What is the Islamic view on “triple talaq” (instant divorce)?


Huzoor-e-Anwaraa was asked about the “triple talaq” (i.e. the declaration of talaq repeated three times in one sitting), about the validity of a talaq issued while being angry and about the issue of witnesses of a talaq

In his letter dated 1 June 2019, Huzooraa gave the following answer to these questions: 

“If a man divorces his wife whilst being fully conscious, whether verbally or as a written statement, the divorce becomes effective in both the cases. However, a talaq pronounced three times in one sitting is considered as only one divorce. 

“There is an incident of Hazrat Rukana bin Abd-i Yazid mentioned in the books of hadith. He issued a talaq to his wife three times in one sitting, which he later regretted. When the matter was put before the Holy Prophetsa, he said that a talaq issued in this manner counts only as one talaq and that he could go back to her if he so desired. So, he withdrew his talaq and later issued a second talaq to that wife during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra and a third one during the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra. (Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab al-Talaq, Baab fil battah)

“The Promised Messiahas says in this regard:

Talaq that is pronounced in one sitting cannot be considered final and absolute. It is necessary to issue the talaq over a period of three menstrual cycles. 

‘Although jurists have considered the talaq that is issued three times in one sitting as valid, but with the following provision; should the husband want to go back after the completion of the iddah period, then his wife may perform another nikah with him or she is also allowed to marry a different man.’ (Malfuzat [published 2016], Vol. V, p. 17)

“Moreover, when a man divorces his wife, he takes this step out of anger at her behaviour that he considers unbearable and futile. No man would divorce his wife while being happy with her. Therefore, a divorce issued in such a state of indignation will also be effective. However, if the person was raging to such an extent that he was in a state of insanity and he hastily divorced his wife without considering the consequences, but became remorseful once the state of madness subsided and he finally realised his mistake, then for this kind of situation, the Holy Quran has said: 

لَا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللّٰهُ بِاللَّغۡوِ فِيۡۤ اَيۡمَانِكُمۡ وَ لٰكِنۡ يُّؤَاخِذُكُمۡ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ قُلُوۡبُكُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ حَلِيۡمٌ

‘Allah will not call you to account for such of your oaths as are vain, but He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Forbearing.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.226)

“As far as the issue of witnesses for divorce is concerned, it is to make it easier to decide in the event of a dispute. However, if both the spouses agree with the divorce going ahead and there is no disagreement between them, then such a divorce will be considered effective even without witnesses. Therefore, having witnesses for the divorce is mustahab i.e. preferable but not compulsory. Where the Holy Quran mentions witnesses in the matter of divorce and remarriage, it has declared it an ‘advice’. The Holy Quran states: 

فَاِذَا بَلَغۡنَ اَجَلَهُنَّ فَاَمۡسِكُوۡهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوۡفٍ اَوۡ فَارِقُوۡهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوۡفٍ وَّ اَشۡهِدُوۡا ذَوَيۡ عَدۡلٍ مِّنۡكُمۡ وَ اَقِيۡمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلّٰهِ ؕ ذٰلِكُمۡ يُوۡعَظُ بِهٖ مَنۡ كَانَ يُؤۡمِنُ بِاللّٰهِ وَ الۡيَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ ۬ؕ وَ مَنۡ يَّتَّقِ اللّٰهَ يَجۡعَلۡ لَّهٗ مَخۡرَجًا

‘Then, when they are about to reach their [prescribed] term, keep them with kindness, or put them away with kindness, and call to witness two just persons from among you; and bear [true]witness for Allah. This is by which is admonished he who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And he who fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.’ (Surah al-Talaq, Ch.65: V.3) 

Therefore, the Four Jurists also agree that if a person divorces their spouse or, [if legally permitted], returns to the same spouse without having witnesses, their divorce or coming back together will not be affected by the lack of witnesses.”

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