For Muslim women who divorce, a number of online sites are charging thousands to have “halala” marriages where you pay to marry, have sex with, and then divorce a stranger, to reconcile with your first husband.
Triple Talaq Divorce
As the BBC reports, Farah – despite an abusive marriage, hoped things would change. Her husband’s behavior worsened – leading to him “divorcing” her via text message.
“I was at home with the children and he was at work. During a heated discussion he sent me a text saying, ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’.”
“Triple talaq” – where a man says “talaq”, or divorce, to his wife three times in a row – is a practice which some Muslims believe ends an Islamic marriage instantly. It is banned in most Muslim countries but still happens.
Farah says she was “absolutely distraught”, but willing to return to her ex-husband because he was “the love of my life”. She says her ex-husband also regretted divorcing her.
This led Farah to seek the controversial practice known as halala, which is accepted by a small minority of Muslims who subscribe to the concept of a triple talaq.
Halala involves the woman marrying someone else, consummating the marriage and then getting a divorce – after which she is able to remarry her first husband. But in some cases, women who seek halala services are at risk of being financially exploited, blackmailed and even sexually abused.
One man, advertising halala services on Facebook, told an undercover BBC reporter posing as a divorced Muslim woman that she would need to pay £2,500 and have sex with him in order for the marriage to be “complete” – at which point he would divorce her.
Florida Divorce Reconciliations
I’ve written about the intersection of religion and divorce before. In Florida, there is no law or restriction on reconciliation with your former spouse after a dissolution of the marriage. In fact, many people have re-married their former spouse after the divorce.
During a divorce, courts can issue orders to promote a reconciliation of the parties. For example, when there are children involved in a divorce, or when someone denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court can order you to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, religious leader, or any other person deemed qualified by the court and acceptable to the parties.
The court can also continue the proceedings to enable you to effect a reconciliation; or take other actions in the best interest of the parties and the children.
Criticism of the Nikah Halala
There is a lot of criticism about the Nikah Halala marriage. For example, the BBC reports the Islamic Sharia Council in East London – which regularly advises women on issues around divorce – strongly condemns halala marriages.
“This is a sham marriage, it is about making money and abusing vulnerable people,” says Khola Hasan from the organization. “It’s haram, it’s forbidden. There’s no stronger word I can use. There are other options, like getting help or counselling. We would not allow anyone to go through with that. You do not need halala, no matter what,” she adds.
Farah ultimately decided against getting back with her husband – and the risks of going through a halala marriage. But she warns there are other women out there, like her, who are desperate for a solution.
“Unless you’re in that situation where you’re divorced and feeling the pain I felt, no-one’s going to understand the desperation some women feel.
“If you ask me now, in a sane state, I would never do it. I’m not going to sleep with someone to get back with a man. But at that precise time I was desperate to get back with my ex-partner at any means or measure.”
The BBC report can be found here.