What is the Shariah ruling regarding the three divorces pronounced in one statement by the husband?
With respect to the question regarding the occurrence of three divorces in one gathering at once, we hereby state that:-
‘To issue three divorces at once, in one gathering would take effect and three divorces will occur. In this regard, the great jurist, Allama Shami writes, ‘The majority of the Sahabah, Tabieen and those after them from the Imams of the Muslim (Ummah ) have all stated that three divorces occur (if given in one sitting) (Raddul Muhtar- Chapter on Divorce).
The great contempory scholar, Qazi Khalid Saifullah has also clearly stated this in his ‘Kitabul Fatawa’. In this regard, he writes, ‘Giving three divorces in one sitting takes effect and this is evident in different narrations. One can look at the narration of Imam Baihaqi. Upon this verdict, there is unanimity of the four Imams of Fiqh, the sound and reliable scholars of the Ummah and the sahabahs. ( Kitabul Fatawa Vol5 pg.112-113).
With respect to the hadith of Baihaqi, it states that a man divorced his wife with three divorces before consummated the marriage. After this, he wanted to re-marry her and so he sought a fatawa (religious verdict) concerning it, he from Abu Hurairah (RA) and Abdullah bin Abbas (RA). Both of them said, ‘We do not consider it permissible for you to marry her until she first marries a husband besides you’, (this means that three divorces had taken effect and so he could not return immediately to her through a re-marriage).
Qazi Khalid Saifullah was also asked about a person who said to his wife ‘I have given you three divorces’. In response, the Qazi said, ‘Three divorces have occurred, and he will not be allowed to return to his wife except after the process of Tahleel (halala). (Kitabul Fatawa Vol. 5 pg. 108).
In his famous Tafseer, (Ahkamul Quran), Imam Abu Bakr Al Jasas wrote, ‘In accordance to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and the Ijma of the Salful Saaliheen (Pious predecessors), three divorces given together (at one time) will take effect as three, and it is a grave sin. (Ahkamul Quran by Al Jasas).
In Tafseer Al Mazhari, the great Mufassir and Qazi, Thana’ullah (AR) writes, ‘All the scholars are unanimous upon the issue that if a man says to his wife, ‘you are divorced with three divorces’, then three divorces will occur (and take effect) and upon this is Ijma (consensus agreement of al scholars).
Similarly, the great Muhaddith and jurist, Allama Badrudeen Al Aini writes in his famous commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari, ‘The verdict of the overwhelming majority of scholars from the Tabi’een and those after them like Imam Auza’ee, An Nakhi, Ath Thauri, Imam Abu Hanifa and his companions, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and his companions Imam Ahmad and his companions, Ishaq, Abu Thaur, Abu Ubaid and many others have all given the verdict that whoever divorces his wife with three divorces, it will occur as three’. (Umdatul Qaari commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari)
The great jurist Allama Ibn Rushd has stated in his famous work Bidayatul Mujtahid, ‘The overwhelming majority of the scholars of all cities have given the verdict that when divorce is given with the word three (as in a man’s statement to his wife ‘ I have given you three divorces), then the ruling will be that of three divorces’. (Bidayatul Mujtahid).
Imam Bukhari has also indicated to this in his compilation, making it evident that three divorces given at one time occurs as three.
In this regard, he quoted the tradition of Aisha (RA) in which she stated that a man divorced his wife with three divorces. The woman then married another man and was divorced. Upon this, the Prophet (SAS) was asked if it was permissible for her to return to the former husband and he said, ‘No, until she consummates her marriage with the second husband’. (Sahih Al Bukhari)
While explaining this hadith, the great Muhaddith and commentator of Sahih Al Bukhari, Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani (AR) writes that, ‘the incident of three divorces in this hadith referred to the case where the man pronounced three divorces at once to his wife(Fathul Baari, commentary Sahih Al Bukhari), Hafiz Badruddeen Al Aini also wrote on the commentary of this hadith saying, ‘it is clear that the incident in question was about a case where the man issued three divorces to his wife at once’. (Umdatul Qaari- Commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari).
It is narrated that Imam Hasan (RA) became angry with his wife on account of some issue, and said to her, ‘Go, you are divorced with three divorces’. The wife left and went away. After some time, Imam Hasan came to know that she was very sad, and started to weep. At this time he said to her, ‘Had I not heard from my grandfather’ (i.e the Prophet (SAS) or ‘had I not been informed by my father (Ali (RA) that he heard my grandfather saying that whoever divorces his wife with three divorces, she does not become lawful for him until she marries to another husband, I would have certainly returned to you (and would have taken you back as my wife)’. (Dar Qutni, Sunan Kubra).
From these quotations and explanations, it becomes very clear and well established that when three divorces are pronounced in one statement, it takes effect and three will occur.
And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.