At-Talaqisnotonlythenameofthis Surahbutalsothetitleofitssubjectmatter,forit contains commandmentsaboutTalaq(divorce)itself. `Abdullahbin Mas'udhas describeditasSurah an-Nisa al-qusraalso,i.e.theshorter Surah an-Nisa.
Period of Revelation
Abdullahbin MasudhasPointedout,andtheinternalevidenceofthesubjectmatterofthe Surah confirmsthesame,thatitmusthavebeensentdownafterthoseversesof surah Al-Baqarahinwhich commandmentsconcerningdivorceweregivenforthefirsttime.Althoughitisdifficulttodeterminepreciselywhatisitsexactdateofrevelation,yetthetraditionsinanycaseindicatethatwhenthepeople startedmaking errorsinunderstandingthe commandmentsof Surah Al-Baqarah,andpracticallyalsotheybegantocommit mistakes,Allahsentdowntheseinstructionsfortheircorrection.
Theme and Subject Matter
In order to understand the commandments of this Surah, it would be useful to refresh one's memory about the instructions which have been given in the Qur'an concerning divorce and the waiting period (Iddat) above.
"Divorcemaybepronouncedtwice;thenthewifemayeitherbekeptbackinfairnessor allowedtoseparateinfairness."(Al Baqara: 229)
"Andthe divorcedwomen(afterthepronouncementofthedivorce)mustwaitforthreemonthlycourses...andtheir husbandsarefully entitledtotakethemback(astheirwives)duringthiswaitingperiod,iftheydesirereconciliation."(Al Baqara: 228)
"Then,ifthehusbanddivorceshiswife(forthethirdtime),sheshallnotremainlawfulforhimafterthisdivorce,unlessshemarriesanotherhusband..." (Al-Baqarah: 230)
"Whenyoumarrythe believingwomen,andthendivorcethembeforeyouhavetouchedthem,theydonothavetofulfillawaitingperiod,thecompletionofwhichyoumaydemandofthem." (Al-Ahzab: 49)
"Andifthoseofyouwhodie,leavewivesbehind,thewomenshouldabstain(frommarriage)forfour monthsandten days." (Al-Baqara: 234)
The rules prescribed in these verses were as follows:
A man can pronounce at the most three divorces on his wife.
Incasethehusbandhaspronouncedoneortwodivorcesheis entitledtokeepthewomanbackaswifewithinthewaitingperiodandifaftertheexpiryofthewaitingperiodthetwodesireto re-marry,theycanre-marrythereisnoconditionoflegalization (tahlil).Butifthehusbandhaspronouncedthreedivorces,he forfeitshisrighttokeepherashiswifewithinthewaiting.Periodandtheycannot re-marryunlessthewoman re-marriesanotherhusbandandhesubsequentlydivorcesherofhisownfreewill.
The waiting period of the woman, who menstruates and marriage with whom has been consummated, is that she should pass three monthly courses. The waiting period in case of one or two divorces is that the woman is still the legal wife of the husband and he can keep her back as his wife within the waiting period. But if the husband has pronounced three divorces, this waiting period cannot be taken advantage of for the purpose of reconciliation, but it is only meant to restrain the woman from re-marrying another person before it comes to an end.
There is no waiting. period for the woman, marriage with whom has not been consummated, and who is divorced even before she is touched. She can re-marry, if she likes, immediately after the divorce.
The waiting period of the woman whose husband dies, is four months and ten days.
Here, one should understand well that Surah At- Talaq was not sent down to annul any of these rules or amend it, but it was sent down for two purposes;
First,thatthemanwhohasbeengiventherighttopronouncedivorceshouldbetaughtsuchjudicious methodsof usingthisrightasdonot lead toseparation,as faraspossiblehowever,ifseparationdoestakeplace,itshouldonlybeincaseallpossibilitiesofmutualreconciliationhavebeen exhausted.ForintheDivineLawprovisionfordivorcehasbeenmadeonlyasanunavoidablenecessity;otherwiseAllahdoesnotapprovethatthemarriagerelationshipthathasbeenestablishedbetweenamanandawomanshouldeverbreak.TheHolyProphet(uponwhombeAllah'speace)hassaid"AllahhasnotmadelawfulanythingmorehatefulinHissightthandivorce." (Abu Daud).And:"Ofallthethings permittedbytheLaw,themosthatefulinthesightofAllahisthedivorce, (Abu Daud)
The second object was to complement this section of the family law of Islam by supplying answers to the questions that had remained after the revelation of the commandments in Surah Al-Baqara. So, answers have been supplied to the following questions: What would be the waiting period of the women, marriage with whom has been consummated and who no longer menstruate, or those who have not yet menstruated, in case they are divorced? What would be the waiting period of the woman, who is pregnant, or the woman whose husband dies, if she is divorced? And what arrangements would be made for the maintenance and lodging of the different categories of divorced women, and for the fosterage of the child whose parents have separated on account of a divorce?