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.



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.


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.


Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Divorce via Text Messages

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked if divorcing three times in anger over the phone is binding.

A friend of mine approached me saying that he had a misunderstanding with his wife, who is not staying with him, upon visiting her at her place.

He left her place and on the way, because he couldn’t reach her on her phone, he sent a text message saying that he divorced her three times. An act he later regretted.

He would like to know if the divorce is binding or not?

The question is quite unclear. Statements of divorce are utterances of serious consequence, and judgements cannot be made on transmissions of what was said. If the person in question would like a specific answer, he needs to explain the situation with clarity and then state exactly what he said.

Otherwise, the basis is that the overwhelming majority of scholars deem the clear utterance of three divorces to count as three, and accordingly the marriage would be over. It is imperative that everybody who marries learns the rulings of marriage and divorce so they can avoid harmful outcomes.

Please also see The Ruling on Divorcing While Angry and Pronouncing Three Divorces.

And Allah Most High knows best.


Tabraze Azam

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.

Uncertainty in Marriage (Shafi‘i Fiqh)

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


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.

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

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?