It had been the case for many years gone by that when women spoke about their marital problems, they would do so in hushed tones and in a very limited way. Today, however, their voices have grown bolder. Mournful complaints are heard much more often about many shocking, disgraceful, and heart-wrenching situations. It forces more and more women to join in asking the age-old question immortalized in Arabic verse:
You threw me away and what a person you lost!
Who was there for you when times were hard and you had to battle.
Many tragic consequences have resulted for marriages simply on account of the inability of men to understand the nature of women and what they undergo of psychological and emotional stress on account of hormonal changes that take place during their monthly periods or during pregnancy and childbirth. This may very well be what the Prophet (peace be upon him) was referring to when he said: “A woman is like a rib. If you go to straiten her, you will break her, and if you leave her like she is, you must enjoy her with her crookedness.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî
In some wordings, it reads: “If you try to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her means to divorce her.” [Sahîh Muslim
Allah says clearly: “…and do not turn them out of their homes. Nor shall they leave on their own. Excepted from this is if they are guilty of open lewdness. These are the limits set by Allah, and whoever transgresses Allah’s limits has indeed wronged his own soul. You do not know; perhaps after that Allah will bring about some new situation.” [Sûrah al-Talâq
Al-Qurtubî comments on this verse, saying [Tafsîr al-Qurtubî
It is not the right of the husband to turn her out of her marital home during her waiting period. It is also not permissible for her to leave on her own for the right of the husband unless there is a clear necessity for her to do so. If she leaves, she is sinful. Her waiting period does not come to an end. It makes no difference whether or not the husband has the option to retract the divorce.
If this is the case with divorce, how much more aggravated is it to expel the woman from the house on account of a mere disagreement? Where is she to find peace of mind? Where is the love and mercy that are supposed to be a part of marriage?
Alas, many are the men who refuse anything but to straighten out their wives, not just with words, but by wreaking everything and destroying the relationship. In this way, the man does not even manage to close the book of their marriage in an amicable and civil manner. Instead he tears it apart, sending its precious pages to the wind, forcing his wife to one home and his children to another. The cruelty of such a husband is inhuman.
Why do some men insist whenever there is a disagreement to send their wives packing, forcing them to go back to their families? All he achieves by this is to lessen the chance of reconciliation and mess up the lives of his children – and all to no purpose.
We can draw a lesson from the famous story of `A’ishah al-Khath`amiyyah and her husband al-Hasan b. `Alî.
When his father `Alî died and al-Hasan was given the oath of allegiance as Caliph, she said to him: “You are to be congratulated on becoming Caliph.”
He replied: “`Alî is murdered and you make a show of malicious joy! Leave! You are thrice divorced!”
She donned her cloak and sat out her waiting period. Then al-Hasan sent her 10,000 gold coins as compensation as well as all that remained of the dowry he owed her.
To this she said: “This is a small compensation for the departure of my love.”
When he heard she said this he wept and said: “If I had not made the divorce irrevocable, I would have taken her back.”
We can look at the good example of our Prophet (peace be upon him) – the Prophet of mercy – when he faced a family crisis of great magnitude when his wife `A’ishah was falsely accused of committing adultery. She was among the most beloved of people to him and it was most trying upon him to have people make such accusations about her. In spite of all that, throughout the entire ordeal he never once confronted her about it or showed her the least harshness. Though the rumors continued to circulate for a month, he never permitted the anguish in his heart to become visible to her. Every day, he would make certain that she was doing well, for she was sick with fever, in spite of the great burden that he was carrying on his shoulders.
`A’ishah relates the following about those times: “I was ill for a month when I returned and the people were in full force relating the rumors of the slanderers. I had no idea at all what they were saying about me, but I could sense that some of the tenderness from Allah’s Messenger that I had been accustomed to when I was ill was not there. He would just inquire as to how I was feeling and then go on.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî