Divorce and Khul'ah in Islam

Islam has a very balanced approach to the issue of divorce. Islamic law gives the right of marriage dissolution to both husband and wife. The husband’s right of marriage annulment is termed as Talaaq while the wife’s right of annulment is called Khul’a.

Many Muslims as well as non-Muslims perceive that Islamic approach to the issue of marriage termination is very parochial and that the institution of divorce in Islam is predominantly male chauvinistic. This view is perpetuated mostly because of ignorance about the pristine Islamic teachings which are usually covered under layers of cultural presumptions. It is partly due to Muslims’ ignorance of their own teachings and partly because the topic is discussed in the backdrop of Judeo Christian debates and discussions vise a vise bill of divorcement. Hebrew Bible’s concept of divorce is thoroughly parochial. It is derived from the Patriarchal treatment of the issue. Abraham hands out the bill of divorcement to Hagar not due to any mistake on her part but just because Abraham’s other wife Sarah disapproves of Hagar. Details are given in Genesis 21 in the following words:

“9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, mocking. 10. And she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac. 11. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12. And God said to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your slave; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called. 13. And also of the son of the slave will I make a nation, because he is your seed. 14. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.”

The Book of Deuteronomy chapter 24 establishes the following reasons for a divorce.

“1. When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her; then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2. And when she has departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

4. Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord; and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance.”

Divorce is the true prerogative of a husband. He can issue it or retract it based upon his whims. Talmud puts it in the following words: “If a man says, Give this Get to my wife and this writ of emancipation to my slave, he is at liberty, if he wishes, to retract from both.” (Gittin 9b)

The male authority in this matter is so well established in the Jewish law that the husband is not required to have any reason to divorce other than liking another woman or disliking her cooking. The Mishna presents it in the nutshell:


The New Testament, on the other hand, is too restrictive of the institution of divorce.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorcement. But I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except on the grounds of adultery, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery. . (Matt. 5:31-32) “And he said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’ ” (Mark 10:11-12)

Marriage is a divinely sanctified unity. No human being has the right to annul it. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:6, Mark 10:9.) St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10-11 says: “Now, for those who are married I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else go back to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.”

The Qur’an states that a husband has to divorce his wife twice for the marriage to be properly annulled.

الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَأْخُذُوا مِمَّا آَتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْئًا إِلَّا أَنْ يَخَافَا أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَعْتَدُوهَا وَمَنْ يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ (2292:)

“A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is not blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others).”

The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) has commanded to overlook any possible negatives in favor of multiple positives found in every wife. Divorce is permitted as a surgery if nothing else works to save the marriage. There are three kinds of divorce in Islam. First is retractable divorce (Raji’ee). If the divorced is pronounced only once then the husband and wife can get back to each other and resume marital relations without any outside intervention. The second divorce is still retractable but with outside intervention (Ba’in). The husband and wife cannot resume marital responsibilities until the marriage contract Nikah is renewed with new dowry. The third pronouncement makes it non-retractable. It makes the marriage nullified for good. The same couple cannot rejoin in marriage contract except that the wife marries another man and then that person divorces her by his own choice, not as a premarital contract or implicit or explicit understanding, or after his natural death. The Qur’an states that:

فَإِنْ طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا تَحِلُّ لَهُ مِنْ بَعْدُ حَتَّى تَنْكِحَ زَوْجًا غَيْرَهُ فَإِنْ طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يَتَرَاجَعَا إِنْ ظَنَّا أَنْ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ يُبَيِّنُهَا لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (2302:)

“So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, remarry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah which He makes plain to those who understand.”

The final divorce is required by the Qur’an and by the Sunnah to be given at least twice, once during each month period. The second divorce can be given in the second month after wife’s second purification period. The third and the final divorce could be given in the third month. The husband has the right to retract divorce in the first two instances while third divorce is not revocable as explained above. This is what the Prophet had asked Ibn Umar to do when he divorced his wife during her monthly cycle.

حدثني أَبو السائب، قال: ثنا ابن إدريس، عن عبيد الله، عن نافع، عن ابن عمر، قال: طلَّقت امرأتي وهي حائض؛ قال: فأتى عمر رسول الله صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم يخبره بذلك، فقال: “مُرْه فَلْيُرَاجِعهَا حَتَى تَطْهُر، ثُمَّ تَحِيضَ، ثُمَّ تَطْهُرَ، ثُمَّ إنْ شَاءَ طَلَّقَهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يُجَامِعَهَا، وإنْ شَاءَ أَمْسَكَهَا، فَإنَها العِدَّةُ التي قال اللُه عَزَّ وَجَلَّ”.

Nisa’ee r reports that the Prophet became exceedingly angry when a person pronounced three divorces in one sitting. Such an act is abominable and tantamount to playing with the Book of Allah SWT.

حدثنا سليمان بن داود، أخبرنا ابن وهب عن مخرمة بن بكير، عن أبيه، عن محمود بن لبيد، قال: «أخبر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن رجل طلق امرأته ثلاث تطليقات جميعاً، فقام غضبان ثم قال «أيلعب بكتاب الله وأنا بين أظهركم» ؟ حتى قام رجل فقال: يارسول الله، ألا أقتله»

The Islamic law requires a cooling period so that decisions about divorce are not made in hurry or based upon instantaneous emotional outbursts but based upon thoughtful considerations. Some scholars require presence of two witnesses for the divorce to be lawful. They argue that as marriage cannot be contracted except in the presence of two witnesses, it cannot be nullified without the presence of two witnesses. This was the opinion of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, Imran bin Hussain from among the Companions and Ata, Ibn Sireen, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Ibn Juraij among the Successors. Many scholars had followed them in maintaining such a view in an effort to make divorce harder to come by. This group of scholars supports their position by the following verse of Surah al-Talaaq:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ وَأَحْصُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ لَا تُخْرِجُوهُنَّ مِنْ بُيُوتِهِنَّ وَلَا يَخْرُجْنَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ لَا تَدْرِي لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ أَمْرًا (1) فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا (2) وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا (3)

“O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately) their prescribed periods: and fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation. Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out.”

Al-Tabari reports that Ibn Abbas was of the opinion that two witnesses are needed both for divorce and for retraction of divorce.

حدثني عليّ، قال: ثنا أَبو صالح، قال: ثني معاوية، عن عليّ، عن ابن عباس، قال: إن أراد مراجعتها قبل أن تنقضي عدتها، أشهد رجلين كما قال الله( وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ ) عند الطلاق وعند المراجعة، فإن راجعها فهي عنده على تطليقتين، وإن لم يراجعها فإذا انقضت عدتها فقد بانت منه بواحدة، وهي أملك بنفسها، ثم تتزوّج من شاءت، هو أو غيره.

حدثنا أحمد، قال: ثنا أسباط، عن السديّ، في قوله:( وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ ) قال: على الطلاق والرجعة.

Abd al-Razzaq reports that Imran bin Hussain admonished the person who did not call for witnesses while divorcing his wife.

عبد الرزاق عن ابن جريج قال: لا يجوز نكاح، ولا طلاق، ولا ارتجاع، إلاّ بشاهدين، فإن ارتجع وجهل أن يُشهد وهو يُدخل ويصيبها، فإذا علم فليعد إلى السنة، إلى أن يشهد شاهدي عدل.

عبد الرزاق عن معمّر عن أيوب عن ابن سيرين قال: سأل رجل عمران بن حصين عن رجل طلق ولم يشهد، وراجع ولم يشهد، قال: طلق في غير عدة، وارتجع في غير سنة، فليشهد على طلاقه، وعلى مراجعته، وليستغفر الله.

Abu Dawud and Ibn Kathir also report the same opinion.

رواه أبو داود وابن ماجه عن عمران بن حصين أنه سئل عن الرجل يطلق المرأة ثم يقع بها ولم يشهد على طلاقها ولا على رجعتها، فقال: طلقت لغير سنة ورجعت لغير سنة وأشهد على طلاقها وعلى رجعتها ولا تعد، وقال ابن جريج كان عطاء يقول:} وَأَشْهِدُوا۴ ذَوَىْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ } قال لا يجوز في نكاح ولا طلاق ولا رجاع إلا شاهدا عدل، كما قال الله عز وجل إلا أن يكون من عذر”

The majority of the classical scholars maintain that two witnesses are recommended but not required by the Islamic law. There are many incidents reported in the authentic books of Hadith where the Prophet (PBUH) invalidated the marriages without asking for two witnesses. Moreover, the majority opinion also maintains that the three divorces will come into effect even if a husband pronounced them in one sitting though such a divorce is against the Sunnah. They quote the following verses and Prophetic report to support their argument.

فَإِنْ طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا تَحِلُّ لَهُ مِنْ بَعْدُ حَتَّى تَنْكِحَ زَوْجًا غَيْرَهُ فَإِنْ طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يَتَرَاجَعَا إِنْ ظَنَّا أَنْ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ يُبَيِّنُهَا لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (2302:)

“So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, remarry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah which He makes plain to those who understand.”

They argue that the Qur’an does not specify any mechanism about the divorce but gives a generic statement “if a husband divorces his wife”. A husband can give one, two or three divorces. Therefore divorce is applicable if pronounced thrice at once even though it goes against the established Sunnah. They also quote the verses like the following:

لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِنْ طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ مَا لَمْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ أَوْ تَفْرِضُوا لَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةً وَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ عَلَى الْمُوسِعِ قَدَرُهُ وَعَلَى الْمُقْتِرِ قَدَرُهُ مَتَاعًا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ (2362:)

“There is no blame on you if ye divorce women before consummation or the fixation of their dower; but bestow on them (a suitable gift), the wealthy according to his means, and the poor according to his means; a gift of a reasonable amount is due from those who wish to do the right thing.”

The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have approved the three divorces in one setting as valid but against the Sunnah divorce.

أخرجه عبد الرزاق في «مصنفه»، عن عبادة بن الصامت، قال: «طلق جدي امرأة له ألف تطليقة، فانطلق إلى رسول اللَّه صلى الله عليه وسلّم فذكر له ذلك، فقال النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلّم: «ما اتقى اللَّه جدك، أما ثلاث فله. وأما تسعمائة وسبع وتسعون فعدوان وظلم، إن شاء اللَّه عذبه وإن شاء غفر له». وفي رواية: «إن أباك لم يتقّ اللَّه فيجعل له مخرجًا، بانت منه بثلاث على غير السنة، وتسعمائة وسبع وتسعون إثم في عنقه»،

Such a Talaaq is called Bid’ah. Many scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyam, Ibn Hazm and others do not consider it as a lawful divorce while the other just count it once and not three. The majority of classical scholars accept that such a divorce will be counted as three because the person intended so. Divorce is among the three things which are taken seriously even if performed in a non-serious mode, as the Prophet (PBUH) hinted at it in one of the famous Hadith.


Khula’ah is the prerogative of a wife as divorce is a male privilege. A wife does not have to have a lengthy list of genuinely Islamic reasons to initiate the process of Khula’ah. She also does not need consent from her husband to do so. As divorce is a right of husband Khula’ah constitutes a thorough choice of a wife. We do not see any restrictions placed upon a wife in this regard by the Prophet (PBUH) himself. Jamilah bint Salul got Khula’ah through the Prophet (PBUH) just because she did not like her husband. The Prophet (PBUH) asked her to return the garden which she took as dowry from him.

وأخرجه ٱبن ماجة عن قتادة عن عكرمة عن ٱبن عباس. أن جميلة بنت سَلُول أتت النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالت: والله ما أعيب على ثابت في دِين ولا خُلق ولكني أكره الكفر في الإسلام، لا أطيقه بغضا فقال لها النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أتردّين عليه حديقته»؟ قالت: نعم. فأمره رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يأخذ منها حديقته ولا يزداد. فيقال: إنها كانت تبغضه أشدّ البغض، وكان يحبها أشدّ الحبّ؛ ففرّق رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بينهما بطريق الخُلع؛ فكان أوّل خُلع في الإسلام.

Imam al-Showkani argues that any discord between the husband and wife would constitute sufficient ground for her to demand emancipation from him. It does not have to be mutual as is clear from the above Hadith. Thabit bin Qais loves her but his wife Jamilah does not like him. The Prophet (PBUH) did not ask Thabit whether or not she should proceed with Khula’ah. He granted her Khula’ah without asking any questions just with one condition that the dowry is to be returned.

وظاهر أحاديث الباب أن مجرد وجود الشقاق من قبل المرأة كاف في جواز الخلع. واختار ابن المنذر أنه لا يجوز حتى يقع الشقاق منهما جميعاً وتمسك بظاهر الآية. وبذلك قال طاوس والشعبي وجماعة من التابعين. وأجاب عن ذلك جماعة منهم الطبري بأن المراد أنها إذا لم تقم بحقوق الزوج كان ذلك مقتضياً لبغض الزوج لها فنسبت المخالفة إليهما لذلك، ويؤيد عدم اعتبار ذلك من جهة الزوج أنه صلَّى اللَّهُ عليه وآله وسلَّم يستفسر ثابتاً عن كراهته لها عند إعلانها بالكراهة له.

The restrictions placed upon demands of Khula’ah by later jurists are based upon their Ijtihad in view of the customs of their societies as well as to curtail misuse of such a blank check to initiate the Khula’ah process. Moreover, Khula’ah can be finalized without a court as divorce can be exacted without any intervention from the court. Ibn Hajr puts the point in the nutshell:

ومن حيث النظر أن الطلاق جائز دون الحاكم فكذلك الخلع، ثم الذي ذهب إليه مبني على أن وجود الشقاق شرط في الخلع والجمهور على خلافه

This was the tradition followed at the time of the four Caliphs and later rulers continued it as Sunan al-Bayhaqi reports:

حدثنا أبو بكر قال نا وكيع عن شعبة عن الحكم عن خيثمة قال : أتى بشير بن مروان في خلع كان بين رجل وامرأة فلم يجزه فقال له عبد الله بن شهاب الخولاني : شهدت عمر بن الخطاب أتي في خلع كان بين رجل وامرأته فأجازه.

(2) حدثنا أبو بكر قال نا وكيع عن شعبة عن الحكم عن الشعبي أن شريحا أجاز خلعا دون السلطان.

(3) حدثنا أبو بكر قال نا ابن علية عن أيوب عن نافع عن الربيع بنت معوذ بن عفراء أن عمها خلعها من زوجها وكان يشرب الخمر دون عثمان فأجاز ذلك عثمان.

(4) حدثنا أبو بكر قال نا ابن إدريس عن هشام عن ابن سيرين قال : الخلع جائز دون السلطان.

(5) حدثنا أبو بكر قال نا عبد الاعلى عن معمر عن الزهري أنه قال : الخلع جائز دون السلطان.

Unlike divorce, Khula’ah can be demanded during wife’s monthly cycle or during even pregnancy and delivery periods. The wife becomes master of her own affairs and enjoys an absolute independence after the Khula’ah. The husband does not have the right to revoke the Khula’ah or demand a return to normalcy in marital relations. They can remarry with a new dowry and new Nikah contract if she agrees to it during her Iddah. The Iddah in this case is only one monthly cycle and not three as is the case with Talaaq. The following Hadith reported by Tirmizi manifestly supports this point.

حَدَّثَنَا مَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلَانَ أَنْبَأَنَا الْفَضْلُ بْنُ مُوسَى عَنْ سُفْيَانَ أَنْبَأَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ وَهُوَ مَوْلَى آلِ طَلْحَةَ عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ بْنِ يَسَارٍ عَنْ الرُّبَيِّعِ بِنْتِ مُعَوِّذِ بْنِ عَفْرَاءَ أَنَّهَا اخْتَلَعَتْ عَلَى عَهْدِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَمَرَهَا النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَوْ أُمِرَتْ أَنْ تَعْتَدَّ بِحَيْضَةٍ

قَالَ وَفِي الْبَاب عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى حَدِيثُ الرُّبَيِّعِ بِنْتِ مُعَوِّذٍ الصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهَا أُمِرَتْ أَنْ تَعْتَدَّ بِحَيْضَةٍ

أَنْبَأَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحِيمِ الْبَغْدَادِيُّ أَنْبَأَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ بَحْرٍ أَنْبَأَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ عَنْ مَعْمَرٍ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّ امْرَأَةَ ثَابِتِ بْنِ قَيْسٍ اخْتَلَعَتْ مِنْ زَوْجِهَا عَلَى عَهْدِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَمَرَهَا النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ تَعْتَدَّ بِحَيْضَةٍ

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ وَاخْتَلَفَ أَهْلُ الْعِلْمِ فِي عِدَّةِ الْمُخْتَلِعَةِ فَقَالَ أَكْثَرُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَغَيْرِهِمْ إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الْمُخْتَلِعَةِ عِدَّةُ الْمُطَلَّقَةِ ثَلَاثُ حِيَضٍ وَهُوَ قَوْلُ سُفْيَانَ الثَّوْرِيِّ وَأَهْلِ الْكُوفَةِ وَبِهِ يَقُولُ أَحْمَدُ وَإِسْحَقُ قَالَ بَعْضُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَغَيْرِهِمْ إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الْمُخْتَلِعَةِ حَيْضَةٌ قَالَ إِسْحَقُ وَإِنْ ذَهَبَ ذَاهِبٌ إِلَى هَذَا فَهُوَ مَذْهَبٌ قَوِيٌّ

Although the majority of scholars maintain that the Iddah of Khula’ah is three monthly cycles as is the case with the Talaaq, many known authorities such as Ibn Umar, Ishaq, Ibn Taymiyyah and others argue that Khula’ah is different than Talaaq and its Iddah is just one monthly cycle. Al-Bayhaqi reports:

عبيد الله بن عمر عن نافع ان ابن عمر رضى الله عنه أخبره ان ربيع بنت معوذ بن عفراء اختلعت من زوجها على عهد عثمان رضى الله عنه فذهب عمها معاذ بن عفراء إلى عثمان رضى الله عنه فقال ان ابنة معوذ قد اختلعت من زوجها اليوم أفتنتقل فقال عثمان رضى الله عنه تنتقل وليس عليها عدة انها لا تنكح حتى تحيض حيضة واحدة – فقال عبد الله عثمان اكبرنا واعلمنا فهذه الرواية تصرح بأن عثمان رضى الله عنه هو الذى امرها بذلك وظاهر الكتاب في عدة المطلقات يتناول المختلعة وغيرها فهو اولى

Even if we accept the majority’s opinion that the Iddah of an emancipated woman is three months, there is no discrimination in it against woman. The divorce and Khula’ah rules are treating the husband and the wife equally.