Settling a marital discord and dispute

Q. I have an important question concerning marital discord and disputes with the possibility of it ending in divorce. In what order does Islam guide us to settle a marital discord and disputes that perhaps lead to divorce? Is there a step wise method of reconciling differences prior to divorce in Islam?

A. When there are marital discord and disputes between the husband and wife, the first thing that should be done is for each to speak to a scholar or respectable person who may counsel both of them about living well with each other. In this meeting, each has the opportunity to say what are the problems and concerns. This sort of discussion should not be done ‘to get at each other’s throat’, or to ‘pick on each other’s faults’. Instead, it should be a healthy discussion with calmness and good intentions, to remove the problems which are affecting the marriage.

Each party should not look at the other one with anger and ill feelings. Instead, they should have the common objective of ‘making up’ and ‘settling the differences’ for the sake of Allah. If things have not worked out in the above situation, and the relationship between both spouses becomes strained, then a meeting should be held by the concerned members of the families or Muslim Community. An arbitrator on behalf of the wife and another on behalf of the husband should be sent to discuss the future of the spouses.

The counsel should look into the matter deeply and then make a decision for both parties to either continue the marriage or end the marriage. All efforts should be first made to reconcile the parties, and if this seems to be difficult, then a separation may be the next alternative.

If all efforts and actions to reconcile prove futile, then the husband may pronounce one divorce to the wife, after due consideration, without haste or anger.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan