Answered by Ustaadha Bint Salih
I would be grateful if you could provide a ruling on the following case. The question has deliberately been stripped and trimmed of all the turbulence that existed throughout the couple’s ordeal in this matter.
A man signs a document stating I (his name) divorce you (her name) and a few hours later, the couple have intimate relations. It is accepted by both that the signing of the document constitutes to one talaaq but the subsequent act of intimacy means they are now in a reconciled state as husband and wife.
3 weeks later, an argument ensues in which he verbally issues 3 talaqs in one sitting and leaves the house. Its important to stress that the Niyyah (intention) at the time was to absolve the marriage permanently and he was in a collected state i.e. not angry.
Some time has passed (2 months) and we, as mutual friends, are proposing the couple put aside their differences and reconcile (if for no other reason but for their 3 year old daughter).
We all fear Allah and wish to see them together but need to know if our efforts are in vain i.e. can he Islamically take her back?
The choice of taking the wife back lasts only during the iddah period. At the expiry of this time, the rujuu also expires.
(BahrurRaaiq P.50 V.4)
The jurists have lisited two ways of effecting rujuu, one by speech and the other by action. It is more praiseworthy to make rujuu by speech rather than action.
(Raddul Muhtar p.24 V.5)
To effect a rujuu by speech the husband can say, “I have taken you back”, or “I have retained you”. Rujuu will be effected whether the wife is in front of him or not, however where the wife is not present it is best to have two witnesses.
(Raddul Muhtar p.25 V.5)
The jurists have placed the condition of there being lust and desire on the part of either the husband or wife if rujuu is initiated by action. If there is no desire then rujuu is not affected. Therefore, to touch the wife, have intercourse with her, to kiss her including her face, forehead and lips and also to touch her with or without an intervening cloth where the heat of the body is felt with desire, will effect rujuu.
If a person pronounced three divorces at once in any way then three divorces will occur. This can be proven through the following Hadeeth:
Sayyida A’isha reports that: A man pronounced three divorces to his wife. She (after her iddah) married another man. The Messenger of Allah was asked whether it was lawful for her to return to the first husband. He said: “Not until they have sexual intercourse.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 5261)
With regards to your question, the first talaq the husband gave his wife in writing was revoked when they engaged in sexual relations before the expiry of the iddah.
However, when he gave three talaqs together in one sitting, it constituted a talaq e mughallazah which means the couple are no longer lawful for each other.
Only Allah knows best.
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham