What is Khula in Islam | Understanding the Islamic Legal Concept

In Islamic law, the concept of “khula” is highly significant, particularly in matters of marriage and family. Understanding what Khula entails is essential for individuals navigating marital issues within the framework of Islamic jurisprudence. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of Khula and its significance, process, and implications.

In the family system of Islam, the knot of marriage is in the hands of the husband. If, after marriage, the wife does not want to live with the husband for any reason, she agrees to divorce him by giving some property to the husband through court; this matter is called Khula. 

The court cancels the marriage if the husband does not agree to the divorce and does not fulfil the wife’s rights. This case is called annulment of marriage.

Understanding What is Khula in Islam

Meaning and Definition

Khula: Derived from Arabic, Khula refers to the right of a Muslim woman to seek a divorce from her husband.

It is initiated by the wife and requires the consent of both parties, unlike talaq (divorce), which the husband can unilaterally pronounce.

Historical Context

Origins: The concept of Khula traces its roots back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and is based on Quranic principles and teachings.

It was established to provide women with a means of obtaining freedom from an undesirable marriage while upholding the sanctity of the institution.

Process of Khula

Initiation: The process begins with the wife petitioning for Khula, citing valid reasons for seeking divorce.
These reasons may include incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, or mistreatment.

Mediation: In some cases, mediation efforts may be undertaken by family members, religious scholars, or legal authorities to reconcile the couple.

If reconciliation efforts fail, the matter proceeds to the formal process of Khula.

Consent and Agreement: Both parties must willingly consent to the terms of the Khula agreement, including financial settlements and custody arrangements.

The husband may stipulate conditions or seek compensation in exchange for granting Khula.

Significance of Khula

Empowerment of Women

Legal Rights: Khula empowers Muslim women by granting them the right to initiate divorce and seek independence from an unhappy or abusive marriage.

It serves as a protective measure for women facing challenges within the marital relationship.

Agency and Autonomy: By exercising the option of Khula, women assert their autonomy and agency in matters of personal and familial significance.

Preservation of Dignity and Harmony

Conflict Resolution: Khula provides a formalized process for resolving marital disputes and dissolving marriages in a dignified and respectful manner.

It aims to minimize anger and promote amicable resolutions, preserving the dignity of both parties.

Maintaining Social Cohesion: The institution of Khula contributes to maintaining social harmony by addressing marital discord and preventing the escalation of conflicts.

Khula Story in Hadith

The case of Hazrat Thabit bin Qais (RA) and his wife was presented to the Prophet (PBUH). Hazrat Thabit’s (RA) wife had no complaint against them, but she did not like them. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) separated them.

The wife of Thabit bin Qais offered to serve the Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). I do not object to or blame the religion or morals of Thabit bin Qais; I do not like my husband. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said, Will you return to him the garden which you have taken as a dowry she said: yes; Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said: Accept your garden and give it a divorce.

khula and divorce

An example of unilateral abrogation is found in the hadith that Hazrat Khansa bint Khuzam Ansariyyah said: Her father married her somewhere. At the same time, she was a widow, but he did not like the marriage. So she came to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) service, and Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) annulled her marriage.

The narration of Hazrat Thabit bin Qais is an example of Khula, while the narration of Hazrat Khansa bint Khidham Ansariyyah is an example of annulment of marriage. Even when the court separates, one of these two cases occurs.

If hatred arises in the wife’s heart and she does not want to live with her husband, she can exercise the right of Khula.

If the husband divorces, the wife is forbidden to take back the property, but when there is no harm on the part of the husband, but the wife does not want to live with him for any reason, she can demand Khula and divorce. In that case, the man can take back the amount of Haq-e-Mahr, etc., as stated in the above verse.

khula by the court in Islam

If the couple is not living together and the hatred has increased to such an extent that they can’t live together, then they should separate to establish the limits of Allah Almighty. This separation can happen in two ways:

One is that the husband should divorce, and the other is that the wife should take the matter to court. If the matter comes to court, the judge’s first priority should be reconciliation between the spouses.

If there is no reconciliation, the judge should persuade the husband to divorce voluntarily. If the husband is not ready for it, then the wife should make some transactions and convince the husband to divorce (this is also called Khula).

If none of these methods works, the wife gives reasons that are acceptable according to shari’ah, such as the husband abusing her, torturing her physically and mentally, not paying her dues, and not divorcing her. , does not pay for bread and maintenance, the husband suffers from a contagious disease, the woman has been deceived at the time of marriage, etc., then the court will annul the marriage.

Khula before rukhsati

If there is no leave (rukhsati) after marriage, the man is obliged to pay half of the dowry, and the woman will return it in the case of Khula. Or she will not take the dowry at the time of Khula.

If the husband is divorcing himself, he should, in any case, give one, only one, just one divorce. Don’t even think of giving two or three divorces. After divorce or Khula, the wife will spend the days of ‘iddah, ‘and she can get married wherever she wants.


In conclusion, Khula serves as a significant legal mechanism within Islamic jurisprudence, offering women the right to seek divorce and assert their autonomy within the bounds of Islamic law. By understanding Khula’s process, significance, and implications, individuals can navigate marital challenges with clarity and informed decision-making. As society evolves, it is essential to uphold the principles of justice, dignity, and compassion inherent in Islamic teachings regarding marriage and divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the difference between Khula and talaq in Islam?

A: Khula is initiated by the wife and requires the consent of both parties, whereas the husband can unilaterally pronounce talaq without the need for mutual agreement.

Q: Can a woman seek Khula for no valid reason?

A: While Islamic law allows for Khula under certain circumstances, the wife must provide valid reasons for seeking divorce, such as incompatibility or mistreatment.

Q: What are the implications of Khula on custody arrangements?

A: Custody arrangements are typically addressed as part of the khula agreement, with considerations given to the welfare and best interests of the children involved.

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