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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Three Talaaqs and Halaala

Q: Why is it in Islam a couple may not reconcile after 3 talaaqs (divorces), and why are they only allowed to reconcile after halaala (wife marries someone else, consummates the marriage and is then divorced or husband dies)?

A: Islam created talaaq to break a marriage. This was necessary because when a couple is incompatible then the need is to separate them, otherwise living together will be miserable. The separation comes through divorce as a necessity. The question then arose as to how many divorces should be implemented. Allah Ta’ala in his infinite Wisdom, ordained three divorces. This is simply to give the couple three chances of reconciliation. Had there been only one or two talaaq, then we could argue that our couples are not given enough chance to patch up their marriages. People make mistakes and utter divorce; so they need some chance to reconcile to undo their indiscretions. So Allah Ta’ala gave us three chances, which is very fair to both parties. Had there been more than three talaaq, then marriage would become a mockery, because husbands would give talaaq and revoke, give and revoke, and the wife’s life would become a misery.
Now once we’ve settled on three talaaq, the question arises: Why can’t they reconcile after three? The answer is that if a couple could reconcile after three talaaq, we would be faced with the same difficulty just mentioned. A man would divorce his wife three times, then reconcile. After six months, they have a fight, he divorces her three times. Then they reconcile again, and the process is repeated. The result of this fiasco would be reducing nikah to a mockery. Nikah would no longer remain sacred. The couple would no longer fear talaaq or divorce. But by creating a cut-off point of three talaaq, and then prohibiting reconciliation thereafter, Allah has sounded a warning to both husband and wife: “Don’t play around with divorce”! This serves as a great deterrent.
However, Allah also knew that couples married to each other for long, don’t forget each other in a hurry, and would definitely like to reconcile. While not allowing reconciliation after three for the above reason, there had to be another method of reconciliation, and that was the halaala. Since the halaala is a tedious process and one that a woman would not like to get involved in quickly, it serves as the perfect buffer between two marriages.
Reasons for halaala:
1. After living with another man, sometimes the wife appreciates her former husband.
2. In halaala the second husband must divorce her before she can come back to the first. Assuming the halaala comes about naturally, as is ordained by Shariah, the woman who is divorced for a second time might find it easier to go back to the first husband than to any other man.
3. There is a logical reason: When a woman married, she had the respite of three talaaq. When that ended, it will take another marriage to bring back that respite of three talaaq. In others words, it is only a nikah that can bring back three talaaq; obviously that nikah cannot be the nikah of the same husband, for we explained earlier that this would destroy the deterrent factor in halaala and would reduce nikah to a mockery. So it has to be nikah to someone else. And that someone else is the second (or third husband).
And Allah Ta’ala knows best

Mufti Siraj Desai
Second Answer by Moulana Yusuf Laher:
A. One of the great Ni'mats (gifts) of Allah Ta'aala upon the male is the permissibility of benefiting from a female after the performance of a Nikah. This is not Halaal for him before Nikah. It only becomes Halaal after Nikah. Expressing gratitude for this Divine gift, it is his duty to fulfil her rights and to avoid such things which will bar him from this gift. According to the law of the Taurah (the Shari'ah of Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam), if a person divorced a woman, he was allowed to remarry her until she does not get married to someone else. Once she marries someone else, she becomes Haraam on the first ex-husband forever.
Then came the law of the Injeel (the Shari'ah of Nabi Eesaa Alayhis Salaam). In this Shari'ah, Talaaq was completely banned. Once married, a person did not have the permission or right to divorce. They had to live as husband and wife till death, whether happily or unhappily. Thereafter came the final and noble Shari'ah of Nabi Mohammed (Sallallaahu Alayhi wa Sallam). This Shari'ah is free from extremes, is balanced and applicable to all times. (The two previous Shari'ahs were according to the temperament and disposition of those nations.)
In our Shari'ah, if one Talaaq is issued, then the husband can take her back within the Iddat period without renewing the Nikah. If the Iddat period is expired or two Talaaqs were issued, he can take her back by renewing the Nikah. Remember that the Sunnah method is to issue one Talaaq at a time and not all three at once. The wisdom in this is that if for instance the Talaaq was issued in anger and annoyance and through the effects of Shaytaan, he now has time to cool off and reconsider and he can decide to hold on to this gift by taking her back in his Nikah. By issuing three Talaaqs, he himself has decided to remove this gift from his life. He has shown ingratitude to the Ni'mat of Allah Ta'aala. Thus, by her becoming Haraam for him until after she marries someone else and that person divorces her or dies, it is an eye-opener and atonement for him to teach him that he cannot abuse a divine Ni'mat and that he should not be callous with regard to someone's life and future. He has to realise that by callously issuing three Talaaqs, she will become Haraam upon him until she remarries and the second husband divorces her or dies. This is supposed to serve as a deterrent so that he can be careful in this regard. The womenfolk are also the servants of Allah. They also have rights and men are not allowed to do as they feel whenever they feel with regard to them. Looking after a wife and fulfilling her needs can be a means of entry to Jannah. Although issuing Talaaq is permissible, it has been described as the worst of all permissible things.
Also bear in mind that the second marriage of the lady must not be with the intent of Halaalah. If the second marriage is with the intention of Halaalah, such people will fall under the curse of the Hadeeth narrated by Sayyidina Ali (Radhiyallaahu Anhu) mentioned in Abu Dawood V2 P188.
Allah Ta'aala knows best.

Moulana Yusuf Laher
Checked and approved by: Mufti Siraj Desai