Revoking A Divorce


The daughter in law of a woman demanded khul'ah (talaq) from her husband. The husband obliged by giving her a written divorce. He mentioned three times that he was divorcing her. The document was duly witnessed.

Four days after the divorce the woman wants to come back to her husband. It must be noted that the couple had contracted love marriage and has a son who is now one and a half years old. Please let us know how they can be reunited.


Mohammad Abbas Sajid


The Islamic Shari`ah has given clear directive regarding the permanent separation of a married couple. According to the stipulated law, when separation becomes inevitable the husband may divorce the wife when she is not going through her menstrual periods. He has then to keep the wife with him during the Iddah period so that any chances of reconciliation could be availed. He can take back his decision during the Iddah period without consent from the wife. Thus the couple can be reunited. If in future, again at some point, he decided to separate his wife he can. He can again revoke the divorce during the Iddah period. However, if he uses the right to divorce his wife a third time, he may not take back his decision. He must separate her. The only chance of remarriage is when the woman marries someone else and, then by chance, is divorced or her husband dies leaving her a widow. In this case she can remarry her ex-husband.

This is the basic law that the Shari'ah gives us. Now if someone does not adopt this prescribed method and pronounces three or a hundred or more talaqs in a single go he plays with the law. Many people do show such disregard to the divine law. The question is what to do then. The Holy Qur'an has indeed left the question how to deal with such a violation of the law and the consequences of this kind of audacity to the national law and the court. The Holy Prophet (sws) would decide such matters keeping in consideration the intent of the offender after properly investigating the matter. He is reported to have decided either to take the triple talaaq as single divorce giving the husband a chance to revoke his decision or in some other cases, deprive the offender of his right to reunite with his spouse. Absence of any regular legislation by the Shair'ah leaves the Islamic state with the right to pass a legislation keeping the general cases before it. This is what happened during the rule of the second caliph. He legislated that pronouncing triple talaq in one sitting will be considered final separation. This administrative decision he took keeping in view the gross disregard of the expressed Qur'anic directive for base motives by the subjects. This was, however, an exercise of the right on the state level. It can no way be considered the divine law. In cases like these the judge has to investigate in the matter and decide either way. The judge can either decide to separate them and consider the talaq pronounced thus final or take it as an expression of outburst and temper and consider it only one talaq.

The present case is even more complicated. The husband knowingly mentions in writing that is divorcing his wife. Here we cannot dismiss it saying that it was only a matter of outburst. We are not in a position to give a verdict on this case. This can only be done by a court of law after duly investigating the matter. The husband may be in a position to prove that he did not know what his action entailed. We believe that the national family laws should be followed by the court. We can only give our view point. In social issues only the decision of the court or some qazi whose verdicts are followed and implemented has to be considered binding. For this is not really an academic debate rather a practical problem and should be discharge according to the law of the land. Our opinion would mean nothing for it cannot be enforced unless any state adopts it.

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