Can you please give references from Hadith and obviously from Qur’an that pronouncing 3 times and 1000 times talaaq1 is just equal to talaaq. How do I explain to people in context with the Qur’an? In fact I also heard of a hadith (Sahih Bukhari) that it mentions of this tripple talaaq as valid.
In my previous responses related to the issue of divorce, I had tried to explain that the issue of the pronunciation of three divorces at the same time and the consequences of such pronunciation is not one in which the Shari`ah has given any final verdict. In fact, because the Shari`ah has clearly prescribed a method of divorce, pronouncing three or more divorces in one go is a disregard of these directives of the Shari`ah. However, the Shari`ah has not given any decision for the disregard of these prescriptions, neither with reference to the punishment of the person who has disregarded these prescriptions, nor with reference to the consequential effects upon the marriage.
Under these circumstances, it is clear that the decision regarding such pronunciations of divorce is primarily a juristic decision and an Islamic state may pass any legislation to govern such pronunciations, which it feels would be in the common interests of the Muslim collectivity.
Answers to the following questions may help further clarify the issue: 1) what is the method for divorce prescribed by the Shari`ah? And 2) if a person, disregarding the prescriptions of the Shari`ah, divorces his wife three or more times in one go, what shall be the consequences of such pronunciations on the marriage?
The Prescriptions of the Shari`ah
The Qur’an has discussed the issue of divorce in detail. The Qur’an says:
And the divorced women shall stop themselves [from marriage] for three menstrual periods. And [during this time,] it shall not be lawful for them to hide what God has created in their wombs, if they truly believe in God and the Final Day. And their husbands, during this time, shall have a prior right to take them back, if they [sincerely] desire betterment… (Al-Baqarah 2: 228)
This divorce2 can be delivered twice. Thus, after these incidents, he is to hold her to himself in a good manner or to free her in the best of ways… (Al-Baqarah 2: 229)
Then, [after the first two instances of divorce,] if he divorces her [a third time]3, she shall no longer be lawful for him after this, except in the case that she marries another person and he divorces her [for some reason]… (Al-Baqarah 2: 230)
In the light of these verses of the Qur’an, the prescriptions of the Shari`ah, with reference to the deliverance of divorce may be summarized as:
If a person, due to any reason, takes a decision of completely severing his relationship with his wife, he shall divorce his wife4.
After the declaration of the intention to divorce, the man and the woman shall carry-on living in the same house for a period that covers three menstrual periods of the woman5. This period is known as the “iddah“. If during the iddah the woman is found to be pregnant, the iddah shall then extend to the birth of the child6. During the iddah the man shall be responsible for providing for the normal everyday expenses of the wife. Moreover, the man shall also have the right to review his decision of divorce during this period. In case the man decides on withdrawing his decision of divorce, the couple shall be allowed to live together as man and wife. On the other hand, if at the end of the iddah the man is still of the opinion that it is in the best interest of both the parties concerned to live a separate life, he shall then uphold his initial decision – the Qur’an advises the man that whatever decision he takes at the end of the iddah he should ask two just and honest persons to act as witnesses to his decision7. In case the initial decision of divorce is upheld at the end of the period the relationship of man and wife shall now be severed. The woman shall no longer be the wife of the man and vice versa. The man and the woman can marry anyone of their respective choice and if the two want to reunite, they can do so by entering into a new nikah (marriage) contract.
These directions are the basic prescription of the Qur’an regarding divorce. However, there are certain extensions to this prescription also given in the Qur’an:
As stated earlier, if during the iddah the man decides on withdrawing his decision, the couple can carry on their lives as man and wife. Later on, if such circumstances arise once again where the man decides on divorcing his wife, the same directions shall apply (as explained above). If once again (after the second instance of divorce) the man decides (during the iddah) to withdraw his decision he shall be allowed to do so, and the two shall carry on living as man and wife. On the other hand, if the man decides on upholding his decision of divorce (at the end of the iddah) the two shall now stand separated. Now, once again, if at some later time the man and the woman wish to reunite, they can do so by entering into a new nikah.
If a person, who due to any reason, had divorced his wife a second time and during the iddah of both the first and the second instance of divorce had withdrawn his decision and then at a later time decides – for the third time – to sever his relationship with his wife, he shall once again be allowed to do so with the following alterations in the directions explained above:
He shall not be allowed to withdraw his decision during iddah; and
he shall not be allowed to remarry the woman after the expiry of iddah.
In this way, the Qur’an has practically closed all doors of reunion between the man and the wife after the third instance of divorce. There is only one exception to this rule: If (after the third instance of divorce) the woman marries another person and then due to any reason (other than to let the woman reunite with her first husband) that other person divorces the woman (or dies) the woman shall now be allowed to remarry her first husband. It must be kept in mind that after the second husband divorces the woman, all rules that were applicable to the divorce of the first husband shall apply to this divorce as well.
Consequences of Pronouncing Three Divorces at One Time
As one can see from the foregoing explanation, the issue of pronouncing three divorces at one instance is not a part of the prescriptions of the Shari`ah regarding divorce. However, if we take a close look at the directives of the Shari`ah explained above, we may be able to propose a reasonable explanation as to why, in the presence of the express directives of the Shari`ah, did the issue of pronouncing three divorces at one instance surface among the Muslims.
The Shari`ah, as given in the above explanation, to safeguard a home from disintegrating, has allowed a person to review and revise his decision of divorce, within a stipulated time period, twice. However, this chance of review and revision is not available to the person, if he opts for a divorce a third time in a particular marriage. Now, it seems quite understandable that sometimes, a person in an outbreak of emotions may, to express the finality of his decision, pronounce three divorces at one instance and, thereby, express giving-up the chance of review and revision of his decision, which the Shari`ah had allowed him. It is also possible that the person may consciously mean to use up the chances that the Shari`ah had allowed him or, on the other hand, such a pronunciation of three divorces may only be a show of anger and emotion, in which the person may not actually mean to use up the two chances granted by the Shari`ah. Nevertheless, whatever the reason for such pronunciation, it is obvious that it is a clear disregard of the prescriptions of the Qur’an and should therefore be refrained from8).
However, it is reported that during the times of the Prophet (pbuh), whenever a case of pronunciation of three divorces in one go was brought to the court of the Prophet (pbuh), he would ask the person, who had made such pronunciation, regarding his actual intention. If the person would declare under oath that his intention was actually to pronounce divorce only once but had, in the heat of the moment, pronounced it thrice, the Prophet (pbuh) would allow him to review and revise his decision and would consider his pronouncement as ONE divorce only9. On the other hand, if it became apparent that the person had actually intended to use up all chances of review and revision allowed to him by the Shari`ah, the Prophet (pbuh) would then implement three divorces and disallow any chance of review and revision10.
The apparent variance in the decisions of the Prophet (pbuh) in such cases of divorce must obviously be due to the variance in the backgrounds or the circumstances under which a deviation from the directive of the Shari`ah was encountered. As any other reasonable court of law would do, the Prophet (pbuh) while pronouncing his judgments in various cases took into consideration the background and the circumstances in which the reported crime (or a deviation from the law) had occurred. This is precisely the reason why a variance occurred in the judgment of two or more cases where the nature of the deviation from the directives of the Shari`ah was, apparently, the same.
In view of all the foregoing explanation, it can easily be inferred that a decision regarding a case of pronouncement of triple Talaaq is actually not related to the express commands of the Shari`ah. On the contrary, it is an issue related to judicature or the administration or implementation of the law. A Muslim state may pass a legislation to govern such situations, if it deems such legislation to be in the interest of its citizens. This is precisely what `Omar (ra) did, during his caliphate, when he passed a legislation that every case of pronouncement of triple Talaaq shall in future be considered as the using up of the three chances given by the Shari`ah and, subsequently, no person who is involved in such a deviation from the clear directives of the Shari`ah shall be allowed to review or revise his decision of divorce11. In exactly the same spirit, the Muslim states of today may promulgate any suitable legislation for cases of pronouncement of triple Talaaq at one instance. After the promulgation of such legislations, all subsequent cases of triple Talaaq should be decided in the light of the passed legislation.
Finally, I would like to clarify that what you have mentioned in your question in the words: “pronouncing 3 times and 1000 times talaaq is just equal to talaaq“, is not a correct representation of my opinion, as should be adequately clear from the foregoing details.
August 17, 2000
- i.e. delivering three divorces at one instance. [↩]
- i.e. the divorce after which, the husband may revise his decision during the waiting period. [↩]
- i.e. after divorcing her twice and revising his decision, both the times, during the waiting period. [↩]
- It is important to note that the Shari`ah has not prescribed any mode of delivering or pronouncing the divorce. In other words, the Shari`ah has not suggested that the divorce be delivered in spoken words or in writing. During the times of the Prophet (pbuh), divorce was generally delivered through spoken words. However, if an Islamic state deems it to be in the interest of its citizens, it may pass a legislation, whereby divorce may only be delivered through a written legally recognized document. [↩]
- If the woman has crossed the age of menstruation or does not menstruate, then the waiting period shall be three months. [↩]
- As directed in Al-Talaaq 65: 4. [↩]
- This directive is given in Al-Talaaq 65: 2. [↩]
- It is reported that once it was brought to the notice of the Prophet (pbuh) that a person had divorced his wife thrice in one go. At hearing this, the Prophet (pbuh) became extremely angry and said: ‘Have you started playing with God’s directives, while I am still among you?’ (Nassaiy, Kitaab al-Talaaq). It is also reported that due to the gravity of disregarding the directives of the Shari`ah involved in such cases, whenever a case of pronunciation of three divorces in one go was brought in the court of `Omar (ra), he would punish such persons with lashes. (ai`laa al-Sunan, Zafar Ahmad Uthmani, Kitaab al-Talaaq [↩]
- The famous case of Rukana ibn `abd Yazeed, reported in almost all of the more acknowledged compilations of narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) evidences this fact. For more detailed reference, see: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, Pg. 265, Tirmidhi, Kitaab al-Talaaq and Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Talaaq. [↩]
- Ibn Omar (ra) asked the Prophet (pbuh): ‘Had I divorced my wife thrice in one go, what would have been the consequences?’ The Prophet (pbuh) replied: ‘You would then have disobeyed your Lord and would have lost all chances of reunion with her’. (Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudaamah, Kitaab al-Talaaq). At another instance, a woman approached the Prophet (pbuh) asking him about the position of her marriage after her husband had divorced her three times in a go, the Prophet (pbuh) informed her that she could no longer return to her former husband (Mudawwanah al-Kubraa, Kitaab al-`iddah wa al-Talaaq al-Sunnah, Fi Talaaq al-Haamil). [↩]
- This was a legislative decision. It is obvious that `Omar’s (ra) decision or that of anyone else, after the Prophet (pbuh), cannot be given the status of a commandment of the Shari`ah. Was this to be made a part of the Shari`ah, the Prophet (pbuh), himself, would have taught it to his followers as such. This is further corroborated by a narrative of Ibn Abbas (ra), in which he is reported to have said that the pronouncement of three divorces at one instance, was generally implemented as a single divorce, during the times of the Prophet (pbuh), the times of Abu Bakr (ra) and during the first two years of the caliphate of `Omar (ra). It was after this time that `Omar (ra) said that people have become prone to taking hasty decisions in a matter, which should be thoroughly considered. What if I implement three divorces in such instances? Subsequently, he implemented three divorces, in such instances (Muslim, Kitaab al-Talaaq). [↩]