THREE DIVORCES

 

PRONOUNCED IN ONE SITTING

 

In present times, it has become customary for people to divorce their wives in a procedure which is contrary to the procedure laid down by the Shariah.  In this innovative (bid’ah) procedure, the husband utters the formula:

I divorce you;  I divorce you;  I divorce you

in one sitting, or conveys this formula to the wife in writing.  When such ignorant Muslims pronounce divorce thrice at one and the same sitting,  they commit a heinous sin by going against the precepts of the Shariah.  It is for this reason that this type of divorce is known as Talaaq-e-Bida’ee.  Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has very severely denounced this practice and Hazrath Umar (RA) used to whip husbands who pronounced such a divorce, thrice in one sitting.

 

The procedure enjoined upon us by the Shariah is the pronouncement of one TALAAQ in every Tuhr (state of purity of the wife after menses), continuing it for three Tuhrs for making the final decision of the divorce.  This procedure provides opportunity for reconciliation thereby preventing a prematurely decided permanent breach of married life.  It must be noted that it is declared unlawful (haraam) by the Shariah to divorce the wife in the state of her menses.  The first two TALAAQS are revocable i.e. the husband can take back his wife provided they remarry via a new marriage contract.  But when the third and final TALAAQ is pronounced, it becomes irrevocable.  This means that the husband cannot take back his wife in marriage unless she is married to another man and is divorced after her marriage. This is termed HALAALAH and the Glorious Quran is explicit on this point (Chapter 2:Verse 232).

 

However, the question often asked is:

 

Should the pronouncement of three divorces in one sitting be treated as one single divorce and therefore revocable;  or

 

Should it be treated as three separate divorces and therefore irrevocable?

 

A careful unbiased study of the Ahadith of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) conclusively prove that three divorces pronounced in one sitting must be declared as three separate divorces and therefore irrevocable. It is for this reason that it is a generally accepted fact that three divorces pronounced in one sitting will not be treated as one divorce, but will correctly be treated as three separate divorces.  The AhIe-Hadith and some westernized liberal-minded Muslims quote the following Ahadith from Sahih Muslim to substantiate their view of the contrary:  (Please note carefully the wordings of the Ahadith).

 

HADITH NO 1:

 

Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the pronouncement of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and that of Abu Bakr (RA) and two years of the Caliphate of Umar (RA) was treated as one.  But Umar bin Khattab (RA) said: Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite.  So if we had imposed this upon them, and he imposed it upon them.   (MUSLIM : Kitaab-aI-Talaaq : 3491).

 

HADITH NO 2:

 

Abu Sahbaa said to Hazrath Ibn Abbas:  Enlighten us with your information whether the three divorces (pronounced at one and the same time) were treated as one during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and that of Abu Bakr (RA), and during three years of the Caliphate of Umar (RA)?  Ibn Abbas(RA) said:  “Yes”.  (MUSLIM : Kitab-al-Talaaq : 3492).

 

In the both Ahadith quoted above, it must be noted that there is no explicit injunction of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself declaring that three divorces pronounced in one sitting must be considered as one.  These, and a few other Ahadith found in Muslim and Abu Dawood collections only indicate that the three divorces pronounced in one sitting were treated or assumed to be one single divorce.  TREATING or ASSUMING something to be right does not make it a rule of Shariah.  Furthermore, these Ahadith of TREATING or ASSUMING are not verified by any other narrator in the books of Sihah Sittah.  This fact, in itself, makes such types of Ahadith unreliable.  They are only opinions of the Sahabas.  To attribute opinions of the Sahabas as words of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is blasphemous.

 

When the Caliph Umar (RA) imposed upon the ummah the pronouncement of three divorces in one sitting to be regarded as three separate divorces, this was nothing new.  He merely reinforced a rule of the Shariah which was the correct one and which is supported by many authentic Ahadith found throughout the books of Sihah Sittah.  Had this decision of Caliph Umar (RA) been a radical departure from the path shown by Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), there would have been widespread resentment against Caliph Umar (RA).   To the contrary, we find that an overwhelming majority of the Companions supported his decision.  Furthermore, there is agreement on the question of irrevocability of divorce pronounced thrice in one sitting amongst the Four Great Imams (i.e. Abu Haneefa, Malik, Shafi'ee, Hanbal), the Tabi'een and the Ulama of AhIe Sunnah wal Jama'ah.  It is not conceivable that such pious and learned men could have gone contrary to the Shariah thereby incurring great sin.

 

Our present day AhIe Hadith and westernized liberal Muslims cannot claim any superiority to those great Imams and Ulama of ljtihaad.

 

It must therefore be emphasized that the rule of the Shariah is that three divorces pronounced in one sitting will be taken as three separate divorces and this will result in a permanent breach of the marriage contract.  Many reasons can be put forth from authentic Ahadith to substantiate this rule of Shariah. Some of the reasons are:

 

1        There is not a single Hadith wherein one will find the injunction of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself commanding his Sahabas to take three divorces in one sitting as one single divorce.

 

2.       Not a single Hadith exists in which one will find a Sahaba divorcing his wife three or more times in one sitting and Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly making this divorce to be one and therefore revocable.

 

3.       Not a single Hadith exists in which one will find Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asking his Sahabas to take three or more divorces pronounced in one sitting as ONE single divorce.

 

4.       Three divorces given in one sitting is correctly accepted as three separate divorces.  This is supported by many Ahadith and their narrators confirm and verify each other as well.  Amongst these narrators is Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) as well, who is also the narrator of Hadith No 1 quoted above.  Unfortunately, the AhIe Hadith and westernized liberal Muslims have not come across these Ahadith.  They cast a blind eye to these Ahadith because they are so insincere in revealing the complete Truth.  But they forget that the Truth always prevails.

 

5.       If Hadith No 1 quoted above and other few similar Ahadith were correct, then why don't we find in the history of the Sahabas that any one of them had practised upon such a Hadith. This fact, in itself, proves that such Ahadith are not to be considered a rule of Shariah.

 

6.       The following report of Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) is contained in the Muwatta of Imam Malik (RA):

"It reached Maalik that a person told Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA): 'I gave my wife 100 divorces in one sitting. What is your opinion about me?'  Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) said:  'Three divorces made her absolutely BAA'IN to you, and by the remaining 97 divorces you have made fun of the verses of Allah.'."

(MUWATTA : Kitab-al-Talaaq :111 9)

 

This report of Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) is itself a proof that Hadith No 1 and 2 above are not to be considered a rule of Shariah.

 

7.       Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) is also reported in Abu Dawood collection of Ahadith as saying that three divorces in one sitting was considered as one only when it was given before the marital union (jimaa').  This is, also a proof that these were only views and opinions of the Sahabas and not an injunction of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

8.       There are three reports of Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA), each of them different from the other.

a.  In the Muslim collection, he is reported to have said that three divorces given in one sitting was treated as one until the 3rd year of the Caliphate of Umar (RA).

b.  In the Abu Dawood collection, he is reported as saying that three divorces given in one sitting GIVEN BEFORE MARITAL UNION (JIMAA') was treated as one until the 3rd year of the Caliphate of Umar (RA).

NB. Both these reports are not verified or supported by any other narrator throughout the books of the Sihah Sittah.   Furthermore, there is no record in the history of the Sahabas to show that they have practised upon such Ahadith.

c.  In the Muwatta, his report of 100 divorces in one sitting contradicts both Hadith a. and b. above, and the rule of taking three divorces given in one sitting as three separate divorces is verified and supported by many other authentic reports of different narrators.

 

Therefore, the correct rule of the Shariah is that three or more divorces pronounced in one sitting will be rightly taken to be three or more separate divorces thereby making the marriage contract IRREVOCABLE.

 

Giving three or more divorces in one sitting is contrary to the procedure of divorce laid down by Allah in the Glorious Quran.  If one does so, he is a great sinner as evident from the many authentic Ahadith.  But having hastened in the divorce by pronouncing three or more divorces in one sitting will complete the divorce fully and make it irrevocable.

 

Let us not be misled by our AhIe-Hadith and westernized liberal Muslim "scholars" of today.  When so much proofs are found throughout the books of the Sihah Sittah, we should not seek any further opinions from today's "scholars".  The laws of the Shariah are based on proofs from the Quran and Hadith.  They are not based on mere views and opinions of scholars.  If we are true Mu'minoon (believers) in Allah and His Messenger, let us be content with the decision already made by Allah and His Messenger. As Allah Himself says:

 

WHENEVER ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER HAVE DECIDED A MATTER, IT IS NOT FOR A BELIEVING MAN OR A BELIEVING WOMEN TO CLAIM FREEDOM OF CHOICE INSOFAR AS THEY THEMSELVES ARE CONCERNED: FOR HE WHO THUS REBELS AGAINST ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER HAS ALREADY, MOST OBVIOUSLY, GONE ASTRAY.  (Surah AI-Ahzaab : 36)

 

NAY, BY THY SUSTAINER! THEY ARE NOT BELIEVERS (MU'MINOON) UNLESS THEY MAKE THEE (0 PROPHET!) A JUDGE OF WHAT IS IN DISPUTE AMONG THEMSELVES, AND FIND THEMSELVES NO DISLIKE OF WHAT YOU HAVE DECIDED, AND SUBMIT THEMSELVES WITH FULL SUBMISSION.

(Surah An-Nisaa : 65)

 

Regrettably, it must be said that in present times, Islam is being undermined and destroyed not by non-Muslims but by Muslims from within the ummah by way of Intellectual Fitnah.   May Allah safeguard our IMAAN from such FITNAH.  Ameen.

 

Abdul Haq Abdul Qadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN, South Africa.