'Are You Asking Me to Give You a Divorce?'
  • Question:

    I would really appreciate if you can help with the following situation: Can you please let me know in what context would the word talaq (divorce) be official. My wife and I were arguing today and she said I do not want to be with you several times. I responded by saying "Are you asking me to give you a Talaq, huh? are you asking for a Talaq?". I was questioning her and did not have any intentions of giving talaq. I said the word twice in the sentences above. I wanted to confirm if by me questioning her in this context would make it official two times. She is saying that just using the word, no matter in what context still counts. So we would like to confirm if by me mentioning the word twice counts or not? Jazakallah for your help in this very sensitive matter.

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question. Your concern regarding Islamic rulings and its application is admirable.

    Uttering the word ‘divorce’ (talaq) is certainly not a joke. One should be extremely careful and cautious, as in some situations, the mere utterance of the word ‘divorce’ can take effect and be considered executed. The Prophet (pbuh) has indicated that divorce takes effect, even if said in jest.

    Abu Hurairah (r) reports that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Three things, their seriousness is serious and their jesting is serious – Nikah (marriage), Talaaq (divorce) and Raj`at (taking a wife back).” (Tirmidhi & Mishkaat)

    In your particular situation, as you have described, the divorce did not take effect, since you apparently expressed intent to issue a divorce in the future.

    Imam Fakhruddin Qadhi Khan writes, “If he says, ‘I intend to divorce you’, a divorce will not be effected.” (Fataawa Qadhi Khan)

    “It is stated in Muheet, that if the husband says (using the future tense), ‘I am going to divorce you’, this is not a divorce.” (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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