Reem Shraiky, Translation and Research Office, UK
Islam, as a complete religion valid for every time and place, does not fail to provide a solution to every problem. As well as guiding people to attain the pinnacle state of self-awareness and a unique bond with their Creator, it warns believers about the seriousness of certain matters to prevent them from falling into an endless cycle of problems.
Among the matters that Islam has addressed with great accuracy is marital life. Both the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa – who was the complete embodiment of the Quranic teachings, emphasise that the foundation of a successful marriage should be built upon affection, love, togetherness, and mercy. (Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.22)
Moreover, Islam clarifies the duties and rights of both husband and wife. If one of them falls short in a matter, the other party should overlook it and turn a blind eye. Spouses must focus on the positive attributes of each other instead of only checking the negatives. The Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said:
لا يَفْرَكْ مُؤْمِنٌ مُؤْمِنَةً إِنْ كَرِهَ مِنْهَا خُلُقًا رَضِيَ مِنْهَا آخَرَ
“A believer must not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Hadith 3240)
Islam emerged at a time when women had limited or no rights, and it brought about a revolution that established countless rights for women. In fact, this revolution served as the foundation for women to obtain their rights across the world throughout the ages.
Now, let us turn our attention to a dangerous matter that both men and women may fall into. Islam warns against this matter robustly, and it is known in Islamic terminology as takhbib. Takhbib means to corrupt someone to render them disaffected or to alienate them, especially in a scenario where a mischief-maker incites a wife against her husband. (see Lane, Vol. 2, p. 691)
Undoubtedly, such corruption or instigation can happen to the husband against his wife as well. However, due to women’s more emotional disposition, they are more susceptible to falling into such a trap.
The Holy Prophetsa explained:
ليسَ منَّا من خبَّب امرأةعلَى زوجِها
“Anyone who instigates the wife of a man against him, is not from us.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith 2175)
Further, we read that Allah’s Messengersa said:
لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنّةَ خِب وَلاَ مَنّانٌ وَلاَ بَخِيلٌ
“The swindler, the one who keeps reminding people reproachfully of what he has given to them, and the stingy person, shall not enter Paradise.” (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1963)
So, the khibb, who destroys relationships between people through deception, will not be admitted to Heaven. This is because the person who ruins others’ marriages by deceiving them or causing the wife to ask for a divorce is committing a grave sin.
Regrettably, it is seen in a society that some women encourage their friends to leave their husbands when seeking advice on even the slightest disagreement with them. This behaviour not only constitutes the sin of Takhbib, but also contributes to the breakdown of marital relationships.
In accordance with most schools of thought, a woman who has been divorced is not barred from marrying the individual who previously committed takhbib. In such a scenario, their union would be considered valid, but they would both be held accountable and receive discretionary punishment in accordance with what the Imam deems appropriate. (Mausua Fiqhiya Kuwaitiya, 11/20).
However, the Maliki (Ibid.) and Hanbali traditions reject the validity of such a marriage and advocate for punishment for the parties involved due to the severity of their offence. (Imam al-Hajjawi, Al-Iqna‘ li Talibi l-Intifa‘, 182/3)
Consequently, several Muslim countries have instituted specific laws addressing this crime. (e.g., Article No. 23 of the Kuwaiti Personal Status Law, No. (51) of (1984)).
We have to remember that the Holy Prophetsa warned women against seeking a divorce without a valid reason, he stated:
أَيُّمَا امْرَأَةٍ سَأَلَتْ زَوْجَهَا الطَّلاَقَ فِي غَيْرِ مَا بَأْسٍ فَحَرَامٌ عَلَيْهَا رَائِحَةُ الْجَنَّةِ
“Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce when it is not absolutely necessary, the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden to her.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 2055).
The Holy Prophetsa also indicated that causing the separation between a man and his wife is a purely satanic act. The Holy Prophetsa warned that Satan sits on a throne of water and sends his helpers to create dissension among people. The most notorious among them is closest to Satan in rank. One of these helpers may boast of his actions, but Satan dismisses them as insignificant; however, if someone says that they caused discord between a husband and wife, Satan praises them and considers their actions successful. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2813b)
Hazrat Ahmadas advised his community to constantly pray for their spouses and strive to avoid divorce. He emphasised that those who rush into divorce are considered wicked and greatly detested in the eyes of Allah. We should refrain from hastily breaking apart, like a filthy and impure vessel, the sacred union that Allah has blessed and joined together. (Tohfa-e-Golarhviyya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17. p. 75)