Rulings of divorce (1)
Divorce is permissible and the origin of its permissibility is the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and the consensus. As for the proof from the Qur'an, Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness." (2) Allah (Exalted be He) says: "O Prophet (peace be upon him)! When you divorce women, divorce them at their `Iddah (prescribed periods)." (3)
As for the Sunnah, it was reported that Ibn `Umar divorced his wife while she was in her period during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), thereupon `Umar ibn Al Khattab asked Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) about that, then Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Command him to take her back in marriage and keep her until she is purified, and then she enters the period of menses in his (house) for the second time. And he should wait until she is purified of her menses. And then if he would decide to divorce her, he should do so when she is purified before having a sexual intercourse with her; for that was the `Iddah (the waiting period) which Allah had commanded for the divorce of women." (4)
Divorce is of five types as follows:
Obligatory which is the divorce of the woman’s guardian after waiting for the `Iddah to end and the husband refuses to take his wife back in marriage. The divorce of the two arbitrators who judge in a dispute between the spouses if they conclude to that judgment. When a woman neglects the obligatory rights of Allah such as Salah and suchlike and the husband cannot force her to perform them. When a woman is unchaste because she will affect his religion and she might attribute a bastard to him. In this case, there is no harm to harass her to ask for divorce and give up her rights; Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will; and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse or disobey their husbands); and live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allâh brings through it a great deal of good." (5)
Reprehensible which is divorcing a woman without a reason. It is reprehensible because it cancels the marriage which is full of benefits.
Permissible When a husband needs divorce for the bad manners of his wife or being harmed by her without gaining any benefit from marriage.
Advisable when there is a dispute between the spouses and the dispute cannot be fixed or when a woman asks for divorce because she does not like her husband.
Forbidden: It is the divorce which is against the Sunnah such as divorce during the menstruation period, during the period of post childbirth blood, and during a purity period where sexual intercourse took place.
(1) See: Al Mabsut 6/2, Al Fawakih of Ad-Duwany 3/1004, Rawdat At-Talibin 8/3, Sharh Zad Al Mustaqna` 6/482, and Al Mughny 8/234.
(2) Surat Al Baqarah: 229.
(3) Surat At-Talaq: 1.
(4) Reported by Al Bukhari in the chapter on Surat At-Talaq, Hadith No. 4625 - 4/1864, and reported by Muslim in the chapter on forbidding the divorce of a menstruating woman without her consent, Hadith No 3725 - 4/179 with his own wordings.
(5) Surat An-Nisa': 19.