Dear Respected Mufti,
Assalamu alaykum warahmatuLlahi wabarakatuh,
I would like to ask for a divorce ruling concerning my brother and his ‘wife’. Their relationship has been quite toxic throughout on both sides and there have been multiple divorce incidents involving them. The couple are being stubborn and are refusing to accept that they are now divorced due to the many occasions my brother has pronounced divorce. Those incidents that we are aware of have been outlined below as follows:
DIVORCE INCIDENT 1
In April 2021 they had gone out for a meal and wife thought he was looking at another woman. My brother became angry and issued a divorce. They came to blows but quickly made up and came back home. This divorce incident has NOT been denied by the couple.
DIVORCE INCIDENT 2
On [date] Dad called me extremely upset and crying. He said that my brother and his ‘wife’ had a fight in front of him and our brother gave her two divorces and dad had to hold my brother’s mouth as he was about to say it for the third time. The couple now deny that divorces were given on this occasion but my father insists that the incident indeed occurred and he witnessed it himself.
DIVORCE INCIDENT 3
Finally, there was the occasion where they were watching television and ‘wife’ was upset that my brother looked at the actress on screen. My brother issued one divorce. He then went out of the house for a few minutes and returned back to the house and went upstairs. My brother tried to reconcile and ‘wife’ said “you’ve issued one divorce already (referring to the incident downstairs earlier) so you may as well give me the other two”. My brother replied “kinni kin fer” TWICE which in our home language (Paharri-Potwari, a dialect of Pakistani Punjabi) translates to “have it then”. I then pressed him further and asked him if he did say the divorce word and if the intention was there. He said “yes I have.” This divorce incident has NOT been denied by the couple.
We accompanied our brother to see a Mufti at our local mosque to get clarification as to the status of the nikaah. The mufti said that the mosque’s policy was NOT to issue rulings on divorce. He entertained the concept of takeed (emphasizing/affirming) when issuing the divorces upstairs in incident 3 above. The Mufti was reluctant to give a ruling due to the mosque’s policy and advised the couple to separate and go see someone else for a ruling.
The couple are ignoring the possibility that they could be divorced and are still living together. Our relationship as siblings is severely fractured but it is our duty to help him see sense. As a family we are concerned for his well-being and reckoning on the day of judgement. We don’t want him or the lady he is residing with to be living in sin.
Please advise us on the following:
1) In light of the above incidents, have 3 valid divorces occurred and has the marriage been annulled?
2) If the couple are unwilling to accept the ruling of divorce and continue to co-habit as a married couple then is this considered zina and what are the consequences of this in this world and the next? How should the rest of the family now interact with this couple?
3) Lastly, will the couple be guilty of inadvertently committing kufr (disbelief) if they continue to co-habit and show disregard for the Islamic divorce laws AND be content with their illicit relationship and consider this relationship to be permissible? What are the consequences of this type of kufr?
The couple in question are professionals with sound intelligence and live in their own house and do not have any interference from either side of the families. We would be very grateful if you could give a ruling on this matter as we wish to share it with the couple so that they may rectify their situation in accordance to the Shari’ah and avoid any further wrongdoings.
Based on the information provided in the question three divorces have been issued. One at the restaurant in April and two in front of your father on the 16th of November. If these were clear, explicit statements of divorce such as, “You are divorced,” or “I have divorced you”, then three divorces will have occurred and from this point on, your brother and his wife will no longer be considered a married couple. In such a case it will be unlawful for them to remain in a relationship as a married couple.
If they continue living together as a married couple then such intimate interaction will fall within the scope of zina. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an,
“And do not come close to zina. Indeed, it is a great sin and an evil way”. (17:32)
Even if they are not intimate with each other, just looking and speaking to each other can fall into different categories of zina. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace said),
“Allah has decreed for every son of Adam his share of adultery (zina) which he will inevitably commit. The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it.” (Bukhari)
He also said, “When the fornicator is committing fornication he is not a believer”. This narration does not necessarily mean that the individual has fallen out of the fold of Islam, rather it indicates the severity of the matter. If a person commits a sin like adultery, the sin is so great that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) has likened it to disbelief. However, a person will still remain a Muslim provided they do not believe it to be permissible in Islam.
If someone is able to advise them in such a way that they may listen to that person then they should advise them. If they still refuse to listen then the blame will be on the one’s involved in the sin.
صحيح البخاري (8/ 54)
عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: مَا رَأَيْتُ شَيْئًا أَشْبَهَ بِاللَّمَمِ مِمَّا قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظَّهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا، أَدْرَكَ ذَلِكَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ، فَزِنَا العَيْنِ النَّظَرُ، وَزِنَا اللِّسَانِ المَنْطِقُ، وَالنَّفْسُ تَمَنَّى وَتَشْتَهِي، وَالفَرْجُ يُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ كُلَّهُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ
Ifta Research Fellow
Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel