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If a Muslim man wants to divorce his wife is it true all he has to do is
say, “I divorce you,” three times?
In Islam, there are separate rules for divorce for men and women under
the terms of Islamic law (sharia).
When a man has initiated a divorce, the procedure is called ṭalāq
When a woman has initiated a divorce it is called khula (Arabic: ).1
Islamic or Sharia Law recognizes two types of marriage, permanent and
the other temporary or pleasure marriage.
The temporary or pleasure marriage is arranged for a specific period of
time and compensation agreed upon in advance of the female being
Qur’an 2:229. The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on
reasonable terms or release her with kindness. And it is not lawful for
you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of your Mahr (bridal
money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) which
you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be
unable to keep the limits ordained by Allaah (e.g. to deal with each
other on a fair basis).
Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained
by Allaah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the
Mahr or a part of it) for her Al-Khul' (divorce).
These are the limits ordained by Allaah, so do not transgress them. And
whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allaah, then such are the
Zaalimoon (wrong-doers, etc.).1
Khan, Dr Muhammad Muhsin (2012-02-23). English Translation of the Qur'an (Kindle Location 470). . Kindle Edition.
2:230. And if he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful
unto him thereafter until she has married another husband. Then, if
the other husband divorces her, it is no sin on both of them that they
reunite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by
Allaah. These are the limits of Allaah, which He makes plain for the
people who have knowledge.2
One area of contention within Islamic scholars is that of saying, “I
divorce you,” (talaq) three times in a row without any period of time or
waiting between the statements.
It seems clear that a man might divorce his wife in haste or anger and
then have second thoughts, but the die has been cast, and she would
have to marry another man who would then have to divorce her before
she could return to the first husband.
2. Khan, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin (2012-02-23). English Translation of the Qur'an (Kindle Locations 475-478). . Kindle Edition.
The Sunni denomination of Islam doesn’t require any witnesses to the
divorce which only the husband can end at will, after saying I divorce
you three times (triple talaq) and there is a three month waiting period
between each statement wherein they should try to reconcile with the
help of mediators from each family.
Shias on the other hand view the triple talaq “I divorce you,” saying in
one sitting as a pagan pre-Islamic custom forbidden by Muhammad.
They also recognize that it was reinstated by Umar ibn al-Khattab and
thus no longer viewed it as wrong or sinful.
The Shias also observe a waiting period of 4 months before the divorce
is final. If the couple fails to observe the waiting period the divorce is
Iddah, the waiting period, was intended to ensure
that the male parent of any offspring produced after
the cessation of a nikah or marriage would be
known, this rule also applies to a woman who are
Under Islamic law, once a marriage is
consummated, a wife does not have the right to seek
a divorce unless her husband approves.
Khula is the right of a woman in Islam to seek a
divorce or separation from her husband.
A Muslim woman may petition an Islamic judge, or in
non-Islamic areas, an Islamic community panel, to
grant her divorce if the husband refuses.
The waiting period (iddah) of a woman who seeks a
divorce is one menstrual cycle or one month if she is
post-menopauseal, i.e. ceased menstruating.
This is to ensure she is not pregnant.
If the woman is pregnant, then the waiting period is
extended until she gives birth.
Women's right to initiate divorce is often limited compared with that of
men in the Middle East.
While men can divorce their spouses easily, women often face legal and
financial obstacles. For example, in many cases the woman must repay
her dowry and marriage expenses.
She may also be required to forfeit child custody. However, this is a
contentious area of religious practice and tradition is being increasingly
challenged by those promoting more liberal interpretations of Islam.
The decision to divorce is weighted in favor of the man.
Many Women’s rights groups have fought the triple talaq issue with
some success but only in areas of moderate Muslim influence yet when
pressed the court will always support triple talaq.
Where does Christianity stand on divorce?
The vast majority of Christianity follows the laws of the states or
countries in which the participants to the divorce reside.
While Catholics accept divorce they have strict rules on remarriage
whereas other form of Christianity allow remarriage as a choice made
by the congregant alone.
Child custody is considered a function of the Divorce Court.
Christianity also follows the state or country laws regarding who can file
for the divorce and many divorces fall under the “no fault” form.
You can even buy a “Divorce Kit” from many book stores which will
provide you with the legal documents required.
Now ask yourself which form of marriage would you prefer to enter an
Islamic or Christian.