Ruling on the three consecutive divorces
Fatwa No: 82330

  • Fatwa Date:19-7-2000 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 17, 1421
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Please give me the background to the establishment of the three consecutive talaqs (divorces) resulting in the immediate cancellation of the marriage contract (some call it talaqul bidah). Also, kindly inform me about the various requirements for this practice to be fulfilled.


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.


The ruling on divorcing three times in Islam is as below:

If a man divorces his wife three times, the marriage contract becomes null and then it is forbidden for both of them to enjoy each other. If she marries another man and after having sexual intercourse with him, she gets divorced, then she can remarry the first husband. Allah Says (what means): {So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband.} [Quran 2: 230].

This verse applies to the one who divorces three times occasionally. However, if one delivers three divorces at once by saying an expression such as: "You are divorced thrice", without repeating the expression (I divorce you), then the Muslim Scholars differed in this case. Imams Abu Haneefah, Malik, Shafi’i, Ahmad and the majority of the Muslim Scholars consider this kind of divorce as divorcing three times. So she can not be lawful for her husband unless she marries another man and gets divorced from him after having sexual intercourse with him.

However, Imam Tawoos, Ibn Taymiyah and other contemporary Scholars consider it as only one divorce.

Divorce is of two kinds:

Sunni (According to Sunnah)

Bid’i (Divorce of innovation)

The Sunni divorce should meet three conditions:

A. Pronouncing divorce only one time.

B. Divorcing while the wife is not in her menses.

C. The divorce should occur when the wife is in a period of purity during which the husband did not have intercourse with her.

The Bid’i divorce is a divorce that takes place while the wife is in her menses.

It was reported that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar had divorced his wife while she was in menses, so ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) about that. Then the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to him: “Order him (your son) to take her back and keep her till she becomes pure and then waits till she gets her next period and becomes pure again, whereupon, if he wishes to keep her, he can do so, and if he wishes to divorce her, he can divorce her before having sexual intercourse with her, and that is the prescribed period which Allah has fixed for the women meant to be divorced”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

There is no disagreement among the Scholars that divorce during menses is a Bid’i divorce. Delivering three divorces at once in one word is an innovation according to the view of Imams Abu Haneefah, Malik and Ahmad according to one narration. However, Imam Ash-Shafi’i said: "There is no Sunnah and innovation [Bid’ah] in the numbers of divorce. The same is narrated from Imam Ahmad in another narration.

Bid’i divorce is forbidden but if it happens it takes effect [i.e. it is considered as divorce]. Therefore whoever issues it, commits a sin though the divorce is valid and counted. This is the opinion of the majority of the Muslim Scholars and the Companions and the Tabi’een (the generation that came after them) and whoever follows them.

Allah knows best.

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