The Position of A Woman Who Divorces Her Husband
Frederic Leighton's oil painting “Wedded,” 1882
Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce with no good reason will be deprived of even smelling the scent of paradise. (Reported by Tirmidhi, 2/329, abwab al-talaq, 11; Ibn Hibban, 9/490, Kitab al-nikah, bab ma'ashirah al-zawjayn)
Firstly, the Qur’an explicitly describes the conditions and rules that apply for spouses to divorce one another (This will be discussed in detail in due course). God recognizes the right to divorce of both sides. Yet there are no statements regarding a woman who divorces her husband being unable to enter Paradise as in the above false hadith. This is manifest proof that the hadith is entirely fabricated. There can be no question of our Prophet (pbuh) making unlawful something that God has made lawful and bringing in a commandment that is the exact opposite of what God commands. Therefore, in the event that a woman wishes to divorce, God bestows that freedom on her in the Qur’an. The conditions for divorce are revealed in verses that contain countless precautions intended to protect the woman, materially and psychologically, both before and after divorce. Therefore, the statement that a woman who asks her husband for a divorce “will be deprived of even smelling the scent of paradise” is totally false and defamatory. It is the product of a devilish logic that has nothing to do with Islam.
It is highly important to note that Islam consists of Divine pronouncements, the word of God, that fully address human nature and the human mind and soul. All the verses in the Qur’an contain pronouncements that lift difficulties from people, prevent oppressive practices, ensure that a person’s free will and mind are involved and are in complete agreement with human nature. None of these pronouncements impose any difficulties on men or women. On the contrary, they resolve disagreements, injustices and inequalities among people. They lift the heavy chains from them. They ease people’s souls. They establish bonds of love and friendship, rather than enmity and hatred. Most important of all, they permit the emergence of a noble and virtuous human model bound to God in complete submission to Him.
Yet the model of marriage that appears in the false hadiths in question reflects a conception far outside the moral values of the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an, there can be no compulsion or coercion between married couples. If a disagreement arises, it is to be corrected through the commandments of the Qur’an. The most important thing is for both parties to the marriage to abide completely by the moral values of the Qur’an and to strive to resolve their differences as much as possible. If incompatibility should persist, however, then both sides have the right to divorce.
It is also revealed in a verse that in the event of divorce both sides will be under the protection of God:
If a couple do separate, God will enrich each of them from His boundless wealth. God is All-Encompassing, All-Wise. (Qur'an, 4:130)
As we have seen, in the Qur’an, after a man and a woman decide to divorce of their own free will they continue to live freely. There is not a single verse in the Qur’an to suggest that a woman cannot enter paradise if she divorces her husband.