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Islam/Fasakh (annulment)

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As-salamu aliekum,


I have a question regarding a fasakh (annulment) issue.
A woman had a difficulty in her marriage. There was a total breakdown in the marriage and the husband was harming her physically so she requested divorce from him but the husband refused to divorce her; and when the family intervened he admitted in front of them that he hit her.

So she forwarded her claim to an Imam at the local mosque requesting divorce from the husband. The Imam decided to meet with the husband on few occasions to come up with a solution but the husband did not cooperate. So the Imam requested from the wife 2 adult witnesses to proceed with fasakh (annulment) and after few days the Imam granted her fasakh.
The husband until this day claims she's still married to him and she's not divorced.

The Imam has ijazah from a leading authority. He serves as an advisory member on the Fatwa standing committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in North America, and also serves on the board of directors of the Islamic Shura Council of South Michigan.

Due to the fact that some family members disagree with the Imam on certain topics in Islam, those family members started questioning the validity of the annulment, which led them to think the Imam didn't follow proper Islamic annulment procedure. So now, some family members think the annulment is valid and some think it's not valid.

My question:
Is the annulment valid or not?
And regarding the witnesses, they are the family members that were present when the husband admitted that he hit her. Do these witnesses have to be well versed in Islam?


Wa aliekum as-salam,

Answer
Its better to have a Jamat of Ulama perform  the fasakh after hearing  both parties.  In this case the witnesses  acted  as  members of the Jamat and therefore  its valid. The knowledge  of  Islam  is irrelevant  in this matter. A witness  needs to say shahada and that is his credibility.  

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