Do Words of Divorce in Anger Count?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question 

A year ago, my husband and I had a huge fight. During these fights, my husband became furious, started to yell, threw things, and uttered the words “You are divorced,” which happened twice. We did ask the shaykh about it, and he did tell us that no divorce had taken place because my husband was furious, and we explained the whole situation to the shaykh, and he said no divorce had taken place. But my husband seems worried because he seems to have forgotten what his intention was when divorcing.

He remembers that he was angry. He can’t seem to remember the second time very clearly, but I do remember he was angry as well, yelling and screaming as well as for the 1st time, where he seemed pretty angry.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him, Amin.

I am sorry about the terrible situation you and your family are facing. I pray that matters have become better since then. Unfortunately, these appear to be two valid divorces. Anger is not an excuse, nor does it matter what your husband intended, nor would it nullify the validity of a divorce, and Allah knows best.

Since this was a year ago, I assume you have had intercourse since then. This is a valid way of taking one’s wife back in the Hanafi School, though unlawful in the Shafi‘i School. If these were the only divorce pronouncements in this marriage, there remains only one, after which the marriage becomes permanently terminated.

The only type of anger that would impact the validity of a divorce pronouncement is the type of rage that may be called insanity. Usual anger is a spiritual illness that does not excuse one from the responsibility for one’s words and actions, and this is the type of anger prevalent in many divorce situations.  Suppose you believe that your husband practically reached the point of insanity. In that case, you may appeal your case to an official Islamic Counsel or Judiciary if you can, and Allah knows best.

Conditions for a Valid Divorce

Divorce is valid from any:

  • husband;
  • who is sane;
  • has reached puberty;
  • and who voluntarily effects it. [Misri, ‘Umdat al-Salik]

Controlling One’s Anger

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed a Companion (Sahabi), “Don’t get angry.” [Bukhari]

There is a place for anger in Islam, namely anger for the sake of Allah Most High. Misplaced anger is for selfish interests and comes from Satan. Allah knows best.

I pray this is of benefit.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.