Is It Necessary to Have Witnesses If We Divorce?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


My husband is asking to have witnesses if we divorce. And he wants us to mutually agree about the future as we have a girl together. I am not interested in involving other people when we end our marriage, but he insists. What is the sunna for this?

He uses the Quranic verse about witnessing every aspect of life when you do a transaction. Suppose he insists on doing it, and I have to undergo this. Can I use my parents as a witness instead of asking people from outside to witness our private conversations about our personal circumstances? What characteristics should the witness have? Can they be parents if they are pious?

Can a marriage be ended in a respectful way?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question and for seeking guidance.

It is not necessary to have witnesses when a divorce takes place. It will come into effect with or without the presence of witnesses.

Almost all of the Fuqaha, both past and present, are of the opinion that having witnesses is not a prerequisite for a divorce to come into effect. Instead, divorce comes into effect regardless of whether witnesses are present or otherwise. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Mawsu‘a al-Fiqhiyya al-Kuwaitiyya]

Parents of both sides can witness the divorce or any person mutually agreed and can be relied upon in every way.

Divorce – a Solution to Remove Mutual Harm

Divorce in Islam can be a mercy for the couple. The reason is if the intended goal of marriage is not attained – mutual comfort – then divorce is a solution to the difficulty.

Allah Most High stated in the Quran, “But if they choose to separate, Allah will enrich both of them from His bounties. And Allah is Ever-Bountiful, All-Wise.” [Quran, 4:130]

Honorably Retain or Kindly Let Go

The Quran and Allah’s messenger (may Allah bless him and send him peace) mention that a marriage needs to work together, either one comes to a settled agreement or depart amicably without any bitter outcome.

Allah Most High, said in the Quran, when guiding us about divorce, that a wife should either be retained with honor or separated with grace.

“The divorce that can be returned from may be pronounced up to two times, then either honorably retaining her or kindly letting her go.” [Quran, 2:229]


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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.