The Triple Instant Talaq (Divorce) in Islam

Divorce is like a knife that is used for good and can be used for the bad.

This article deals with the issue of divorce in Islam, because this issue is a burning issue in India now, or it is a hot issue in India as the triple instant divorce was ruled as unconstitutional by a bench of judges in Supreme Court. And this is why this article has been prepared in this time particularly.

What is Talaq (Divorce)?

The verdict of Islamic Jurisprudence about divorce might be weird to some Muslims and non-Muslims in general when they will hear for the first time that if a Muslim husband says to his wife: “you are divorced” or “I have divorced you” or other phrases that have been assigned for divorce in Arabic or other languages of the world, the divorce becomes effective instantly, whether the husband was ignorant of the consequences of that phrase, or just he pronounced the word to joke or laugh. This is the ruling in Islamic jurisprudence regarding pronouncing the phrase, irrespective of the fact that the husband said the word in the presence of his wife or in her absence or there was any witness or not, in all cases the phrase of divorce becomes effective. However, they may need to authenticate in a written form with the related official authorities. After, the husband has uttered the phrases of divorce they became strange to each other and the blessed marriage relation has broken, it is useless to say:” I did not know the ruling.” “I did not mean” “I love my wife.” Suppose, if both are living with each other as husband and wife after the divorce. They will be regarded as sinners in Islamic Shari`ah and the only legal way for them is to make a new marriage agreement with a new marriage gift to her with new witnesses. But if the husband utters the phrase of divorce three times, the divorce is severe and final eventually, the wife will not be allowed to marry the same man again even with a new agreement, rather, if the wife after separation from him, got married with another man by her free will but again she was divorced by her new husband by his free will without prior agreement then she can return to her first man with new marriage.

Divorce is like a Knife

Divorce in Islam is like a knife that is used for kitchen purposes, and when it is used in good things it is good and useful, but sometimes the knife falls into the hand of a criminal who uses it to kill an innocent person and at that time the usage is evil and harmful.
If a husband uses the right of divorce to terminate the marriage relationship when the life of the couple became unbearable hell, and the continuation of life together as husband and wife became impossible, because of the constant quarrel, or after the marriage one of them discovered the infertility of one of the spouses and they do not want to stay together, at this time the divorce is a normal and an important treatment of the problem. And if the right of divorce was used, at this time then surly, it is good and beneficial. But when the right of divorce is used to harass a woman or humiliate her or to cut the marital relationship without a valid and reasonable cause then undoubtedly, it is an evil act and harmful thing.
Divorce in Islamic law is a very serious issue. In fact, the option of divorce reflects the true inclination of Islam for solving some important problems in marital life.

Divorce via Telephone and Text messages

As all financial contracts and transactions are carried out through modern means, the same the divorce is effective through all means of modern social communication, through letters, text messages, telephone, email, etc.. In addition, the divorce is effective in all cases; anger, satisfaction, joking, laughing or seriousness.

Minimum and Maximum Number of Divorces

According to Islamic Shari`ah, the maximum number of divorces is three, the minimum is one. In addition, the divorce is of three categories; the first, the divorce that gives both the right of returning to each other with their personal and individual reconciliation and this is called in Islamic jurisprudence “Raj`ee Talaq”. The second is “Talaq Ba’in” or the separating divorce that ends the bond of marriage totally, and they can only become wife and husband with new marriage contract. The third “Talaq Mughallazah” (irreversible divorce), and this ruling comes when a husband divorces three divorces whether in one word in the same place or with different words and different occasions. In this case if the wife was consumed with sex by this husband before this divorce then the marital relationship between them became broken totally and they are not allowed to return to each other even with a new marriage.
We can liken the divorce in Islam to firing with a gun or throwing an arrow which will wound someone or something in, whether the archer is serious or just joking, aware of the consequences or unaware of that or forgot or remembered the arrow and bullet will work its work and will leave its impact without doubt.

What is Talaq (Divorce) in Islam?

There is another classification of divorce in terms of agreeing or violating the teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah. From this angle, the divorce is three types: better, good, and bad.

The First Category of Divorce

The first category of divorce is that which is given by a husband to the wife during her purity from menstruation after they did not have a sexual intercourse and she is left until her three periods are finished and now they became strange to each other.

The Second Category of Divorce 

The second is the good and this is when a husband divorces his wife distributed on three periods, each divorce on each month of purity from her menstruation and this divorce is for the wife who has been consumed with intercourse after marriage.

The Third Category of Divorce  

The thirds is the bad or heretical and this applies when a husband divorces his wife randomly three divorces in one phrase, such as: “Three divorces are to you” or “I divorced you the three divorces” or the husband divorces the three in one month when she is pure from her period. And the question is if a husband divorces his wife the three divorces in one word or on the bad way what is the ruling? Is the divorce effective or not, will the divorce be counted or not. In this regard, the four authentic schools of Islamic jurisprudence view that the divorce is effective and the wife and husband become strange to each other, however, the husband is sinner and violator the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is noteworthy that this is the issue the Indian bench of judges has regarded as unconstitutional. The triple talaq or instant talaq in Islam is a burning issue in India.

The Right of Divorce for Woman

It is noteworthy that a wife also has the right of separation from her husband which is called in Islamic jurisprudence “Khul`a”. So Khul`a is not instant but it is a procedure through which a woman can divorce her husband. In Islam, the right of khula` for a wife refutes the claim of some people who think that a wife has no right to divorce even if she is not happy with her husband or if there is an irremediable marital problem. Divorce in Islam is like a bitter medicine or surgery, which is used only when it is necessary. However, some Muslims now use divorce as the food, not like the medicine and this is the real problem. As well as, the divorce is the most detest thing to Allah the Almighty. Allah has permitted for divorce but that does not mean that it is something pleasant to Allah and the Messenger (peace be upon him).

Divorce in Hinduism

In this context, it is necessary to refer to the idea of divorce in Hinduism. In fact, the ancient Hindu literature does not have the concept of divorce as well as the Sanskrit and Hindi language is void of the word of talaq or divorce. The word talaq in Hindi now has been borrowed from Arabic and Urdu. According to Hinduism, if her husband dies, she must burn herself with her husband’s dead body and this is called Sati. On the other hand, some Hindu commentators think that the burning in Sati tradition is metaphor that means a widow has to burn her desires in life totally. If she lives, lives like a dead, her eating must be simple away from pleasure and her dress must be free of adornment, as it is not permissible for her to marry a second marriage. Additionally a wife may establish a sexual relationship with a foreign man to obtain children if her husband is barren and this is called Neog and the type of sexual intercourse is permissible, rather a meritorious action. However, there is a clear change in the tradition of Sati and in the prohibition of second marriage for a woman specially after the advent of Islam to the Indian subcontinent.

What is Halalah in Islam?

Halalah is the second marriage of a woman who was divorced three divorces from her husband and became strange to him and both became separated. After that the woman was married to another man with her choice and free will but by chance the second marriage was also unsuccessful and ended on divorce, then the divorced woman after waiting three periods is allowed to return to first husband through a new marriage. The marriage of the divorcee with another man without prior agreement for divorce is called Halalah (permission) because this marriage if divorce follows is permission for her to return to the first Husband.

Is Halalah Permissible in Islam?

The scholars of Islam view that marriage for a fixed time or temporary marriage is prohibited and against the Islamic law, and if any person marries for definite period, or intends to become a mediator and justification for her return to the first husband -as sometimes happens in Muslim families in India- is not permissible in Islam, rather, this act causes the anger of Allah the Almighty and everyone who conducts or officiates such marriages deserves curse from Allah the Almighty.


The issue of instant triple talaq (divorce) is surely contrary to the spirit of Islamic law. The husband who gives three divorces in one word in one sitting is sinful and blameworthy before Allah the Almighty, because he violated the divine guidance and the command of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) although the divorce is effective. If a person utters foul word or insulting phrase the word will hurt the addressee who will be angry once the word is heard and the excuse of ignorance and forgetfulness will not work. It is recommended for the girls and boys who are ready for marriage to study the issues of divorce and marriage, rights and duties, because this will help to continue the marital relationship and avoid the family problems. The solution is not to cancel the triple instant divorces, if people began violating the traffic rules we will not abolish the traffic rules rather we will try to make people aware of the rules.

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