As per the Indian laws every Muslim has the right to live his/her life in accordance with the teachings of Islam but there are few anti-nationals well known for spreading hate and enmity in the country who, from time to time, keep attacking the Muslim Personal Law Board. Even though Muslim Personal Law has been made for Muslims of the country and the Muslim community does not have any issue with it. However, some individuals who belong to the majority community, who have nothing to do with Muslim Personal Law, keep making an issue of it unreasonably. Notwithstanding the existence of Muslim Personal Law in India the majority community has an absolute right to live life as per the dictates of their own religion. Indian Muslims neither protest about the fact that the majority community practices its religion nor is there any movement from the Muslim community’s side that insists that the majority community should also follow the Muslim Personal Law. According to Indian laws, a person from any religious community has the right to live his or her life in accordance with the teachings of his or her religion. This is that millennia old tradition of India that people belonging to saffron terror outfits want to end. In order to cater to their political ambitions, rather than taking the nation on the road to progress and doing something about maintenance of peace and harmony in the country, these anti-nationals are constantly nourishing hatred and enmity. These things are done to create differences within the Muslim community so that they remain stuck in these issues and, as a consequence, are not able to flourish and get prosperity.
Considering themselves intellectually sound, some Muslim brothers of ours, in relation to several Sharia related issues, start supporting the statements of these anti-nationals. As a result of this support, several issues such as triple talaaq, men marrying more than once, maintenance for the woman after her divorce, status of women in Islam, veil for women, call to prayer through loudspeaker, construction of mosques and madrasas and inheritance etc. begin to account for media’s magnificence. There are some people who start presenting their advice in relation to some Sharia related issue without any knowledge whatsoever of arguments that have been made in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Several newspaper articles written by such people got published recently on the issue of utterance of triple talaaq in one go. So I consider it necessary to inform common Muslims that for good 1400 years, in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), 98 percent of the Muslim community agrees that if triple talaaq is uttered in one go it will be considered as three talaaqs. Since the issue is absolutely religious, rather than applying our minds we should only consult verses of the Holy Quran, sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and statements made by the respected scholars on this matter. As far as logic or reason is concerned there is no place in this world where three is considered as one. For instance, if a person has shot someone thrice then we cannot say that because shooting someone is against the law of the land we will maintain that the person was shot just once.
Before we get into discussing the issue of triple talaaq we must understand the essence of Nikah that if on the one hand Nikah is some kind of an agreement or contract, on the other hand it also enjoys the status of a Sunnah and, consequently, an act of pleasing Allah. As per Sharia it is an extremely serious and respectable agreement that is carried out to remain intact to the extent that only death could separate a husband and wife. This is such a prized relation that it is a means of attaining the heights of humanity and an act of pleasing Allah and following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). And this is such an agreement that in case it is terminated, in addition to influencing the husband and the wife, it shatters the very foundations of the household and once in a while it even leads to fights and quarrels between the families. This is the reason why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Of all the things that Allah has made permissible there is nothing more repulsive than divorce” (Abu Dawood). This is why the learned scholars of the Muslim community have said that even jokingly one should not utter the word talaaq. This is precisely why the Sharia has made full arrangement of getting rid of anything that could become a means of breaking this sacred and blessed relationship (marital relationship). Therefore, in case there is a disagreement between husband and wife, before anything else, they should be counselled. Following that (in case counselling does not work) one could seek recourse to scolding. In case scolding too does not work and the matter gets even worse then members from both the families should sit together and try to resolve the matter. But there are occasions when things go to such an extent that the attempts for improving the situation go in vain and, instead of gaining the required solace and relief from marital relations, for the husband and wife it becomes an ordeal to stay under one roof. In such unpleasant situations, terminating the marital relations is at times not only relieving for the husband and wife but also for their families. That is why the Islamic Sharia made the law of Talaaq and Faskh-e-Nikah (Khulaa’, dissolution of the marriage by an Islamic court) wherein the right to divorce was given only to man because both temperamentally and habitually he is more contemplative and patient. But then the woman too is not altogether deprived of this right. In fact she too is given the right that in the Sharia court she can present her reasons and, within due legal frame, get divorce, something that is called Khulaa’.
By giving man the right to divorce he is not left completely free. Instead he is categorically instructed that he should not make use of this right under some momentary or hyperactive situation. And he should not divorce while the woman is menstruating or during a period (other than the menstrual cycle) they have had intercourse because in such a situation the waiting period (Iddat) for the woman could unnecessarily become longer. In fact the best way of exercising this right is to give one talaaq during the non-menstruation days of the month during which there has been no intercourse, and that is all. Once the waiting period is over the Nikah will be nullified on its own. The second and third talaaq won’t be needed. And in case one wants to give the second and third talaaq then it should be given separately in two different months (during non-menstruating days). Moreover, in relation to terminating Nikah there is some flexibility that during the waiting period if the husband regresses from talaaq then the Nikaah will remain valid. In addition to that, in order to protect the woman from getting harmed, the right to regress is also limited till the second talaaq so that the husband, just to afflict his wife, does not let her wife get out of the marital relation by creating this absurd cycle of giving talaaqs and regressing, something few people used to do before the verse of Surah Al-Baqarah was revealed. So the husband’s right to regress was restricted till the second talaaq. In the case of triple talaaq the right to regress cannot be exercised. In fact, in the case of triple talaaq even if the husband and wife, on the basis of a mutual agreement, want to get married again then, except under one condition, this Nikah won’t be right and Halaal. Surah Al-Baqarah, verse no. 230 refers to this condition only where the gist of the matter is that in case a person has given the third talaaq then even if both the husband and wife want to remarry each other they cannot unless the woman marries another man after the completion of her waiting period, stays with her husband, they both enjoy each other’s company, and then in case her second husband too divorces her or dies, she can marry her first husband after completion of the waiting period. This is the provision called Halaalahreferred to in the books.
Now let me come to the issue under discussion. What will happen if a person, proving his ignorance and stupidity, does not abide by the right way of giving talaaq and gives it in way that is not prescribed in the Sharia? For instance, what happens if he gives triple talaaq while his wife is menstruating, or he gives triple talaaq at different points in time but during the same non-menstruating days of the month (in the same month), or separately gives three talaaqs during three non-menstruating days in which he has had intercourse, or gives triple talaaq in one go? In relation to all the aforementioned situations that are not prescribed by Sharia, the entire Muslim community has a consensus that these will be considered as triple talaaq except when the person utters triple talaaq in one go. In that case the question that arises is whether it will be considered as one talaaq or three talaaqs? Jurists from amongst the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) such as Umar Farooq (RA), Uthmaan (RA), Ali (RA), Abdullah bin Abbaas (RA), Abdullah bin Umar (RA), Abdullah bin Amar (RA), Abdullah bin Mas’ud (RA) etc. were all of the view that it must be treated as three talaaqs. As per the opinion of majority of the learned scholars, commentators and Hadith scholars as well three talaaqs will be considered. Moreover, as per the unanimous opinion of the four imams as well [Imam Abu Hanifah (RHA), Imam Maalik (RHA), Imam Shafi’ee (RHA) and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (RHA)] if a person gives three talaaqs in one go it will be considered as three and not one. The two sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) using which a small group of our learned scholars (Ghair Muaqallideen, or people who do not follow the four Imams) have asserted that triple talaaq in one gathering is to be counted as one and not three are found unreliable as per the majority of learned scholars, commentators and Hadith scholars.
In the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), for the past 1400 years more than 98 percent of the Muslim community agree that in a setting uttering three talaaq in one go will be counted as three only. Therefore, in case a person gives triple talaaq in one go then he will not be in a position to exercise his right to regress and even if the husband and wife mutually agree to go for another Nikah it will not be appropriate and Halaal. The only possibility is that the woman marries another man after the completion of her waiting period, stays with him, they both enjoy each other’s company, and then in case her second husband too divorces her or dies, she can marry her first husband after completion of the waiting period. During the caliphate years of the second caliph Umar Farooq (RA), whenever someone gave triple talaaq in one sitting, on numerous occasions it was categorically ruled as three talaaqs only. Not even a single companion had disputed this, not even in a narration that has been deemed weak. The entire Muslim community agree on this. So in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the majority of learned jurists of the Muslim community, the four imams and all of their students in particular, unanimously agree that giving three talaaqs in one sitting will be counted as three only. Few jurists such as Ibne Qudaamah Hanbali (RHA) have given this reason that Nikah is a kind of property or possession that can be finished in different ways. So it could be finished collectively as has been commanded in relation to all kinds of possessions.
Allamah Ibne Abdul Haadi (RHA) narrates from Allamah Ibne Rajab (RHA) that as per his knowledge not even a single companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or anyone from the immediately following generation of believers, or any of those learned scholars whose statements are considered reliable in relation to what is permissible and what is forbidden, have clearly made a statement that makes a case for triple talaaq being considered as just one. While presenting different opinions in relation to triple talaaq Allamah Ibne Taimiyah (RHA) himself said, “The other stance is that this talaaq is forbidden. The same is the final statement of Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA), Imam Maalik (RHA) and Imam Ahmad (RHA). Most of their students have adopted the same opinion and the same stance is reported to have been maintained by a large group of pious companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and their immediate followers”. And Allamah Ibne Qayyim (RHA) said, “In relation to triple talaaq in one go there are four opinions; the first opinion is that it is tantamount to three taaaqs and the same opinion is held by the four imams, majority of the immediately successive generation of the companions, and many companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”. Allamah Qurtubi (RHA) said, “Our learned scholars have said that all the scholars who can pass a decree agree that triple talaaq in one go is equal to three talaaqs and the same opinion is held by majority of the pious people of the earlier generations”. In his book Al-Naasikh wa-al Mansookh Allamah Ibne Arabi (RHA) wrote (something that has also been narrated by Allamah Ibne Qayyim (RHA) in his book Tahdheeb Al-Sunan), “Allah says in the Holy Quran that Talaaq is twice. Towards the end of the era few people erred and started saying: Triple talaaq in one go does not count as three talaaqs. They turned triple talaaq in one go as one and attributed that to the very first generation of righteous people. They narrated from Ali (RA), Zubair (RA), Ibne Auf (RA), Ibne Masood (RA) and Ibne Abbas (RA) and attributed the narration to Hajjaaj bin Artaah whose status is weak and frail. There is one narration in this context and that narration is not a valid one”. He has gone to the extent of saying, “In this regard the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that people have attributed to companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are nothing but fabrications. There is not even a single book that has its original source and neither is there any book that proves this narration (the authenticity of it)”. Further he says, “The Hadith narrated by Hajjaaj bin Artaah is neither acceptable nor is it worth an argument before any Imam”.
In 1393 AH, in an meeting that was held in Saudi Arabia, well known learned scholars of the country, in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and keeping in mind the statements made by the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and scholars belonging to the first two successive generations, renowned learned scholars, reached the decision that triple talaaq in one go will be considered as three and not one. The whole discussion and detailed recommendation got published in good 150 pages in the year 1397 AH, a document that enjoys the status of an informed scholarly work on this issue. To quote the exact wordings of the final decision, “After undertaking a thorough analysis of the issue, discussing its nuances, and carefully studying all the statements in relation to the issue alongside analysing the objections raised on them, the majority of this gathering has maintained that the utterance of triple talaaq in one go will be counted as three and not one. Those learned scholars of this gathering who have made a case for triple talaaq in one go being counted as one have, in that respect, presented only this situation; when a person gives talaaq by saying “I gave triple talaaq” or “I give triple talaaq”. However, in case someone says “I give talaaq, I give talaaq, I give talaaq” then in that regard even these learned scholars don’t maintain that it will be considered as one talaaq”. It means that in this situation according to those few learned scholars too it will be counted as three talaaqs. Even though 44 years have passed since the decision was taken by the gathering, the learned scholars of Saudi Arabia did not feel the need to once again discuss the issue. In fact the same decision is still considered as the final decision and the last word on the matter.
Summary: In the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), scholars of their successive generation and the generation after that, majority of learned scholars, scholars of Hadith and commentators, and four imams [Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA), Imam Maalik (RHA), Imam Shafi’ee (RHA), Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (RHA)], majority of learned scholars from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia unanimously agree that triple talaaq in one go is to be considered as three talaaqs and not one. During the reign of Umar Farooq (RA) in relation to utterance of triple talaaq in one go, in the presence of numerous companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it was categorically held that it ought to be considered as three talaaqs and not one. There is one small group (Ghair Muqallideen) who maintain that uttering triple talaq in one go will be considered as one talaaq and not three. Suffice it to say that more than 98 percent of the Muslim community agrees that utterance of triple talaaq in one go is to be considered as three talaaqs and not one. In terms of being careful and cautious it has been held that it is better to consider triple talaaq in one go as three talaaqs else, given the opinion of majority of our learned scholars that is held in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), for the entire life the husband and wife will indulge in fornication (their staying together will not be legitimate). According to logic too it is clearly understandable that three ought to be considered three and not one. In order to avoid details I have not discussed the arguments that are presented. If anyone is interested in going through all the arguments and references in relation to this issue he or she is advised to go through my article “The Issue of Triple Talaaq” and the decision of the learned scholars of Saudi Arabia (present in my article towards the end). This article is available at my website (www.najeebqasmi.com).
Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (http://www.najeebqasmi.com/)