Does Divorce Take Place If Husband Says Yes Okay When Wife Says You Are Single Right Now?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I was having a casual talk with my wife over the phone, who is in another country at the moment, and while we were talking, she said to me, ‘ Right now you are single’, to which I replied Yes, okay.
My question is, does a divorce occur by me answering ‘ Yes Okay’ to my wife when she says ‘Right now you are single‘?
Please note that I asked my wife what she meant, and she told me she meant that right now you are alone temporarily, But I just did not understand at the time whether she meant me actually being single or just being alone I did not think it through or understand, but quickly replied Yes okay.
What has happened?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.
Responding “Yes, okay” to your wife’s statement “Right now you are single” does not initiate a divorce. It seems like there was a miscommunication between you and your wife during the casual conversation. Your wife clarified that she meant you were alone temporarily, not that your marital status had changed to single.
In cases wherein a husband is asked (by anyone) if he has a wife, and he says no, and intends divorce, it would be a valid divorce. This is not what occurred based on your description.
Plain Words of Divorce
The words that effect a divorce may be plain or allusive. Plain words effect divorce whether one intends it or not, while allusive words do not effect it unless one intends divorce thereby.
Using plain words to effect a divorce means expressly pronouncing the word divorce (in any language) or terms derived from it. When the husband says: “I divorce you” or “You are divorced,” the wife is immediately divorced whether he has made the intention or not.
In the rulings below, expressions such as “the wife is divorced” or “the divorce is effected” mean just one of the three times necessary to finalize it, unless the husband intends a two or threefold divorce or repeats the words three times.
Allusive Words of Divorce
Using allusive words to effect a divorce includes:
·      The husband’s saying, “You are now alone,” “You are free,” “You are separated,” “You are parted,” “You are no longer lawful to me,” “Rejoin your kin,” “You are footloose,” and the like.
·      Or he says, “I am divorced from you.”
·      Or when he commissions the wife to pronounce the divorce, and she says, “You are divorced.”
·      When someone asks the husband. “Do you have a wife?” and he says, “No.”
·      Or when the husband writes words that effect the divorce, whether able or unable to speak at the time of writing, whether he is present or absent, or whether he writes in plain or allusive words.
When one intends divorce by any of the above, the words effect it, but if one does not, they do not. [ibid.]
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[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 has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.