Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
I remember watching a teleshow long back where a muslim man uttered “talaq” thrice and his wife became the damsel in distress. The child in me was abhorred. My heart went out for all muslim women and I felt proud to be born in a hindu household. At least my dad will never do that to my mum.
That is how media is teaching us about Islam today. The sad part is that not only non-Muslims, even Muslims today are resorting to media to learn about Islam. The result? We see a widespread debate over triple talaq today. What surprises me, is the Indian courts and non-muslim public says that triple talaq is cruel, whereas many promiment people from amongst the muslim are striving to upkeep this practise.
Why? why are we in such a miserable situation? Why are we taking religion from any other source other than Qur’an and hadith? Why amidst all the chaos, the one place you forgot to check about the Islamic laws was the Qur’an? May Allah ease the affairs of the ummah.
Subhanallah, our local masjid here has been delivering khutba every jumu’ah on women’s rights in Islam. They have beautifully covered how women open doors to Paradise for her parents, husband and children. Previous jumu’ah the topic was the very controversial issues of talaq, iddat and halala.
Pre-Islamic times witnessed divorce being used as a tool for harassing women. The men would divorce women and then would take them back soon after. Neither did they allow the women to live peacefully post divorce, nor did they look after them after taking them back.
It was under these circumstances that Allah revealed the divine laws of divorce. Women were given the right of khula and men received the right of talaq. Allah says in the Qur’an:
الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّتَانِ ۖ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ
Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. [Surah Baqarah, 229]
Thus, the matter of divorce was made more grave and recurrence of it to trouble women was stopped.
Two Roads to Choose:
Allah then commands the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) and through him the entire ummah, that when they divorce their wives, they must not rush by not adhering to the commandments of Allah (Surah At-Talaq, 1).
Allah says, when the iddat is coming to an end, a man may take two ways-
- He may either leave her so that she is free to live her life and marry someone else if she so wishes or,
- He may choose to get back with her and amend the marital ties.
Thus, if he decides to take her back he must do with due respect and dignity. A person who takes her back to oppress her is indeed a zaalim and will receive great humiliation from Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Similarly, if he decides to leave her, he has been commanded to leave her with due kindness without causing any humiliation or abuse. To maintain clarity in the matter of divorce or reconciliation, Allah has advised to take two men of repute as witnesses (Surah At-Talaq, 2). .
To Joke about divorce:
It has been recorded in At-Tirmidhi  that the messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said that there are three things which when joked about become binding on the speaker
- To joke about nikah
- To joke about divorce
- To joke about taking back ones wife.
Some narrations from sahabis including Umar and Ali (radiallahu anhum) say the three things are nikah, divorce and manumission.
Allah prohibits us from joking about the verses of Qur’an (Surah at-Tawbah, 65-66) and to denounce a gathering where it is done (Surah an-Nisa, 140). Therefore nobody can perform a nikah, consummate the marriage and declare the next day that he was joking. The woman he married, will nevertheless will be called his wife. Similarly, one cannot pronounce divorce and say that he was joking. Divorce is a matter that must be taken seriously keeping the consequences in mind.
The Procedure of Talaq aka a bit about Triple Talaq
Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) reported that pronouncements of three divorce during the lifetime of Allah’s messenger (صلي الله عليه وسلم) and of Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of Umar (radiallahu anhum) was treated as one. However, after that people started giving talaq frivolously. Thus, to curb this trend, Umar imposed upon them to treat three talaq in one breath as an irrevocable divorce (Sahih Muslim). Additionally, it is interesting to note that Abdullah Ibn Masud and Zubayr (radiallahu anhum) advised Umar bin Khattab against this.
Similar narrations by Abu Sahba (radiallahu anhu) has been recorded in Muslim. The irony of the day is that Muslims choose to ignore the trend during the time of Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) . Do you and I know better about those times than Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu)? The ruling of triple talaq at one go was merely imposed for exceptional circumstancial necessity of that age.
It has been recorded in Musnad Ahmed, that Rukana once came distressed to the Prophet stating that he had divorced his wife but regretted it. The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) asked him how he had divorced her. He said he by pronouncing three divorces in one setting. Thereby, the Prophet told him that he may take his wife back as this will amount to just one utterance of divorce and Rukana did so .
Another narration by Mahmud bin Labid states that a man uttered divorce thrice to his wife in one sitting. When the messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) heard this, he angrily stood up saying, “the Book of Allah is being made the subject of jest while I am still amongst you”. A man immediately stood up seeking permission whether he should kill that man. 
Hence, the triple talaq in one sitting is called talaq-ul-bidaat — an innovation that is against the procedure prescribed by Allah. Therefore, between every talaq there must be a waqf (i.e a period of iddah). Any number of pronouncements at one time would sum up to one pronouncement.
Women must be divorced during the prescribed period. Muslim recorded that Ibn-Umar (radiallahu anhu) reported that he divorced is wife while she was menstruating. Umar bin Khattab asked the Messenger (صلي الله عليه وسلم) about it and this angered the Prophet. He commanded ibn-Umar to take her back and divorce her when she is clean from it. When she again enters menstruation and is clean from it again, he may divorce her again. However, the condition is that he must not have had intercourse with her during that period. After this he may keep her or divorce her for the final time. 
There is also a similar narration on the same lines in Sahih Muslim where Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) continues to say that if he pronounced three talaq at one and the same time, he has disobeyed the command of Allah with regards to the procedure of divorce. But, she would be ultimately separated from him.
Another narration from Daraqutni states that Ibn-Umar asked the messenger of Allah (صلي الله عليه وسلم)whether it would be permissible for him to take his wife back if he had pronounced three divorces. The Prophet responded that the talaq would be complete and irrevocable but ibn-Umar would have earned the sin for pronouncing divorce in the wrong manner .
To be continued…
In the next part we will learn what Qur’an says about the period of iddat, kindness prescribed for divorced women and the process of halala In sha Allah. Click here to read Part 2.
 At-Tirmidhi, 1184. Graded hasan by shaikh Albani
 Saheeh Muslim, Book 9 hadith number 3491 (Book on Talaq, Chapter 2: Prouncement of three divorces)
 ‘Usmani, Umar Ahmad, (1999), Women’s Rights in the Qur’an, Women and Modern Society, Indian: Select Books
 An-Nasa’i, taken from Commentary to Surah Baqara verse 229 from Tafseer Ibn Katheer
 Saheeh Muslim, Book 9 hadith no. 3473 (Book on Talaq, Chapter 1: Prohibition of divorcing wife during her menses)
 Taken from commentary on Saheeh Muslim, Book 9 hadith number 3491
1. Tafseer ibn Katheer
2. As-Sa’di, Abdur-Rahmaan , (2014), Methodical Interpretation of the Noble Qur’an: Tafseer as-Sa’di, vol 10., Riyadh: Darussalam
3. Muslim, (2005), Sahih Muslim, Translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, Vol. 2, India: Islamic Book Service