It has to happen sooner or later. An article in the Arab News caught my attention a while back. It speaks of a Saudi man who was caned 70 times all in the name of love.
The story goes like this. The wife apparently filed for divorce in the Sharia court under a process called “khula”. Now what is a khula? In Islam, the khula is the legal right of a Muslim woman to secure her divorce from her husband through the payment of financial compensation to him.
We do not know the details of what actually happened, but the husband must have agreed to the khula. Now the filing of a khula divorce involves a waiting period. This is not a cooling off period, in case she changes her mind. Rather this waiting period is to ensure that the woman petitioning for khula is not pregnant with child. For this reason, the waiting period for khula is one menstrual cycle or one month if she is no longer menstruating.
Now apparently during this waiting period, the husband changed his mind, and wanted to woo back his wife. He began sending out SMS text messages proclaiming his love for her, and requesting her to return to him. It is said that in the Arabic language there are 18 synonyms for the word “love”, and this man used all these 18 love words in his text messages to her.
In total he sent 181 text messages, surely a record of sort, and probably enough to compile into a book. Not only that, but his relatives and friends also tried to make them reconcile.
But the story did not have a happy ending. The woman simply rejected all those 181 love messages and ignored all attempts at reconciliation. Even worse, she charged him with causing annoyance to her with too many love messages.
The outcome is that a Sharia court recently gave summary judgment against him, and sentenced him to 70 lashes of the cane. It then issued a prohibition order against him, forbidding him to ever approach her again.
And then the Court of Cassation made the verdict final, thus ending the marriage.
Think about it. Islam permits divorce. If a woman files for a khula divorce, she needs to financially compensate her husband. But if the divorce is initiated by the man, it is called a talaq divorce. Now Sunni practice requires no witnesses, and allows a husband to end a relationship by saying the triple talaq. In some countries, he can even say it via SMS text messages. But there is no financial compensation to the wife in a talaq divorce. And what about the caning sentence? 70 lashes of the cane for sending love messages via SMS – caning for being a nuisance of sort?