Marriage: Nullified automatically

Q359 :I have been married for five years, but recently my wife's conduct toward me has changed dramatically. She always quarrels with me for the most trivial things. Recently, I saw a photograph of her taken in a restaurant with a man sitting with her over a cup of coffee. Since then, I have been thinking certainly about divorce. May I seek your advice and also ask what should be a man's attitude in such a situation.

A359 : The first part of this question is better referred to a marriage counselor rather than to a person like myself who looks at problems purely from the Islamic angle. It is not for me to pinpoint the causes for a change of behavior between married partners. What I can say, however, is that both man and wife must always be kind to each other and respect the rights of the other spouse, trying always to consolidate their relationship on the basis of mutual care and compassion. I can advise my reader, however, that he should try to determine the causes which have brought about the change in his wife's behavior and try to remedy those causes. I can also tell him that Allah has permitted divorce as a means to solve intractable marital problems. If he feels that his marriage has run into such a problem, then divorce is an option which he may consider. In divorce, the rights of the other party must always be respected and the duties of each of them should be honored. The second part of the question asks about different possibilities when a man finds his wife in an uncompromising situation. The answer is that he should try not to lose control of himself. Islam has provided a method to deal with such situations which gives everyone his or her dues. If a man accuses his wife of adultery and he can produce no witnesses to corroborate his claim, he is required to testify under oath five times that his accusation is true, adding in the fifth that he invokes Allah's curse on himself if he is lying. The wife will receive no punishment if she repels that charge with a testimony of her own. She has to swear five times by Allah that his charge is false, calling down Allah's wrath upon herself if it is true. If both man and wife go through this process of testifying under oath, and the man accuses his wife and she denies the charge, each of them swearing five time to assert his or her position, their marriage is automatically nullified and they cannot be remarried under any circumstances, whatsoever.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )