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The Muhallil—Men Who Make Something Lawful

Who is a Muhallil? A person who marries a divorced woman even for one night in order to make it possible for her ex-husband to reinstate her.

The Qur’an, as well as Muhammad say clearly that if a man divorces his wife, he can reinstate her, but if he said to her: "You are divorced three times" or if he divorces her three times, he would not be able to get her back easily. In order to reinstate her, she has to get married to another man and have sex with him at least once before the second man divorces her, then she can go back to her first husband. This practice is in vogue all over the Islamic world and is practiced whenever there is a need for it because there is a well-known Qur’anic verse on this subject.

Was this the verdict of Muhammad and the Qur’an? Muhammad not only supported it, but even ordered a woman to practice it if she wished to go back to her first husband. It is recorded in an episode which all Muslim scholars acknowledge as authentic. But let us first scrutinize the Qur’anic verse. It is recorded in the Sura of Cow:

"And if he divorced her, then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has wed another husband" (Surah 2:230).

This second husband is called by Islam "The Muhallil" because he makes the woman lawful to go back to her ex-husband by marrying her for only one night, then later divorcing her so that she can go back to her first husband. All the scholars agree on this interpretation of that verse. An example is found in the Zomokchory (Vol. 1, p.368, Alkashaf), Jalalan (page 32), and al-Baydawi (page 50). The Baydawi says plainly that a real marriage (not a marriage in name only) must take place between the Muhallil and the wife. Also, the Baydawi recounts for us the famous episode which occurred between Muhammad and the wife of Rafa’a. This incident is recorded in most of the Islamic books such as Asbab al-Nuzl by al-Suyuti (pages 45,46), also Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya alluded to it several times in part 5 of his book, "Zad al-Ma’ad". In part seven (page 136) Sahih al-Bukhari quoted it several times. This is the story as it is recorded in the Shih and other books:

"The wife of Rifa’a Al-Qurazi came to Allah’s apostle and said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle, Rifa’a divorced me irrevocably. Afterward, I married Abdul-Rahman bin Az-Zubair, who proved to be impotent.’ Allah’s apostle said to her, ‘Perhaps you want to return to Rifa’a? Nay, you cannot, until you and Abdul-Rahman consummate your marriage.’"

In his book, "Asbab al-Nuzul" (p.46), the Suyuti states that this woman came to Muhammad and told him:

"‘Abdul-Rahman (the Muhallil whom she wed after she was divorced) has divorced me without having any sexual intercourse with me. May I go back to my ex-husband?’ Muhammad said to her: ‘No, that is not permissible until Abdul-Rahman has sex with you first, then you may go back to Rafa’a."’

This incident is confirmed and recorded in al-Baydawi, al-Suyuti, al-Bukhari and the rest of the sources. Al-Bukhari mentions another similar story in which the woman receives the same answer from Muhammad because the order of the Qur’anic verse is very plain: "... until she has wed another husband."

We wonder (and the free human conscience wonders with us) if there is more insult and more humiliation to the dignity and honor of a woman and her husband than this? Muhammad is supposed to either allow her to return to her husband, Rafa’a, or to stay away from him, but to impose such a condition on her is to humiliate her, her husband and children, for who is the man who would allow such things to happen to his divorced wife? Or is there a respectable woman who would be inclined to carry out such a practice?

The contemporary scholars who defend this verdict argue that Muhammad enacted this law to make it difficult for a husband to divorce his wife three times. A man, according to Islamic law, may divorce his wife by saying: "You are divorced... you are divorced... you are divorced" or "You are divorced by three" in a moment of anger which he later regrets and makes every effort to restore her for himself and her children. Of course, she would like to go back to her husband and her children who might be still very young or teenagers. Thus, is it comprehensible, according to all standards of mercy, chastity, purity and dignity of a woman, her husband and children, for Muhammad to state that it is not permissible for her to return to her husband and children unless she has sexual intercourse at least once before she is restored to her husband and children. Would the reader agree with this verdict imposed on a mother, wife or daughter? Oh God have mercy on these people and protect them from the laws of the Islamic religion.

You may say, "All the evidence which you have presented concerning the alleged claim that Islam honors women is sufficient to remove this deceptive veil. Muhammad’s perspective towards women has become very apparent. Why do you want to present additional arguments?" True, the aforementioned issues are sufficient, but after you read the following discussions, the picture will become even clearer concerning this vital and basic issue in every religion, that is women.

Taken from http://answering-islam.org/BehindVeil/btv3.html#CH3 (Note: We do not necessarily endorse this site or its views.)