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A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (Men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (Themselves as well as others).

In Islam, a woman can seek a divorce from her husband, though she may be required to return either all, or at least a portion, of the dowry, or marriage-gift, that he gave to her to compensate him for his loss as she was breaking the marriage contract with him through no fault of his own.  (Also see 4:128 and footnote.)  Today, this is usually determined in a divorce court proceeding, and the practice of female-initiated divorce is called khul’ in Islamic law.  If a man divorces his wife, however, he is not entitled to take any of her dowry, and he may have to pay spousal and child support, as well. The Prophet set the waiting period for a woman who initiates divorce at only one month, during which time she moves out of the house (if the husband owns it, or he moves out if she owns it).   (Tirmidhi)


Emerick, Yahiya. The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English (p. 827). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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