Categories
The Muslim Family Life

Divorce in a Fit of Anger

Question

During a heated argument with my wife, I said to her, ‘I divorce you,’ once only. The following day, we received a visit from friends and I introduced her to them as my wife. She later apologized to me and I accepted her apology. Before her waiting period was over, we lived together as man and wife. Could you please comment on our situation?

Answer

It is amazing to see people do what they deem fit without even bothering to consult anyone about the validity of their actions. Only belatedly, they ask whether what they have done is appropriate or wrong. The proper attitude is to find out the relevant Islamic injunctions before embarking on a certain course of action. That way, you are sure that what you are about to do is legitimate or not.

Someone may protest that in the heat of rage, one has no time to reflect. Certainly, one could also advance the argument that it is at such moment that one must not resort to divorce. Marriage is too serious a matter to be terminated in a fit of anger.

Our friend decided to introduce his divorcee to his friends as his wife, only because he felt it convenient to keep appearances. At that point, he had not even thought of reinstating his marriage. Moreover, during the waiting period, he lived with his divorcee as man and wife. Long after that, he decided to ask whether his behaviour is acceptable from Islamic point of view.

To claim that divorce pronounced out of anger is invalid is both baseless and unacceptable, since there is no legal framework in Islam that claims that mere anger can act as a valid impediment. Obviously, no person will utter divorce in a state of jubilation – divorce is nearly always uttered out of annoyance or anger.

The divorce being raised in this question is valid, although, the husband was in a rage mood when he divorced his wife. Obviously, he was not in a state of blind anger which made him unaware of the meaning of words. Hence, his wife would observe her waiting period from that moment.

During this waiting period, they would continue to live in the same house but as complete strangers. She need not cook for him or do any household duties, and he would be responsible for her maintenance. If they agree to remarry, they do not need a new marriage contract or a new dower. They only have to make their reunion public such as declaring their intention in the presence of at least two witnesses. Those friends he received that day might stand in as witnesses, had he made it clear to them that he is remarrying his wife after divorce. At this juncture, if he has remarried his wife during her waiting period properly by stating this in front of the two witnesses, then she remains his wife. Otherwise, he must do it straight away, repent of the mistakes and pray Allah for His  forgiveness.

In another Shari`ah evidence, the Prophet (S) said: “There is no divorce or emancipation in the state of Ighlaq” (Hadith: Ahmad, Abu Dawud & Ibn Majah). The majority of scholars including Imam Ahmad explained that Ighlaq means duress, intense anger or compulsion.

The following legal rulings pertaining to the utterance of divorce in anger, are agreed upon by all jurists:

  • If a person utters the divorce in a fit of rage or fury whereby he may be technically considered temporarily insane, then such an utterance is not to count as a valid divorce.
  • If a person utters the divorce in a state of anger fully aware of what he is doing as well as the subsequent consequences, then such a divorce is valid.

Many are those who assume that anger is a sign of manliness or strength, but in actual fact it is a severe spiritual illness that easily consumes the individual and leads him to become a play object of the devil. And men who often use divorce as a form of intimidation pronouncing it out of a misplaced sense of supremacy, often suffer the consequences as the reality of loosing their partners daunts on them. On this note, the Prophet (S) said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong person is he who controls himself whilst in a state of anger” (The Hadith: Al_Bukhari, vol. 8, book 78, no. 6114).

Bibliography

Lemu, A., &Al-Haddad, H. (2012). Talaq out of anger. Retrieved from
https://en.islamway.net/article/13279/talaq-out-of-anger

Mahama, A. (1996). The Muslim family life. Accra: The Call Consult.

The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta. (n.d.). Fatwas of ibn Baz. part no.21, page 382. Retrieved from http://www.alifta.net/fatawa/fatawaDetails.aspx?languagename=en&View=Page&PageID=4216&PageNo=1&BookID=14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *