Sura Al-Baqarah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-238

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Special instructions for revocation of divorce or annulment of marriage
The first rule given in the first verse is: When women divorced revocably reach near the completion of their 'iddah (waiting period), the husband has two choices; either he may revoke his divorce and let her continue to be married to him or he may not revoke his divorce, discontinue the nikah relationship and release her totally.

But along with both these choices, the noble Qur'an places a restriction which requires that a wife, if retained, must be retained in accordance with a manner well-recognized and should it come to a parting of ways, even then, the parting should be in accordance with the rule as approved by the Shari'ah. Here, the word بالمعروف (in fairness), which appears separately at both the places, suggests that there are some conditions and rules governing the choice of retaining, similarly as there are, in the choice of releasing. When choice is made from either of the two options, it must be done in acrordance with the method prescribed by the Shari'ah and not under the heat of spot anger or sentiments. Some of these rules of Islamic law appear in the Qur'an itself. Rest of the details have been given by the Holy Prophet (SM).

For instance, should the thought of ugly consequences of separation after the incident of divorce produce a change of heart in favour of revoking it and keeping the marriage intact, then the sharpah has a method. It stipulates that the purpose in doing so should be to wash out past anger and displeasure and resolve to live anew in good family relationship with intention to give her the due rights. The purpose should not be to hold the woman in captivity or to harass and torture her. Therefore, the following words were said in the verse under reference: ولا تمسكوهن ضرارا لتعتدوا , that is, 'do not retain them with intent to harm them unjustly'.

The other method of raj'ah (revocation) has been mentioned in Surah Al-talaq: وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ

And let two trustworthy persons from amongst you be witnesses; then, let witness be given if needed, precisely for the sake of Allah, (without fear or favour). (65:2)

It means that anyone intending to take his wife back by raj'ah (revocation) should invite two trustworthy Muslims to act as witnesses. Out of the many advantages it has, one is the possible use of these witnesses in case there is a legal claim against raj'ah filed by the woman.

Moreover, if the rule of having witnesses on ral'ah is not observed there is a possibility that someone, out of selfishness or Satanic instigation, comes up with a claim, even after the 'iddah has expired, that he had already done his raj'ah (revocation) before the expiry of 'iddah (waiting period).

In order to eradicate these evils, the Holy Qur'an has directed that the act of revocation should have two trustworthy witnesses.

Looking at the other side of the matter, it is also possible that hearts remain heavy and anger does not go away even after the long span of 'iddah which has given them sufficient time for thinking. So, a termination of relationship may seem to be the choice, In which case the danger of hostile emotions flaring up is acute, which again may become contagious starting from two persons, it could envelope two families and could become, for both, a danger for both this world and the Hereafter. To offset this danger, it was briefly said: أَوْ سَرِّحُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ 'Or release them in fairness,' that is, if you have to leave or free a wife and sever your relationship with her, that too, must be done in accordance with the recognised method. Some details of this method are given in the noble Qur'an itself; rest of the details stand proved through what the Holy Prophet (SM) said and did.

For instance, in the preceding verse, it was said: وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَأْخُذُوا مِمَّا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْئًا that is, do not take back (without a valid ground admitted by the Islamic Law) that which you have already given to the woman as mahr (dower), in return for the divorce, or go about demanding some other compensation.

Then, in the following verse, it was said:
وَلِلْمُطَلَّقَاتِ مَتَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۖ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُتَّقِينَ , that is, 'for all divorced women, there is some benefit as recognized rightly due on those who fear Allah.The explanation of مَتَاعٌ : mate' or compensatory benefit to be given to a divorced wife is that she should be given some present or cash or a set of clothing at the least. Thus the fulfillment of some rights of the divorced wife has been made mandatory for the divorcing husband while the fulfillment of some others has been assigned to him in the form of kind treatment and good conduct. This is a chaste lesson in high morals and social manners which points to the fact that, just as the marriage was a transaction and mutual contract, the divorce is the termination of a transaction. There is no reason why the termination of this transaction should be a hotbed of enmity and hostility. The final annulment of the transaction should also be done decently and compassionately, that is, following talaq, the divorced wife should be given some benefits.

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