WHAT DOES ISLAM TEACH ABOUT ADULTERY AND DIVORCE? Starter: list the different reasons why relationships break up, or people might want a divorce. Starter Attitudes towards divorce have changed over the last 50 years. Why do you think this is the case? What is your opinion on divorce? In Pairs: Come up with reasons for this change reflection From what you know of Islamic practices and teachings about marriage and the family. What do you think Islam would teach about divorce? By the end of the lesson you will… • explain how divorce works in terms of the Islamic religion. • Have considered why divorce is frowned upon in terms of Muslim attitudes to marriage and the family. • Be able to give your own opinion about the fairness of divorce in Islam. Islam and Adultery Adultery (when a married person has an affair) is seen as the most dishonourable thing a man can do. Adultery is seen to be the most dangerous threat to a family, often impossible to forgive as trust has been broken. Men are forbidden to tempt a married woman and a wife should never betray her husbands trust. A good wife should prefer death to dishonour. Penalties Adultery is forbidden in The Qur’an, the punishments should be a flogging of 100 lashes, but this is not always used... Shari’ah law treats adultery as a capital crime in other words it is punishable by death. “Either keep your wife honestly, or put her away from you with kindness. Do not force a woman to stay with you who wishes to leave. The man who does that only injuries himself” Qur’an Key words: Iddah – This is a period of reflection that must take place before a divorce can happen. It normally lasts three months and gives the couple a chance to sort out their problems (reconcile). Ta’alaq- The procedure of saying “I divorce” three times which ends a marriage. Divorce by Khul – A woman must put her case for divorce to a Shari’ah court. The only other way she can divorce is to have the right to do so written into her marriage contract (nikah). Shari’ah (law/court) – This is Islamic religious law which is based on the Qur’an. Scholars will interpret the verses of the Qur’an and then apply them to real life situations. Divorce Divorce rates are much lower in Muslim countries than in the West, but the divorce process is much more simple. If a man or woman is unhappy, the only honourable option is divorce. HOWEVER even though it is “allowed” in Shari’a law it is really disapproved of and should only be a last resort. What happens? “I divorce you” “I divorce you” Two months – living in same house without physical contact, if physical relationship resumes, the two months must start again, or the marriage remains unbroken. The whole family gets involved trying to reconcile the marriage. If after three months there is no reconciliation, then “I divorce you” it is over. The woman Because divorce is meant to be fair the children almost always go to the man, this is because it is not seen as fair for an unmarried woman to have to try to raise children on her own, both financially and because without a father they may become ‘wild’. It also puts her in a better position for finding another husband. Main task – Divorce time line Men divorcing women The couple go for counselling at the Mosque. Husband unhappy with his wife and says “I divorce you”. The husband is unhappy again, so an Iddah period is started. His wife is already two months pregnant so the period must continue until she has had the baby. During the three month period the couple have sex – ending the Iddah The couple reconcile. The birth of their baby brings them closer again. The husband is unhappy again… As this is the third time he has said “I divorce you” the couple are now officially divorced. Create your own time line for – Men divorcing women and women divorcing men. Include pictures and dates. Summing up ……. Do you think these divorce proceedings are fair? Do they favour one party over another?