My Learning Curve

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Divorce has been a true learning curve for me. My experience has made me realise how ignorant I was with regards to shariah rulings. It has also opened up my eyes to a realistic approach to divorce and expectations post-divorce.


I would like to share some of my personal learning curves in order for women to be better prepared if they find themselves in a similar situation. I will use a Q&A format. All these answers were provided to me by prominent Ulema. I respect and accept the traditional rulings and under no circumstances do I reject their guidance nor hold them accountable for the outcome of my circumstances. (I am a follower of the divorce has been a true learning curve for me. My experience has made me realise how ignorant I was with regards to shariah rulings. It has also opened up my eyes to a realistic approach to divorce and expectations post-divorce.


I would like to share some of my personal learning curves in order for women to be better prepared if they find themselves in a similar situation. I will use a Q&A format. All these answers were provided to me by prominent Ulema. I respect and accept the traditional rulings and under no circumstances do I reject their guidance nor hold them accountable for the outcome of my circumstances. (I am a follower of the Shafi’i math'hab.)


Q1. If a husband contributes a minimal amount towards household expenses, will this be sufficient leverage if wanting a fasakh?


A. Depending on the area you are residing in, the average minimal household income of the area, if he provides even that small amount then unfortunately you will not be successful in your request for a fasakh.


Q2. Is a husband responsible for medical expenses of his wife?


A. Any illnesses experienced by the wife, which were existent prior to her marriage, will be the responsibility of her father and brothers, not her husband. Only illnesses related to her marriage are her husband's responsibility.


Q3. If the husband refuses to pay nafaqah after divorce, during iddah, what can be done about it?


A. Unfortunately we do not have a shariah court nor an Islamic police force. Ulema can only advise him but no one can force him to do so.


Q4. If you have kids, how can one secure child maintenance?


A. Maintenance court is your only option. You should remember though that according to South African law, both parents are responsible for expenses 50/50. If you apply for maintenance then you do require proof of employment and income yourself.


Q5. With regards to kids, is the father responsible for educational expenses?


Educational expenses are the responsibility of the father. This does not mean that the daughters must be sent to a co-ed school. An all-girls school or homeschooling should be considered. If the father does not wish that his daughters should acquire a secular education then the father should provide an education where they should become literate in those fields of education which should enable them to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities. He is responsible for their Islamic education and skills development.


Q6. If the father should pass away, what right do the kids have to their inheritance?


A. In South Africa, minor children's shares get placed into a trust account until the age stipulated by the deceased. They are allowed monthly maintenance decided by the executor of the estate, if he feels it necessary.


Q7. With the death of the father, who is financially responsible for the children?


A. The Shafi’i math'hab restricts obligatory maintenance to the line of decent i.e., father, mother, grandparents. Basically, if the father of the children dies then the mother and grandparents are responsible for their maintenance. All other male members in their family circle are absolved of obligatory maintenance. In the Hanafi math'hab, obligatory maintenance falls on all those who can inherit from that child, according to their percentage of inheritance.


I hope you find this information useful and realise the utmost importance for all women to become financially independent in their marriages in order to safeguard themselves. From the onset of marriage, women tend to feel embarrassed to request a reasonable amount for mahr. This is your security. Save and invest your wealth wisely. Only Allah knows what lies ahead for you.


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