Divorce is a prevalent theme in all Muslim societies. It’s an undesirable word, but one that occurs more than often and that does not do anything good to the divorcing party, the children, or society around you. As such, it is essential to know what options are there when you’re faced with this challenging stage of the marriage. Almost everyone knows how a man can divorce his wife, but there is a general question that arises “Can a woman initiate divorce in Islam?”

The answer is YES. A woman can initiate divorce. 

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There are three ways to do this:

  • Talaq-I-Tafweez
  • Li’an
  • Khul’a

Divorce by Mutual Agreement


It is the right of a woman to ask for separation from her husband. Khul’a is a mutual agreement initiated by the wife. There should be an offer from the wife like Mahr received at the time of the wedding and the offer must be accepted by the husband. 

Under the Shia law, the man must be:

  • Adult
  • Of sound mind
  • Free agent
  • Have the intention to divorce her


Under the Sunni Law, the man must be:

  • Adult
  • Of sound mind

The process may be initiated before, during, or after the marriage, depending on the family culture and religion. Khula also differs from an Islamic unilateral divorce because it doesn’t absolve the husband from providing support (nafaqa). 

Divorce by woman:


Talaq-e-Tafweed is a type of divorce in which a spouse gives his wife or a third party the right to divorce. A woman’s parents can gain this privilege for their daughter while drafting her marriage contract if they are concerned that their daughter would be unsafe or mistreated at her in-laws’ home in the future. 

This Tafwid (delegation) can be done before or after the marriage. Nikahnama obtains the power to divorce herself through this delegated divorce, which is usually added as a prenuptial clause in the marriage contract.

Talaaq-i-tafweed or delegated divorce is recognized among both the Shias and the Sunnis. 


It is a claim of adultery made by the husband against the wife, which empowers her to file a dissolution of marriage suit and obtain a divorce if she can prove the charge is false. A wife can file a civil divorce petition in court.

The claim can be dismissed, however, if the spouse admits in court before the evidence that the charge was unjustly brought by him. According to Muslim law, the marriage continues until a judge’s ruling is made, and there are mutual rights of inheritance if either party dies before the decree is made.