Khul’a is defined as follows: ?his (husband?s) acceptance of wealth in exchange of his possession (of the woman?s hand) in the marriage. (Fathul Qadir vol.6 pg.57; Rashidiyya).
The following verse forms the basis of Khul’a: ?If you fear that they (the spouses) may not uphold the boundaries of Allah, then there is no harm upon the two of them (spouses) in the ransom offered by her (wife).? (1:229)
Ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that the wife of Thabit ibn Qais (RA) came to Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, ?Regarding Thabit (Radhiallaahu Anhu), I do not fault his character nor his Deen (religion), but I fear being ungrateful in Islam. I want to return his garden to him (in exchange of Talaaq).? Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked, ?Do you really want to do this?? she replied, ?Yes?. Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said (to her husband), ?She wishes to return your garden to you (in exchange for Talaaq). He asked, ?Do I have the right to (accept it)?? Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied, ?Yes?. He said, ?Then I accept (the garden in exchange of the Talaaq). (Musannaf Abdul-Razzaak vol.5 pg.391; HM Saeed)
The above can be further understood by the following: 1. Allaamah Kaasaani (RA) states ?contracting for Talaaq by means of an exchange.? (Badaai-us-Sanaaie; Ahsanul Fataawa vol.5 pg.382). 2. Imaam Zaylaa?ee (RA) states, ?None of them have the right to compel their partner against their will.? (Tibyaanul Haqaaiq; Ahsanul Fataawa vol.5 pg.382; HM Saeed) 3. Shamsul Aimmah Sarakhsi (RA) stated, ?Khul’a is permissible in the presence of the Sultan, i.e. presiding authority, or anyone else, because it is a contract based on mutual agreement like all other contracts.? (Mabsoot; Ahsanul Fataawa vol.5 pg.385; HM Saeed)
From the above quotations of the noble Qur?aan, Ahaadith and Fiqh (jurisprudence), it is clear that Khul?a is a contract by mutual consent between the husband and wife. The wife cannot unilaterally institute Khul?a without the consent / agreement of the husband. However, if the husband is spiteful and withholds the divorce, the wife may contact a reliable Judicial committee to annul the marriage. If there are valid grounds, the annulment will be considered.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai