as such a wise may not be that good in terms of their characters and attitudes.

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And just like men also you cannot expect that every man or every husband would also be a good husband. So in case of persistent defiance and lack of cooperation on the part of the wife

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in a way that threatens the integrity of the family, there is a measure to be taken, what you might call perhaps a phased discipline that could be implemented. The first one that the verse mentions, is kind exaltation. That is, if the wife is really the one at fault, the husband could go to heart could appeal to his intimate relationship with her appeal to love and affection, he may appeal to the fear of God and being God conscious, remind her of her duty as Islam prescribes, and the need to protect her future in the future of the family and in the best interest of the family to keep in mind and to try to reason to respond to reasonable requests and reasonable expectation on the part

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of harassment.

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Well, needless to say, that in the majority of cases, anyway, if a woman who is reasonably decent, reasonable person is very likely to respond to this kind

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type of approach, softer type of approach.

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But again, we know that not every woman again would be that sensitive or that this is just like not every man also would be

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as well. So the second

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measure that the passage mentions is also the possibility of suspending intimate relationship with the wife not to leave the home.

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Some jurors say not even to sleep in a different bed, but simply not to approach the wife or intimate relationship. The idea behind it is to try to bring that haughtiness because again, this was means being too high being haughty, rebellious, inconsiderate, unreasonable, to bring this down to a reasonable level by showing that, you know, despite of all this beauty and charm, one cannot accept this kind of relationship or treatment. In the meantime, some jurists also say that by keeping apart in bed, it may also test the relationship and the real love between the two parties, how long can they really keep away from each other. And if the problem is not resolved, and mutually

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between them, and God forbid divorce take place, what will happen to them when they are really away from each other, so they're kind of test for both sides.

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Now, again,

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if this doesn't work, which would be in lesser number of cases, what to do?

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Divorce if the first and second step does not work?

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Well, there is one more thing which may need not necessarily be always used, but may be resorted to as a last resort, just within the private relationship between husband wife, before divorce, to avert the possibility of divorce, it may not be useful in all cases, but in some cases it may be and that is a light and symbolical chastisement. As I indicated that even if this extreme

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situation arises, even if the woman is so insistent that no Appeal to Reason, is working, even that a particular measure is permitted, reluctantly, with a great deal of restrictions and limitations attached to it to prevent its abuse. Now, could you explain to us the nature of the abuse restrictions that you speak of? Well, to start with, that measure could not be implemented.

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Without good reason? To start with, it's not just because somebody got angry or had a bad day or anything like that source source will really deal with a situation of serious reflection, serious breaking of orders and discipline within the family. Like some jurist indicated that some of the cases of your shoes or rebellion would be like a wife who just leaves her husband's house and stay in some other place, refuse to respond to any requests or reasonable or fair demand on his part.

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So that's one requirement or limitation. A second restriction is that it cannot be used without trying First, the first two steps, exhortation and keeping apart in bed, and many jurists also add that enough time should be allowed in each of these measures, to give a chance for the refractory wife to gracefully, try to mend her ways and try to avoid breaking the marriage. A third

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requirement is that even if that is resorted to,

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the mode of chastisement is subject to a number of severe restrictions. And these are just as important as the mention of the measure itself.

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To start with, according to a saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as narrated in a Buddha would

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that push a person or a Muslim should never slept, another on the face. So in other words, it's not just punishment or chastisement by slapping the face that's absolutely forbidden, whether with wife or child or anyone else.

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In the same prophetic tradition, it also says that even if there's discipline, a person should never swear

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at his wife or anybody, for that matter, or say use profanities or bad words against because of course, a slap in the face or swearing is basically an insult rather than correction and the purpose here is not insert. So this should be avoided totally.

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A second

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basic restriction is that chastisement should be such that it can never lead to injury, or even leave a mark on the body. And this is documented in both the collection of prophetic tradition by Muslim and a tirmidhi. The latter one was made in the farewell pilgrimage by by the prophet

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and in that sense, then, when you eliminate the face when you eliminate just

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seismic on parts of the bodies which may cause injury or damage, when you avoid areas which might leave a mark when chastisement may be resorted to what else is left in the body.

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But even then, we find that a great companions of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, if not best, was once asked by Allah, He says, Well, what chastisement was what he was himself wondering, you know, if you have to avoid all of this, it has to be very light should not leave a mark. And even in that extreme case, what could be as he said, with a miss work, and and his work is something like a toothbrush. Imagine, you know, chastising with a toothbrush, or something like a toothbrush in such a way that it does not leave a mark on the body or cause any injury or harm. That's the reason why it is more properly called really, a symbolical

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show of displeasure, and maybe some kind of shock that might awaken the person to the realities of what she's doing. And maybe, as it happens, in many cases, a slight thing like that might lead the wife to throw herself and her husband's arm and cry. And maybe that might mean the situation rather than going through a drastic action like divorce.

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Actually, some scholars when they read all these restrictions, and qualifications, they said, this type of chastisement is closer to affectionate spank really, then it is to punishment or really something that's harsh or cruel. Even if it is not described in this favorable terms, one can look at it also, in view of a rule in Islamic jurisprudence, it's called a one a third in the list of two evils.

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This rule can be implemented or looked at in both ways. On one hand, you can say that if the next step in family dispute is divorce, and if this symbolic and submit symbolical and light, chastisement may avert the need

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for divorce, even though it is unpleasant, the less pleasant thing may be resorted to if it's necessary to avoid something which is more unpleasant and more or less than, like divorce.

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Or you can look at it also the other way around.

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That is to say,

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if resorting to light chastisement in one particular case with one particular woman is not useful, would not give any positive results, or could backfire and result in aggravating the situation, then it should not be resorted to on the basis of the same rule. Now, though, it's not just a blanket thing to be implemented under any circumstances or with any person. That's why you find a great Muslim jurists like a chef, a

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one of the leaders of the forum, one of the squatter for school of jurisprudence.

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After discussing this, he indicated that still, his view is that avoiding that last step is better is preferable.

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In most cases, however, one can say at least this is my personal view on it, that in the great majority of cases, with the minimum degree of decency on the part of the wife, I think that particular measures may not necessarily work it may work only among certain groups of people or certain individuals have personalities which are too defiant,

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to listen to reason or to be sensitive enough to try to mend situation. One thing that perhaps should be added to concerning that passage, that the passage end by saying that if the wife then become cooperative and reasonable, never tried to seek any excuse to punish them, or chastise them, because God is above you all, which reminds the person that one should never use, or abuse, I should say, any powers or authority because God is above all, in terms of his over

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But of course, all of these measures,

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while reluctantly, allowed, definitely

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is better than resorting to

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divorce. And in fact, there is lots of evidence that it is even discouraged despite all of that restrictions.

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Now, the analogy that you make between the force and chastisement is, is an interesting analogy. I wonder if I could perhaps ask you to develop this point a little bit further. Okay. Well, in the case of divorce, for example, as discussed in the previous program, we said that it is

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permitted in extreme

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Cases however, it is discouraged as the Prophet described it, about Helen, the most hated of permissible acts. It is similar in that sense and maybe some of the prophetic traditions might shed some light on this. In the farewell pilgrimage of the Prophet, peace be upon him one of the things that he repeated and emphasized Stoessel when you say hi and this was narrated in a term, that is I commend you, to be kind to women, whether wives, mothers, sisters, whatever, daughters. In fact, in dealing with wives in particular, he says, You have taken them as a trust from God. So don't otherwise Don't try to betray that trust and be careful and considerate to that trust.

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Another saying of the Prophet narrated and ultimate and Bukhari.

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He says, wouldn't one of you feel ashamed, chastising his wife or beating her like an animal is beaten during the day and maybe at night, he wants to embrace her or sleep with her, just trying to awaken this conscious and the individual.

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In a third occasion,

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there have been some women who went to the wives of the Prophet to complain that their husbands,

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chastise them physically.

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And as narrated in a number of prophetic prophetic collection, prophetic things. And Buddha would and say, no magic, and that hacking and all of this, it mentioned that the Prophet answered, they saw

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that this husbands, you will not find them the best among you, which was again a great deal of discouragement, even if there's a reason, a good reason for it. And another thing narrated and the Prophet indicated that the best of you is the best of his family, and I am the best of you to my family, in his own behaviors, as narrated by me say that the Prophet never be it wife, never be a

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servant, or used his hand to punish anyone physically. And he gave this exact, of course, in case except the case of the fighting in the path of God or implementation of Islamic law, but otherwise, not for any, you know, personal reasons to getting angry and slapping or hitting someone, he never did that to give us a model of behavior, even in the state of anger, and when there is good reason even to try to correct. So this all shows that the basic norm and Islam really is not to resort to this measure. And if even resorted to reluctantly, it could be on the regarded as avoiding a greater evil, which in this case, would be divorce and breaking the family.

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Now, in fairness, we should perhaps Look at this. At the other side of the of the client, we discussed the situation with the woman is at fault. What about the situation if the, if the man is at fault, is the wife permitted to chastise him?

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Well, of course, if you consider the the natural differences physically between an average man and woman, and if the woman tried to use the same thing, even if the husband is at fault,

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she probably learned who is going to get it. Unless of course he is

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experts in karate or wrestling? Well, of course, that wouldn't make much sense to insist on exact.

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What I should say analogy between husband and wife. And aside from this physical question also, which is for the protection of the of the wife, even if it has been is wrong. The position also of the husband, as the leaders of the family

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make this particular measure of justice easement and others impractical

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in the case, in this reverse case, but this does not mean however, of course, he could retaliate If this happens, most males perhaps would retaliate by simply divorcing and what good have you accomplished by letting the wife

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insist on exactly the same kind of measure. But this, however, does not mean that if the husband is at fault, that he is not subject to any correction? That's that's far from stressful. In fact, it could be subject to chastisement, but not sort of the way as I show in the opinion of some Muslim jurists.

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But if the husband is the one who's really unreasonable or cruel, the first thing to do, which wasn't the case of husband versus wife is the same really, there is nothing that prohibits a wife from also exaltation, the same first step that we mentioned earlier. After all the Quran, you know, indicates in chapter nine, verse 71, that believing

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Men and women are supporters and helpers in each other's goodness. And they have to exhort each others for what is right and prevent each other from what is wrong. So the wife also could appeal to her husband try to again remind him of his duties of his responsibility and try to reason with him, which may lead him again to be reasonable with her. So that could be one step.

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In fact, the Quran also gives a reference to the case like that, where other measures also could be taken. For example, in chapter four, verse 128, we're in the bottom half admin value, that if a woman fears that her husband may show any cruelty towards her, or aversion, that there is no harm for them to try to make peace among themselves, and peace is better. So again, a woman with her intelligence with her innocence sensitivity, she might be able to discover why her husband is being diverted from her or starting to dislike her, she may make some arrangements with him, she or he or both of them may make some kind of concessions in order to really make life livable, and compromise

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a little bit to make sure that the family will remain intact.

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But all of these measures, however, do not prejudice, the wife's right to initiate divorce, for a just in good reason. In fact, the one I mentioned earlier, the possible chastisement of the husband. According to the some jurists, like the Maliki jurist, they say that if the husband is at fault, and the wife make a complaint, the judge could exhort the person to correct himself to be good and reasonable.

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If he refuses, then the judge may order a temporary separation, but not divorce to punish the husband. If this doesn't work, they even went as far as saying that the judge could order that the person will be physically chastised or jailed for some time, until he agrees to be fair, reasonable unkind to his wife. So that even possibility is not totally eliminated.

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Without sort of the wife, of course, I say, Well, now let's look at a third instance situation where you have both the husband and the wife who are equally at fault. What measure does the Quran recommend in this particular set of circumstances, this is mentioned also in the passage and the passage quoted earlier that particularly verse 35, in chapter four in the Quran,

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the translation of the meaning basically is this, that if you hear that there will be disputes, or discord, that is between husband and wife, then you should send one arbitrator, from her family, one arbitrator from his family. And if these two people really are interested in making peace, God will facilitate their efforts to make peace.

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Now, those arbitrators can be selected by a variety of means the Quran does not specify how, but most commonly, it would be like nomination that is the wife may select somebody from her family to represent her. And another, the husband also would do the same thing and these two arbitrators can meet together to try to see if they can iron out the differences.

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Now, do they have to be relatives? preferably? Yes, but not necessarily. So.

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The mean, the reason of course, why the foreign mentioned relatives is that relatives would be interested in the welfare of the family, at least their representative. They may know a little bit about the background of the relationship between the husband and wife and may be more effective in reconciling their difficulties. So this is possibly why it was mentioned. However, many Muslim jurists also say that it is not a prerequisite it's not an absolute requirement that they would be relatives. Some Muslims, for example, is I think, away from their families, like Muslims or North America or some segment may simply choose friends or people they trust might be who might be able to

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reconcile those differences. As far as the power of those arbitrators, there have been a difference on that. Some jurists like the HANA fees, and shafia is say that there's authority is simply to recommend

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resolution of the problem, but the recommendation is up to the parties, the husband and wife to accept or reject. Some Like, if not best, feel that they could have the right even to judge that they should be separated, which gives them a quasi judicial power. But the more appropriate or at least the one that I feel is more appropriate interpretation is the one suggested by Hassan embassy, and patata

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where they suggested that the verse in the Quran which talks about the arbitrators the

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It's not mentioned anything about divorce it one dimension about Islam, or correction or reconciliation. And they say their authority is only to recommend Ways and Means, which may compromise the differences between the husband and wife and bring peace and harmony to the family. And I think we'll have to leave it at that for today. We want to invite you back next week when we'll continue our discussion of marital relations and dissolution of marriage in Islam. We want to thank you for watching Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you