How to consider written divorce?
Fatwa No: 174947

  • Fatwa Date:6-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 13, 1433
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Question

If husband sent 3 written divorce but he didn't ask the person who brought divorce papers that bring 3 times divorce papers. is it going to consider 3 or only 1

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Writing the word divorce is among the metaphors of divorce, so if the husband did not intend divorce, then divorce does not take place and if he intended it, divorce takes place.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 89894 and 87034.

In his book entitled Al-Insaaf, Al-Mardaawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him writes, “If the husband writes clear words of divorce and intends divorce with it, then divorce takes place according to the correct opinion of the Hanbali school, and this is also the view of the majority of the scholars of the school.

In case the husband had written the word divorce while being determined to initiate it, then in this case, divorce becomes effective even if the papers on which the divorce was written did not arrive [i.e., reach the destination where they were sent].

The commentary of Al-Kharashi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him on Mukhtasar Khaleel reads, “It means that if the husband writes to his wife or to any other person that he has divorced her, while being determined to divorce her, then divorce takes place as soon as he finishes writing it down. Writing the word divorce is of the same status as if he says it to her face to face. This is whether he has written: 'If my letter comes to you, you are divorced', or writes: ‘you are divorced’, and whether he brings it out to her [shows it to her] and it reaches her or he does not bring it out to her.

Moreover, Asna Al-Mataalib by Zakariyah Al-Ansaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him from the Shaafi’i school of jurisprudence, reads, “If the husband writes ‘you’ or ‘my wife’ is divorced and he intends divorce, then she is divorced even though his writing (letter) does not reach her. This is because writing is a way of making the meaning (what is intended) understood, like the expression, and it has [here] been accompanied by the intention. However, if he did not intend divorce, then his wife is not divorced because by writing it is probable that one copies, or relates or just tests the pen and the ink and so forth.

Thus, it is evident that the number of divorces depends on the intention of the husband. If he had intends divorce with each of the three papers, then it is considered as three divorces, and if he had intended to confirm the first divorce by writing the second and third divorce or that he did not intend anything by writing them [the second and third divorces], then divorce takes place according to his intention.

Allaah Knows best.

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