Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I would appreciate if you can please explain that WHY if an un-married person before performing nikkah makes a statement like “If I marry XYZ then she is divorced” or “Any woman I marry is divorced”, then such a statement according to Hanafi fiqh will cause an automatic divorce for this person in his future marriage/nikkah? The Shafaee and Hanbali both sunni schools opine that such statements WILL NOT cause divorce in future marriage if they were uttered before a nikkah was performed (while a person was still un-married). What I need to know is what evidence is presented by Hanafi scholars to support their ruling? Is it possible that when Hanafi ruling was formed that the below outlined hadiths and other evidence had not come across Abu Hanifa or other Hanafi jurists and hence Hanafi school formed a ruling that is opposite to the ruling of majority of scholars? The following evidence is provided by other schools/scholars who rule that such a statement made before marriage will not cause any divorce in future marriage whenever a person gets married: Among the evidence that there is no divorce before marriage (nikaah) are the following reports: 1. The hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There is no vow for the son of Adam with regard to that which he does not possess; there is no setting free of (a slave) whom he does not possess; there is no divorce of (a wife) whom he does not possess.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi). 2. The hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him), who reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No divorce except of (the wife) whom you possess; no setting free except of (the slave) whom you possess, and no selling except of (the goods) that you possess.” (Reported by Abu Dawood). 3. The hadeeth of Ibn Makhramah from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said, “No divorce before marriage, and no setting free before taking possession.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah). 4. Imaam al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his book al-Jaami’ al-Saheeh: Chapter: there is no divorce before marriage. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no ‘iddah have you to count in respect of them. So give them a present, and set them free, i.e., divorce in a handsome manner.” (al-Ahzaab 33:49). Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Allaah made divorce after marriage.” 5. Al-Bayhaqi (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated that the majority of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een understood from these texts (i.e. above mentioned hadiths on divorce before marriage) that if a man says, “If I marry So and so then she is divorced,” then he marries her, no divorce takes place, because he issued a conditional divorce and said it at a time when she was not his wife. This was narrated from him by al-Haafiz in Fath al-Baari. 6. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked about a man who said: “Every woman whom I marry will be divorced.” He said: It is of no significance, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them …” (al-Ahzaab 33:49). 7. Ibn Khuzaymah also narrated that he (Ibn ‘Abbaas) was asked about a man who said: “If I marry So and so then she will be divorced.” He said: It is of no significance, because only the one who is married to a woman can divorce her. Following are some major scholars who are of the opinion that no divorce will take place in future marriage by any such statements if they were uttered while the man was still un-married: Jurists like Sufyaan Bin ‘Uyaynah, Abdul Rahman Bin Mahdi, Imam Shafi‘i, Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal, Ishaaq, Abu Thawr, Daud and Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabarai hold the above view. Your clarification that why Hanafi opinion (along with supporting evidence for their ruling) is totally opposite to the view held by majority of other scholars will be very helpful.
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. For proofs of this, please consult the following works:
 I`la’ al-Sunan of Imam Zafar Ahmad al-Tahanawi
 Fath al-Qadir of Imam Ibn al-Humam
 Bada’i` al-Sana’i` of Imam al-Kasani
 al-Mabsut of Imam Sarakhsi
The short answer is that if the divorce is made conditional upon being in a state of marriage, then it has been ascribed to that which he “does possess,” and this is understood from the hadith and was also the opinion of many of the Companions, Tabi`in, and imams of the Salaf–it is a matter of scholarly disagreement whose details are to be sought in the appropriate place.
And Allah alone gives success.