Dearest brother Shabbir, there are two things that I needed to clarify regarding the whole divorce procedure which hopefully will be helpful for many others as well.
One is about the two witnesses that are required. If we read the ayat 65:2 carefully, the requirement of witnesses comes at the point when the time of iddah is ending when the husband and wife are deciding whether they want to live together or depart and not at the time divorce took place. This makes sense because probably when they are deciding to divorce each other they might not get two witnesses.
But then it raises a point! Can a man and woman divorce each other on their own in their solitude as the verse is clearly asking for witnesses at the end of iddah?
In ayat 65:1 where Allah SWT is saying “Oh prophet when you men divorce your women….” is that exactly what is being said here?
This would imply only a man is to divorce woman and keep track of iddah time and not the other way around.
Taking together with 65:2 which comes right after it when we clearly see witness are only needed at the end of iddah, will it not be giving too much power to the man and hence the chance of woman being exploited in case she is the one who initiates divorce and he keeps the grudge?
Also where does it give indication that a woman can divorce the man same way?
The main point is the words here don’t address men in general like the usual pattern of Quran is: Neither it says, “Oh you people who have chosen to believe” nor does it say, “O prophet tell these men when they…”
It is, very directly, addressing the prophet SW only!
Here I find Allama GA Parvez arguments convincing and correct to the point.
And looking at the whole picture one can also see very clearly, that:
-Divorce as a whole is a process of nullifying the contract that binds the couple.
-Ayat 65:1 is addressed to prophet SWT directly to grant divorce, he being the central authority at that point. So, divorce does not even start unless it is approached through central authority of time.
-Both men and women need to go to an authority to initiate this process of getting a divorce which will also keep the record of the iddat.
-Two witnesses will be required only at the time the iddat is ending and the couple either wants to keep the contract or nullify it!
(After all Nikah is a legal contract, so there is no need of witnesses when the divorce (the process of nullifying that contract) was initiated. )
-This process is complete once at the iddat period is completed.
-The couple is allowed to go through this process twice only during their married life. That is they can reconcile/ remarry on the basis of different terms after iddat only if the divorce process is first time or second time.
-If this process is started in the same couples' same married life third time, they cannot reconcile or remarry. Unless as per conditions stated in Quran which hardly happens if done as per Quran.
The second thing that needs clarification is about the arbitrators. That requirement is not for the divorce period but for any time the couple life start to become strained so they don’t even start thinking of divorce which is an extreme measure and a long legal process if understood by society as per Quran. This ayat is putting some onus on both sides’ families’ members to try to resolve the matters that are causing the breakage in the first place. So the families cannot keep aside and not get involved leaving the couple helpless and then putting all blame on them only while they get away with not helping them. Allah’s wisdom is the greatest.
I have seen, specially in cases of love marriages, many parents keep grudge in their hearts and find it very satisfying when the couple has arguments and don’t bother to resolve the issue, if not make it worst, saying or thinking they married with their own will so should suffer on their own too, untill its too late.