Triple Talaq is a Sunni Islamic procedure whereby a husband can divorce his wife by saying to her "talaq, talaq, talaq" ("I divorce you", three times). It is not used in Shi'a jurisprudence, since they deem the talaq to be a procedure rather than a decision.
Triple talaq is made by saying "talaq, talaq, talaq" when the wife is in the state of purity. No fault needs to be found with the wife for a husband to divorce her and she will have been divorced upon the third time.
One relevant hadith:
- Once Rukanah pronounced three divorces against his wife but later he was very sorry for it. When the Prophet asked him, How did you divorce your wife? Rukanah replied that he had pronounced three divorces. The Prophet asked, Did you pronounce it in one sitting? When he said, Yes, the Noble Prophet said, Treat it as one divorce only and if you want you can take your wife back. And Rukanah took his wife back. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
A second hadith pertaining to the topic:
- Abdullah ibn Abbas reported that the (pronouncement) of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger and that of Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of Umar (was treated) as one. But Umar ibn al-Khattab said: Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So if we had imposed this upon them, [it would have deterred them from doing so!] and he imposed it upon them.Sahih Muslim 3491.
Shaikh ul Islam Imam Nawawi in his Sharh e Sahih Muslim said: Imam Shafa'i and Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Ahmad and Jamhoor Ulema from Salaf (past) and Khalaf (recent past) established triple Talaaq as three Talaaqs. (Sharh e Sahih Muslim volume 1 page 478).
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)
Ahmad bin Hanbal believed that this form of divorce is sinful and bid'ah, it is nevertheless valid and divorce will take place. But he later retracted that position and used to say:
- When I reflected on the Qur'anic position I came to the conclusion that it permits only talaq, divorce in which the wife can be taken back.
He then took the position that even if someone pronounces triple divorce it should be treated as one only. The husband thus will have the right to take his wife back within the iddah period or go for nikah if the iddah period has expired.
His companions and disciples also adopted this position.
Abu Hanifa believed that though this form of divorce is sinful and bid'ah, it is nevertheless valid and divorce will take place. Later is seems as he developed a second opinion: that only one divorce will take place if three divorces are pronounced.
Some Hanafi jurists like Hajjaj ibn Artat and Muhammad ibn Muqatil believed that if one pronounces three divorces, no divorce will take place.
All Hanafi jurists refers to the Qur'anic verse 2: 229-30, which begins with Al-talaqu marratan, i.e., divorce may be pronounced twice. They argue that the word marratan implies a gap between two pronouncements. for example, if one would say "I went to your house twice but you were not there" cannot mean one went to his house twice in one go but after some reasonable gap of time. There is other verses of the Qur'an where the word marratan occurs and everywhere it implies a gap of time in between.
Imam Malik believed that by saying talaq three times in one sitting will cause three talaaqs to be established. In Al-Muwatta, he states the fatwa of Abdullah ibn Abbas as:
Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that a man said to Abdullah ibn Abbas, "I have divorced my wife by saying I divorce you a hundred times. What do you think my situation is?" Ibn Abbas said to him, "She was divorced from you by three pronouncements, and by the ninety-seven, you have mocked the ayat of Allah."(Book 29, Number 29.1.1) Read 29.1.1
From the above quotation, it is clear that Ibn Abbas 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.
Ash-Shafi'i said this form of divorce is not Haram but its better not to give three Talaaqs in one Tuhar (the time between two monthly periods of a woman). (Al Muhazzab by As Shiraazi) Also it means that those three Talaaqs would be established as three.
These scholars hold the view that it counts as only one:
- Shaltut, who was Sheikh al-Azhar
- Rashid Rida' in his Tafsir al-Manar (Vol. IX, p. 683) has expressed a similar opinion.
- Jamal al-Din al-Qasim in his book al-Istinas
The practice is banned by law in many nations, including Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. India still permits it. For the Conflict of Laws rules as they affect the talaq, see talaq (conflict)
Different Islamic views on triple talaq
Some Sunnis prefer a similar method of divorce, which simply staggers the talaq statements, instead of delivering them all at once. Each of the three divorce statements are said at three separate intervals, each in between a wife's menstrual cycle, provided no sexual relations have taken place between the couple. This is considered legally acceptable by some Sunni religious authorities.
Shi'as have a very dim view of this practice since they believe it makes a mockery of the principles and aim of both the Nikah and talaq, not to say its un-Qur'anic. Shi'a believe that a talaq procedure is not completed until the end of the Iddah. Repeating "talaq" during that period means nothing more than expressing the determination to fulfill the procedure and therefore bears no juridical consequences. In other words, it is the procedure that counts, not the actual word.