• difference-between-khulu-fasakh-peguam-syarie-faiz-adnan

    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    QUESTION REGARDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH: Assalamu’alaikum. I am Nazira (not my real name) from KL Sentral. I have been married for two (2) years and we do not have any child. The first year of our marriage was filled with love, trust, respect and happiness. Starting from the second year of our marriage, my husband started to show his true colours, the sides I have never seen of. He would easily become fumed with anger over small matters. All along prior to that moment, he had never raised his voice to me what more to lift up his hands or feet.

    Things changed 360° now that he started to scold me every now and then, even when I talked nicely to him and did not do anything wrong. Sometimes he would say mean things to me and would use foul languages that were very downgrading, negative and had definitely broke my heart to pieces. At first I felt very strange towards his drastic changes. One day, as I was about to put his trousers into the washing machine, I found a crumpled loose sticky note written on it, the words; “Sayang, breakfast I dah hidangkan atas meja ni. Sorry, I kena pergi kerja dulu, ada urgent matter”. I knew it for sure that it was not my handwriting and I started to get fishy over it.

    To cut things short, I later found out that he had eloped and got married with another lady in Thailand for five months already without my knowledge, a fact he didn’t deny of. In fact, he expressly confessed that to me when I pressured him to tell me the truth. I felt dejected and cheated by the news. That explained why he rarely returned home especially during weekends, though all this while he said to me that he had to go for outstations. He had also failed to provide maintenance for myself for three months in a row already. When I asked him for money, he would say that I am now earning almost as much as him, why would he provide maintenance for me. Furthermore, he did not even divide the night turns fairly between his two wives. Moreover, he had been negligent in his five daily prayers and had started to play lottery. At times, he had hit me on the back and had slapped my face whenever he got angry for instance, due to his loss at a lottery.

    I could not stand anymore his hot-temperedness, his ill conducts, his failure to provide maintenance and his unfair treatments. When I asked him to divorce me, he would laugh off and say that why would he divorce me when he could take advantage over me by ordering me to do house chores, free of charge for himself and his second wife? I have had enough and would like to seek for divorce by myself since he refused to let me go. Should I proceed with khulu’ or fasakh, as I am confused between the two terms and concepts. Hopefully to get my inquiry answered. Thank you. Wassalam.

     

    ANSWER:

    Wa’alaikumussalam Puan Nazira. Thank you for posting a question, in sha Allah we would try our utmost level best to assist you in answering your query and to bring you out from the problems that are shackling you. First and foremost, we would like to express our deepest sympathy and concern towards the predicament and atrocities that have been tested upon you. What we need to bear in mind is that, a marriage life is not at all times a bed of roses. Similar to the ocean tides, sometimes there are ups and downs in sailing through a marriage voyage. Islam regards divorce as abominable as what is reported in a hadeeth by Abu Dawud, “Among lawful things, divorce is most hated by Allah.

    Nevertheless, if every available and reasonable recourse to reconcile fails, divorce is permitted as the last resort if it is indeed the best interest of both concerned parties, since Islam never desires a marriage to continue in a suffering way. Yet, a divorce must only take place in a peaceful and amicable manner as Islam urges divorcing parties to separate with kindness as Allah says in the Qur’an, “A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness.  The Holy Quran 2:229.

    Pertaining to your question, a few issues can be summarised as follows:

    • What are khulu’ and fasakh?
    • Whether there are grounds to apply for divorce under khulu’ or fasakh?

     

    WHAT ARE KHULU’ AND FASAKH/DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KHULU’ AND FASAKH

    Based on text book entitled The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, just as the Islamic law allows a husband to release his wife by way of pronouncement of talaq, a wife is also given the right to release herself from the marriage by way of ta’liq, khulu’ and fasakh, though judicial sanction is required. The right to exercise khulu’ is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an, whereby Allah says:

    It is not lawful for you to take from women whatever that has been given to them (as dower) except in the case where both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits imposed by God. And if you fear that they may not be able to keep the limits of God, it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransoms herself (Al-Baqarah: 229).

    From the above cited verse, a marriage can be dissolved if the woman wilfully would like to pay compensation for her release. A wife is permitted to pay a sum of money to release herself, the amount of which is mutually agreed by both parties or fixed by the court, and this is known as khulu’. Based on the legal traditions, the applicant wife does not need to prove the breakdown of marriage to apply for khulu’. This can be seen in a prominent hadeeth of the Prophet which reads:

    Ibn Abbas reported that Jamilah, the wife of Thabit b Qais came to the Prophet and said ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not blame Thabit about his character and piety, but I dislike being ingratitude in Islam. The Messenger of Allah asked if she was prepared to return the garden given to her by Thabit. “Yes” she said. The Prophet said to Thabit “accept the garden and give her a single divorce.

    Based on the above hadeeth, there need not be a proof of a breakdown of marriage, as the applicant wife did not even find any fault on the part of the husband. It would suffice if she is able to prove that she dislikes her husband and because of that, she is afraid that the continuance of marriage in such a state would cause her not to perform her marital obligations as a wife, which thereafter could lead her to become nusyuz.

    Whereas, fasakh is an option that can be exercised by a husband or a wife to end the marriage through judicial process by invoking ground(s) that is/are acceptable under the Islamic law. Based on The Islamic Family Law in Malaysia written by Najibah Mohd Zin et al., 2016, initially, the law was meant to safeguard the rights of women who are exposed to marital abuse and neglect. However, after the amendment, the law gives equal opportunity for both men and women alike to invoke fasakh, though a wife tends to benefit more from the provision, as a man is conferred with the right to dissolve a marriage by pronouncing talaq. The basis of invoking fasakh is harm or dharar. In Malaysia, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically governs the provision relating to fasakh.

     

    WHETHER THERE ARE GROUNDS TO APPLY FOR DIVORCE UNDER KHULU’ OR FASAKH

    As discussed above, section 52 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 specifically provides for the dissolution of marriage or fasakh. The provision lays down grounds that are not exhaustive.

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, there are a few grounds under section 52 of the Act which can be invoked, namely, section 52(1)(b), section 52(1)(h)(i),(vi) and (l).

    Section 52(1)(b) provides for failure to maintain for a period of three months as one of the grounds of fasakh. A decided case to refer to is the case of Cik Pah v Abdul Aziz b Ahmad, whereby the wife claimed that the husband was insolvent and failed to provide maintenance. The Court ordered the wife to take an oath (yamin istizhar) and to swear that she remained faithful to the husband. The judge was satisfied that the husband was impoverished but adjourned the case for nine days with three days grace period for the husband to prove that he could pay the maintenance. The wife repeated her claim and she was ordered to take an oath with the consent of the husband and subsequently the court granted a fasakh divorce. This case shows that a failure to maintain is one of the acceptable grounds to dissolve marriage through fasakh.

    For your information, yamin istizhar is a form of oath which is aimed to strengthen and clarify the claims and to deny any allegation that is put forward against the applicant, after the applicant has successfully proven his/her claim.

    Next, section 52(1)(h)(i) provides “that the husband treats her with cruelty, that is to say, inter alia, habitually assaults her or makes her life miserable by cruelty of conduct”. This section does not merely cover for physical assault. In fact, any form of mental/psychological assault is also governed by this provision. A case to refer to is the case of Hasnah v. Zaaba (1995) 10 JH 59, whereby the wife claimed that the husband had habitually assaulted her and made her life miserable by cruelty of conduct. The Syariah High Court judge decided that cruelty has taken place whereby the husband had habitually assaulted the wife by beating and cursing her, which made the wife’s life miserable. The Court permitted the application of the wife to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. From the facts of the case that you have presented, we could see that the conducts of your husband such as beating and slapping your face whenever he got fumed with anger could constitute “cruelty” under section 52(1)(h)(i).

    On the other hand, a case to refer to with regards to mental assault is the case of Zarina bt Syaari v. Mohd Yusof b. Omar (2005) ShLR, Vol. 4, 173, whereby the learned judge of the Syariah Lower Court (Federal Territories) had decided that the refusal to communicate on the part of the husband, cheating the wife by marrying another without her knowledge, and refusal to sleep with the wife amounted to mental cruelty which were habitual. The court held that the term ‘habitual assault’ was relevant in cases of mental and emotional assault. Thus, the wife has to prove that the actions took place habitually, continuously and repeatedly. 

    Referring to the facts that you have presented, your husband had on several occasions mentally assaulted you by swearing to you using foul languages which were very degrading and cruel. Based on the above decided case, for a case involving the mental and psychological aspects of the applicant, since the term used in the provision is “habitual”, you must prove to the Court that the cursing and swearing were done continuously and on a frequent basis.

    Based on Section 52(1)(h)(vi) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984, a wife can apply for fasakh if her husband marries more than one wife and does not treat her equitably in accordance with the requirements of Hukum Syara’. In this case, your husband had admitted that he had married a second wife. It is undeniable that polygamy is allowed in Islam. This point can be elucidated by a verse from the Qur’an which reads, “then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you – [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one – or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.(Surah An Nisaa – Women, 4:3).

    Nevertheless, as expressly mentioned in the aforementioned verse, if the husband fears that he might not act justly between all his wives, then he is allowed to marry only one wife. Based on the facts that you have textually conveyed, your husband had not been fair in the night turns and had spent most of his time with his second wife. That is a clear form of unlawful neglect. Thus, section 52(1)(h)(vi) can be invoked as a ground to annul your marriage via fasakh.

    Lastly, section 52(1)(l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 regards “any other ground that is recognized as valid for dissolution of marriages or fasakh under Hukum Syara’” to be a ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh. This provision widens the scope of fasakh, so as not to restrict it to only the specified grounds which are listed expressly in the provisions. This is because; to list down expressly the exact and specific grounds for fasakh would be numerous and therefore impractical. Thus, any other ground to dissolve the marriage through fasakh that is recognised by Hukum Syara’ would suffice.

    In this case, your husband had not lived in accordance with the Islamic tenets by neglecting the performance of prayers when in fact, the establishment of prayers is compulsory for a person who has attained puberty. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (Quran 4: 103). Whereas, the prohibition of gambling is recorded in the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Maa’idah, whereby Allah says, “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and Al Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytaan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As Salaah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain? (Al-Maa’idah 5:90-91).

    A husband has a duty to lead the marriage and his family by observing the commandments ordered by Allah and the Prophet and to refrain from committing acts that are prohibited by the religion of Islam. By neglecting his prayers and playing lottery, your husband had brought himself towards destruction. Allah says in the Qur’an, “…and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.He had also failed to be a good example as the leader of the family. His conduct of playing lottery had also proven to cause harm to your physical body as you have said that he would physically assault you whenever he suffered a loss after playing the lottery.

    Thus, his acts could fall under subsection (l) as your husband had acted cruelly by breaching the commandments and prohibitions of hukum syara’. 

     

    CONCLUSION:

    In conclusion, having studied the facts that you have presented, we believe that the more suitable action for you to take is to apply for an annulment of marriage through fasakh instead of to apply for khulu’, as your case matches several grounds for an application of fasakh under section 52(1)(b),(h)(i),(vi) and (l) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984. It is however important to note that, a fasakh application must be supported with satisfactory evidence to be adduced to the Court, otherwise the Court might simply strike off the application due to want of proof. It is advisable for Puan Nazira to consult and seek the aid and expertise of a Syarie lawyer (Peguam Syarie) as this issue involves complicated matters which are best dealt by the expert in this respective field. Wallahu a’lam. Thank you.