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Validity of Three Divorces

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askmufti.co.za

Q: As far as I know if any husband wants to give his wife divorce then he has to give it in 3 different times. Now if any husband gives his wife 3 talaqs (divorces) at once then will it be valid?

A. The ruling is that if the Talaaq has been pronounced thrice then three Talaaqs have taken place. There were special reasons why three Talaaqs were considered as one in the time of Our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and Sayyidina Abu Bakr (Radhiyallaahu Anhu). Later on, when these reasons were no longer found, the original ruling of three Talaaqs was re-implemented by the Second Caliph Umar and all Sahaabah (Radhiyallaahu Anhum) thereafter. This is then the ruling of all the Ulama of this Ummat. Three are three and that’s official.

The following great Ulama are among the many who hold the view that three Talaaqs at once are valid and effective, even though it is sinful to do so:

Imam Qurtubi, Imam Tahaawi, Ibni Qudaamah, Shaykh Ibni Taymiyyah, Shaykh Ibnul Qayyim and he also says that this is the view of the four Imams, viz. Abu Hanifa, Shaafi’, Malik, and Ibni Hambal, and it is the view of the majority of Sahaabah and Taabi’een.

Among latter day scholars, Shaykh Bin Baaz, former grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Khayyaat (former Imam of Haram in Makkah) and other Saudi scholars also issued Fatwas that three Talaaqs in one sentence is valid and effective. The Hadeeth of Uwaymir (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) in Bukhaari and Muslim also proves that three Talaaqs at once is valid. There is also a Saheeh Hadeeth in Abu Dawood to support this.

Imam Tahaawi narrates that one day during his Khilaafat Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) addressed the people in his time (and note that the “people” in his time consisted of senior and high-ranking Sahaabah like Ibni Abbaas, Ibni Mas’ud, Ibn Umar, Uthman, Ali, Ibn Zubair, Talha, Abu Ubaidah and hundreds of others Radhiyallaahu Anhum). He said to the people: “O People! There was in the former times leniency in Talaaq for you (i.e. three in one sitting was regarded as one only), but whoever will abuse that leniency of Allah, we shall impose it upon him (by counting three as three).” Here Sayyiduna Umar addressed all the Sahaabah regarding three Talaaqs. If this was a Bid’ah then not a single Sahaabi would have accepted or approved this move by the second Khalifa. The fact that none of the top Sahaabah objected to this, or rejected it, brings us a concept called Ijmaa’ul-Ummah, or Consensus of Sahaabah, which is a Daleel (proof) equal in strength to Qur’aan and Sunnah.

Mufti Siraj Desai

This answer was collected from AskMufti.co.za, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Siraj Desai of Darul-Uloom Abubakr, South Africa.

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