Husband Was Told by Parents to Divorce His Wife
Fatwa No: 84808

Question

As every one knows that in our religion parents deserve much respect from their children. If the parents of husband tell their son to divorce his wife or anything else to hurt her although they have no specific reason, then what should he do? Many people give the example of Hazrat Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him). So please guide me.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Obeying parents is one of the most mandatory obligations that Allah, The Exalted, has ordained in the Quran.
Allah Says (what means): {And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents.} [Quran 17: 23]

This obedience is restricted to what is permissible and lawful.

In this vein, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Obedience is but in what is permissible and reasonable.

Thus, if a wife is righteous and has children, but the husband's parents ordered him to divorce her due to some caprice in themselves, then the husband is not obliged to obey them. This is the opinion of Imam Ahmad and others.

When Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was asked about a man whose mother hates his wife and asks him to divorce her, he answered: “It is forbidden to divorce his wife, but he has to treat his mother kindly and divorcing his wife is not part of obedience to his mother.

As for beating or hurting a wife (woman), this is forbidden if there is no genuine reason. The Sunnah prevents such an action. It is recorded in Sunan of Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah from Iyas Ibn ‘Abdullah that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Do not beat females.” This is Abu Daawood's narration.

Beating is allowed to refine a woman's behaviour if a husband finds what is hateful, but beating is not allowed if a husband can amend her through other means.

As for using the story of Prophet Ibraheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention in relation to divorcing one's wife as a form of obedience to parents, then we state that there was a genuine reason for ordering his son to divorce his wife.

Obedience in such a case is confined only to what is right. It is recorded in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari that when Ibraheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention asked Ismail's wife about their life, she said: “We are in bad state; we live in straitened circumstances. She complained.

This was an indication to bad character, and every objection against Allah is to be rejected.

For more benefit on the limits of obedience to parents, please refer to Fataawa 271255, 131695, and 123554.

Allah knows best.

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