Three Talaqs in one sitting

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A Nikah is meant to last a lifetime. However at times when the marriage has, despite all efforts to save it reached a point of no return, the Shariah has permitted the dissolution of the Nikah by means of Talaaq. Nevertheless, this is the very last resort. Rasulullah (Sallallaaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "The most detested of all permissible things is Talaaq."

The most severe form of Talaaq is the issuing of three Talaaqs. This irrevocably severs the marriage, whether such Talaaq was issued over a period of time or whether in one sitting and in one breath. This is the clear ruling established from the Qur'an and Hadith.

Some 'scholars' consider the giving of three Talaaqs in one sitting as 'one Talaaq'. As a result of this ruling, some couples that have divorced are using this 'view' to re-unite and reconcile in marriage.

It must be remembered that the Jamiat has a standing policy always to 'make a marriage - never to break it'. This depends entirely on the couple's situation and decision in their marriage. In the case where a husband confronts his wife saying, 'I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you' - in one sitting or even in one breath, according to the Islamic Fiqh - the Shari'ah - three Talaaqs take place. This is termed as .

Based on the Noble Qur'an and Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), the four most respected and distinguished scholars, viz. Imaam Shaaf'ee, Imaam Abu Hanifa, Imaam Maalik, Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal (Rahmatullaahi Alaihim) hold the view that three Talaaqs occur even when they are issued simultaneously.The discussion hereunder elaborates on this question in detail.

  • Allah says in the Noble Qur'an:

'Divorce is twice'. (Qur'an 2;229)

In Jalaalain Shareef, a widely accepted commentary of the Noble Qur'an, the explanation of the above verse is given as follows:

'The issuing of divorce after which it is correct to revoke - two (divorce)'

'If the husband divorces (his wife) after two divorces then she is not Halaal for him after the third divorce'.(Jalaalain p.34)

  • Explaining the above verse, Abu Bakr Jassas Razi (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi), an expert in Jurist, states in Ahkaamul Qur'an:

'If both Talaaqs are given together, both will be effective and this is clearly indicated in the Qur'an'. (Vol. 1 page 387)

Abu Bakr Jassas Razi (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) further explains:

'(Upon issuing the third divorce), she (the wife) will not be permissible for him (the husband). There is no difference whether the (divorces) were given in one Tuhr (clean period) or two different Tuhr (clean periods). The ruling will apply with regard to the issuing of all three divorces in which ever way the husband had issued them'.(ibid)

He also states that it is proven from the Noble Qur'an, Sunnah and consensus of pious predecessors that the giving of three Talaaqs simultaneously is effective.

  • Allama Alusi (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) states:

'(And this ruling) upon which the people of Haq (Truth) today have opposed all of that (three Talaaqs being one). ( Ruhul Maani Vol. 2 p.13)

While a detailed explanation from authentic Tafaaseer could be given pertaining to three Talaaqs being effective in one sitting, in the interest of brevity, we will substantiate the same from the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).

  • Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports that when Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) heard one person giving his wife three divorces, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) became angry and said:

'You are making a mockery of the verses of Allah and the Deen of Allah. Whosoever gives his wife a terminating divorce, we will make three binding on him. His wife will not be Halaal for him until she does not marry another husband.' (Darul Qutni Vol.4 p.20)

If three Talaaqs given together were regarded as one then the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not have got angry. He would not have said, 'We impose three Talaaqs on him'. He did not even ask if the Talaaqs were given in one sitting. This Hadith is clear in that three divorces given together will be three divorces and not one.

'It is reported from Mahmood Ibn Labid that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was informed of a person who had given his wife three divorces at once. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) stood up in the state of anger and said, 'Are you playing with the Aayats of Allah and His Kitaab whilst I am among you.' A person stood up and said, 'Oh Rasulullah! Should I not kill him?' (Mishkaat Vol2 p.284)

This Hadith too is explicit that three Talaaqs were given together; therefore Rasulullah (Sallallaahu AAlayhi Wasallam) got angry. If three Talaaqs were one, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would not have become angry. The Sahaaba also understood from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) that three Talaaqs were valid and that is why one Sahaabi even asked for permission to kill the person who gave his wife three Talaaqs.

 'Ibn Umar (Radhiyallaahu nhu), was asked about a person who gave Talaaq three times. He remarked, 'If he had given her one or two divorces he could have taken her back for which Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) ordered me the same. But if he had given her three Talaaqs then she is Haraam upon him until she marries another man.' (Bukhari Vol2 p.792)


In the incident of Lia'an, Hadhrat Uwaymir said to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), 'I have spoken a lie on her if I kept her (as my wife). Hence I divorced her three times.' (Mishkaat Vol.2 p.245)

Abu Bakr Jassas Razi (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) also quotes this Hadith to substantiate that three divorces in one sitting is three. The action of Hadhrat Uwaymirtook place in the presence of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) acknowledged its validity as three.

Once Imaam Hassan (Radhiyallaahu nhu) told his wife:

'Go away, for you are divorced thrice'

When he was grieved at the separation of his wife, he said:

'If I had not heard my grandfather (Rasulullah) (or if my father did not tell me that he heard my grandfather) saying, 'Whosoever gives his wife three Talaaqs in the state of Tuhr (cleanliness) or three Talaaqs together, she is not Halaal for him until she does not marry another man, until then he cannot take her back.' (Darul Qutni Vol. 2 p.438)

This incident reiterates the fact that three Talaaqs in one sitting is three and not one. If anyone who was worthy of any exception to the Law, it would be the illustrious grandson of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), Hadhrat Hassan bin Ali (Radhiyallaahu Anhu). However, this was not the case. The rule of three Talaaqs in one sitting was binding on him too.

Let us now look at the view of some of the great scholars of Deen on the issue of three Talaaqs being regarded as three in one sitting.

Imaam Bukhari's (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) expertise in the field of Hadith is unanimously accepted. His research in the matter of three Talaaqs concludes that three Talaaqs in one sitting is three and not one. In his Sahih he titled a chapter with the following heading: 'The chapter of he who permits three Talaaqs.' He supports this with the following Hadith:

Hadhrat Ayesha Radhiyallaahu Anha narrates that a man gave his wife three divorces. The wife remarried and (incidentally) her (second) husband divorced her. It was then asked to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), 'Is she Halaal for the first husband?' He (Rasulullah) replied, 'No,not until he tastes her sweetness (consummates the marriage) like how the first husband tasted her sweetness.' (Vol. 2 p. 791)

With regard to the above incident Hafiz Ibn Hajar explains that the husband had given his wife three Talaaqs together.

'His words divorced thrice explicitly indicates that (the Talaaqs) were given together.' (Fathul Baari Vol.9 p.280)

Imaam Muslim (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) (a famous student of Imaam Bukhari) also holds the same view as Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi).
Imaam Nawawi (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) writes:

'Imaam Shaaf'ee, Imaam Maalik, Imaam Abu Hanifa, Imaam Ahmad and all the Ulama of the past say that three Talaaqs in one sitting is three.(Muslim vol.1 p.478)

Some people attempt to justify their claims that three Talaaqs in one sitting constitutes only one Talaaq, by by citing the Hadith of Rukana ibn Yazid (Radhiyallaahu Anhu). It is claimed that Hadhrat Rukana ibn Yazid (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) pronounced three Talaaqs in one sitting, but Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) declared that it constituted only one Talaaq. However, this Hadith does not contain any clear indication that three Talaaqs were issued. In an explanation to this Hadith, Imaam Muslim quotes many narrations, that Rukana (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) pronounced Talaaq Al-Battat. The word 'Al-Battat' could mean one Talaaq or three Talaaqs. This is dependent on the intention. Therefore Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not ask him, 'How did you pronounce the divorces?' but instead, he (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked him, 'What did you intend with that?' Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not even ask if he pronounced it in one sitting. The complete text of this Hadith is as follows:

'Abdullah ibn Yazid ibn Rukana (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) reports from his father who reported from his grandfather saying, 'I came to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, "Oh` Prophet of Allah! I pronounced Talaaq Al-Battat to my wife". Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked him, "What did you intend with that (Al-Battat)", I said, "One (divorce)." The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "By Allah (do you swear)?" I said, "By Allah (I swear)." Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "Then it is according to what you intend."( Muslim Shareef, (Chapter on Talaaq), Tirmidhi Vol. 1 p. 140 and Abu Daawood Vol. 1 p. 306.)

If we suppose that it was a general rule that three divorces in one sitting constitutes one divorce, then why did the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) ask him his intention? This questioning in itself indicates that there is a possibility that it could one or threel. The purpose of the questioning was definitely not to ask whether it was in one sitting or not because there is no mention of this in any Sahih Hadith.

Even the great Sahaabi Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhu)declared three Talaaqs to be three. This is clearly ascertained from the following narrations.

Mujahid reports, 'I was in the company of Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) when a man came and informed him that he had given his wife three Talaaqs. Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) remained silent and we thought that he would send her back to him. Then he said, 'You walk and ride on stupidity, then you say: "Oh` Ibn Abbas! Oh` Ibn Abbas!" Allah says, "Talaaq (after which revoking is permissible) is twice....." You have disobeyed your Rabb and your wife is separated from you.' (Abu Daud)

Imaam Maalik (Rahmatullaahi Alaihi) in his Muwatta'a quotes the Fatwa of Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) as follows:

'It has reached me (Maalik) that one person said to Ibn Abbaas, "I divorced my wife a hundred times, what will you rule on me?" Ibn Abbas said, "She is divorced from you with the first three Divorces and for the ninety-seven, you have taken the Aayats of Allah as a mockery."

From the above quotation, it is clear that Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallaahu Anhuma) gave the verdict of three Talaaqs without inquiring the manner i.e. whether given in one Majlis (sitting) and without asking about the intention of the number of Talaaqs.

Hence it is absolutely clear that three divorces issued simultaneously will be effective and they will irrevocably sever the Nikah. Hence Talaaq should not be treated lightly. It is a serious matter with extremely serious consequences.

Article taken (with Thanks) from JamiatKZN



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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .