The khula is a procedure in Islam with which wife can get a lawful divorce without the husband willing or even permitting to do so. At the same time, there are ramifications to this practice; due to husband not being found ‘guilty’ for the divorce, the wife has to give the husband back everything she had acquired by marriage.
In this case, the khula has the following four elements:
- The wife becomes free, i.e. unmarried, by law;
- The husband is found not to be at fault for the divorce;
- The wife hands back every possession, pecuniary or otherwise, that she had acquired from the husband;
- The judge’s decree is final.
The khula is translated into English with many descriptive terms, such as:
Wife-sought divorce – Abdication divorce – Redemptive/ redemptive divorce – Indemnifying Divorce – State imposed divorce – Divorce on condition of foregoing one’s financial rights – Divorce with mutual consent.
Now, the question is – can the wife get a divorce without the khula?
Yes, she can. There are two ways to do so, the first of which involves dealing with the husband to get the permission for divorce. This is a contract condition.
The second way is best described as ‘a divorce because of a mistake’. In this kind of divorce the wife has to file a case against her husband and prove that the husband’s behavior or financial situation is ‘mistaken’, i.e. she seeks divorce because of the husband’s erratic behavior, healthy or financial reasons.
The Khula remains, however, the fastest way for a wife to regain her freedom. The rule stems from the Quran: “It is not lawful for you, (Men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (Themselves as well as others)”.
The Egyptian law applies this basic principle and incorporates it in the legislation, in the act number 1 in 2000 (family law) article number 20 .
The couple can go discuss the Khula terms together, but if they don’t to this together, the wife can file a case against the husband herself. The condition remains that she waives all of her financial rights against her husband and returns him everything she has acquired through egyptian marriage.
In this case she has to go to court and tell that she cannot continue her life with her husband and that she is afraid that her husband commits mistakes, or crimes of passion. The judge will provide the couple with the ability to do what they can to allay the troubles that exist between them in a period of three months (maximum). If she insists, the judge has to divorce the couple by law and return the woman her freedom.
This type of divorce is irrevocable, and the decree cannot be appealed.
The legal conditions for Khula suite:
- To have ability to file up the case of khula the woman has to be 16 years old or more, and her husband has to be 18 years or more when the case is filed.
- The wife has to offer the dowry.
- The wife has to reject going back to her husband, and has to say that she can’t continue her life with him in her case.
- The wife has to waive all her financial rights against her husband.
Note that the khula requires the wife to waive all of her financial rights, but not the rights that have to do with the relations between the mother and her children.