Friday, May 18, 2012

"Khula" - A Stigma or a Relief?

By: Sadia Tariq
The author is an advocate and marriage counsellor.

Haan Bibi kiya soocha aap ne, rehna hai apne mian ke saath ya nahe?
(So what have you decided, do you wish to live with your husband or not?)
This is a typical question a Judge asks a woman, who files a case in the court for obtaining “khula” (divorce initiated by a female). The usual reply from most of the women is:

No Sir, I don’t want to live with my husband anymore.
The Judge then announces the dissolution of the marriage by way of khula between the couple. And it adds up as one more entry into my list of disposal cases.

As cases add on to my list, they bring a lot of questions to my mind. Will this woman miss her good memorable time spent with her ex-husband? Or will she just remember those bad phases, on grounds of which, she applied for khula? What will this woman now do? How will she tackle her life? How will she now plan for her future?
Handling such cases on a daily basis, the major question that arises in mind is:

Is taking khula considered as a stigma or a relief in our society?

In most of the khula cases, the woman feels relieved after getting rid of her husband from her life, even without realizing the repercussions to be faced by her in future along with the stigma as “khulayafta” (divorced) as the society labels such women to some extent. But nowadays, the trend of taking khula has increased and it is no more considered as a stigma to a certain extent.

I always try my level best to convince my clients to preserve their so called empty shell of marriage, for the sake of their children (if any), and for the honour of their families. However, most of my clients at the very first stage of their meeting always come with a pre-determined decision with regard to taking khula. It is momentous that nobody in this world is perfect. But after dealing with so many cases, I have realized that every woman has a right to live according to her free will, rather than always giving sacrifices.

The common ground for taking khula is that the husband is extremely strict, short-tempered, criticizes the wife a lot, unable to provide for her, unable to defend her when required, and not able to give her the rights or privileges that she deserves, so on and so forth.

Our social setup is the major culprit behind khula. Our society always expects a woman to suffer for the sake of her children. She is expected her to be an angel who keeps on obeying without questioning, and has no feelings. Everybody expects her to be PERFECT all the time!

Too much suppression leads to depression.

Latest studies show that women are twice as likely as men to be depressed. The hormonal changes that a woman goes through at different stages of her life, along with emotional traumas such as violence, physical and emotional abuse become the major reasons for depression.
There is a dramatic change in the whole scenario as soon as a girl enters her married life. Whether or not she was spoilt at her parents’ house, it has been seen that the “susraal” (in laws’ place) has never been able to become her home completely.
Every married person has definitely been through some memorable moments after engagement and before getting married. The moment a girl is engaged, she usually gets involved with her fiancé, through telephone conversations (thanks to mobile night packages). They live in a fairy tale world till the time when the marriage date is fixed. As the wedding day comes nearer, the girl becomes the centre of attention of her family and relatives. Everybody starts sharing their experiences and expert opinions. She starts getting free advice on how to handle a pierced nose, how to deal with in-laws, how to take care of health and last but not the least how to become the favourite bahoo (daughter in law). Suddenly, all those wonderful moments and fantasies are forced to be erased from her life because of the tough life that she has to face at the hands of her in laws and her husband, who is usually unable to handle his wife and his family tactfully.
Another major factor is the forced marriage of a girl in our society with a man whom she doesn’t like at all. It’s natural that when a woman is in love, she willfully bears all the hardships, be it unreasonable behaviour of in-laws or financial crisis. The woman then understands her husband’s problems and tries to solve them together with the husband instead of blaming him for the problem and the family for getting her into this misery.
If the journey of a woman’s marriage starts with undue pressure from her parents then she will not be able to develop a healthy family environment, which ultimately leads to depress her whole family. In previous times, the woman would suffer in this situation all her life, but now such a situation results in khula.

But the question is: Is Khula a relief?
If for a second, we take this impression that khula is a relief from her short-tempered, irresponsible, sometimes jobless, sadist, Mama’s boy; will she be ready to spend her entire life alone along with her kids? (if she gets their custody). Being a single parent in this society is a tough job. No matter how supportive her parents are and how much educated she is, she must keep herself busy and try to come out from the trauma which she has been through. She must prepare herself for a new life and start putting behind her past. It will be beneficial for her if she learns from her mistakes instead of running away from them. She will have to suffer her loneliness alone, since taking khula was after all her own choice.
Although a new trend of social acceptance of khulayaftas / divorcees in our society has developed which was once considered as only a stigma, there are a lot of social challenges that a woman has to face. The awareness of legal rights has also developed in our society which was quite uncommon a few decades back. But it’s undue and unwisely implementations could also lead to destruction of a happy family. Remarriages of khulayaftas / divorcees is also gradually becoming acceptable in our society contrary to how it was a few decades ago, despite the permission given by our religion.
Taking khula is a girl’s right but she must keep in mind the repercussions and make herself strong enough to face the upcoming challenges.
Once a woman takes the decision, she should implement it promptly in order to avoid the phase of separation wherein she is neither enjoying a marital life nor legally considered as khulayafta / divorced, which will ruin her life’s precious years. She should think of this phase of her life as a horror or boring chapter of a novel and turn the page so that a new and interesting chapter of the book of life appears in front of her.
The day when a woman gets khula from the court, which in her opinion is a relief from the hell in which she was burning, she must then prepare herself to face other important tasks such as child’s custody and maintenance (if needed). These are no doubt her legal rights but she cannot get them instantly due to court’s procedures. No matter whether the marriage has been dissolved through talaq or khula, it should be done after completion of all legal formalities and adopting the legal procedures in order to avoid any future implications. Failure to do so can raise doubts about the effectiveness of the marriage’s dissolution and lead to serious legal issues. The most important thing that should be kept in mind while taking khula is that the woman has to relinquish her dower amount or refund it if received from her husband earlier, unlike in divorce where husband himself initiates the divorce proceeding. In that case he is required to pay the full dower amount to his ex-wife.
A woman seeking khula is therefore a better judge in deciding whether taking khula is either a Stigma or a Relief. But she must remember this:
If you wait for miracles to happen, then bear in mind that no person in this world can change your life unless YOU want it to change.
Dedicating this motivational song of a Pakistani film “Bol”:
mumkin hai, mumkin hai, bahar mumkin hai,
to ignite a ray of hope in the life of all women who are suffering from this pain and hesitate to express or share.

Advocate Sadia Tariq may be contacted at:
cell-phone: 0300-3337798


  1. what a informative article. The author has gone to great lengths to present the legal nitty gritties in such a way that even a lay-man like myself can understand. your piece will surely enlighten a lot of people out there especially the women in our society. I hope we have more women like you in our society as the only hope we have for our nation is a Strong minded, independent and educated woman. One Educated woman can change an entire generation. Keep up the good work

  2. Its an excellent piece of work, which will definitely enlighten large group of women in our society. Keep it up. From, Tariq Qureshi, Advocate

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  4. Masha Allah, a wonderful and well written piece. After a long time got the opportunity to read something that is neither too romantic nor too tragic. this is life and we all have to do what we have to do.very informative, very powerful. May Allah give all the women strength and wisdom to live their lives happily.
    keep helping them keep encouraging them. keep writing. well done Sadia.

  5. A very intelligent read, Khulla even now is quite a stigma in our society. and you are right in pointing out that life for a divorced woman is not easy in our society; financially, stereotypical constraints, insecurity etc to name a few. But even then I would say if someone's husband is abusive, constant source of physical or mental torture then it is better to cut of such poisonous relation then to endure it. The decision should depend evaluating the source of unhappiness, if the conflicts are minor then one should try to sort them out and act with patience. But unfortunately such is not the case always. But again, saying this is easier esp if woman is financially very dependent and not qualified enough to find job. Life can be tough at times, most woman in the end just resolve to endure fate with bitterness. I don't blame them, life can be tough for women, esp here in Pak. Bottom line: What Society thinks must be the last parameter for such decisions, a woman should take in account other more serious factors (e.g child custody issues. I pray no woman has to face such cutting time in life....

    1. Women empowerment in our society is the need of the hour...

  6. such comments can give women strength to get khula. Bullshit!

  7. FILM SONG? Definately this article might have been written by woman, who is outdated in islam, and updated with western culture. According to islamic principles, wife has to be patient, sacrificial, and even supportive to husband and in laws. Nowadays they are totally opposite, nowadays husband is supportive, patient, sacrificial. And most of all women are very possessive. Only kind of these womens take khula divorce. Allah has given more control to man than woman. Because woman can never take right decisions. So please instead of encouraging women, try to explain them what consequences will arise. By taking khula divorce you are disappointing Allah. Spoiling life of your children. Give proper love to your husband, he will give his life to that woman. Instead nowadays, u taunt them, misbehave with them. Which is incorrect. If you want to be happy with your husband, then you should share your love and should support your husband in difficult times, not as a favor, but as your duty.

    1. Ask the maid who works at your house, how supportive her husband is! It is not about women not being patient or a husband being supportive, it is about a legal right that our religion has given us, which may be used if need arises. Here we have discussed both the pros and cons of this - whether it is a stigma or a relief.

    2. I want to clarify to the criticisim made by this Anonymous that Islam has given a right of Khula to a women. On contrary, Chiristianity and Hindu Religions do not recognize such right and always bind the women to become sacrificial goat. Therefore, in this region, we at most have borrowed these concepts of woman sacrifice from Hinduism (such as its concept of Sati) and mislead the gentry that Islam has taught that all the women should sacrifice their lives even in worst conditions. Therefore, it is crystal clear that Islam is a liberal religion and recognizes the women's rights of Khula as it gives to men's rights. Also in one Hadis, Hazrat Mohammad Salalaho Ellehe Wasalam granted Khula to a woman who merely said that she did not like her husband face. And if Allah would have wanted the women to always be sacrificial goat so he must have not given right of Khula as it is in the religions of Hinduasim, Chiritianity.


  8. Of course, khula is legal right, but only under conditions, that he is torturing you physically, not taking care of your basic needs, nowadays women are taking khula that they want to prove they can marry again, or can lead better life, but at the end they are the one who suffer. I have seen most of the cases. They regret it later. Even after getting married, they had started to regret. So try to adjust with family conditions, make realise your problems, instead of saying and showing your problems to your husband. Again i will tell you, divorce consequences are always worst to everybody, man, woman, children, parents, family and relatives, all they are gioing to suffer except some relatives and friends who will enjoy by seeing your difficult situations. Because they are the one who brainwash you. Womens are very sensitive, but should be clever before taking such a big decision either khula or divorce.

  9. what about those women who completely change their personality and lifestyle according to needs of her husband and inlaws? i am a khulayafta woman with a 6 year old son, i got married happily, as soon as i had my first and only child, my husband and inlaws sent me back to my parents home with a one month old child, he would visit us every two weeks without giving any expenses for me or my child, my parents supported me till 3 years, still i tried to make my marraige work and moved back with my husband, in 2 years he made me change residence 4 times...made my parents paid for my expenses..he wasnt the same and always gave threats to send me back, until one day i find out that he had an affair and right after sending me back to my parents place after my son's birth he got married to her and they had a child who is now 4 years old plus this year he had an MBA and a gold medalist, i work for a well known private school as an o'level teacher, i chose khulla for betterment of my child and myself. i have never felt so relieved, i've moved a step forward in my career and have become a part of higher management in that school. i dont regret my decision, my son is healthy and happy. Islam has also taught men to respect women and not treat them like dirt or take undue advantage of them, if we respect our husbands that doesnt mean we have given them the right to play with our lives, and if a man can get married a second time, then it means he is not true to his first wife and child, he is the one who is being brainwashed and unable to make the right decision. i chose khula to keep myself mentally sane so that i can give my son a better last words to my ex-husband were "live and let live", i am both a mother and a father to my son and i am proud of it.people have changed islam according to their own needs and forgotten the true essence of our religion. women have complete right to choose. they cannot be forced against their will and they can make right decisions like i did! and im very thankful to Allah.

    1. You are a brave woman! May God be with you always...

    2. My heart is crying to read ur story , ive been through the same still not divorced just living in parents house for 4 yrs now, from the birth of first child

  10. Having read so many comments I just want to say that as an Advocate my job is to create legal awareness and guide my clients according to their circumstances. I don't persuade them to take Khula/Divorce. This is totally wrong perception that Advocates convince their clients to take Khula. How can I do that, its a person's own choice whether man or a woman.

    Sadia Tariq

  11. I can realize what a lawyer could feel, if she saves the women from disastrous effects of divorce then we call that lawyer a heartless person or pure businessman who takes cases for increasing the number and clientage and if she counsel her clients and try to warn them then she will be called an incompetent lawyer who cannot appear in court. so what she should do just a simple question to all the people who have commented on this article?

    Another Lawyer

  12. So, if your husband is kind enough and tells you that he has a disease.. do you think its a good ground to take khula? I mean where are we leading to. He trusted you and told you that he has a disease which anyone can have at any time and is ready to protect you against that disease... do you think it's good ground to take khula from him for that?

  13. No patience and tolerance has made our society a broken one where divorce rate increasing every day there is no problem with the mother or father but the children suffer the most irreverseable blow that can never be compensated by either custodian parent even if they can do everything for the child

  14. khulla is so easily granted in these days as buying a bottle of coke, and this right is being manipulatedly used by women. As it is easily granted ppl are less concerned of what they have at the moment rather more concern with what they can achieve after getting out of the relationship. I'm against the suppression of women by any way but marriage is a marathon not a 100meter. It is the time that makes both parties realize importance of each other and time will change for everyone. Patience is the thing we lack as a society and same reflect in the result of increasing numbers of divorces/khulla in our society.

  15. I am from bangladesh. I marry a girl after seven years of love. Our marriage life is two years. Ours have a four months female child which i loved most. But my wife arrange a khula for thiking a successful career become a bcs cadre. She has a freedom fighter quata and very ambicious. I want to die thinking my daughter future. I do not tolerate her such kind of behaviour. She intentionally keep away my daughter from me because of my maximum sorrowness, a great panishment.

  16. I agree to what advocate Sadia has said in the article. Khula is a difficult thing but it shouldnot be considered a stigma, for many females it is the only halal way of relief from a filthy marriage. Marriage and a new family which results from it is like a brick in the wall of every society.if bricks are weak they will never make the wall strong. So why must one insist/force other to stay in a breaking marriage. Either live to strengthen each other or separate and get a better life for both. We all have responsibilities as all sane adults of any society have but if we cannot work honorably on most basic level then we are nothing but a weeping wound in body of society.

    Yes a dissolved marriage is horrible thing emotionally as every marriage has both goodn bad days and both stay in memory. So if we are clear on why we have married or why we have separated then its good...but if we have taken an emotional impulsive step in either case marriage/separation then its only misery and heart for quite long time for us...

    I think a simple criterea is to understand that if we can answer to Allah about our acts and be saved from fire of hell then that act is good, if not then we are getting ourselves into trouble!

    Dr. Nudrat