Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
I married someone who divorced me three times. We then remarried because a scholar said that only one counted as he did not touch me after the first marriage. Is this correct?
If the initial divorce was given as three separate statements – like “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you” – and you had not been alone with him, such that there were no impediments to you two initiating the act of consummating the marriage, then your second marriage was valid. He is your husband.
We need to understand this concept of him not having “touched” you or consummated the marriage. This is technically known as “dukhul” (entry) when the husband and wife enter into a private area where it would be possible for them to initiate the consummation of the marriage without any obstacles. Examples of obstacles are her menstruating, them fasting at the time, one of them being too ill to be intimate, or the presence of another.
If there has been no dukhul and the husband divorces her once, she ceases to be his wife immediately, as there is no ‘idda (which normally extends certain rulings of the marriage until it ends). Any additional divorces uttered do not count, as she is not his wife.
However, if he divorced you thrice in one statement – such as “I divorce you thrice” then all the count, as they came into effect at the same time, and she cannot remarry him. [Maydani, Lubab; Mahbubi, Sharh al-Wiqaya]
That is the summary of the rulings on this matter. If it is the case that he gave three in one statement, you are not married. Please do not even consider a halala (where the lady marries another, they consummate the marriage and then immediately divorce so she can return to the first husband).
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us that Allah has cursed the one who does this sham marriage and the one whom it is done for. [Abu Dawud]
This is not a light matter. I know people who did this despite sound religious advice, and they were given problem after problem in their life. If it’s over, find someone else to whom you’re better suited to. If the marriage is valid, get your husband to learn about how serious what he did was and to learn the rulings of divorce. The sins connected to this matter are serious.
May Allah facilitate all matters for you.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
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 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.