Saying One Is Divorced in Jest

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if saying one is divorced in jest or thoughtlessness to others in conversation or chat counts as a legal divorce.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

If one says words like “I am divorced” or “I got divorced” (not the exact wording as it happened a long time ago and in ignorance) during an online chat/phone conversation with friends, or says similar words as lie just in front of friend or in the office just as story or false statement without any intention of giving false appearances, does it count as a legal divorce in the Hanafi school?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

No, uttering the phrase “I got divorced” or “I am divorced” does not constitute a valid occurrence of a divorce. Rather, if the statement is not truthful, it would usually be an impermissible lie, and thus, something which requires sincere repentance just like other sinful actions.

Valid divorces are utterances directed at the wife, in order to permanently end a lawful relationship with her. Hence, when a statement is made regarding divorce, yet it isn’t clear in its indication of divorce, such as, “I am going to divorce you,” it doesn’t legally count.

It is also important to note that utterances of divorce can be directed at the wife actually or effectively. The latter type don’t necessarily require an entire phrase beyond the central utterance of divorce. The nature of this subject, however, is that it is very sensitive, so you should train yourself to avoid using such language, particularly in the presence of your spouse, unless required.

Please also see Does Vocally Saying the Word “Divorce” Make Me Legally Divorced? and How Can a Woman Get an Islamic Divorce? and A Reader on Tawba (Repentance).

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

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