Divorce in Islam – Talaq
A Muslim man who wants to divorce his wife in the UK will not only need to divorce his wife in line with Islamic law and potentially pay the mahr. He may also need to finalise the divorce with a decree absolute through the family courts, if the marriage was recognised under English law.Get in touch
Is Islamic marriage recognised in the UK?
An Islamic marriage is recognised under UK law if the Nikah took place in a country where this type of marriage is recognised by law, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Iraq.
Your marriage is also recognised by UK law if you underwent a civil as well as your Nikah ceremony.
What is Talaq?
The word ‘Talaq’ is based on the Arabic word ‘ṭalaḳ’, meaning divorce. Talaq is often translated as ‘repudiation’, which means a rejection of a proposal or idea.
There are two main classifications of Talaq – ‘Talaq Al-Sunnah’ and ‘Talaq Al-Bid’ah’.
Talaq Al-Sunnah is a divorce that strictly follows Muhammad’s teachings. Talaq Al-Bid’ah, is an interpretation of Talaq Al-Sunnah. The Arabic word ‘Bid’Ah’ means ‘innovation’ and Talaq Al-Bid’ah is a kind of innovative adaptation of the initial law.
The main practical difference is that the husband does not have to go through a waiting period with Talaq Al-Bid’ah. He can divorce his wife with one statement.
Talaq Al-Sunnah requires couples who are separating to go through a waiting period of three months. These three months begins as soon as the husband states he wants to divorce.
This waiting period is intended to give couples the chance to reconcile and resume their lives as a married couple. However, if a man has pronounced three divorces on three different occasions, he cannot take back his former wife or remarry her.
During the waiting period you need to refrain from sexual intercourse. If you don’t, it is taken as proof that you wish to withdraw your request for divorce. The divorce will only become final once the waiting period has passed.
Talaq Al-Sunnah can be further divided into ‘Talaq Al-Ahsan’ and ‘Talaq Al-Hasan’. Each one presents a slight deviation on the Talaq Al-Sunnah process and waiting period.
Under general sharia law, husbands can divorce their wives by saying the word ‘Talaq’ three times. However, this form of Talaq is not universally accepted. Practice does vary, and other rules often apply, such as specific waiting periods, witnesses and the state of mind of the man at the time.
In the UK, you can apply for divorce from your wife to the sharia council. The process is complex and can become lengthy if it’s not handled efficiently. The full process is highlighted below.
UK law and Islamic divorce
The civil divorce process
If your marriage is legally recognised in the UK you also need to apply for your divorce in civil court. To do this you need to follow the steps below, alongside the sharia law procedures.
In order to file for divorce, you need to be able to prove your marriage has broken down. The grounds you claim for divorce will need to be one of the following:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Separated longer than 2 years and you both agree to a divorce
- Separated for at least 5 years and only you agree to the divorce
The civil divorce procedure can be long, complex and emotional. If you had a civil marriage in the UK or you had your Nikah in a country where the Nikah is recognised by law you will need a civil divorce. This means that as well as obtaining your Talaq, you will also need to follow these steps:
1. Forms and fees
Fill in a divorce petition form, pay the fee and send your forms to your local divorce centre.
2. Agreement or disagreement
If your wife agrees with the divorce petition your divorce will go ahead at this stage. However, if she does not she can decide to start her own divorce proceedings against you later on.
3. Court hearing
If you can’t agree on a divorce and you both file petitions, you’ll need to go to court.
The sharia divorce process
Sharia divorce follows a set four stage procedure. Our Muslim solicitors can guide you throughout, making each step as simple as possible. The steps are:
The first task is to submit your application form to the Sharia Council.
The council will then notify your wife.
The council will then check if all your dower obligations have been met.
You will then be issued with your Islamic divorce certificates.
Tailored support from Islamic solicitors
Our Islamic services
Our team of sympathetic and dedicated solicitors will always work with you to reach a solution that is right for you financially and emotionally. We support our clients throughout the Islamic divorce process, from beginning to end.
We’ll prepare your applications and legal documents and ensure that all documentation is submitted to the sharia council in a timely manner.
Additional mediation and reconciliation services
As well as leading negotiations for any financial disputes, we can support you through mediation and reconciliation meetings, if you feel this could be beneficial .
We can also provide civil divorce services and assistance with children disputes, should you need them.
Talaq fee packages
Our standard fee for our support services for Talaq is £250 + VAT.
If matters proceed to sharia council, then council fees will be charged and will be, depending on the council, between £225 and £250.
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