Q. I was wondering if a woman can perform Talaq and if not why? I know the quran specifies the men, but what if the husband tells the wife that she has to arrange the divorce?
A. Talaq is a very serious matter in Islam and it needs proper thought and consideration before it is given. Man, being the Ameer, protector, over looker, caretaker and provider of his wife, has been given this right on account of the position he holds. It is also seen that in exercising this right, due deliberation, patience, forbearance and appropriate procrastination are needed which are to be found to a larger extent in men than in women.
The Holy Quraan, while issuing the right to divorce, has given this order to men, and the Holy Prophet (S.A) has also said, ‘The right to divorce is in the hands of those who hold the reins of marriage’ (referring to the husband). These, and for many other reasons, Talaq has been placed in the hands of men. Howbeit, the shariah has not left women to be treated in an unjust and unkind manner. Instead, it has given her the right to seek a legal separation for valid reasons.
If the husband tells his wife to arrange the divorce, then the wife can approach a council of Islamic Scholars or a Muslim Divorce council and make a request for a divorce. The council will then follow through with this by contacting the husband etc.
The above mentioned statement does not give the right to the wife to issue a divorce to the husband, or to go to a secular court to file for a divorce.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan