I am confused about the issue of triple talaq. One of our relatives, in extreme anger, declares two divorces. His son shut his mouth. The next day he again gives talaq in one sitting three times. The man is about seventy years of age and his wife is about sixty five. The man is very sick and is lying on bed all the time. They have five children all of them are married. The couple has many grandsons and granddaughters. Keeping this in perspective please explain whether the divorce is effective. Also please explain the issue of iddah in this senior age. The man and the woman live together with their son in the same house.
I regret to state that it is not possible for us to judge the issue. This is because such disputed affairs may only be judged and decided by a court or qazi whose verdict is implemented in the society. We can at best give our academic response that would not be of any practical help. Besides the decision must only be given after thorough examination of the testimonies of the related people including the witnesses. I would therefore suggest you take the issue to any court or the qazi in the town. Another way is to consult a scholar in your area whose views are accepted by the public and is easily implemented practically. This is because it is not a personal issue. It is a social one and relates to the society as a whole.
As for our academic response we believe that regardless of the age of the husband and the wife talaq becomes valid if given by a person of sound mind. Three talaqs in a single instance do not always count three. If the husband claims that he only intended only one talaq the court may, after due investigation, find his claim sound and take it as only one. I hope you know that the proper way of divorce is to give a single talaq after the menstrual cycle is over and no sexual relation is established between the talaq and the purity time. The husband keeps the wife with him. It is hoped that reconciliation is achieved and the husband takes back his decision and revokes the talaq. If he sticks to his view then after the iddah they depart. There is no need to give a second and a third talaq. After the iddah the wife is free. During the iddah the talaq can be revoked. But after the iddah the reunion is possible but after a fresh nikah.
If someone violates this law and gives three talaqs at the same time his case will be brought to the court. If he sticks to the decision then there is no question. If he claims that he only intended to vent his anger and never intended to dive three talaqs the court will assess his claim and decide whether to consider his talaqs a single one or declare the couple permanently separated. The Hanafi scholars however would not agree to our understanding. They believe that three talaqs are nothing but three and the couple is separated permanently.
As for the question about their living in the same house there is no restriction on that. Regardless of the age there can be other factors which at times force two individuals to live in a family even after the talaq. Do not people in close families live together? For example my family and my brother's family live together. This means I and my sister in law and my brother and his sister in law live in the same house. Why not then any two other people live in the same house?