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I am a non muslim female living in the West. I married a muslim man here in the states 10 years ago. We have an 8 years old child. We had both a civil marriage and an Islamic wedding officiated by an imam (Nikah).

After my son was born, I asked him to leave the house (personal reasons). Eventually after 5 years without anyone in my life waiting for my husband to get his act together, I filed for a civil divorce. He was no where to be found so I went through the proper procedures through court and they granted me a divorce without his presence.

My question is since we had both a civil and an Islamic wedding, are we still married according to the Islamic law? He says we are still married and did not get divorced since he has been in Morocco (not there when I issued the divorce paper). If we decided to get back together, since we have not been together for so long, do we have to get married again according to the teachings of Islam?

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For a Nikah being valid in Islam there are certain conditions:

  1. You need to have two mature male muslim witnesses, or one male and two females
  2. The Eejab and Qubool (Marriage offer and acceptance) has to take place.

If these two conditions were met when you performed the Nikah, then your Nikah was valid. If not, then your relationship with the person was illegitimate, you will have to make sincere Tawbah for Allah to forgive you.

However, if it was done with the two conditions met, you are still the wife and you cannot get a divorce until or unless he himself divorces you.

If he is not fulfilling yours and your child's rights then you can ask him to divorce you but first by seeking advise from your local scholars or you could post your question in detail at www.askimam.org and insha Allah reliable scholars will help you out.

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Your civil marriage and Islamic marriage is right.

You got divorced by court order. But it was civil not Islamic. so civilly you are not married any more , but due to Islamic rules, although of the court order you are still married.

If you want to get divorce completely, go to the Islamic center with your documents and court order, then they will say the divorce statement for you and your marriage will finish.

But if you want to continue with your current husband, you are married to him and there is no problem as the view point of Islam. But you have to marry civilly again in your country.

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In Islam, the rights of both partners are protected.

If your husband is not supporting you, is leaning towards non-Islamic ways, you are entitled to file a divorce even without your husband. This is completely Islamic, and fine. You can file for both a civil divorce and an Islamic divorce.

The restriction is that any 'mehr' he had paid you should be returned to him. If the husband initiates the divorce, he has no right to ask for the mehr back; but if the wife initiates it she must return this amount:

Al-Bukhaari (5273) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the wife of Thaabit ibn Qays came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I do not find any fault with Thaabit ibn Qays in his character or his religious commitment, but I do not want to commit any act of kufr after becoming a Muslim.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her, “Will you give back his garden?” Because he had given her a garden as her mahr. She said, “Yes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Thaabit: “Take back your garden, and divorce her.”

Regarding this question:

If we decided to get back together, since we have not been together for so long, do we have to remarry in Islam?

First, he is no longer mehram to you - after your divorce; so do not accept him in your home without having your mehram (Father/brother/Son etc.) present and do not engage in any relations with him.

If you wish to remarry him; you need to get married to another man and if he divorces you of his free will, you can remarry your ex-husband. (Make sure you do not get married just so that you become halal for your ex, that is forbidden. You have to get married and spend time with your new husband.)

  • *If you wish to remarry him; you need to get married to someone else and divorced again in order to marry him again. – zed111 Oct 2 '14 at 11:54
  • The last part is gravely misleading; there is no need for remarrying another man in case of civil divorce (or Khula). My suggestion: Talk to some scholar in your locality, people here have weird & personal opinion. – user549 Feb 16 '16 at 10:52
  • A civil divorce is not a Khula; and in any case it does not apply here. – Burhan Khalid Feb 16 '16 at 11:07
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Sura Al-Baqarah verse 230 says:

And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. (In that case) there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry

(Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 165)

Technically you are still married in Islam if he has not had Talak (Talaq) which means divorce. If you go to an imam I am sure he will help you.

  • What about Khula concept? Where wife asks for divorce and court divorces her? – user14305 Feb 16 '16 at 7:49
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First of all, Civil marriages by Muslims are not valid in Islam according to scholars, because it does not meet the requirements set by Allah and his Messenger, especially the requirment for a wali and the person giving the woman in marriage being Muslims.

Secondly,No woman has the right to put a man out of his home, because some Civil court or Western law allows it. She can leave, but to ask him to leave is the way of the none believers. But if he was living with you in your house, then he deserves being kicked out. He should not be living in your house, but rather you living in his house!

Considering that he has not pronounced divorce on you, you are still his wife and can return back to him irrespective of what the civil laws says!

Allah knows best!!!

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