Divorce in Islam can take a variety of forms, some initiated by the husband and some initiated by the wife. The theory and practice of divorce in the Islamic world have varied according to time and place. Historically, the rules of divorce were governed by the Sharia, as interpreted by traditional Islamic jurisprudence, and they differed depending on the legal school. Historical practice sometimes diverged from legal theory. In modern times, as personal status (family) laws were codified, they generally remained "within the orbit of Islamic law", but control over the norms of divorce shifted from traditional jurists to the state.
Hanafi/Ottoman rules on divorce were fragile and complex. The husband in repudiating his wife could declare an irrevocable or revocable divorce. The irrevocable divorce was immediate and the women could not be remarried until after a specific waiting period. An example of a waiting period would be having to wait for three menstrual circles from the time of the divorce. Or, if the husband died, the Woman must wait four months and ten days after his death. If the woman was pregnant, she must wait until after the child is born. If the divorce was revocable, the divorce is not final until after the waiting period. However, they could remarry if it was a revocable divorce. Many couples did get remarried after a revocable divorce. It will discussed later how many times this is allowed and under what circumstances.
The women's ability to divorce was much different and much more limited. If the woman finds out the husband has some disease or is impotent, the judge gives the husband a year to consummate the marriage before divorce is allowed. Also, the women can divorce by using the "option of puberty" in which the women would have to provide witnesses of the menstrual blood. Finally, a woman could use the "hul" which is Turkish for divorce. This is when the woman asks the husband for a divorce and he repudiates her for consideration. Essentially it is trading property for the person.
The Qur'an encourages cooperation in marriage, this is done by giving specific rules to follow. One verse says "Consort with them honorably; or if you are averse to them, it is possible you may be averse to a thing, and God set in it much good". Divorce could lead to women losing their morality or purity if certain values were not followed correctly. The Qur'an exemplifies that divorce is not meant to be the man getting back at the woman. It is to allow the man and the women to peacefully spit up for the good of each other. They also allow for multiple remarriages between the same couple. The couple can divorce and get back together up to two times but after the second remarriage, the divorce is final and there are not more remarriages allowed.