Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah’s guidance)
Allah Ta’ala says,
“The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of your Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) which you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah (e.g. to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it) for her Al-Khul (divorce). These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the Zalimoon (wrong-doers, etc.).”
“And if he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has married another husband. Then, if the other husband divorces her, it is no sin on both of them that they reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. These are the limits of Allah, which He makes plain for the people who have knowledge.” (2:229, 230)
(Bukhari, chapter: whoever thinks it is permissible to divorce ones wife thrice (at a time), depending on the statement of Allah (Ta’ala): The divorce is only (permissible) twice; after that either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness.)
A man divorced his wife thrice (by expressing his decision to divorce her thrice), then she married another man who also divorced her. The Prophet was asked if she could legally marry the first husband (or not). The Prophet replied, “No, she cannot marry the first husband unless the second husband consummates his marriage with her, just as the first husband had done.” (Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 187)
The wife of Rifa’a Al-Qurazi came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Rifa’a divorced me irrevocably. After him I married ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi who proved to be impotent.” Allah’s Apostle said to her, “Perhaps you want to return to Rifa’a? Nay (you cannot return to Rifa’a) until you and ‘Abdur-Rahman consummate your marriage.” (Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 186)
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:
The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about a man who divorced his wife three times, and she married another who entered upon her, but divorced her before having intercourse with her, whether she was lawful for the former husband. She said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: She is not lawful for the first (husband) until she tastes the honey of the other husband and he tastes her honey. (Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2302)
Halala means that the divorced woman marries another man and consummates the marriage with him, and then he either dies or divorces her for some reason. She now becomes free to marry her first husband after her Idda (waiting period) is completed. One must remember that for the woman to enter into marriage with another man on the condition that he divorce her after consummating the marriage, is extremely disliked. This arrangement has been considered accursed in the Hadith, even though it will free the woman to marry her first husband again (Radd al-Muhtar 2:540/ Darse Tirmidhi Vol. 3 Pg. 399-401).
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Allah curses the one who marries to make a woman Halal for her husband, and the one for whom this is done (i.e. the first husband and the woman)” (Ahmad, Nasai, Tirmidhi). Therefore, this course of action is severely prohibited.
However, if a person without any precondition marries the divorced woman purely for the sake of making her free to remarry her first husband (and does not let anybody know of his intention), is considered to have done a praiseworthy deed. After consummating marriage with him and gaining a divorce she will become free to marry her first husband again. (Fathul Qadeer Vol. 4 Pg. 34/ Al Bahrur Raiq Vol. 4 Pg. 58)
The best course of action in the case in question is for the women to unconditionally marry someone else and hope that he divorce her. After this, she can be free to remarry her previous husband.
And Only Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
Moulana Qamruz Zaman