Khul’ in Islam

If marital life were not built on love, harmony and good companionship between husband and wife, it would become misery and ruin. In this case, Islam has instructed that the spouses bear patiently. Allah says: “And live with them in kindness. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.” (4:19)

If the condition becomes unbearable, and the husband cannot stand his wife, he may divorce her. But sometimes, it is the wife who cannot bear her husband. For her, it is lawful for her to ask for Khul’ (instant divorce). In this case, she must return to him the dowry which she took, at which, the marital relation ends. This is among the signs of complete justice in Islam. The husband gave the dowry to his wife, and took care of all marital costs. Allah says: “And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allah. But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah – it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (2:229)

Ibn Abbas narrated that the wife of Thabit b. Qais came to the Prophet (s) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I do not blame Thabit for defects in his character or his Deen, but I, being a Muslim, dislike behaving in an un-Islamic manner (if I remain with him).” On that the Messenger of Allah (s) said to her, “Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you [as dowry]?” She said, “Yes.” Then the Prophet (s) said to Thabit, “O Thabit! Accept your garden, and divorce her at once.” (Bukhari)

The goal of Islam, in this regard, is to safeguard the honor of people, and society, from all evils. If a woman stays with a man she does not want, or cannot bear, or if a man stays with a woman he does not want, this may lead one of them to the unlawful, especially if they do not have a strong Islamic sense to prevent them from doing the unlawful. Allah says: “But if they separate, Allah will provide for each of them out of His abundance. And Allah is ever All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Wise.” (4:130)