Divorce and the protection of women thereafter
The care and protection of women after divorce is important evidence in terms of the superiority attached to women in the Qur’an. Our Almighty Lord has protected all women’s rights in circumstances in which they might be wronged – such as divorce – and has placed them under protection for their entire lives. Even if he has divorced her, a man has a responsibility to protect and look after his former wife until the end of her life, even if the woman has no need of it.
Women being kept happy and content in the event of divorce
For people who live in the light of the desires of their lower selves, divorce means the total cessation of relations with the other party. Such people believe that once relations based on self-interest have come to an end there is no longer a need to show the other person any care or concern. Since they generally lose all feelings of love and respect for the person they abandon, they act solely in the light of preserving their own interests and are quite capable of ignoring the troubles and difficulties faced by the other party. The fact is, however, that our Almighty Lord described how women should be treated with love and affection and proper moral values after divorce:
When you divorce women and they are near the end of their term, then either retain them with correctness and courtesy or release them with correctness and courtesy. (Qur'an, 2:231)
You who believe! When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, there is no term for you to calculate for them, so give them a gift and let them go with kindness. (Qur'an, 33:49)
Both verses refer to “courtesy” and “kindness.” This means that the man still has a responsibility to treat a woman with kindness after divorce; a woman may not be working, may have no financial means and may have nowhere to live. These verses place a divorced woman under protection, and offer the options of retaining them with correctness and courtesy or else releasing them, again with correctness and courtesy. The man has to treat the woman properly under both conditions.
Women being given financial security after divorce
In the Qur’an God forbids a divorced woman being left alone, unprotected and financially unsupported. In the view of Islam, whether a woman is wealthy or not, she still has to be given financial security after divorce. Her ex-husband has a responsibility to ensure this.
Verses which refer to the need to ensure the financial security of divorced women read as follows:
Divorced women should receive maintenance given with correctness and courtesy: a duty for all who have piety. (Qur'an, 2:241)
... give them a gift – he who is wealthy according to his means and he who is less well off according to his means – a gift to be given with correctness and courtesy: a duty for all good-doers. (Qur'an, 2:236)
He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty, but he whose provision is restricted should spend from what God has given him. God does not demand from any self more than He has given it. God will appoint after difficulty, ease.(Qur'an, 65:7)
As seen in these verses, a rich person or someone of much more limited means both have a responsibility to protect the wives they have divorced. Even if they never see that person again for the rest of their lives, even if they have no more material or psychological expectations from them, they still have a responsibility to place them under financial protection and treat them with kindness. Almighty God reveals that ensuring women’s material security must also be done sincerely, willingly and with a good grace:
Give women their dowry with a good heart. But if they are happy to give you some of it, make use of it with pleasure and goodwill. (Qur'an, 4:4)
There are verses of the Qur'an that impose the duty to assume financial responsibility for a divorced woman. Even if he has divorced her, a man has a responsibility to protect and take care of her until the end of her life, even if she has no need of that.