Said to His Wife ‘I Take You Back’ But Did Not Intend to Do So
Fatwa No: 430258

  • Fatwa Date:18-10-2020 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 2, 1442
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Question

Assalamu aleikum,My wife has been in Iddah for 2.5 months after I spoke revocable talaaq to her. We have no kids. I do not wish to take her back and she stresses me out every day asking when I will take her back. Yesterday she asked me “are we getting a divorce?” and to get her off my back I said “no”. I only did this so she would stop asking and did not intend to bring her back. Today she asked again and I said “remember when I said yesterday that I took you back?” Again, I said this only to stop her from asking me and stressing me out and did NOT intend to bring her back with it. So my question is: Did I truly take her back by uttering those words in the past tense, even though I did NOT intend to take her back? If I still want to divorce and tell her “I divorce you” again, does a new 3 periods begin?I understand the gravity of divorce and as it is a last option. JZK

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.

Muslim jurists have stated that the valid expressions for taking the wife back after divorce are divided into two categories:

The first category is the explicit expressions, such as: ‘I took you back,’ or ‘I returned you to my marriage bond,’ and this category is valid for taking the wife back without need for an intention.

The second category is the implicit expressions, which include the wordings that denote the meaning of taking the wife back as well as another meaning, like the case when he says to her: ‘You are to me as you were,’ which may mean, ‘as you were, a wife’ and may also mean ‘as you were, hated’.

The form of your statement, i.e. answering in the negative to your wife’s question (‘Are we getting a divorce?’) is not an explicit expression of taking the wife back. It may indicate a promise to take her back. The same is true of your question to her: ‘Do you remember when I said yesterday that I took you back?’ It is not a valid expression of taking the wife back either. You had not really taken her back, and you mentioned that you did not intend to take her back by saying so. Therefore, it is not an explicit expression for taking her back.

Therefore, your divorce is still intact, and we recommend that you take your wife back, if possible, especially if you have children with her, in order to maintain your family’s unity and spare your children loss. If she is still observing her ‘Iddah (post-divorce waiting period), you may take her back without the need to conduct a new marriage contract. If the ‘Iddah has expired, a new marriage contract must be conducted.

If she menstruates, then her ‘Iddah is three menstrual cycles, not three months. But if she is too young to menstruate or has reached the age of menopause, then her ‘Iddah is three months. If she is pregnant, her ‘Iddah ends when she delivers her child.

If you uttered the words of divorce and said to her: ‘You are divorced,’ (a second) divorce takes place if she is still in her ‘Iddah of the previous one. According to the preponderant opinion of the scholars, a divorce issued during the ‘Iddah of a revocable divorce takes place. For more benefit on taking the wife back, please refer to Fatwa 89845. If the ‘Iddah has already expired, the (second) divorce does not take place because it would be pointless since the marital bond has already dissolved and she is no longer your wife.

Allah Knows best.

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