A Medinan sura that outlines regulations concerning divorce (verses 1–7). The sura strongly urges people to observe God’s regulations and guidance. To reinforce this they are reminded of the fate of earlier disobedient peoples and the rewards of the obedient. God’s power and knowledge are emphasized at the end (verse 12).
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
1 Prophet, when any of you intend to divorce women, do so at a time when their prescribed waiting period can properly start, [a] and calculate the period carefully: be mindful of God, your Lord. Do not drive them out of their homes––nor should they themselves leave––unless they commit a flagrant indecency. These are the limits set by God–– whoever oversteps God’s limits wrongs his own soul––for you cannot know what new situation God may perhaps bring about.
2 When they have completed their appointed term, either keep them honorably, or part with them honorably. Call two just witnesses from your people and establish witness for the sake of God. Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should heed this: God will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, 3 and will provide for them from an unexpected source; God will be enough for those who put their trust in Him. God achieves His purpose; God has set a due measure for everything.
Commands and Waiting Periods
4 If you are in doubt, the period of waiting will be three months for those women who have ceased menstruating and for those who have not [yet] menstruated; the waiting period of those who are pregnant will be until they deliver their burden: God makes things easy for those who are mindful of Him. 5 This is God’s command, which He has sent down to you. God will wipe out the sinful deeds and increase the rewards of anyone who is mindful of Him.
6 House the wives you are divorcing according to your means, wherever you house yourselves, and do not harass them so as to make their lives difficult. If they are pregnant, maintain them until they are delivered of their burdens; if they suckle your infants, pay them for it. Consult together in a good way– if you make difficulties for one another, another woman may suckle the child for the father [b] –– 7 and let the wealthy man spend according to his wealth. But let him whose provision is restricted spend according to what God has given him: God does not burden any soul with more than He has given it– after hardship, God will bring ease.
8 Many a town that insolently opposed the command of its Lord and His messengers We have brought sternly to account: We punished them severely 9 to make them taste the ill effect of their conduct– the result of their conduct was ruin. 10 God has prepared a severe torment for them.
So, you who have understanding, you who believe, beware of God. He has sent you the Quran 11 and a messenger– reciting to you God’s revelations that make things clear– to bring those who believe and do righteous deeds from darkness into light. God will admit those who believe in Him and do righteous deeds into Gardens graced with flowing streams, where they will remain for ever– He has made good provision for them.
12 It is God who created seven heavens and a similar [number] of earths. His command [c] descends throughout them. So you should realize that He has power over all things and that His knowledge encompasses everything.
a. The waiting period starts properly after menstruation and before intercourse is resumed, and lasts for three menstrual cycles.
b. In Islamic law it is the father’s responsibility to pay for his child to be fed.
c. Or ‘His revelation’.
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.