Salaam, I hope you can resolve this issue in regards to if my divorce has taken place or not. Me and my wife were married for 7 years and one day we had a serious arguement. Me being naive, I said I divorce you three times in a space of 2 seconds. My wife parents are deobandi and advised her that the marriage is over. I do not claim to be from any madhab. Ever since this incident I realised the pain I caused by my lack of knowledge and have taken steps into improving my deen. My question is has this divorce taken place ? I took her back immediately. I also consulted with my local iman who informed me that only one divorce has taken place so we are still married. Her parents and her, are still of the view we are divorced and their dads local iman has also said we are divorced. Me and wife agreed to go to the islamic sharia council in the UK to settle this dispute. The sharia council listened to our case and came to the conclusion that only one divorce has taken place and we are still together. The also issued a fatwa. Due to her parents opinion, she has not come back and we have lived separately for nearly a year now. My question is, is our marriage still valid ?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
If the exact words that you uttered were as mentioned in the question, “I divorce you” in the present tense, then divorce does not take effect as stated by scholars, because the present tense could denote the present or the future, unless you intended by your words to issue an immediate divorce or it is common in your community that using this wording of divorce denotes issuing an immediate divorce.
Assuming that you intended to issue an immediate divorce or it is common in your community to use this wording for issuing an immediate divorce, then if you intended to confirm the first pronouncement of divorce by the second and third ones, then those all count as one single occurrence of divorce. If you did not intend to confirm the first divorce therewith and rather intended to initiate a new divorce by uttering each of the second and third divorces, then those count as three occurrences of divorce according to the opinion of the majority of jurists. Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and other scholars, though, held that it counts as one divorce only. Perhaps the person who gave you the Fatwa that only one occurrence of divorce took effect in your case relied on this opinion. So, based upon this opinion, your marriage bond is still intact, and it is incumbent on your wife to obey you and return to the marital home, and her parents have no right to prevent her from doing so.
We advise you to seek the help of your Muslim brothers in the Sharee‘ah Council or the Islamic centers to try to persuade her parents. Otherwise, you may refer the case to the court if needed, because it is permissible to refer disputes to civil courts run based on man-made laws in case of necessity.
It is good that you learned a lesson from what happened, namely the danger of ignorance and the importance of knowledge. We advise you to protect your family and work with your wife to maintain its stability. You should beware of rendering divorce the first resort to solve your marital problems. Instead, you should adhere to deliberation and wisdom.
Allah Knows best.
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