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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 23 Jul 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Triple Talaq in One Sitting: A Correct Practice or Innovation?


By Imran Ahmad

(Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam)

Islam is a complete code of life and a very simple and attractive social system.  It is devoid of every legal complication as explained in the words of God Almighty:  “He has chosen you, and imposed no difficulties on you in religion.” [Sûrah al-Hajj: 78] The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also described Islam as a simple religion.

Dear readers! This is a religion which guides the mankind in all walks of life so the human being can enjoy the prosperity and salvation in the world as well as the hereafter. In this way, one can also build strong foundation for his social system. Therefore, Allah Almighty created men and women for the survival and development of human society guiding them to bind the knot of conjugal relationship so as to increase their race. To meet this goal, He upgraded women as the half-human status and described them as the dignity of human society so that no one can use them as an object of lust.

Man’s life can’t make progress without a woman. Human history witnesses that whenever society has degraded women and torn the wreath of their chastity, it has fallen prey to disorder and unrest. After being endowed with the dignity of prophethood, the prophet (peace be upon him) provided women with high dignity protecting their chastity. Having rooted out all the Jahiliya practices, he promoted the social values of women. Furthermore, he brought all the false ideologies and superstitions regarding women to an end whereby they can attain their honour.

However, some Ulema created doubts by differently interpreting the obvious meaning of the Quran and the Hadees. They did so just for the safety of their ideologies. Accordingly, the ordinary people got confused and went astray far from the originality of the religion. The issue of triple Talaq has become one such complication which raises doubts. To discuss the same topic, we present here a scandal that happened to a popular Pak TV actor Usman Peerzadah and his wife Sameena Peerzadah almost 20 years ago.

In a TV drama, these two popular actors were acting as a married couple. In one scene Usman Peerzada divorced his wife.  Since the role of wife was played by Usman’s real wife Samina Peerzada, the Hanafi Ulema issued fatwa that the real-life marriage of Usman and Samina has come to an end. Almost all the Hanafi Ulema unanimously agreed to this fatwa.

As being real couple, both refused to accept the fatwa and started resolving the matter on their own. According to Sameena, “the Quran does not prove such a fatwa; I am a literate girl and hence can’t believe it”. But the Hanafi Ulema remained rigid with their fatwa and started saying that they were the followers of Imam. When the issue came in limelight, Ulema of Ahle Hadees knew it as both of them contacted them. These Ulema issued fatwa in the light of the holy Quran and the Hadees. They said to them that only one Talaq had occurred and they had the right to Ruju (returning of husband to his wife) and two more Talaqs, therefore, were safe for them. Consequently, both of them are now leading their prosperous and successful married life.

Dear Readers! Today, the purpose of talking about this topic is to deal with those issues of Talaq whereby the people misled themselves and put their comfortable life into their self-made danger. Hence, they deserve the torment by disobeying God Almighty and his prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Due to their ignorance, they destruct their world as well as the hereafter. A similar incident also happened to our friend Kamran and his wife Afsheen. One and a half years ago, Kamran divorced her and subsequently went back to his wife. After two years, the family discord intensified so much that Kamran uttered two Talaq in one sitting in anger. The maternal family of Afsheen brought a fatwa that regarded it three Talaq; one had already occurred in one sitting including two in another sitting. Kamran was the follower of Ahle Hadees according to which Talaq did not occur. But the maternal family of Afsheen denied it and accepted the fatwa issued by Ahle Hadees. Since the discord between Kamran and Afsheen turned into love, both of them got worried about Talaq. They trembled whenever they thought of separating from each other.

Dear Readers! Though it is a controversial issue, it can be discussed in details and understood easily. Allah Almighty clearly says in the holy Quran. “O believers! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. (Surah Nisa 4:59)

It means that whenever there is controversy in any matter of the religion, we should resolve it in the light of the holy Quran and Hadees. This is the best way to obedience to God Almighty. If we do not do so, we will surely suffer a huge loss. Furthermore, we will never get out of misguidance. Therefore, every Muslim needs to reform himself in the light of the Quran and Hadees. As for divorce, Allah clearly says in the holy Quran:

"Divorce may be pronounced twice; then the wife may either be kept back in fairness or allowed to separate in fairness." (Al Baqura 229)

This verse manifests that two divorces after which the husband has right to go back to his wife during Iddat, occur at two times. After the first and second Talaq too, he can go back to his wife whereas after third Talaq he cannot go back to his wife. During the Jahiliya period, the right of going back to the wife was not confined, due to which women were oppressed. A man used to go back to his wife again and again after divorcing her. He neither let her settle nor did he release her. Allah Almighty eliminated this kind of oppression endowing the man with the right to go back to his wife so that he can get a chance to think of mutual settlement after first and second divorces. On the contrary, if Allah Almighty had ordered the people to separate from his wife for ever after the first divorce, there would have been complexities and social problems which could not be measured.

Moreover, Allah does not say   “talaqatan” (two divorces), but “Attalaqu marratan'' (divorce at two times), which clearly indicates to the fact that double or triple Talaq at the same time is against the commandment of God Almighty.  It is clear that after first or second divorce, whether it is uttered more than one time in one sitting, God gives a chance to the man to rethink about the decision he made in anger so as to resettle. This divine wisdom can be understood only by considering triple Talaaq as equal to one rather than three Talaq; otherwise the man will be deprived of the chance of restoring peace with his wife.

According to the Islamic Sharia, the triple divorce pronounced at three different times is considered irrevocable unlike the one that was articulated at the same time in a breath. Three divorces uttered at once are strictly forbidden in Islamic Sharia. When the prophet knew that someone divorced his wife thrice, he expressed his displeasure upon him and said that the book of Allah is being played with like a game while I am present among you. (Sunan Nasai, chapter 2 89)

According to a very famous book of Hanafis, Hidayah (part 2/355 chapter on Attalaqu Assunnah), three divorces pronounced in one sitting are regarded as innovation and the one who divorces like that is a sinner. The husband has full right to return to his wife even after uttering triple Talaq in one sitting during one period of purity (Tuhar). 

Imam Ibne Taimiya (ra) says: Allah does not say that they are two divorces but they are two when occurring at two different times. If someone says to his wife “I give you two divorces or ten divorces or thousand divorces; all will be counted equal to one. (Fatawa Ibne Taimiya ra 47/3 Ancient Egypt) 

Hafiz Ibne Qayyam r.a says “in Arabic and all the languages of the world the word “marrataan” means marratan baa’d marratin (one after another) rather than only the verbal repetition. This is manifested in the holy Quran and the Hadees.

Allama Abu Bakr Hisas Hanafi says that “Attalaqu marratan” means two divorces given at two different times. Whosoever has pronounced two divorces at the same time, in fact has opposed to the commandment of God Almighty.

Now let us ponder over the Hadees. According to Sahih Al Hadees, triple Talaq in one sitting whether uttered in one word as “I divorce you thrice” or in three words like “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you” will be counted equal to one. After such triple Talaq, the husband has right to return to his wife but only during the waiting period (Iddah). For, after the waiting period, he will have to remarry her. It is vocalized in the following Hadees.

Sayyidna Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) says:

“Three divorces were considered as one in the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Abu Bakr and in the first two years of Umar’s reign. Thereafter Umar (Allah be pleased with him) declared it to be three divorces” (Sahih of Imam Muslim).

The second Hadees also certifies this fact:

Abu Sahba asked Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhum): "Do you know that in the period of the Holy Prophet (Sallallh hu Alaihi Wasallam) and in the period of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu) three Talaqs given at once were regarded equal to one?" He replied, "Yes". It becomes obvious from here that three Talaqs given at once are regarded as one Talaaq.

There is one more clear Hadees. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhuma) narrates that Abd Yazid Abu Rukanah (Radi Allahu Anhu) gave three Talaqs to his wife in one sitting and then became saddened. The prophet (peace be upon him)asked him “how did you divorce” He said “I have given three Talaq” the prophet pbuh said “did you do so at the same time” Yazid Abu Rukanah ra said “yes” the prophet said that only one Talaq occurred so you can go back to your wife if you wish. Abu Rukanah (ra) returned to his wife. (Bukhari and Muslim)  

Hazrat Abdullah Ibne Abbas narrates that someone gave three divorces together to his wife during the life of the prophet (peace be upon him). The prophet said to him “go back to your wife” then the man said “I have given three divorces”. The prophet said “I know” and then he recited the Qur’anic verse “And when you divorce women (2/232)” till the end and ordered him to go back to his wife. 

In addition to Bukhari and Muslim reports, there is one more Hadees: Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radi Allahu Anhuma) gave three Talaaq to his wife while she was in the state of her menses. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) regarded them as only one Talaaq and ordered him to go back to his wife.  It is mentioned that when the prophet (peace be upon him) asked Umar Farooq (ra) “how many divorces did you give” Umar (ra) said “three” which is equal to one.

It is evident from the Hadees mentioned above that triple Talaq in one sitting is considered as equal to one which was proved by the seal of the prophets (peace be upon him). Therefore, we appeal to our brethren in Islam that they choose the sayings of Muhammad pbuh rather than those of scholars of jurisprudence, because only the Prophetic law could be acceptable to us.

 Dear Readers! May God bless us and show us the right path and enable us to follow the practices of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (Amin!). But today’s people have gone astray and so far away from the Prophetic traditions that almost 90 percent of them believe that Talaq will not occur unless three Talaq are  given at the same time. Not only the ordinary people but also the people sitting in courts and having L.L.B degree, mention three Talaq when preparing divorce certificates.

Majority of people are unknown to the best way of divorcing. They only know how to give three Talaq together. The question is as to why people do not take care of the woman who spends a long period of time with her husband. Her husband gives her three Talaq just over a trifle. Therefore, Hanafi Ulema issue fatwa of irrevocable Talaq and hence woman can’t live with her husband without Halala. Today, owing to expensive life, even a woman’s own relatives consider her a burden. The government also does not provide her with the proper means of subsistence. Relatively, I would like to present two heart-wrenching events for you all readers.

There was a well known religious man who gave his wife three Talaq after spending 50-60 years with her. Somehow, she managed herself for a few days but due to the poverty of her family, her condition got worsened and she eventually went mad.  Now she fills her stomach wandering from door to door. I recall another similar event. A man gave his wife three Talaq in one sitting. At the time of marriage, both of them were poor. According to the dwellers of their locality, God enriched them due to the woman’s hard work. They became owners of a big-built house and a factory. All of a sudden, there arose a mutual conflict and the husband, full of anger, gave three Talaq to his wife. The woman spent her livelihood for a few days by selling her jewels and household assets. Now her condition teaches a lesson.

Dear Readers! Allah has ordered us to ease the matters and prohibited us to create any hardship or complexity.

The Holy Quran says: "Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you" [2:185];

 At another place, God says to the mankind "Allah does not want to place you in difficulty" [5:6].

Such easiness is well explained in the Hadees reported by Abu Hurairah, (r. a), that the Prophet, (peace be upon him) said, "Religion is easy..." [Bukhari], he also said; "The best of your religion, is the easiest." [Ahmad]

The prophet pbuh did not use to choose between two affairs but the easier one. Now all the references given above demand us to follow the easier way in the matter of divorce taking into account the recent social phenomena. There should be ease in terms of divorce and the reformation. One should be given the chance twice to deal with the seriousness of Talaq, make mutual agreement and go back to his wife during three menses or in case of pregnancy (until she gives birth to her child).  In all cases one should choose an easy way as much as possible.

To conclude, I would like to add one more event. In 1973, a seminar was held under the presidency of Maulana Atiq ur Rahman Usmani Deobandi in Ahmadabad. In addition to two Ulema from Ahle Hadees, all the Ulema participating in the seminar were the followers of Hanafi school of thought whose names are as follows:

Maulana Mahfooz ur Rahman Qasmi, Maulana Saeed Ahmed Akbara Abadi, Maulana Syed Ahmad Urooj Qadri, Maulana Rahman Qasmi, Maulana Syed Hamid Ali, and Maulana Shams Peerzada. In the seminar, all of them presented their book-like articles published with the title “Majmooae Maqalate Ilmiya: ek majlis ki teen Talaqen” (a collection of intellectual articles on triple divorce in one sitting). All of them declared triple Talaq uttered in one sitting equal to one. The objections made to their articles, discussions and their answers are mentioned in this book. Besides, the law that triple Talaq in one sitting is equal to one is implemented in the courts of several Islamic countries like Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Iraq, Saudi Arab and Pakistan.

July 5, 2013, Roznama Awadh Nama

URL of the Urdu Article: