Allowed to remarry a wife you have divorced?

All research or scholarship questions
British_Bahai
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:27 am

Allowed to remarry a wife you have divorced?

Postby British_Bahai » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:51 pm

Are Bahai's allowed to remarry a wife which they have previously divorced?

(I was skim-reading my kitab-aqdas and just noticed this.)
I have highlighted the two parts which confuse me because they seem contradictory.

Kitab Aqdas, pages 152-153
http://www.bahai-library.com/writings/b ... tml#IV.C.2
2. Divorce:

a. Divorce is strongly condemned.

b. If antipathy or resentment develop on the part of either the husband or the wife, divorce is permissible, only after the lapse of one full year. The beginning and end of the year of waiting must be testified by two or more witnesses. The act of divorce should be registered by the judicial officer representing the House of Justice. Intercourse during this period of waiting is forbidden, and whoever breaks this law must repent and pay the House of Justice 19 mithqáls of gold.

c. A further period of waiting after divorce has taken place is not required.

d. The wife who is to be divorced as a result of her unfaithfulness forfeits the payment of the expenses during the waiting period.

e. Remarrying the wife whom one has divorced is permissible, provided she has not married another person.
If she has, she must be divorced before her former husband can remarry her.

f. If at any time during the waiting period affection should recur, the marriage tie is valid. If this reconciliation is followed by estrangement and divorce is again desired, a new year of waiting will have to be commenced.

g. Should differences arise between husband and wife while travelling, he is required to send her home, or entrust her to a dependable person, who will escort her there, paying her journey and her full year's expenses.

h. Should a wife insist on divorcing her husband rather than migrate to another country, the year of waiting is to be counted from the time they separate, either while he is preparing to leave, or upon his departure.

i. The Islamic law regarding remarriage with the wife whom one has previously divorced is abrogated.


brettz9
Posts: 1362
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
Contact:

Postby brettz9 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:53 pm

This relates to a law of Islám set out in the Qur'án which decreed that under certain conditions a man could not remarry his divorced wife unless she had married and been divorced by another man. Bahá'u'lláh affirms that this is the practice which has been prohibited in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Q and A 31).

(Note 101 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, http://bahai-library.com/writings/bahau ... ml#note101 )


Thus, there is no contradiction as the law forbidding remarriage (without remarriage) is now abrogated and remarriage is (apparently indefinitely) permissible. (The condition of the first quotation you cite simply mentions she cannot be remarried with her first husband unless divorced with here second husband.)

If your internet connection is not dial-up, you may wish to use the copy of the Aqdas linked above when researching since it is all together in one document and you can use the "find" feature to search for terms like "remarr" (for remarriage or remarry, etc.) to find what you are looking for, as the Aqdas is very well notated, and any questions are likely to already be answered within the text.

best wishes,
Brett

Sen McGlinn
Posts: 123
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 7:11 am
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
Contact:

Postby Sen McGlinn » Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:40 pm

It is in paragraph 68 of the Aqdas:

The Lord hath prohibited, ... the
practice to which ye formerly had recourse when thrice
ye had divorced a woman. ... He who hath divorced his wife may
choose, upon the passing of each month, to remarry her
when there is mutual affection and consent, so long as
she hath not taken another husband. Should she have
wed again, then, by this other union, the separation is
confirmed and the matter is concluded ...

If a Muslim man says "I divorce you" to his wife, it is not immediately effective. It is a revocable divorce, because the man can change his mind during the wife’s “months of patience” (3 menstrual cycles). It would only be an effective divorce if it is later confirmed, two times. But if he says it three times on one occasion, most jurists including the authorities of the Hanafi Malaik and Shafi’i schools say that it is an immediately effective and irrevocable divorce, and he cannot then change his mind or remarry her. But if she marries someone else, and the marriage is consummated, and she is then is divorced from the second husband, the first husband may legitimately marry her again.

This is based on Surah 2, verses 229 and 230:

“Divorce is permissible twice: after that, the parties should remain together on equitable terms or separate on good terms ... if a husband divorces his wife he cannot, after that, remarry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her.”

People being what they are everywhere, Muslim men would sometimes pronounce a triple divorce, and then regret it later. The restriction on remarriage was then evaded with a legal trick (a hilla): a man wanting to remarry a woman he had divorced with a triple divorce would find another man who was willing to marry his ex-wife and then divorce her, so that the first husband could again marry her.

In Shiah law, the trick was not usually necessary, since the Shi'ah generally did not recognise pronouncing divorce three times at once as adding up to three pronouncements: they counted it as one. It would only be a triple divorce if the man confirmed it by saying “I divorce you” two more times on two different occasions. That I think was the original intention, and of course it would not often happen that someone would do this and then later change his mind.

Many modern Sunni authorities have adopted the same opinion, but this was not so in the time of Baha’u’llah (who was living in a Sunni environment, remember, first in Edirne and then in Palestine).


In Bahai law, there is no such thing as immediate irrevocable divorce. Both the man and the woman are bound by a whole year of waiting before the divorce becomes irrevocable and they are free to remarry. They are also free to marry one another again, so there is no need for the trick

Compared to Islamic law, the idea that a man should have a period of waiting just like a woman is really really radical. And men have to have their father's **and mother's** permission to marry in the first place, just as a woman must. In terms of the social norms of the Middle East of that time, it is a radical-revolutionary position on gender equality.

Sen


Return to “Discussion”