Ruling on pronouncing words of divorce jokingly
Fatwa No: 263206

Question

My husband and myself have been married for 12 years and are very happy. We have no children because i have a problem conceiving. We are very happy together and my husband keeps me all time happy with joking. Over the years he has on various occasions jokingly given me Talaqs (divorce) but at these times we did not know that joking Talaq (divorce) is serious Talaq (divorce), after a long time I found out that joking Talaq (divorce) is serious Talaq (divorce) and i told my husband but he can not remember and he Denies. Now we are still living together. Now I need to know are we still married?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and messenger.

Pronouncing divorce jokingly takes effect as we have already explained in Fatwa 85521.

Therefore, if you are certain that your husband had uttered clear words of divorce three times, then it is not permissible for you to let him have sexual intercourse with you. Rather, you are obliged to leave him even by paying him compensation.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “If the husband uttered divorce three times and his wife heard this but he denied it, or she was certain of his utterance of divorce three times based on the testimony of two trustworthy witnesses, then she is not permitted to let him have sexual intercourse with her, and she has to flee from him as best she can if he desires her, and she may pay compensation to [free herself from] him if she can. Ahmad said: “She is no longer permitted to reside with him. He [Ahmad] also said: “She is not allowed to stay with him, and she should pay compensation [to free herself from him] with anything that she can. If she was forced [to stay with him], she should not beautify herself for him, she should not get near him and she should flee away from him if she can ... till he said: “Because she knows that she is a non-Mahram to him and she knows that she is forbidden for him, so she is obliged to refuse having sexual intercourse with him and flee away from him just like all other non-Mahram women.” [End of quote]

In fact, being unaware of the consequences of issuing divorce does not prevent it from being effective as clarified in Fatwa 92352.

However, if the husband used to utter words that are not clear words of divorce, and which are metaphors of divorce, like him saying: ‘the matter is finished [between you and me]’, or ‘each one of us should go his own way’ and similar expressions, while he did not intend divorce, then divorce in these cases does not take effect. For more benefit, kindly refer to Fataawa 90531 and 90416.

Allaah Knows best.

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