NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Islamic courts will not issue divorce certificates to couples seeking divorce during the holy month of Ramadan, the head of Islamic courts in the Palestinian Authority said Sunday.
Sheikh Yousef Ideis made the decision to ban issuing Islamic divorce certificates during Ramadan, but for special cases couples can seek approval from the bureau of the Supreme Judge.
Director of the Supreme Judge's office Sawalfa Sawalha told Ma'an that the unprecedented decision was made upon recommendations from her department, which registered a large increase in divorces during Ramadan in 2012.
Sawalha said that some people had been using the abstention from food, drink, cigarettes and sex during Ramadan as a pretext to create problems with their husband or wife, and file for divorce.
Sheikh Yousef Ideis issued a memo to all Islamic judges in Palestine forbidding them from approving divorces.
Marriage, divorce, child custody and alimony are regulated by religious courts in the West Bank and Gaza, and church courts hear cases for Palestinian Christians.
Last September, Sheikh Ideis announced new legislation allowing women who have not had sex with their husbands to be able to ask for a divorce.
Under Sharia law, a man can divorce his wife by pronouncing the Talaq, which involves repeating three times that he wishes to divorce his wife.
The declaration can be withdrawn if only repeated once or twice, but can be implemented after the third pronouncement.