“Recently I heard a talk by an Aalim who was discussing the rights of Allah and the rights of mankind. He said that with regards to the rights of mankind even a shaheed will have to account for his debts before entering Jannah, and that 1 dinar of debt was equivalent to 70 accepted Farz salaah being given to the person who is owed. I was divorced many years ago. My ex-husband wanted to finalise the divorce at the Jamiat but I chose to go to the South African courts instead to get a more favourable settlement. This resulted in my ex-husband incurring hundreds of thousands of rands in lawyers’ fees which he always complained about. I subsequently remarried, and at the time my ex-husband sent to me a fatwa from the Ulama concerning child custody. He requested our daughters to go live with him, claiming my new husband was a ghair-mahram to them. I refused partly out of maternal instinct, partly revenge for him divorcing me and partly out of a lack of taqwa. I know this grieved him greatly and he has always said that I have stolen years of time from him and from my daughters. Today, I am filled with great fear as to the debt I owe, firstly for the financial cost that I caused my ex-husband to incur by going to the South African courts, secondly for the emotional cost of getting involved in a lengthy legal acrimonious battle, and thirdly for the irreplaceable time that I denied both him and my daughters. Many of my friends are in a similar situation too. One of them, now years later after her children had grown up and married, asked her ex-husband for forgiveness and he retorted, “What?? Now, after all these years and all the  damage you have done. You caused me so much of financial loss and even worse loss of relationship with my children, and now you want forgiveness?! Never!” I am concerned that I will get the same response from my ex-husband if I approach him. If it was the other way around, I think I would also feel the same and respond the same as my friend’s ex-husband, which makes me even more worried. My specific questions are the following and it is important because there are so many of us women who are in a similar situation and if either side has to pass away without these matters being cleared in this world, then it is very scary to think of the consequences in the Aakhirah.

1) If my ex-husband also says that he will not forgive me, what will happen to me on the day of Qiyamah?

2) Should I repay the financial debt?

3) Have I incurred sin for exposing my daughters to my ghair-mahram new husband, and for denying my ex-husband custody of our daughters? If so, what can I do to rectify this?” (End of letter)

THE SHARIAH’S LAW AND OUR NASEEHAT One redeeming factor in your favour is your regret and realization of the terrible harm, hurt, pain and injustice which you had caused your ex-husband. It is essential to understand that your every move in this miserable and sad saga was in conflict with Allah’s Law. You had trampled on and usurped many of your ex-husband’s rights and also Allah’s rights, and in so doing you violated the Shariah grievously.

– The rule of the Shariah is that in a case of violation of Huqooq (Rights) of others, there is no forgiveness if amends are not made with the person whose rights had been usurped and violated. The Hadith pertaining to the Shaheed (Martyr) adequately confirms this rule. According to the Hadith, 70 Maqbool (Accepted) Salaat will be awarded to the oppressed in lieu of each daaniq(not dinar as mentioned by the Aalim). A dinar is a gold coin, perhaps something like a Krugerrand whereas a daaniq is the weight of a grain of wheat. From this one can imagine the tremendous self-immolation one inflicts on oneself when the rights of another are abused, usurped and violated. The logical consequence will be the inability to repay in Qiyaamah, resulting in suffering for ages in Jahannam. Another exceptionally grave implication of having gone to the kuffaar court thereby overriding the Shariah, is the loss of Imaan. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “Those who do not judge according to that (Shariah) which Allah has revealed, verily they are the kaafiroon (unbelievers).” As the matter stands, the following are the consequences of the court action you had undertaken: 1) You are indebted to your ex-husband for all the monies he had to spend in the legal process. 2) You are indebted to him for the excess maintenance ordered by the court for his daughters. Much of the maintenance ordered by a kaafir court is haraam. The Shariah has its own process.

You had sinned grievously for refusing him custody of his daughters. After you married a man who is a ghair mahram to the children, you lost custody. Furthermore, when a girl reaches the age of 10, then custody is her father’s right. When the girl becomes an adult, she can decide for herself with whom to live.  The Shariah requires you to repay your ex-husband all the monies you are indebted to him. However, if he forgives, then you are most fortunate. He may forgive. You should attempt to ask him to forgive. After having understood the position, everything is not lost if you sincerely regret and repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness. If you are by the financial means, endeavour to pay your ex-husband even in instalments. If by the time of your death you have not settled the debt, then Allah Ta’ala will please him on the Day of Qiyaamah and have you absolved. You are very fortunate for having realized your grave error and injustice before Maut claimed you. At least there is much hope. Many women do not even realize the awful wrong they had committed, hence they depart from this world on a one-way ticket to Jahannam. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “Say (O Muhammad!) to My servants who have oppressed themselves (with haraam and sin): ‘Do not despair of the mercy of Allah, for verily He forgives all sins. Verily, He is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful.” For acquiring this forgiveness and mercy, the necessary requisites are genuine regret, the resolve to make amends, giving practical implementation to this resolve by restoration of the violated rights or by seeking forgiveness, and making an effort to discharge the huqooq.

Then, Allah is your Protector and Saviour on the Day of Qiyaamah. The fact that realization has dawned on you, indicates Allah’s mercy is in store for you. We advise that you encourage your daughters to establish very good ties with their father. Perhaps after some time he will mellow with the pleading of his daughter in your favour, and forgive you.