Islamic Divorce for Women

In Islam, women are allowed to initiate a divorce. This can be done on grounds of irreconcilable differences, abuse or the failure of her husband to adhere to his religious obligations. Even though Islam recognises the right to divorce, it is highly frowned upon.


Islam is a monotheistic faith with over two billion followers worldwide. The followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims adhere to a holy book called the Koran.

Women and No-fault Divorce

Muslim women can initiate a 'khul' (no-fault divorce), if they feel their marriage is beyond repair. In this type of divorce, the woman will have to pay back her dowry, since she is considered to be the contract breaker. The husband and wife have to wait three months, then the marriage is considered dissolved.

Women and Fault Divorce

If a Muslim woman initiates a divorce based on the fact that the husband is not fulfilling his duties as stated in the Koran, she must go to a judge and petition for divorce. If the man initiates this type of divorce and she contests, he can either take her back or continue the proceeding.

Complications in Divorce

If the husband refuses divorce or, during the waiting period, stops providing for her or their family, she is encouraged to go to an imam (community leader) or to her guardian (father, brother etc.) to arbitrate. Even if the husband contests the divorce, if she no longer wants to remain married, she will be granted the divorce.

Consequences of Divorce

In Islam, there are no consequences to getting divorced and the divorced woman is supposed to be treated well. After the three-month waiting period, the woman may remarry. In some Islamic cultures, however, getting a divorce is considered a huge embarrassment to the family and the woman may be ostracised by the community.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.