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Is a Divorce Valid If It Was Said Under the Pression the Husband’s Parents? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My husband said to me “I divorce you”. He took me back after. After this, we had an argument and were separated- his mother moved in with him. After this time, we spoke and he sent me a text message saying “I divorce you”. The next day, he did the same and repeated it in text and verbally over the phone three times. However, he says now that he had no choice and was under extreme pressure from his parents to divorce me. Does that invalidate the last two divorce declarations?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam said that three things are to be taken serious even when joking: marriage, divorce and raj’ah (retracting one’s wife after divorce). As a result, jurists treated divorce seriously and considered the divorce valid whenever pronounced. The only exceptions were when (1) an individual’s anger, or even depression, reaches such a point where he is no longer in control of what he says or does; and (2) he was coerced in giving the divorce. Note, that he is only considered coerced, if he is threatened with his life, or that he will be badly injured. In addition, if he is coerced to divorce his wife once, but then divorces her thrice, the divorces will be valid as he went beyond that with which he was forced.

It is clear that your husband, even though coerced to certain extent, was still in control of his doings. His life was not threatened, neither did he reach a point of anger where he was unaware of his actions. However, it is unclear from your question whether he formally took you back as a wife (raj’ah) after the first divorce. Raj’ah in the Shafi’i school has to be verbal, whereby the husband explicitly states that I take you back as my wife. If raj’ah did not take place, then there are a number of possibilities. If your ‘iddah (waiting period) expired – which is three clean periods – you were technically no longer his wife and the succeeding divorces will not be valid. If you were still in ‘iddah, the divorces would be valid.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

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