THE HILLA MARRIAGE (REMARRYING A DIVORCED WIFE)

An act of great social tragedy and crime is being committed in parts of the Muslim world in the name of Islam under our very nose, alas indeed, escaping the attention, or with the connivance, or tacit approval, of our Muslim scholars. I am referring to the practice of hilla (or hullah) system that entitles a divorced wife to return to her husband, if both husband and wife so desire, but only after remarrying another person and after that person divorces her.

2:230   So if he divorces her again, then she will not be lawful for him until after she has married a different husband; if he divorces her; then there is no sin that they come back together if they think they will uphold the boundaries of Allah. These are the boundaries of Allah, He clarifies them for a people who know.

Quran that urge believers to create no obstacles to the reunion of divorced couples and admonish the husband to honorably live with, or take back, or bid good bye to, his wife after he has divorced her.

The meaning of the verse is clear. If the divorced wife marries another husband, it is quite sensible that she cannot remarry her former husband unless and until her second husband divorces her.

This is common sense, and stands perfectly to reason. The verse should not be read to imply that the divorced wife has to marry another person, and that that person needs to divorce her to make it possible for the original husband to get her back.

In that latter sense, the remarriage of husband and wife is not possible unless the divorced wife has married another person, and until that person has divorced her. That precludes the remarriage of husband and wife, if the divorced wife does not, or refuses to, marry another person. That means that the question of remarrying will arise only when the divorced wife marries another husband, and when that husband divorces her.

The remarrying of former husband and wife has thus been made conditional upon, first, marrying of the divorced wife to another husband, and second, on the break-up of that marriage. It is this so-called infamous HILLA SYSTEM, which has caused great harm in our society by imprudently leading to break-up of many happy marriages, and destruction of many happy lives! The Quran clearly admonishes those who divorce their wives not to force them out of their houses before their term expires, and to make a choice between taking their divorced wives back or parting with them when the term expires, as in verse (65:2).

The Quran also specifically and explicitly warns and exhorts us not to create any obstacles on the way of remarrying of the divorced wife with her husband:

2:232   And if you divorce the women, and they reach their required interim period, then do not make difficulty for them if they wish to remarry their husbands if they have amicably agreed among themselves out of what is best. This is to remind any of you who believe in Allah and the Last Day, this is better for you and purer; and Allah knows while you do not know.

The Clear Quranic admonitions are! No difficulties should be created on the wives’ remarriage with their former husbands, if this is mutually agreed. This means that such remarriage and reunion should not be made subject to any additional condition.

Yet, it is unfortunate that our learned ulama, influenced by traditions, have chosen to mislead Muslims. Does it not ever occur to our common sense that we should not force a divorced wife to marry another husband against her will? Only in case if she willingly marries another person, she cannot be lawful to her former husband unless her current husband divorces her. And why should one ever anticipate that a person would marry the divorced wife of another person just for the sake of divorcing her? All this looks ludicrous. Yet, such a reprehensible practice is found to exist in some places, notably in the Iranian city of Qom where “there are men who make a living as ‘one-night husbands’: they marry thrice-divorced women, consummate the marriage, and divorce them the next day, so that the women can now lawfully go back to their families.”

The Quran has repeatedly urged us to reflect on the verses and apply our sense. Also, importantly, Allah urges the husband, after he has divorced his wife and the wife has reached her waiting period, to either live together with his divorced wife in kindness or to part from her in kindness, and not to treat lightly the divine advice:

2:231   And if you have divorced the women, and they have reached their required interim period, then either you remain together equitably, or part ways equitably. And do not reconcile with them so you can harm them out of animosity; whoever does so is doing wrong to his soul; and do not take the revelations of Allah as mockery. And remember the blessings of Allah upon you, and what was sent down to you of the Book and the wisdom, He warns you with it. And be aware of Allah and know that Allah is knowledgeable of all things.

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