Ruling on Triple Divorce

Divorce decreeWhat is the ruling on so-called “triple talaq”, in which a husband makes three successive statements of divorce at one time, intending thereby to divorce his wife irrevocably?

Does it really count as three divorces, making the divorce instant and irrevocable, with no ‘iddah (waiting period) and no opportunity for reconciliation?

Or does it only count as one divorce?

Scholars have held different opinions on this matter. The majority of scholars have ruled that it does indeed count as three irrevocable divorces.

A minority of scholars, including Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, were of the opinion that it counts only as one pronouncement of divorce.

Read below for more details on these rulings, and the evidence and reasoning behind them.

Date: 05/August/2004

Name of Mufti: Group of Muftis

Topic: Ruling on Triple Divorce

Name of Questioner: Hassan from Nigeria

Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. What is the ruling on triple divorce? Should the divorce pronounced three times in succession be counted as one or three divorces? Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer:

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.

First of all, it is to be stated that Muslims who utter three divorce pronouncements at one time or in one statement are rebels against Allah’s law and are deviating from the straight path of Islam.

In his well-known book, “The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam”, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:

“The Muslim is allowed three chances, that is to say, three pronouncements or acts of divorce on three different occasions provided that each divorce is pronounced during the time when the wife is in the period of purity and he has had no intercourse with her.

Those Muslims who utter three divorce pronouncements at one time or in one statement are rebels against Allah’s law and are deviating from the straight path of Islam. Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was informed about a man who had pronounced three divorces at one time, he got up in anger, saying: “Is sport being made of the Book of Allah while I am (yet) among you?” (Reported by an-Nasa’i)”

As for the ruling on the triple divorce and whether it is counted as one divorce or three, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

“There remains the question: Whether the triple divorce pronounced concurrently by the husband shall be considered as a single divorce or three separate divorces. If it is considered as three separate divorces, then the couple cannot be married again unless someone else has married the woman, and he has, on his own free will, divorced her.

According to scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim, triple divorces that are pronounced concurrently shall be considered only as a single divorce. They base themselves on the evidence that it was treated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as single divorce. It is further supported by other clear evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”

Excepted, with modifications, from: www.muslims.ca

Shedding more light on the issue, we’d like to cite the words of Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq in his well-known book, Fiqh As-Sunnah. He writes:

“Muslim scholars maintain that the one who divorces his wife three times in one occasion has committed a sin. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) became very angry when he was informed that a man had divorced his wife by pronouncing it three times on one occasion.

However, jurists differ as to whether the divorce pronounced three times in succession is to be counted as one divorce pronouncement or three separate divorces. The majority of scholars state that if the husband pronounces the divorce of his wife three times on one occasion, it will be counted as three divorces. This is the opinion of many of the Prophet’s Companions, the majority of the successors, and the imams of the four schools of fiqh.

Other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim are of the opinion that it should be counted as only one pronouncement of divorce. This is also reported by Ibn al-Munzir from `Ata’, Tawus, Ibn Dinar. Ibn Mughith also reported this opinion of `Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ibn Mas`ud, `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf, Az-Zubayr from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

They quote the following hadith in support of their view: “Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the (pronouncement) of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and that of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and two years of the caliphate of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was treated as once. But `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So if we had imposed this upon them (i.e. regard the divorce pronounced three times in succession as irrevocable divorce, it would have deterred them from doing so)!” So he regarded it as such. This latter view is believed to be the most correct.”

– IslamOnline.net

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7 Comments

  1. This practice of triple talaq is very destructive to marriages and makes a mockery out of the rules of the deen. But as we have seen, it has been going on even since pre-Islamic times. I think that Islamic family law should be a standard part of Islamic education in Muslim nations, and that might help to reduce practices like these.

  2. I really do not understand why Islam made women vulnerable. There was no paper available to the desert people, so things were done verbally. In my opinion Islamic scholars should revise divorce procedure to reduce distructiveness it may cause to a family for an impulsive act and meet needs of the time and age.

    Regards

    • How did Islam make women vulnerable? In pre-Islamic Arabia women had no rights at all. Islam gave them the right not to be forced into marriage without consent; the right to be paid a mahr as security in case of divorce; the right to keep their own incomes or wealth; and Islam instituted a waiting period in case of divorce, and limited men from divorcing their wives more than three times. You seem to think that the limitation of three divorces is oppressive toward women. It’s exactly the opposite. It was created to protect women from husbands constantly threatening them with divorce as a means of coercion or pressure.

      • My question is if, three divorces in one setting is seen as making the divorce instant and irrevocable, the what happens with no ‘iddah (waiting period) and no opportunity for reconciliation?

        Especially when it is stated in the quran that the Iddah is also a time for the husband to reconcile, what if she is pregnant, How can this be, surely this is making a mockery on the Quran and our sunnah, Surely 3 divorces in one sitting should not be permissible. So that the Iddah, as stated in the quran can be observed in the correct way and also hold a woman’s dignity, 3 Divorces in one sitting is a insult on the wife.

        Also is it not 3 divorces in one sitting an act of shaytan?

        ” So he regarded it as such. This latter view is believed to be the most correct.”
        How can this statement have any weight in the light of the Quran and or beloved Prophet Swt?

        Please answer.

        • Sister, As-salamu alaykum. If I were to murder someone, I would have committed a terrible sin and a crime, and an act of rebellion against Allah. But the victim is still dead, right? The fact that I committed an act of Shaytan does not make the effect of it any less real.

          So the question is, when a man declares three divorces at once, though it is haram and a sinful act, does it count as one divorce or three?

          As the article says, some scholars have said that it only counts as one divorce. According to scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim, triple divorces that are pronounced concurrently shall be considered only as a single divorce. They base themselves on the evidence that it was treated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as single divorce. It is further supported by other clear evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

          There is no harm if you choose to adhere to this opinion and follow it.

          The reason that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) enforced it as three divorces was precisely because it is a mockery, as you said. They felt that if men knew that a pronouncement of triple divorce would actually be enforced and irrevocable, that it would discourage the practice and make people think twice about doing it.

          Were they right? Allah knows best.

          You can also visit our archive of marriage articles here, which has several good articles about divorce as well:

          http://www.zawaj.com/articles.html

          Regards,

          Wael
          Zawaj.com Editor

          • Can talaq be written and consider as talaqah?
            If a man file a divorce under the American Law, can that consider as talaqah?
            Please discuss this issue in depth if you can!

          • I’ve never heard of “talaqah”, but I guess you are speaking of the same thing as talaq. Filing for divorce under American law is fine, but an Islamic divorce is still required if you want to be considered divorced in Islam. In any case the Islamic divorce procedure is quite simple, so there is no reason to neglect it if you are getting divorced.

            Wael
            IslamicAnswers.com Editor

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