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Have I Divorced My Wife?

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan untangles doubts about a divorce pronounced in anger.

I have issued my wife with Talaq three times during a single incident.

This was following an argument where I became so angry that I wanted to strangle her but instead I picked up the kettle and swung it, dropping all the water and hitting a de-icer bottle on the work top. In the anger, I said, “Talaq, talaq, talaq.” The whole incident lasted a matter of 10-20 seconds.

This is not the first time I have lost control of my temper and almost instantly flown of the handle. On numerous previous occasions I have abused my wife, charged at her, made threats, got in her face, and been physically violent.

My family knows I have a problem with my temper and I have in the past had sessions of hypnotherapy for it with intentions of attending anger management.

I lost control of my senses and did not consider the consequences. I deeply regretted my actions that same day in what I can only describe as a moment of complete madness driven by loss of my emotions and reason.

I have three children and I would like to know if I am able to take my wife back?

Thank you for writing to us.

  1. Most divorces are issued in anger and are valid. The scholars would generally only consider a divorce issued in anger as invalid when his anger has reached such a state that he is not aware of what he is saying or doing. Thus he is similar to a madman (majnun) or legally intoxicated (gayr muta’addi bisukrihi). Based on your question, it would not seem that your anger reached such a state and you would thus be liable for your words.
  2. A valid divorce requires one to address his wife saying, “You are divorced” or “I divorce you,” emphasis on “you.” In your question, you mentioned that all you stated was, “Talaq, talaq, talaq” or “Divorce, divorce, divorce.” If it is such as you described, then the divorce was not valid and you are still married.
  3. Islam stresses respect and honor of women. Being abusive to one’s spouse under the pretext of having anger problems is not an excuse. I strongly suggest that you go for anger management or counseling sessions.

May Allah protect us all, Amin.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Has My Husband Divorced Me?

Shaykh Jamir Meah clears up confusion regarding whether a divorce has in fact happened.

My husband said to me: “I will say three words. Talaq, talaq, talaq.” He didn’t say: “I divorce you,” and I didn’t know what his intentions were, but later on he said he didn’t divorce me.

Has our divorce happened as my husband said, “I will say three words.” He said that over the phone. I don’t know if he was giving a threat to divorce me or divorcing.

I pray you’re well insha Allah.

Using the gerund “talaq” (“divorce” or “divorcing”) by itself is considered an implicit statement of divorce (kinayah). Implicit statements of divorce require an intention of divorce when the statement is said in order for divorce to be effected. If no intention was made at all or the person did not intend divorce, then no divorce occurs.

Therefore, if your husband said, “Talaq, talaq, talaq” and did not intend divorce by it, then divorce has not occurred.

If he did intend divorce, then a three-fold divorce will have occurred, unless when he uttered these words, he specifically intended by the second and third “talaq” only an emphasis of the first “talaq” stated, in which case one divorce would be effected. You would have to confirm with him his intention when he said the words to you.  (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, Iyanat al-Talibin)

On an additional note, your husband should be careful about threatening you with divorce if he does not wish to lose you. If you are having marital issues then do try to get outside help to intervene and find solutions.

I wish you all the best.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Uncertainty in Marriage (Shafi‘i Fiqh)

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan answers questions about uncertainty concerning marriage and divorce.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I need help. Sometimes I feel very sad. My husband and I have argued many times throughout our marriage and sometimes I wonder if we are still husband and wife. He has even joked about a conditional divorce once. He said “If there is violence, we’re over.” At first he said he didn’t mean divorce but when I asked him again, he said Yes. He said that he said “Yes” so that I would listen and stop asking. Is that now a conditional divorce? Can you change the intention of a past sentence?

Please help me, I just want to move on with my life.

Thank you.

Thank you for writing to us.

  1. Arguing, no matter how excessive, does not constitute a divorce, unless a divorce is clearly pronounced.
  2. Your husband’s statement, “if theres violence, we’re over” will only be considered a conditional divorce if he intended divorce by his words, “we’re over,” as is the case with all figurative speech. In the case at hand, he consistently seems to be saying that he did not intend divorce, which effectively means that there would be no divorce even if violence was to occur.
  3. One may not change his intention that he had when pronouncing a particular formula or sentence. By way of example, if he intended divorce while uttering the above words, it remains as such and he cannot change the intention that he had at the time of uttering. Similarly, if he did not intend divorce, his intention cannot change subsequently.
  4. In short, you are not divorced from your husband, even if violence may have occurred after his utterance of the above statement. In addition, it would be advisable that you and your husband go for counseling and try and determine what is the root cause behind all quarreling and arguing within your marriage. Many a times, the solution is rather simple and can easily be identified by and experience counselor.

May Allah bless your marriage and remove all difficulties and challenges, Amin.

And Allah knows best,

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Am I Divorced?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: I had been separated from wife for a few years but met on several occasions. However, one day my wife said it was over and I gave my wife a Talaq but she later wanted to get back. And when my wife again said that the marriage was over, feeling anxious and stressed, I gave her a Talaq. However, I regretted it immediately and told my wife that I wanted her back. Am I divorced? 

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

From your question it appears that you gave your wife two valid divorces, and after the second divorce, you almost immediately took her back as your wife (raj’ah). If the above is correct, then you are still married to your wife.

Note that if you were to give her a third divorce, you will not be able to take her back as a wife unless she marries another man, consummates the marriage with him and thereafter he divorces her. You would then have to wait till her waiting period expires and then marry her in order for her to be halal for you again.

And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Note: Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the specifics of the situation. Jazakum Allah khayr.

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

OCD, Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) and Divorce

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: I have an extreme condition of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I had an argument with my wife, and the next day while I was taking a bath, the previous day’s argument scene came into my mind. I started imagining the scene (like a flash back), and whilst imagining, I uttered the words “Talaq” 3 times. When I say uttered, I mean my lips moved but I did not hear myself clearly. It was more like murmuring, and the voice was so low that I could not hear myself and neither anyone next to me would be able to hear what I was saying. However, I was in the bath with the water tap running.

Please could you let me know if this has any implications on my marriage? Also, please advice what I can do to treat this condition, as I get a lot of waswasa (misgivings)?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

To begin with, it should always be remembered that merely thinking about divorce or having baseless misgivings (waswasa) about it does not Islamically constitute a divorce, as long as one does not actually issue a divorce verbally or in writing.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Indeed, Allah has overlooked for my Umma the misgivings/thoughts that occur in their hearts, as long as they do not act upon it, or speak about it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

If during such thoughts, even if one was to utter or murmur words of divorce in such a soft, low, or indistinct way that, under normal circumstances [i.e. when there is no external cause for not being able to hear], it is not possible for the speaker to hear himself, then that too does not constitute divorce.

It is stated in Maraqi al-Falah:

If one thinks about divorce in the heart, and the tongue [also] moves, [but] without making an utterance that can be heard, then divorce does not occur, even if letters were correctly formed.” (Maraqi al-Falah with Hashiya al-Tahtawi, P: 219)

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Al-Durr al-Mukhtar:

“The main integral (rukn) of divorce is the specific statement (lafdh makhsus).” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala ‘l-Durr 3/230)

He also states:

“The minimal of “loud/audible (jahr)” utterance is that others are able to hear the speaker, and the minimal of “soft/inaudible (makhafat)” utterance is that the speaker is able to hear himself… As such, if one utters divorce… but is unable to hear himself, the divorce does not count, according to the sounder opinion.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala ‘l-Durr 1/534-535)

Hence, in order for a divorce to be considered effective, it needs to be uttered or pronounced in such a manner that, in normal circumstances, one would be able to hear himself. Simply forming the letters with lip and tongue movement, without producing any actual sound, is of no consequence. (See: Fatawa Mahmudiyya 12/249)

Indeed, if one is absolutely certain (yaqin) of hearing himself, or if there was some external cause that prevented hearing, one is sure that without such cause, one would have heard one’s self, then it will constitute divorce.

The basic principle (qa’ida fiqhiyya), that all people prone to misgivings should keep in mind, states: “Certainty is not lifted by a doubt.” (Ibn Nujaym, Al-Ashbah wa ‘l Nadhair) As such, the certainty of marriage (nikah) is not lifted by mere doubts or misgivings. It is only lifted by certainty of divorce.

I pray Allah Most High cures you from your condition and reward you for the difficulties you are facing, Ameen. It would be worthwhile visiting a qualified psychiatric and getting some professional medical help, Insha Allah.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK
http://www.daruliftaa.com

Related Answers:

I Have Baseless Misgivings (Waswasa) About the Soundness of My Faith and My Marriage…

Key Principles Relating to Certainty, Doubt, and Baseless Misgivings (waswasa)

What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?

What Can I Do About Satanic Whisperings That Plague Me And Even Make Me Want to Abandon My Salat?