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The effect of three divorces issued all at once


Q. If somebody issues three divorces (all at once) despite it being un-Islamic and disliked, what would be its effects?


A. The logical answer to this question is that the sin or wrong in any action cannot prevent the action from causing its effects.

Murder, being a sin, will not delay a victim’s death just to check whether or not the bullet was fired justly and fairly or another example that could be cited is that it is preferable to drink a glass of water in at least three sips. However, should the water be swallowed in one gulp, it will still be finished.


Therefore, if a person ignores the sunnah step-by-step method of divorce and opts to issue three divorces altogether, in one breath even at the displeasure of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam his rash action will take effect immediately and become binding upon him in that he will lose not only the right of revoking the divorce but also the opportunity to re-marry the same women without having to go through the process of Halaalah.

The decision of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam bears ample testimony to the fact that despite his anger upon the issuance of three divorces at once, he decreed them to be valid and effective. There are many Ahadeeth confirming that Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam implemented the uttering of three divorces all at once as the complete set of three divorces and NOT as one revocable divorce as some people think nowadays.
Ahaadeeth substantiating this point have been gathered by Moulana Muhammad Sarfaraaz of Pakistan in his book, “Umdatul Asaas.”

From the above it becomes clear that the decision of upholding the verdict that three simultaneous divorces are to be regarded as a set of three separate divorces (having the same binding effects) was that of Rasullullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam. Thereafter, Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu anhu also passed a similar ruling which we gather from the following incident recorded in the famous Hadeeth book, Muslim Shareef, and many other kitaabs as well:

 Hadrat Ibn Abbaas Radiyallaahu anhu reports that during the three eras-: the time of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam, the reign of Hadrat Abu Bakr Radiyallaahu annhu, and the first two years of the Caliphate of Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu annul-, three divorces were counted as one. So Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu anhu declared that people are making haste in a matter wherein they had ease, hence it is preferable that we enforce it (i.e. the three divorces) upon them. So he enforced it upon them. ( Sahih Muslim: vol.1 p.77)

This announcement of the second Caliph was made in a general gathering of the Muslims after consultation with leading Sahaaba Ridwaanul laahi alaihim ajmaeen. There is no report of anyone opposing him or rejecting this decision. It is for this very reason that the Haafiz of Hadeeth, Imaam Abdul Barr Maaliki  Alaihir Rahmah has reported consensus of opinion (ijma) on this issue.

The following is recorded in “Zurqaani”, the commentary of Mu’atta of Imaam Maalik Rahmatul laahi Alaihi: “The majority of the Ummah are unanimous that three divorces are effective, so much so that Allaamah Ibn Abdul Barr has recorded consensus of opinion (ijma) upon it saying that anything contrary to this is rare and towards which no attention should be directed. (Vol.3- p.167)

Imaam Tahaawee, has written:

“Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu anhu announced this ruling to all the people, amongst whom were also those Companions of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam who knew whether or not three divorces are one during the time of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam, but none of them rejected or opposed it.

From this ruling of Hadrat Umar Radiyallaahu Anhu, by means of Ijma (consensus of opinion) we learn that if three divorces are given they become effective and cause the marriage to break off instantly, and that without Halaalah the same couple cannot re-marry.

(Source: Qur’aan Tafseer by Husainiyyah Publications)

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