The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

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Can a Christian woman divorce herself and marry another man without getting divorce from her husband?


Salam Alaikum, one of our female staff christian from philippines (working here in Nigeria) seeking divorce from her husband due to physical abuse and some other issues but she is unable to get divorce or khula. Because in Philippine the divorce is illegal and there is only way to be get separated, is with mutual understanding between husband and wife. But the husband is not ready to allow her to get separated  while he never provided her with shelter, feeding, education to the kids and has some other bad habits like gambling and alcohol as well. And she is the one suffering and struggling alone to support her family. My question is that can she divorce herself and marry another man without getting divorce from her husband? As I mentioned earlier that she is Christian and there is no divorce by law in her country and her husband is not ready to leave her. Please answer the question to help the innocent lady.
Jazak Allah khair.


Wa Alaykumussalam

Thank you for your query.

She should act according to Christianity as that is her religion. If this lady converts to Islam then she will have to act according to the Islamic Shariah.

But if a woman converts to Islam automatically her Aqd(marriage) will be void with her non-Muslim husband and after performing the Iddah of death which is 4 months and 10 days, she can marry the Muslim man.

If she was a Muslim then in such condition she could have gone to Hakime Shar’ (Mujtahid)where the Mujtahid can divorce her but since she isn’t a Muslim so we cannot enforce the Islam rulings on her.

According to Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyid Ali Sistany:

If a Christian woman converts and becomes a Muslim and if her husband is not a Muslim, she must observe the Iddah of death which is 4 months and 10 days, and after that she can marry a Muslim man. But if her husband also converts during her Iddah time, then he will remain her husband.

We like to help all the people including Muslims and the non-Muslims when it comes to their religion they have to follow their religion but if they convert then they have to act upon the teachings of Islam. Since she isn’t a Muslim, we can’t force her to accept Islam or act upon Islam. If she willingly becomes a Muslim then she can start acting upon the Islam laws mentioned above.

You have mentioned that she is working in Nigeria, I don’t know if her husband is also living in Nigeria or back in Philippines. If both are living in Nigeria then maybe she can go through scholars and get the divorce or Khul(خلع), this way she won’t be enforced to follow the Philippine rules. But if the marriage is registered back in the Philippine and they have to get divorce with the mutual understanding according to their law and no other way remains, then she can refer to the christian scholars who can tell her about rules in Christianity regarding divorce. As I am unaware of the Christianity rules about this issue so I cannot guide more in this issue.

Allaho A’alam

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider