WHAT IS KHUL’A?
The situation in which the wife initiates divorce proceedings is known as Khul’a. In the time of the Prophet (SAWS), the wife of Thabit b. Qais requested the Prophet for a divorce from her husband. The Prophet asked her to return the garden given to her at the time of marriage as dower (Mahr). She accepted this condition and the marriage was dissolved.
PROCEDURE FOR KHUL’A (WHERE THE WIFE IS THE CLIENT)
All new and prospective applicants must attach the main reasons for seeking a Khul’a / Marriage Dissolution, on a separate sheet, with their application form.
Your application will be registered with the relevant details. It is imperative that you provide a contact address or email for the husband.
The Council will issue the first letter to the husband, informing him that his wife has approached the ISC for Khula / Marriage Dissolution. The applicant will receive a copy with a reference number for future correspondences. If the husband fails to reply within the allocated period, the ISC will issue a second letter followed by a third letter, if no reply is received within the allocated time. The allocated period for husbands residing in the UK is one month; two months for those residing abroad.
If the husband fails to respond to the third letter, the Council will request the applicant to verify the respondent’s address. However, if the husband responds at any point, the parties will be invited to separate meetings with a scholar to discuss their case. The scholar will produce a written report for our records. A joint meeting between both parties and the ISC representative will also be booked; this is an integral part of the proceedings to carry out fair and just mediation. Failure to attend this meeting by the applicant may delay the case or result in its closure. A joint meeting will not be held if there is a court order in place.
The joint meeting is not designed to force an unhappy couple to reconcile. Islam has given both men and women the right to apply for divorce, and the Council takes this right very seriously. The joint meeting is an opportunity for closure; it allows both parties to air their grievances and perhaps identify their own failings. It also allows for issues such as Mahr to be agreed. The Council does not deal with Custody or maintenance issues. However, if the couple are interested in receiving marital counselling before they make the final decision, the Council will also facilitate this. Under the rules of Islam, an unhappy wife will never be forced to return to her husband.
If the husband consents to divorce, he will be asked to sign an agreement to this effect. An Islamic divorce certificate will then be issued.
If the husband refuses to engage with the Council and does not respond to the first three letters, the Council will issue a final notice.
A request will be sent to the wife asking for confirmation to take the file to the meeting of the Panel of Scholars. The Panel have the authority to end the marriage with judicial dissolution (Faskh). We ask the applicant and defendant to honour any conditions agreed by the Panel. An Islamic divorce certificate will then be issued.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
There is no restriction on the grounds for divorce. The most common of these are:
Where the wife suffers physical, financial or emotional harm from the husband. Any violence in the marriage is condemned by Islam, and the Council takes allegations of such violence very seriously.
Where the husband suffers certain physical defects, such as impotency.
Adultery or infidelity.
Where there is difference of religion.
The Council is a registered charity. It will deal with cases where either party has been living permanently in this country and at least one of the parties has made an application, requesting the Council’s judgement.
Once a judgement to grant divorce has been made by the Council, a final fee may be payable by the applicant (see the guidelines in the application form for the fee payable at the end of this process). Two original copies of the divorce certificate are then issued; one of which is sent to the applicant and one is reserved for the former husband.
PUTTING A CASE ON HOLD
The case can be put on hold or withdrawn at any time during the process, but only before the Panel have made a final decision. The case can be put on hold for a maximum period of one year, as the parties may wish to reconcile. After this period has passed, a fresh application will be required.
A Khul’a takes place when the husband consents to his wife’s request for a divorce. If the husband refuses consent, Islamic law permits qadis and Imams to dissolve the marriage. This is known as Faskh (judicial dissolution).
If the couple have participated in a civil marriage, the ISC requires that they are divorced in both Islamic and civil procedures. Civil divorce cannot replace Islamic divorce, just as civil marriage does not constitute an Islamic Nikah. Marriage in Islam is considered to be a civil contract with a strong religious element. The Prophet (saws) said in his final sermon during the Hajj:
“Be careful how you treat women. You have accepted them with the Word of Allah, and you have made lawful sexual relations with them with the Word of Allah.”
IDDAH (WAITING PERIOD) FOR DIVORCEE
The divorced woman is not permitted to re-marry during the period of the Iddah. According to the majority of Muslim scholars, the Iddah for Khul’a is the same as Talaq, which is three menstrual cycles or three months. But Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah have narrated Ahadith that the Prophet (saws) prescribed Iddah of one month only for Khul’a. We leave it to the conscience of each individual regarding which opinion to follow.
Iddah during pregnancy lasts until the pregnancy ends. According to 33:49 in the Quran, there is no Iddah if the marriage was not consummated.
The Mahr is the gift given by the husband to his bride at the time of marriage, and it should be recorded in the marriage contract. In the process of Khul’a, the wife is usually required to return the Mahr. The scholars of the Council will however take into consideration the length of the marriage, whether there are children, whether the husband supports his children financially and so forth before deciding on the issue of Mahr. The scholars are guided by frequent exhortations in the Quran advising husbands to avoid greed and to part company with peace and goodwill.