Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As salamu alaikum,
I’ve always wondered why the divorce process in Islam is one that is so dooming, where by, the man divorces his wife and then can’t “take his wife back” without her marrying another man and then divorcing him. People make mistakes and it seems as though this doesn’t allow young people to make mistakes without regretting them forever. I just don’t see the wisdom in this at all. What is the wisdom in such a process?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
If a man divorces his wife explicitly by saying “I divorce you,” it is considered to be a single, revocable divorce.
This means that he can take her back without taking recourse to a new marriage contract and the like.
However, thereafter he only possesses two divorces, as opposed to the three he began the marriage with.
The Wisdom & Mercy of the Sacred Law (shari`ah)
Divorce is not a light matter, and it is from the mercy of the Sacred Law that it gave three chances. Thus, if the husband makes a mistake, it can be overlooked and they can open a new chapter of their lives together. The Sacred Law recognizes that this can happen, and facilitates the family staying together, as divorce also has societal implications.
The problem arises when people try to abuse their right. The huge mistake which people nowadays fall into is pronouncing three divorces in a single statement which is (a) against the sunna, and (b) termed a reprehensible or innovated divorce (bid`ah) by the jurists. This is where the Sacred Law draws the line, and steps in to say that the couple cannot get back together so simply. [see: The Ruling on Divorcing While Angry and Pronouncing Three Divorces and: Is It Valid to Divorce Someone While Angry or During Menstruation?]
This is why the scholars say it is personally obligatory (fard `ayn) to know that which pertains to your state (`ilm al-hal); meaning, if you are married, you should know the laws that relate to marriage and divorce.
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.