Not knowing the ruling of divorce does not have any effect on it
Fatwa No: 92352

Question

What is the ruling in cases where a man uttered words of divorce but did not know that it will cause divorce? This is the exact situation. A boy grew up in Pakistan and saw something in a TV play where a man give his wife three talaaq. Even other times throughout his younger days he read different places that divorce is given out by saying talaq words three times. Then boy moved to United States and grew up here. After he got married he had lot of problems with his wife and few times he started to say statement of divorce but stoped after either saying only once or before completing the first sentence such as "I give you divore" or "I give you div". At this time his knowledge was that nothing happens unless divorce statement is said three times in succession. So that was his full knowledge based on the things he learned from the enviroment he grew up in. Will this man's divorce statement be valid and counted even though he did not know the ruling of even saying it once (and Allah knows he is not lying) and that he had no idea that by saying such a statement once will cause divorce. Later he read some islamic literature and found out the reality and is now really worried about the past statements that he might have said out of pure ignorance. What is your opinion on this matter? Jazzak Allah.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

Whoever utters the clear words of divorce, divorce takes place. Even if one claims not to know its ruling, his claim is not taken into account because not knowing the ruling does not have any effect. Al-Wadyaashi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him from the Shaafi'ee School of jurisprudence said: 'Indeed the statements of many prominent scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them have been reported, that ignorance does not have any effect on the ruling (i.e. divorce taking place).'

Finally, it should be noted that one should avoid uttering the word divorce in order to avoid any harms, and should avoid the reasons which lead to divorce. Besides, a Muslim should know the rulings of his religion.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 82916.

Allaah Knows best.

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