Fitna – What Does it Mean?

The Arabic word for trial/test often used in the Qur’an is fitna. What does it mean?

Fitna means to burn something, e.g. in Surah 85:10, “Those who burned the believing men and believing women…”

Fitna also means to put precious metals into the fire to separate the bad from the good, according to the great linguist Raghib Al-Asfahani.

Allah describes the difficulties in life as a fitna because they burn away our sins, just like the fire burns objects. But more importantly, the tests of life are not a mere punishment – though for some it could feel that way.

We are like gold: precious and valuable. But impurities hold us back from our true potential. Tests are a way to bring out the best in us, just like the fire purifies gold.

When a test comes in life, that is an opportunity to return back to Allah. He’s not punishing, He’s treating you like gold.

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I want a divorce from my husband.

I want a divorce from my husband. Is that a good thing to do?

How do I go about it? Am I sinful for thinking this? Do I have to stay with him for 3 months? Do I give back my dowry (Mahr)?

Khul’a (الخلع) is the legal Islamic term for a woman requesting and getting a divorce from her husband. This is different than a divorce initiated by the husband, known as Talaq (الطلاق).

Abdullah ibn Abbas narrates that the wife of Thabit b. Qais got a divorce (Khul’a). So the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) commanded her to wait for one menstrual cycle before remarrying. This incident is reported authentically by many scholars including Tirmidhi.

Rabi bint Muawwiz (female companion) got a divorce (Khul’a) from her husband in the time of Uthman. Rabi’s uncle asked Uthman, “Can she leave her husband’s house immediately?”

Uthman replied, “Yes she must. There’s no inheritance between them (i.e. divorce is done). She must wait one menstrual period before remarrying to ensure that she isn’t pregnant.”

From these two incidents (along with the backing of major scholars of the companions like Uthman, Abdullah b. Umar and other later scholars such as Ishaq b. Rahawai, Imam Ahmad, ibn Taymiyyah, etc.) it’s clear that:

  1. A woman can request and get a divorce Islamically (Khul’a) as this was done by at least two female companions. There’s nothing wrong or sinful about it.
  2. The divorce is settled between the husband and the wife. So the wife asks for it and the husband agrees to it…and that’s it. There’s no “Islamic” paperwork. However, in the West, marriage and divorce should always be filed at city hall to ensure the correct legal status.|
  3. The divorce becomes final immediately, so the woman can leave the husband and move on. This is clear from Uthman’s verdict. This is especially important for women who have been abused. I’ve heard imams forcing abused women to stay with their husbands for 3 months to finalize the divorce!! That’s adding to the pain completely unnecessarily.
  4. The waiting period before remarrying is only one month for Khul’a. This is great as it allows a woman to quickly move on with her life, as she should.
  5. The financial terms of the Khul’a are open (if needed). As long as both agree to it, the divorce becomes final. There’s no requirement for the woman to give back her dowry (Mahr) as that is her right. If she chooses to and they agree, that’s acceptable.
  6. Is divorce a good thing? That is not a fiqh question. That totally depends on your circumstances.

Allah knows best.

Khutbah – The Major Sins

What’s the clearest path to Jannah?

إِن تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُم مُّدْخَلًا كَرِيمًا

“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].” [4:31]

A short discussion on the meaning of this ayah:

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Be Good, Even to Those Who Aren’t Good to You

أَدِّ الأَمَانَةَ إِلَى مَنِ ائْتَمَنَكَ ، وَلا تَخُنْ مَنْ خَانَكَ

“Fulfill your promise towards the one who entrusted you, but don’t betray the one who betrayed you.” – Prophet ‪#‎Muhammad‬

Some brief thoughts on this hadith:

– Hadith is narrated by Abu Huraira, reported in AlJami, authenticated by Sh Al-Albani
– Good treatment extends to all, especially if they are good to you
– True mark of character is to extend good treatment towards the one who is hostile towards you
– Fulfillment of promises is a hallmark of the believer, whereas betrayal is the hallmark of the hypocrite