First of all, we would like to emphasis that divorce is permissible in Islam, yet it is the most detestable of all permissible acts in the Sight of Allah. This means that a Muslim woman should not seek divorce from her husband unless she has borne ill-treatment from him, or has a valid reason which warrants their separation. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said: “If any woman seeks divorce from her husband without any tangible reason, she will be deprived of the fragrance of Paradise.” (Reported by Abu Dawud.)
So, when a wife fears that her separation from such husband may create problems within her family, she may, for the sake of creating stability in the family and providing a secure and peaceful marital life, re-try to maintain matrimonial life and admonish her husband to be conscious and mindful of Allah and to carry out his Islamic obligations. This would be far better than putting an end to the solemn contract Islam is keen to maintain.
However, if a woman’s heart has got filled up with hatred for her husband to the extent that she deems it impossible to keep the ball rolling between her and the husband, and that the continuation of the marital life would be a great burden on her, then she may seek separation through Khul` and not via divorce.
Khul` means to return to her husband all what he has given her as Mahr (dowry) and then end up the marriage with peace and kindness. One of the main objectives of marriage is to create a peaceful environment for the spouses to practice the tenets of Islam. So, if anyone of them cannot enjoy good and righteous matrimonial life, then the Qur’an directs us: “If you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby.” (Al-Baqarah: 229)
In this regard, the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states the following:
“A woman who cannot bear to live with her husband has the right to free herself from the marriage bond by returning to her husband the Mahr and other gifts he has given her, or more or less than that according to their mutual agreement. It is, however, preferable that he should not ask for more than he has given her. Almighty Allah says: “… then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust.” (Al-Baqarah: 229)
It is reported that the wife of Thabit Ibn Qays, may Allah be pleased with him, came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have no objection to Thabit Ibn Qays in terms of character and religion, but I do detest him.”(She meant to say that although Thabit was a good man, she was unable to get along with him, and thus might not be able to give him due respect.) The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked her about what she had received from him. She replied: “A garden.” He asked: “Will you give him back his garden?” “Yes,” she replied. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, then said to Thabit: “Accept the garden, and divorce her once (i.e. make one pronouncement of divorce.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i.)”
In conclusion, if a wife really hates her husband and fears that her future will be doomed to ruin, then she may seek separation through Khul`.