Q: I am asking this question on behalf of my friend.
My friend mentioned to me that another friend approached him to see if he would be interested in marrying his sister who is unhappily married and would like to come out of that marriage. My question is would it be permissible for a woman to divorce a man if she find no love, happiness, comfort in that relationship? And given that the underlying issue are essentially that of compatibility.
Specifics to this case as follows:
1. She has been married for some years and has teenage children. She is pious and hijabi.
2. She has made efforts in these past years and sought ways to bring love and has made every attempt to bridge gap to make the relationship work.
3. Her husband, according to her, is good person but lives in his own world and steeped in his ways.
4. The mental compatibility gap is as such due to different personalities but further widened by cultural difference, upbringing though both are Muslims.
5. The relationship in the past years has been cold and the couple have drifted further apart.
A: A woman cannot divorce a man. A man has to issue the divorce.
She should be advised to make sabr (have patience) and remain in this marriage, especially for the sake of the children.
If compatibility and understanding breaks down completely, then the husband can issue a divorce, especially if there is fear of them not fulfilling each others rights.
No arrangements must be made for her next marriage until she gets divorced and passes through her Iddat. Only after the Iddat should this arrangement be made.
They should consider going for Islamic counseling. Every effort should be made to keep the marriage intact. If everything fails, then only should divorce be considered.
Allah Ta'aala knows best.
Moulana Yusuf Laher