Signing divorce paper not divorce
Fatwa No: 342820

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. My wife and I were not staying together due to a family fight. She did not come back to my house and has been staying at her father's house for the last eight months. We have one daughter who is four years old. I sent her a divorce notice through the court. In that notice, my lawyer falsely mentioned that I have given her three divorces over the phone, but I never gave her any divorce, neither on the phone nor in writing. I signed that notice only due to the fear of false "Dawry" cases in India. My question is: are we still husband and wife, or has our divorce been effectuated as per the Sharia?

Answer

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

If what happened was only signing the divorce papers, then the mere signature does not count as a divorce, as has been stated by some scholars.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem Aal Ash-Shaykh, the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said:

"There is no doubt that this signature is not regarded as one of the expressions of divorce at all, let alone saying that it is a clear statement of divorce, and it is not one of the metaphors for divorce either. It does not come under the heading of writing either, because the husband did not write that he was divorcing his wife so that it may be regarded as a divorce on the basis of writing. The most that can be said about this matter is that he wrote his name below the words written by someone else. If he did not say any of the words of divorce that were written on the paper mentioned, and he only wrote his name at the bottom, then it does not seem to us that divorce has taken place as a result of his signing this piece of paper.

Accordingly, the bond of marriage is still intact.

We recommend that you try to reconcile and appoint wise people from your family and your wife’s family, as Allah says (what means): {And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].} [Quran 4:35]

If you cannot reconcile on reasonable terms, then you should separate from each other in kindness.

Allah knows best.

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