Muhammad and the Issue of Forced Divorce

More Examples of the Prophet of Islam’s Inconsistency

Sam Shamoun

This article will be short and to the point. According to certain narratives Muhammad censured anyone who would cause a man to divorce his wife, even if that person happens to be a slave:

Chapter 31. The Divorce Performed By A Slave

2081. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said: "A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, my master married me to his slave woman, and now he wants to separate me and her.’ The Messenger of Allah ascended the pulpit and said: ‘O people, what is the matter with one of you who marries his slave to his slave woman, then wants to separate them? Divorce belongs to the one who takes hold of the calf (i.e., her husband).’" (Da’if) …

b. Divorcing is a husband’s right, whether he is free or is a slave. NONE has the right to force him to separate from his wife. (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 1783 to 2718, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 3, The Chapters on Divorce, pp. 193-194; capital emphasis ours)

As a sidenote, pay attention how Muhammad again disparages women by likening to animals, to chattel which men possess. With that said notice that, despite being classified as weak, Muslim scholars still derived a valid principle with reference to this narration. For example, according to the commentary Muhammad’s statements make it emphatically clear that absolutely no one has the right to force a person to leave his wedded spouse.

Yet Muhammad goes against his own directives and forces a man to divorce a woman he loves and sets a pattern for others to emulate by compelling husbands to divorce their spouses:

Chapter 36. A Man Whose Father Orders Him To Divorce His Wife.

2088. It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: "I had a wife whom I loved, but my father hated her. ‘Umar mentioned that to the Prophet and he ordered me to divorce her, so I divorced her." (Hasan) …

2089. It was narrated from ‘Abdur-Rahman that a man’s father or mother – Shu‘bah (one of the narrators) was not sure – ordered him to divorce his wife, and he made a vow that he would free one hundred slaves if he did that. He came to Abu Darda’ while he was praying the Duha, and he was making his prayer lengthy, and he prayed between Zuhr and ‘Asr. Then he asked him, and Abu Darda’ said: "Fulfill your vow and honor your parents." Abu Ad-Darda’ said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah say: ‘(Honoring) one’s father may lead one to enter through the best of the gates of Paradise; so take care of your parents, (it is so, whether you take care of them) or not.’" (Hasan) (Ibid., 198-199)

It sure seems that, in trying to please his companions, specifically Umar, Muhammad had no qualms about going against his own directives and breaking his own principles.

Muhammad was truly a man who failed to practice what he preached time and time again, a person so fickle and double-minded that he ended up passing on contradictory directives to his community as a result of it. The truly sad thing about this is that he blamed God for all his mistakes and constant change of mind.

Muhammad's Inconsistency
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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