chapter 30


Divorce and Inheritance

One of the things which angers God, the Almighty is divorce, [Vasa'il, v.22, p.7]

Divorce is Despised

Divorce is not good. It is despised by God, the Prophet, and the Imams unless it is for a religiously acceptable reason. Divorcing based on the man or the woman's lust is immoral, inhumane, irreligious, and disrespectful to the other party. Here I shall discuss the most important tradition on divorce first, and then discuss the relevant Quranic verses and the conditions for divorce. In his book "Sharh i-Mathnavi, the great scholar Hajji Sabzevari has narrated the Immaculate Imams as saying the following: Nothing is more loved by God than freeing slaves, and nothing is more despised by God then separation and divorce. [Sharh-i-Mathnavi, p.142]. The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
From among what is allowed by God, nothing is worse than divorce. [Vasa'il, v.15, p.280]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
God does not like men and women who treat their spouses as toys and want to divorce. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.5, p.546]
Imam Baqir said:
Indeed God, the Almighty is angry with at whoever repeatedly divorces. [Vasa'il, Al-i-Bayt Press, v.22, p.8]
Imam Sadiq said:
God likes a house in which there is a marriage, and despises one in which there is a divorce. [Vasa'il, v.22, p.7]
The Prophet (Pbuh) asked someone what he had done to his wife. He said he divorced her. Then the Prophet asked him why? He asked if there were any flaws in her, or if she was ugly? The man answered yes. The man married again. The same sequence repeated over and over. Then the Prophet (Pbuh) said: God, the Almighty hates or damns any man, or woman, who repeatedly marries and gets divorced. [Vasa'il, v.22, p.7]

( 244 )

Causes for Divorce

Divorce is allowed in cases when there exist conditions in the woman or the man which cannot be corrected for and make the continuation of the marriage difficult. In such cases, the couple and their relatives should not worsen the conditions, and not say any improper things. The problems that the couple have should not become a reason for them or others to commit other sins such as gossiping, accusing, belittling, etc. Such acts will only increase the hatred of the couple and their families, and will cause torture in the Hereafter.
It is unfortunate to say that whenever the issue of divorce comes up, the families start to gossip, make accusations, or express hatred, and many commit these sins. It may be that the woman is too difficult to live with because she does not attend to the needs of the family, or the man does not abide by the conditions which he has accepted at the time of the wedding, in which case the woman can ask for a divorce. If these conditions exist, the couple should respectfully get divorced without committing any sins. The families should not get involved, or commit any sins. I must mention two great sins which the families may commit early after divorce. Hopefully, by paying close attention to divine issues, sins will be avoided.


The Quran states:
Nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...[Holy Quran: Hujurat: 49:12]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Gossip will ruin a Muslim's religion faster than food gets digested in his stomach [Vasa'il, v.72, p.152]
He also said:
I admonish you against gossiping as it is worse than fornication [Bihar al-Anwar, V.75, p.222]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
On the Night of Ascension, I saw some people who were peeling off their skin of their face with their nails, I asked Gabriel who they were. He said they are the ones who gossiped. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.7, pp.332-333].
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
God has forbidden gossiping, as he has forbidden harming a Muslim's property or life. [Ibid]. The Commander of the Faithful said:
Gossiping is a sign of hypocrisy.[Ibid]
He also said:
Gossiping about the good people is one of the most wicked acts.[Ibid]

( 245 )

The seventh Imam said:
One who gossips about his believing brothers is deprived of Godís Mercy [Bihar al-Anwar, V.77, p.117]
The Master of the Martyrs (Imam Husayn) told a man who was gossiping:
Protect yourself from gossip as it is the food for the dogs in the Hell [Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p.117].
In fact, there is no reason to gossip about a lustful, oppressive ruler or one who is already an evil-doer. [Bihar al-Anwar, V.75, p.253]
The Commander of the Faithful has said:
One who listens to another who gossips is similar to one who gossips [Mizan al-Hikmat, V.7, p.352].
There is also a tradition from the Prophet (Pbuh) related to not listening to gossip:
God will protect whoever defends the honor of his Muslim brothers in front of one who gossips, from the Fire of Hell. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.7, p.353].
Therefore the only thing that must be discussed in a divorce is divorce and nothing else. There should be no unjust talk since this will only cause you to go to Hell.


There are times when the husband or the wife accuses the other one to justify the divorce. This may also be done by either family. This is a very wicked deed with a serious misfortune in the Hereafter. Imam Sadiq narrated a wise man as saying:
Accusing an innocent person is even heavier than tall mountains.[Vasa'il, V.12, P.288] Imam Reza has narrated his grandfathers as having quoted the Prophet (Pbuh) saying:
God will throw the one who accuses some innocent person, or ascribes something to someone without a justification into a fire in Hell until he proves what he has claimed.[Vasa'il al-Shiaa, V.12, P.288]

A Lesson

They asked a man who wanted to divorce his wife for the reason. He said it is forbidden to gossip about my wife. Then they got divorced, and the woman got married to someone else. Again they asked that man why he had divorced his wife. He replied it is forbidden to gossip about someone elseís wife.

( 246 )

Divorce as Viewed by Quran

It is better if the couple can resolve their problems themselves. If not, they should each chose a religious, wise, patient and smart representative to discuss their problems. Perhaps this way they can avoid a divorce. If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; If they wish for peace, God will cause their reconciliation: for God hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.[Holy Quran: Nisaa: 4:35]
A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by God.
If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by God, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by God: So do not transgress them. If any do transgress the limits ordained by God, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others).[Holy Quran: Baqara 2: 229]
When ye divorce women, and they fulfill the term of their ('Iddat), either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms; but do not take them back to injure them, (or) to take undue advantage; if anyone does that, he wrongs his own soul. Do not treat God's Signs as a jest, but solemnly rehearse God's favors on you, and the fact that he sent down to you the Book and Wisdom, for your instruction. And fear God, and know that God is well acquainted with all things.[Holy Quran: Baqara 2:231]
Note that the Quran reminds us of the blessings, the Quran, Godís Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom when discussing divorce. This is so that justice is fully honored. It is obvious that divorce will not be mentioned in families which are religious and believe in God and the Hereafter, and are adorned with good morals and deeds. They will live together in peace forever and will raise their children with love and affection. The laziness, depressions, addiction, quitting education, and corruption of many of our children are rooted in the differences between their parents or their divorce. If we want this horrible dragon called divorce to disappear, then the man should not be oppressive, he must respect the rights of his wife and honor his obligations, and use humane and Islamic principles in treating his wife and children. The woman should perform her duties as a mother and wife, too. God dislikes divorce, and whoever is responsible for it will be questioned in the Hereafter.
We should try to reduce the statistics of divorce. We should stop sinning, flirting, and oppressing others so that there be no more divorce. The judicial system of the country should publish a leaflet outlining moral issues and stating the evil aspects of divorce. This should be handed out to those who wish to get divorced. Reading it may change their mind, and they may not return to

( 247 )

separation. Their life may be re-established. It is better that widows as widowers not enter the society, since they may be corrupted by those whose faith is weak.

Termination of Life

Life is the place for action to achieve our aspirations. It is terminated by death which will transfer us to the Hereafter where we shall face the results of our deeds, beliefs, and ethics. The Quran asks both men and women to strive to put something aside for the Hereafter while they live.
And let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow.[Holy Quran: Hashr 59:18]
A very important issue to consider is a good will and testament as to how to best spend one third of one's property. Each person can explicitly will what to be done with this portion of his property, and should choose a good person to carry out his will. All the Prophets, the Imams and the saints paid close attention to this issue and none passed away without a will. We have been instructed to leave a will by the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Immaculate Imams and by verse 180 by Baqara.
It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leave any goods, that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the God-fearing. [Holy Quran: Baqara 2:180]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
Every Muslim has the right to a will [Mizan al-Hikmat, V.10, pp.494-495]. He also said:
A Muslim should not sleep without a will [Ibid].
He also said:
Whoever passes away and has a will has died according to the traditions of God and His Prophet, and his death is based on virtue and martyrdom, and God's Forgiveness. [Ibid]
It is much better today for one to act upon his will before he dies since the laws are cumbersome and really bother the inheritors. One can do whatever he wants done after he died when he is still alive. He can spend his wealth and property in a good way , like providing for the means of marriage of his sons and daughters, paying for the expenses of the orphans, building schools, mosques, and housing for the poor, and he can get rewarded after he dies. Imam Ali has recommended this: O' son of Adam act upon your will regarding your own wealth and property, and do what you want done after you die now that you are alive. Anyway, try to leave lawfully earned property behind, since what is unlawfully earned cannot be inherited.
Do not will that more than one third of it to be spent as you wish, since this will not be effective. Divide the other two-thirds according to the Quran. This way none of the inheritors will be hurt. It is obligatory for the inheritors to act according to a will that is prepared according to the Holy Quran. Such an act is

( 248 )

worship, and is rewarding for the one who has passed away, and the inheritors who act accordingly. The inheritors should pay off any business debts, alms, the nuptial gift of the wife, and personal debts or required pilgrimage expenses first. They cannot divide and use money which belongs to others, since this will result in God's Punishment. The share for the wife, the parents and the sons and daughters should strictly be considered according to the divine book. Otherwise, a breach of God's Limits has occurred which will deserve Divine Retribution.
Please consult the practical treatise of Muslim scholars regarding the division of inheritance, or go to visit an expert in Islamic jurisprudence. This way the soul of the one who has passed away will be pleased. The inheritors should remember that the person who has passed away has spent all his life working hard to run your lives, and he suffered much. He may have even made some fiscal sins, so do not forget him. Pray for him, fast for him, give charity, and do good deeds. Try to remember him and please his soul any time you can especially on the eve of Thursdays, the month of Ramazan and Rajab. This way your children too will learn to remember you after you die.
Go to visit their graves every once in a while since God will then grant their soul to become accustomed to you, then they may pray for you from Purgatory. I have a friend who said whenever he had a problem, he immediately went to Qum to visit the graves of his parents. He read the Fatihah chapter of the Quran, prayed and paid charity for them. Then he asked them to pray for him and he returns to Tehran. He has experienced that his parentsí prayers for him follow him and his problem gets resolved before sunset. It is not right to forget one's parents who spent all their life and energy to raise their children. Something should be done to help them be forgiven.'