Does Vocally Saying the Word ‘Divorce’ Make Me Legally Divorced?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If someone says ‘i am divorced’ or ‘i got divorced’ or ‘im not married’, does this imply the islamic talaq was given? What is the ruling when these phrases are said to other than your wife like to a co-worker or friend?

For instance, you are at work and you make up a story to pretend you are single and you are not married anymore.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

Executing A Divorce

These words do not entail a divorce in the Hanafi school; they are considered to be lies which have no legal consequence.

In order for someone to initiate a divorce the husband must address the wife when uttering a statement which is usually used to issue a divorce. If he does not utter such a statement, such as if he says ‘you are an Easter egg’; or if he does not address her, or refer to her through speech or pointing, etc; the divorce does not take place. For example if someone, in the presence of his wife, was reading a story out loud in which the protagonist says ‘I divorce you’ to another character, the wife of the reader will not be divorced by this statement (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-muhtar, al-Laknawi, Abdul-Hayy, ʿUmdat al-Riʿaya)

Choose Your Words Carefully

Although saying such things may not end your marriage, it does mean that it can’t have a bad effect on your life. Lying is something everyone – religious or otherwise – sees as wrong.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told us, ‘Indeed the truth leads to [being] thorough righteousness (al-Birr – a word which includes all the various meanings of righteousness), and thorough righteousness leads to the Garden. Verily, a man continues to speak the truth until he is written in the presence of Allah as one who is Utterly True (ṣiddīq – the highest rank of sainthood). And verily, lying leads to wickedness; and wickedness leads to the hellfire. Verily, a man keeps lying until he is written in the presence of Allah to be a complete liar (Bukhari and Muslim).

This hadith highlights the consequences of our words, and the beauty of it is that even children can understand it.

May Allah grant us truthfulness in all its forms.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.