Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I have separated from my wife for over a year after I walked out on her after an argument. We have recently started talking on the phone and she forgave me, but does not want to continue our marriage. I am not sure if we are still married. She said that we are divorced, but I remember only asking if she wants a divorce while we were arguing. Is my marriage still valid?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease your heart and grant you clarity on this serious matter.
Pronouncing talaq to your wife even once, even in anger, ends your marriage. Any wife of sound mind would remember a pronouncement of talaq from their husband.
If she remembers you pronouncing talaq to her three times in total over the course of your marriage, then your divorce is final. If you pronounced it only once or twice, then you can renew your nikah.
Finally, it should be noted that, if a woman heard her husband pronounce three divorces and has no doubt in this, but her husband is doubtful, then it will not be permissible for her to treat him as her husband. It will be necessary for her to consider the marriage to be over, thus not let her husband have a husband-wife relationship with her, as the Fuqaha mention that a woman is like a judge (al-mar’atu kal qadhi), meaning that she will be considered a judge with regards to her own situation. (See: Radd al-Muhtar, 2/432).
In conclusion, you mention that you remember your husband pronouncing divorce three times, thus three divorces have into effect, thus the marriage will be considered to be over. You will not be allowed to return together until after your waiting period (iddat) is over, and until you marry another man and consummate the marriage, get divorce, and complete your second waiting period, because of explicit texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
However, it does not sound like she wants to renew your marriage contract, so it is up to you to reach a point of acceptance over this. A year has passed, and she has had plenty of time to decide what she wants from her life. As heartbreaking as this must be for you, inshaAllah with time, you will heal and move forward. Turn your sorrow into sincere taubah and heartfelt dua. This dunya is a place of trial for all of us. This loss could be a means for you to reach closeness to Allah.
Please pray Salatul Hajat and ask Allah for closure in this matter.
I pray that Allah soothes your distress, and replaces what you have lost with something better for you in both worlds.
Before you embark on another marriage, please seek counselling to help you manage your anger and improve your communication skills. Please complete the Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life course to help you understand what you can do better next time, inshaAllah.
Please refer to the following links:
The Ruling of Divorcing While Angry and Pronouncing Three Divorces
Is It Possible to Cancel a Conditional Divorce?
What Are the Wisdoms Behind the Rulings of Divorce in Islam?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani