Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Ramadan 1424 H
November 2003
Volume 16-11 No : 203
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DR. Zakir Naik Question Hour

DR. ZAKIR NAIK QUESTION HOUR

"Information in the article is not factual. Sources of information are bent upon maligning my image. All loans are not unsecured. I owe responsibility for certain things that happened due to system failure and betrayal of trust."

Q1. I am a dentist by profession, my questions are:
a. Is there an 'Iddah period to be observed by the divorced wife?
b. Should the divorced husband give the maintenance money for her?
c. Can the divorced husband have sex with the divorced wife?
d. Can the two talk on the phone to each other after the divorce?
Syeda Tabassum moredent3@yahoo.co.in

Ans. (a) If the husband and wife have mutual divorce, then the divorced woman needs to observe an 'Iddah (period) of three menstrual cycles if she gets menses on regular basis, OR an 'Iddah (period) of three months in case she gets menses on irregular basis or has passed her Menopause. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah hath created in their wombs if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day..." (Al-Qur'an, 2:228)

In the verse quoted above Allah also says that if the woman is pregnant, she should not hide but rather disclose her pregnancy. Moreover, if she is pregnant, the 'Iddah extends till the child is born, as stated by Allah in the following verse.

"...For those who carry (life within their wombs) their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy." (Al-Qur'an 65:4)

However, in case the divorce is revocable, the husband and wife may undergo reconciliation during the period of 'Iddah thus making the divorce null and void with mutual consensus.

(b) With regards to the maintenance money, in case of revocable divorce, where the husband and wife are likely to get reconciled during the 'Iddah period, the husband will have to provide lodging and maintenance to the wife during that period. If the woman is pregnant, the husband will have to provide maintenance till the child is born as the 'Iddah extends till its birth. Moreover, the obligation of providing the maintenance will continue till the wife breast-feeds the child for two years, the period of suckling, as appointed by Allah. Nevertheless the couple has the right to determine the period of suckling by mutual consent and consideration (Al-Qur'an 2:233). Says Allah in the Qur'an:

"Let the women live (in 'Iddah) in the same style as you live according to your means: annoy them not so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs) then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring) give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father's) behalf." (Al-Qur'an 65:6)

However, in case of irrevocable divorce, there is difference of opinion amongst the scholars with regards to the provision of lodging and maintenance. However the view that is held by majority of the scholars is that there shall be no lodging or maintenance for the woman during her 'Iddah unless she is breast-feeding a child or is discovered to be pregnant.

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported from Allah's Messenger (pbuh) that there is no lodging and maintenance allowance for a woman who has been given irrevocable divorce. (Sahih Muslim vol. 2, hadith no. 3522)

(c) If the divorce is revocable and the husband and wife, with mutual consensus agree to have sex before the 'Iddah is complete, then that would become means through which the divorce becomes null and void. Then they again continue to live as husband and wife and thus they can also have sex as before.

If the divorce is revocable (1st or 2nd) and the 'Iddah period has been completed, then after this period of 'Iddah they cannot have sex unless they have a new nikaah with new 'Meher'. After 'Iddah has been completed, or after irrevocable divorce, the ex-husband & wife become Na-Mahrams and if they have sex without a fresh nikaah then their act of having sex will be considered adultery.

(d) Talking on the phone with the opposite sex, who is a Na-Mahram is not encouraged in Islam. In certain cases when unavoidable and if both maintain their modesty, it may be permissible. Thus till such time as the husband and wife reconcile during 'Iddah, and at any time after divorce, they should avoid talking. In unavoidable circumstances if they do, they should maintain their modesty without which it will be prohibited. And Allah knows the best.

Q2. Is a Muslim woman permitted to go out for a job (organization belongs to Muslims with all women staff) even if her husband can support the family well? What does Islam say about it? In this case the main reason why this woman wants to join this organization is to keep her busy and to mould herself completely in an Islamic environment.

Ans. In Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father or brother to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband or the son. Islam holds the man financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family.

In this case, the husband is financially capable enough to support the family. Nevertheless the woman wants to work voluntarily, not primarily for money, but to mould herself in an Islamic environment by joining a Muslim organization (which presumably follows the tenets of Islam) that has all women staff. It is advisable for her to seek her husband's permission before taking the job. The husband may as well see to it that he understands the intention, objective and purpose of his wife behind taking this job. However, in case the husband does not permit her, then she may very well try to establish an Islamic environment at her husband's place itself by cultivating friendships with good Muslim women in her neighbourhood and surrounding, learning and educating the morals and virtues of Islam. And Allah knows the best.

Q3. (a) Can a rich Muslim wife give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband?

(b) Can a Muslim husband compel his wife (working in a public sector undertaking) to spend all her earnings on family needs and invest his earnings and his wife's savings on assets solely in his name and not even in her name?

(c) What portion, if at all, of a Muslim wife's salary a Muslim husband can claim for needs of the family although it is the onus on him to provide for the family?

Ans.(a) Yes, a Muslim woman is allowed to give portion of her Zakat to her poor husband if she is capable of doing so and if the poor husband is poor enough to be entitled for Zakat. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have granted the permission to a Muslim lady who wished to spend part of the Zakat on her husband. Zainab, the wife of Abdullah (ra) had asked Bilal (ra) to seek for the prophet's permission for spending part of her Zakat on her husband and the orphans under her protection, thus said the Prophet (pbuh): "Yes, and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat." (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, hadith no. 545)

(b) Whatever amount is spent by the wife, will be voluntarily, out of her own free will. The husband has no authority whatsoever to compel his wife to spend on him from her earnings/savings nor is he authorized to invest her earnings/savings on assets solely in his name, unless the wife permits, nor can he compel her to do so. As stated in the earlier answer, in Islam a woman has no financial obligation and the economical responsibility lies on the shoulders of the man. Thus it is the responsibly of the husband to provide for the family. Nonetheless if he wants his wife to spend on him or his family, he can request her and she may spend if she wishes.

(c) With regards to what portion of a women's salary her husband can claim, the question of portion or percentage does not arise since the husband has no right to claim for his wife's salary, regardless of the portion. Thus it will depend on the wife's pleasure and wish whether she spends part of the salary, complete salary or nothing at all. And Allah knows the best.

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