Sunday, December 9, 2012

ISLAMIC LAW ON DIVORCE (VERSE 2:233)


Assalam oalaikum,

 In verse 2:233 of the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) says,
“The mother shall give suck to her children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person will have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child nor any father on account of his child. And on the (father’s) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent of the father). If they both decide on weaning by mutual consent and after due consultations, then there is no sin on them. And if you decide on a foster suckling mother for your children then there is not sin on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you agreed (to give her) on a reasonable basis. And fear Allah and remember that Allah Sees all that you do”.

In this verse the issue that has been addressed is that of breast-feeding a child in cases where the husband and wife have parted ways, (whether through divorce or judicial separation) and their child is still a suckling.
According to this verse, the mother is supposed to suckle her offspring till a period of two years, if possible. The maximum period of breast-feeding that has been fixed by the Quran is two years.
In case of divorce, the issue of a suckling infant and his breast- feeding mother’s expenditure becomes quite complicated. The problems arise primarily because of non-compliance of the Shariah Laws, in the society. If a man accepts the responsibility of his breast-feeding wife’s expenditure (according to his financial position) as it has been mentioned in verse 2:233 of the Holy Quran there will not be any complication, as such. An ugly situation can be easily avoided if the Commandment of Allah (swt) is followed.
The verse 2:233 lays down the rule that the divorced women or the father of the child should not get an unfair treatment, due to the child. For example, if the divorced woman, due to her motherly instinct, wishes to keep her child but the child’s father snatches the child from her, ignoring her motherly love. Or else the child’s father does not bear the expenditure of the divorced woman’s food and clothing but still expects her to breast feed the child. This will be injustice towards the divorced woman.  This type of unjust behavior of the part of the child’s father is forbidden in this verse. The Holy Quran also forbids unjust behavior on the part of the divorced woman towards the child’s father. For example, a divorced woman refusing to breast feed the child or demanding more maintenance than the child’s father can afford to provide her.
In case the child’s father dies, then the responsibility of the divorced woman (during the suckling period) and her infant lies on the shoulders of the father’s heirs so that neither the woman faces any trouble nor does the nurturing of the infant gets affected, adversely.
If both the father and the mother wish by mutual consent, agreement and consultation, to wean, i.e. stop feeding the infant with the mother’s milk then it will not be a sin on their part. The father can hire a wet nurse for breast feeding the child. However, the wet nurse should be paid adequately with kindness. The verse is concluded with the reminder that we should fear Allah (swt) and He Sees whatever we do.        

Keep Me In Your Prayers.
Amel Soname
Amel_soname@yahoo.com

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