Divorce due to Parents
Should one divorce his wife on the command of his parents?
Should one divorce his wife on the command of his parents? I ask referring to Prophet Ibrahim`s command to his son to divorce his wife when he found her complaining about her circumstances.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
- At the outset, it should be understood that many laws of Sharia are not general and unconditional; often there are over-arching principles that regulate general laws.
- While Sharia emphasises on obedience and respect to parents, this law is regulated by the following Hadith:
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
لا طاعة في المعصية ، إنما الطاعة في المعروف
Translation: Verily the submission is in acts of goodness and not in committing wrongdoing.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also said:
لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الله عز وجل
Translation: The creation must not be submitted to in the disobedience of Allah.
Accordingly, if parents instruct their children to execute something against Sharia, it will not be permissible for children to carry out such instructions. That will not be regarded as disobeying parents.
- Sharia upholds justice and condemns any form of oppression.
يا أيها الذين آمنوا كونوا قوامين لله شهداء بالقسط ولا يجرمنكم شنآن قوم على أن لا تعدلوا اعدلوا هو أقرب للتقوى
Translation: Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is well aware of what you do.
- Sharia also takes into consideration the personal circumstances of individuals.
Based on the above, consider the ruling of Jurists, if parents instruct their son to issue a divorce to his wife:
The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Abu Ja`far at-Tahawi (may Allah have mercy on him) states:
والذي يؤمر به الولد في هذا غير مبيح له فيه طلاق زوجته في الموضع الذي نهاه الله عز وجل عن طلاقها فيه، وإنما هو طلاقه إياها في الموضع الذي أباح الله الطلاق فيه لا في ضده
Translation: It is not permissible for a son to issue a divorce to his wife in obedience to his parent in a situation where Allah has prohibited from divorcing her. However, he is duty-bound to issue a divorce in obedience to his parents in a situation where Allah has permitted to divorce.
Mulla Ali al-Qari (may Allah have mercy on him) states:
فلا يلزمه طلاق زوجة أمراه بفراقها، وإن تأذيا ببقائها إيذاء شديدا؛ لأنه قد يحصل له ضرر بها، فلا يكلفه لأجلهما
Translation: It is not incumbent upon one to divorce his wife when commanded by his parents, although the parents are afflicted with extreme harm if he does not issue her a divorce. This is because the son himself could be harmed, thus he cannot be coerced to bear harm because of them facing harm.
Similarly, Maulana Ashraf Ali al-Thanwi Saheb (may Allah have mercy on him), in Imdad al-Fatawa [2:465], and Mufti Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi Saheb (may Allah have mercy on him), in Fatawa Mahmudiyyah [19: 33], explain that if there is a fear of the man not being able to bear the consequences of the divorce, or one fears he will be harmed or he will fall into unlawful activity, such as fornication, then he should not divorce his wife in obedience to his father. Furthermore, Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhyanwi (may Allah have mercy on him) and Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani Saheb (may Allah preserve his shade upon us), in Dars` Tirmidi [3: 503], add that if the son is forced by his parents to issue a divorce without any valid reason, then he should not divorce his wife since it will result in injustice to his wife.
Hence, the son is not obliged to, and should not, abide by the instruction of his parents to issue a divorce to his wife, if he fears he will not be able to bear the consequences of divorce, or his or his wife`s rights will be unjustly violated, or he fears he will fall into unlawful activity or he will be harmed. The harm to the husband and wife may be even more intense if they have children.
Furthermore, the incident in reference where Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) advised his son, Isma`eel (peace be upon him), to issue his wife a divorce, is recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari.
Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was a great Prophet of Allah Ta`ala. It is inconceivable that he would have instructed his son, Isma`eel (peace be upon him), to violate the laws of Allah Ta`ala. There must be a reason justifiable in Sharia for his recommendation of divorce.
It is therefore incorrect for parents to instruct their sons to divorce their wives based on this incident.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Hanif Yusuf Patel
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
 [Saheeh al-Bukhari, 6830; Saheeh Muslim, 3923]
 [Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, 1101]
 [Dars` Tirmishi, 3: 503-4, Maktabah Dar al-Uloom Karachi]
 [Al-Qur`an, 5:8]
 [Sharh Mushkil al-Aathar, 3: 417-9, Dar ar-Risalah al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut]
قال ابن حجر: شرط للمبالغة باعتبار الأكمل أيضا أي: لا تخالف واحدا منهما، وإن غلا في شيء أمرك به، وإن كان فراق زوجة أو هبة مال، أما باعتبار أصل الجواز فلا يلزمه طلاق زوجة أمراه بفراقها، وإن تأذيا ببقائها إيذاء شديدا؛ لأنه قد يحصل له ضرر بها، فلا يكلفه لأجلهما؛ إذ من شأن شفقتهما أنهما لو تحققا ذلك لم يأمراه به فإلزامهما له مع ذلك حمق منهما، ولا يلتفت إليه، وكذلك إخراج ماله
[Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih, 1: 133]
 [Fatawa Mahmudiyyah, 19: 33, Dar al-Iftaa Jamiah Faruqiyyah, Karachi]
[Imdad al-Fatawa, 2: 465, Maktabah Dar al-Uloom Karachi]
 See [Dars` Tirmidhi, 3: 504, Maktabah Dar al-Uloom Karachi; Aap kae masa`il aur unkā hal, 7: 200, Maktabah Ludhyanwi]
 See [Dars` Tirmishi, 3: 502-6, Maktabah Dar al-Uloom Karachi] to view discussion when it is binding on the children to abide by the orders of their parents and when not.
 [Sahih al-Bukhari, ma`a Fat`h al-Bari, 6: 445-56, Dar al-Hadith, Cairo]
For other narrations similar to this, see:
[Sharh Mushkil al-Aathar, 3: 417-8, Dar ar-risalah al-Alamiyyah, Beirut; Sunan Abi dawud, 5138; Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 1189 & 1900; Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, 4742; Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih, 7: 3089 & 7: 3097, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut; Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 1189, Sunan Abi Dawud, 5095; Musnad Ahmad, 2: 42]
 See [Dars` Tirmidhi, 3: 505-6, Maktabah Dar al-Uloom Karachi]
As it is also stated regarding the instruction of Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) to his son:
لما أمر عمر رضي الله عنه ابنه عبد الله بطلاق زوجة لم يكن طلاقها واجبا عليه
[Bazl al-Majhud fi halli Sunan Abi Dawud, 13: 526, Dar al-Basha`ir al-Islamiyyah, Beirut]
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