The Supreme Court, by a 3:2 majority verdict, has held the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims as "unconstitutional", "arbitrary" and "not part of Islamic faith". Actually, the court in its judgement has affirmed what is mentioned in the Quran and struck down an 'un-Islamic' practice which served as a blot on the name of Islam in India.
The Quran was not revealed to the Prophet Muhammad all at once. The revelation came in response to events and according to the necessities of the delivery of the Message. This period of revelation lasted for about 23 years during which the Quranic verses were sent down.
The Quran says of itself that it contains two kinds of ayats (verses): Mohkamat (entirely clear and plain) and Mutashabihat (allegorical or that require interpretation). There may be differences of opinion in interpretation of allegorical verses as they have several meanings, but 'Mohkam' verses are plain for everyone and easy to understand.
While all the passages related to Talaq in Quran, including the entire chapter on this subject, contain verses which are easy to understand, yet we find difference of opinions on this subject among Muslims.
The Quran briefly touches on most of the subjects, including the pillars of Islam like Prayer, Charity, Fasting and Haj. But the Book outlines the entire procedure of talaq in detail.
You'll find that no other course is explained in the Quran more than that of divorce, but still there remain complications in matters related to this subject not only between people but also among scholars.
However, the answer to the triple talaq question lies in the Quran, only if one wants to contemplate without making his school of thought a yardstick. The Book makes things plain and clear, it's the interpretation of some scholars that often confuses people.
There is not a single verse in the Quran that validates severing of marital relationship in one sitting. Instead it leans more toward saving the relationship than dissolving it abruptly.
It states that even if you dislike a thing about your spouse, live by it in good terms and says that you might start liking it later. "And live with them in kindness. For (even) if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good." (4:19
While describing the relationship between husband and wife, the Quran uses a word 'Libaas' which means 'garment' and says that husband and wife are 'garments' for each other.
"They are your garments and you are their garments." (Quran 2:187)
The example of the garment used by the Quran is a very powerful one as it sums up the relationship between husband and wife. The purpose of the garment is to beautify and not to spoil. It protects, safeguards and comforts the wearer so that spouses are each other's protectors and committed helpers.
Quran says, "It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)." (Quran 7:189)
And the same reflects in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad as he said, “The best among them are those who are best to their wives”.
The 'widely known' concept of ‘talaq’ in the Indian sub-continent:
In instant triple talaq, the husband pronounces the phrase "I divorce you" thrice (in Arabic, talaq, talaq, talaq) to his wife and both cease to be husband and wife thereafter. In this case the divorce takes effect forthwith, immediately.
What Quran says about Talaq:
The Quranic message is very explicit about divorce. It says all efforts should be made for reconciliation between the two disputants and the decision to part ways not to be taken immediately.
1: Even if men dislike a thing about their wives, the Quran commands them to live it by in good terms and says that they might start liking her later.
"..And live with them (wives) in kindness. For (even) if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good." (Quran 4:19
2: Appoint an arbitrator if divorce becomes inevitable
"If a couple fears separation, you shall appoint an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family; if they decide to reconcile, God will help them get together. God is Omniscient, Cognizant." (Quran 4:35
3: In Islam actions are judged by intentions. Prophet Muhammad had said, “Surely, all actions are but driven by intentions." But when it comes to divorce, if a man pronounces the words of divorce at a moment of intense anger and without realising it, according to some scholars the divorce takes place. However, the Quran says you are not accountable for that which is unintentional in your oaths.
“Allah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing” (Quran 2:225).
4: Divorce shouldn't be given at the time of menses. According to some scholars it does not get counted.
5: Witness: When divorce is given there must be two witnesses present at the time. The quality of witnesses emphasised by the Quran here is that they should be known for being fair and just in the society.
"And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] Allah.." (Quran 65:2)
6: After going through this procedure, if a man decides to divorce his wife he should utter the divorce sentence.
7: Waiting period of three months
The wife, after she has been divorced in this way, must stay in her husband's house for a period of three menstrual cycles.
Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. During this period the husband cannot turn his wife out from the house and should provide for her. In the mean time it is the responsibility of the family members to try to reconcile them.
Quran says, "..And turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave." "Let the women live in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them." ( 65:1)
"Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him." (Quran 65:7)
8: During this period, if husband and wife change their minds, the decision of divorce can be revoked. The only thing required is to call in two just witnesses.
"Thus when they fulfill their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endowed with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah." (Quran 65:2)
9: The Quran asks men not to retain their wives with intention to harm them thereafter.
"..either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself." (Quran 2:31
10: But after this period if there is no reconciliation, both, husband and wife, shall be considered as separated permanently. She is now a free woman. She has all the right to marry the person of her choice.
11: The Quran allows a woman to remarry her former husband in case she wants to give their relationship one more chance. A new 'nikah' (contract) will take place and the woman will get a compulsary wedding gift (Mahr) from her husband.
“And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term, do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis.” (Quran 2:232)
12: Suppose, due to some reason, the untoward situation arises a second time that divorce becomes inevitable, the Quran says that divorce can take place for the second time.
13: 'Talaq' would be pronounced once again and the entire procedure described above will be followed. Both, again, will get the three month period in which they can reconcile and resolve differences and live happily. If they don't, the couple ceases to be husband and wife thereafter.
14: She is now again a free woman and has all the right to marry the person of her choice. Now, the Quran gives another chance to both of them. If both feel they want to be with each other once again, which is highly unlikely, they can again get married. Condition: A new nikah and new marriage gift for the wife.
15: If, unfortunately, for the third time, the same situation arises that divorce becomes inevitable then the Quran says that this is the limit.
“Divorce is twice. Then, either keep (her) in an acceptable manner or release (her) with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep (within) the limits of Allah.” (Quran 2:229)
Now divorce can take place for the third and the last time as well. But after the third talaq the marriage has come to an end. The three chances have been exhausted.
After the third divorce the couple cannot remarry now, unless and until the woman marries some other person and due to some reason gets divorced from him, not under a planned contract.
And the principal clause is:
**Any act, according to Islam, stands nullified if the given procedure for it in Quran or in traditions of Prophet Muhammad is not followed. Muslims, while pronouncing triple talaq turn their back to the specifically laid down procedure of divorce in Islam. Then how come scholars issue a fatwa of separation if triple talaq is pronounced at once?
Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours will have it rejected.”
About the author: Ayaz Farooqui works as an Assistant Producer with ABP News Network. He tweets at @ayazfarooqui
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.