Divorce and Religion

This is more like two questions:

  1. Around the time of Jesus, how was divorce done according to Jewish law?
  2. Does the Koran really say that a man can say “I divorce you” three times for an instant divorce?

The reason I’m asking this is, I have heard before that during the time of Jesus, Jewish law pretty much gave men the ability for instant divorce, which left the women screwed. This is why Jesus was against divorce.
On another message board, someone had linked to a story about a Muslim man divorcing a woman by saying “I divorce you” three times.

I guess I mentally made a connection and decided that the Islam custom was really common in that area a long time ago. So I posted a message that basically said that it isn’t something exclusive to Islam, but it grew from local customs that Judaism was also involved in.

Someone else said thanked me for posting that, and that it changed his views.
I began worrying that I might have been wrong, because if I was then I would be spreading ignorance, so I decided to look for some information.

A few hours of googling later, I didn’t find any connection between Jewish law and Islamic law, but what I did find was interesting. That is, if the cites I found were accurate.
So I replied to the person who thanked me with the information I found.
I guess I’m wondering, is what I said below correct, or at least close? I intend to get back to the people on that other message board with the answers I get here.
Everything below the line of dashes is the post I made on the other board.

I think I’ve jumped the gun a little, I’m afraid.
I’ve been digging around for a cite for this to make sure I was right. I haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for. I think I misinterpreted what I heard.

I was partly right though. I found a few things:

It seems the author has an axe to grind against Judaism and Christianity, but it’ll have to do for now.

I should point out that when he says Judaism allows it, he is making a pretty big generalization about the religion and their interpretation. However, around the time of Jesus I do believe that this kind of thing was in Jewish law.

It looks like I was also wrong about that particular custom being behind this. A lot of the things that Islam is criticized for are cultural customs from that time that Christianity and Judaism participated in, but not this one.
However, what it apparently does say in the Koran nonetheless should be looked at.

From Legal Affairs

So even though I was wrong about the connection to Islam, the way people say their divorce works is still wrong. I’ll try to ask some people who might know, because I don’t really trust these cites too much, but I think what I’ve found out is at least close to the truth.

Sorry about that. It just goes to show: always ask for a cite :slight_smile:

Okay, my first post was incoherent and rambling, so I don’t blame people for not answering.

Forget my OP, I’ll make this simpler: Could somebody tell me what the Koran says about divorce and how it’s interpreted?

Perhaps I read your post wrong, but, are you aware that the Prophet Muhammed died about 650 years after Jesus did? I think we can fairly say that Islamic law did not exist during Jesus’ life.

In Judaism, a marriage is a contract signed by two parties. The contract can be broken with due process of law, some of which has changed over the centuries. Read all about it at:

Actually… I’m sorry. I started this post thinking I was able to answer your question, but now I realize I don’t know enough about the Pre-Rabinnic period in Judaism. Still, the Rabinnic tradition (as written down in the Talmud and Mishnah, and includes the basic concepts of divorce elaborated in that link) was around for several hundred years before Muhammed. That makes me think that Muhammed was not unduly influenced by Jewish divorce procedures of his time. In other words, Jewish and Islamic rules on divorce are not notably related. Or so I think.

There are some very knowledgable Jews on the board. But they don’t post on a friday night after sundown. :slight_smile: Expect to hear from them saturday evening.

Hello Again, you read my post wrong, but it’s not your fault. It was poorly written.

Thank you for that, anyway though. It did answer part of my question, about influence of Jewish law on Islamic law regarding divorce.

I’m going to clarify what I was talking about in the OP:
The first part was about how they did divorce in Jesus’ time, in places where Jewish* law was prominent. If men were able to instantly divorce their wives, and such. From your link, it appears that they did have a pretty easy time with divorce.

Now, it is often said that a Muslim man can say “I divorce you” three times and instantly divorce a woman. I had thought that perhaps this carried over from the way Jewish law was around the time of Jesus.
Instead, apparently, this custom in Islam is actually a lot different from the way it’s presented by a lot of the media.

So, now I’m wondering, how is divorce done according to the Koran?

*Of course, I’m talking about Judaism in terms of culture, not religion. I understand that not all or most Jews viewed it this way. It’s interesting how religions can be corrupted when its followers are in power.

For the Jewish portion of your question, the answer is “yes” and “no.”

A man could divorce his wife for any reason, even against her will. However, the process of divorce was not so simple.

A divorce document has to be written up by a scribe. It could not be pre-made, as it had to be written explicitly for the man and woman named in the document.

More importantly, if a man divorced his wife, he had to pay the value of her kesubah (marriage contract), which usually amounted to enough to support a person for a year. Furthermore, any property he owned could be attached to pay the kesubah. So, while a man could divorce his wife willy-nilly, it would cost him a pretty penny to do so.

The right of a husband to divorce his wife against her will was revoked by Rabbeinu Gershom in his decrees about a thousand years ago.

Zev Steinhardt