Triple Talaq & Islam

And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them] (Quran 2:31).

The relationship between husband and wife is an eternal knot and considered a divine bond, but attitude, notion, lifestyle, family differences, different food, culture, sects and tradition create contradiction and conflict between them. In desperate moments, they try to resolve the problems but sometimes the efforts do not bear fruits and they intend to separate themselves. Islam permits Talaq (divorce) but this is highly detestable. Islam imposes certain rules and regulation for giving Talaq and receiving it. In the terms of conditions of Talaq, both persons are allowed to grant and take Talaq, a woman can get Khula (divorce by wife), the condition being to return Mahr (bridewealth) which the woman received from her husband at the time of marriage.

Once, wife of Thabit bin Qais (a renowned Shaba like by Prophet Muhammad) came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for defects in his character or his religion, but I, being a Muslim, dislike to behave in an unislamic manner (if I remain with him), on that Allah’s Apostle said to her, “Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you (as Mahr)? She said, yes, then the Prophet said to Thabit, ‘O Thabit accept your garden, and divorce her once” (Sahih Al-Bukhari- Divorce).

The Hadith gives an insight into the importance of the willingness of a woman to stay in the bond of marital life. Thabit bin Qais was a renowned Shaba but that didn’t stop the Prophet from allowing her wife to separate from him. The Hadith emphasizes that if a wife does not like the man, no one can force her to continue her marital life. Islam has always paid high attention to rights of women in a married life. Islam also gives right to men to divorce his wife but by following a particular process. He should give Triple Talaq over a period of three months when the wife is in tohur (out of menses). Triple Talaq does not mean written, whatsapp, email and mobile call talaq in one sitting, the husband has to wait three months to divorce in Islamic ways as Quran said:

O Prophet, when you (Muslim) divorce women, divorce them for (the commencement of) their waiting period, and fear Allah, your Lord. Do not turn them out of their (husbands’) houses, nor should they (themselves) leave (during the period) unless they are committing a clear immorality…” (Surah Talaq 1).

The verse declared that the woman will stay at the husband’s house, no one can force her to leave it before three months. Second talaq should be pronounced in the same manner as instructed in the Quran. “Then, either keep (her) in an acceptable manner or release (her) with good treatment” (2:229). Similarly, third Talaq will be pronounced only when the woman is in Tohur, after which the wife is not lawful for the husband unless she marries other man according to her choice and leave the man once again and remarries the first as described:

“And if he has divorced her (for the third time), then she is not lawful to him afterward until (after) she marries a husband other than him” (The Quran 2:230).

This is the Islamic way to divorce which has often been misquoted and distorted by uninformed Muslims leading to innumerable hardships for the women. Instant Talaq is accepted in some sects of Islam but is not verified by authentic sources. As per Sahih Hadith, if a husband says three talaq in one sitting than the same will be counted as one, and in one talaq the wife is lawful to husband, they have two more months to think and reconcile as clarified in the Sahih Hadith:

“Divorce, a divorce with three (issuance) in the time of the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr and two years of caliphate of ‘Umar was (counted as) one”. (Sahih Muslim).

The check and balances provided in Islam to check the instances of Talaq is to safeguard the interest of women. If the provision of Triple Talaq was made lawful many persons would have invited trouble for himself and his wife as a person may give three Talaq in anger or in a drunk situation.

This misunderstanding would have put women in a more difficult position as Halala (contract marriage and divorce) is a necessary conjunction after divorce for the first husband to marry her wife again which would have been illegal, immoral and devastating for a woman. Little knowledge is always dangerous for health. It is the responsibility of the Ulemas to correctly interpret the procedures involved in divorcing a Muslim woman. Islam is a sea of knowledge and wrong interpretation may result in dangerous outcomes.

The present government has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 that protects Muslim women’s right in India that have been violated for years by giving instant Triple Talaq through mobile, email and letter though it is unlawful in Islamic doctrine and principles. Divorced Muslim women have been enduring a lot of difficulties as they have to face Halala, marginalisation, rejection and loneliness.

The bill provides Muslim women safety. All Muslims must study Triple Talaq Act properly in the light of Islamic doctrine and principles to protect themselves from jail sentence and imprisonment as well as to save hardships in the afterlife due to wrong interpretation of the Quranic injunctions. As George Bernard Shaw once said- “Islam is the Best Religion; Muslims are the Worst Followers.” Time to introspect!

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