Divorcing Wife Jokingly
Fatwa No: 82467

Question

I got married by signing the marriage contract with the approval of the wife's father andtwo witnesses and Mahr (Dowry), but we did not have sexual relationship yet. Then, first, I was joking with my wife and I told her "You are divorced" and I did not know at that time if this is real divorce or not. Second, I told her not to do something otherwise she will be divorced but she did it. But, I was not that serious in this threat, so we went on and had our sexual relationship. Third, after few years of marriage !! we had an argument and I told her if she does not stop doing something she will be divorced and she did it. Fourth, just after that, I told her and I meant it "You are divorced". Then, I asked Allah for forgiveness on all of that. And I told my wife that most likely our marriage was invalid since the first divorce and we should get married again. So, we asked her to marry me and she said yes and I said yes. Is this is considered to be a valid marriage given the history. And how many counted divorces we have now.

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.

There is no disagreement among scholars over this ruling that if a person utters the words of divorce intentionally by saying to his wife "You are divorced", by these clear words, she becomes divorced immediately regardless of his intention seriousness and degree of knowledge about what is considered divorce in the Sharee’ah and what is not, as established by the majority of the Muslim scholars.

As you mentioned that you divorced your wife before having sexual relations with her, then she became divorced but this is a minor separation (i.e. a revocable divorce and you can take her back). In this case, she does not become lawful to you again except with a new marriage contract. Allah Says (what means): {O You who have believed, when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, then there is not for you any waiting period to count concerning them. So provide for them and give them a gracious release.} [Quran 33: 49]

With regard to the divorces which you delivered after the first divorce and before remarrying her with a new marriage contract, they are null; consequently they do not have any impact since after her first divorce she became a non-Mahram woman and no divorce applies to a non-Mahram woman. Therefore, you actually divorced her only once and you cannot remarry her again except with a new marriage contract and in the presence of her guardian and two witnesses, and paying Mahar (bridal gift). We warn you, dear brother, that you should be very cautious about the matter of divorce since the divorce given in joking is effective just as the divorce given in seriousness as proved in a sound Hadeeth.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 82354.

Allah knows best.

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