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Remarriage to Ex-Spouse after the Divorce

According to Islam, if a man divorces his wife thrice, then he could not directly remarry her. But if the divorced woman marries another man, and he divorces her or dies, after that she is allowed to remarry her first husband. This ruling has been directly mentioned in Quran.

If a man divorces her again (a third time), she becomes unlawful for him (and he cannot remarry her) until she has married another man. Then if he divorces her there is no harm if the two unite again (by remarrying)

This affects the whole family, but especially women and the children are affected from it.

This was a practice of the Arab society of the pre-Islamic time of Ignorance, and Islam adopted it from there (along with the other related practices like only husband had the right to divorce, and the system of 3 divorces etc).

The logic behind this ruling was to "punish" the husband for divorcing his wife thrice. Nevertheless, this custom didn't take into consideration the miseries that it brought upon the woman and she was also punished even if she was innocent and didn't make a mistake.

This was the practice of the pre-Islamic era Arabs

This was a practice of the Arab society of the pre-Islamic time.

Actually, the whole "system" of pre-Islamic era consisted of[1]:

  1. Only husband had the right to give divorce, while the women didn't have this right.
  2. The 3 Talaqs (divorces) system[2] i.e. Husband was allowed to take his wife back till 2 divorces. But after the 3rd divorce, he was not allowed to take her back.
  3. But if he desired her even after the 3rd Talaq, then she had to first marry another man, and after the divorce from the 2nd husband, she could return to her former husband.

The logic behind this ruling was to "punish" the husband for divorcing his wife thrice. Nevertheless, this custom didn't take into consideration the miseries that it brought upon the woman and she was also punished even if she was innocent and didn't make a mistake.

ويظهر أن الجاهليين كانوا قد أوجدوا حلًّا لهذا الطلاق الشاذ، فأباحوا للزوج أن يرجع زوجه إليه بعد الطلاق الثالث، ولكن بشرط أن تتزوج بعد وقوع الطلاق الثالث من رجل غريب، على أن يطلقها بعد اقترانها به، وعندئذ يجوز للزوج الأول أن يعود إليها بزوج جديد.
It is apparent that the people from the era of Ignorance found a way to make their wives permissible (Halal) for them even after 3 divorces. Therefore, if the husband wanted to take her back, then that woman had to marry a stranger man on the condition that he would divorce her later. After this process had been completed (i.e. the divorce from the stranger), then the first husband was allowed to remarry her.

Later, Islam also adopted whole of this system of the pre-Islamic era (i.e. only husband having the right to divorce + 3 Divorces + the ruling of wife having to marry another man before returning to the 1st husband).

Islam added another extra condition to this pre-Islamic era practice i.e. no contract of divorce could be made at the time of marriage with the 2nd man[3]. This means, if the 2nd husband likes her, then he could keep her for himself. It was intended to make the punishment even more "severe".

The logic was to compel the husband to think more carefully before giving the 3rd divorce, and it was also a warning for a woman to solve the dispute, and to make her husband happy before he divorces her the 3rd time.

Nevertheless, this extra condition brought even more miseries upon the Muslim women as compared to the women of the pre-Islamic era of ignorance. Also, the children were also more affected.

The time period for solving the disputes in the Islamic 3 Talaqs System

There are 2 ways of giving 3 Talaqs in Islam.

  1. A husband gives 3 Talaqs (i.e. divorces) to his wife in one sitting i.e. if he says "Talaq, Talaq, Talaq" (i.e. 3 times Talaq) to his wife at the same time[4], then the final irrevocable divorce takes place within seconds.
  2. A husband gives the 1st Talaq (divorce) after the wife becomes free of her monthly bleeding. Then he gives the 2nd after the 2nd menstrual bleeding. These first 2 Talaqs (divorces) are reversible and he could took her back. But if he also divorces her the 3rd time after the third menstrual bleeding, then it becomes the irrevocable divorce[5]. This procedure of Talaq takes about 3 months time.

In the first case, if a husband pronounces 3 divorces at once in anger, then there is absolutely no time left to solve the disputes. The whole family is destroyed within seconds.

In the 2nd case, the procedure of Talaq takes about 3 months time. Nevertheless, still there is no guarantee that the dispute between the husband and the wife is going to be over within 3 months. Some people, sometimes need some more time to learn their lessons than the 3 months.

Why a divorced Muslim couple still wants to reunite?

First Reason: The couple still love each other, despite the temporary anger and dispute

A divorce may occur due to many reasons (like temporary anger, inexperience of the young couple to solve their disputes, or family pressure, or financial situation etc.).

But all these factors could change with time, and they may be able to solve their dispute later.

Nevertheless, problem occurs for the divorced Muslim couples that they don't have any chance to correct their mistake later, and to reunite due to this Islamic ruling.

Second Reason: Preserving the family life for their children

In case of irrevocable divorce, both the partners have to live separately, and thus the children are also separated either from the father or from the mother.

In both cases, the family life of the children is destroyed.

Therefore, for the sake of their children, the divorced couples often wish to reunite later.

But again, due to this Islamic Ruling, the divorced couple get's no chance to correct their mistake and to reunite for the sake of their children.

Women especially feel themselves compelled to reunite with their ex-husbands

Another Islamic Ruling stipulates that[6]:

  • A woman will lose all of her children and they are separated from her if she marries any other man (except for her ex-husband).
  • Islamic Logic is that all the time of the wife (except of the prayers) belongs to the new husband. He could call her for sexual enjoyment at any time. But if children from the first husband are still there, then it hampers the right of 2nd husband to enjoy her. Thus, the children should be separated from her if she decides to remarry another person.

In an Islamic society, it is very difficult for a woman to survive alone. She has to face a lot of restrictions (like taking Hijab and not to make interaction with men). Thus, her life becomes really difficult to go outside of house, and then to find a good job, and then to work whole day there, and at the same time to look after her small children at home too. Thus, the easiest way for a divorced woman to survive in an Islamic society, is to remarry and get the financial support from the 2nd husband.

Thus, all the divorced Muslim mothers are badly affected and they are in a hard rock and hard place. They are practically "compelled" to choose one of the following options below:

  1. Their first option is to choose to stay with their children. But then they could not marry another man, and they have to give away their natural need of being loved by a man, and the financial support of a man, which is very much needed in an Islamic society.
  2. Their second option is to marry another man of their choice, in order to get the financial support and love from him. But the evil for them in this option is that all their children will be separated from them. And it is one of the most horrible thing for any mother to loose any or all of her children.
  3. Their third option is to remarry their ex-husband. In this case, they will get the financial support and love of a man, and children will also not be separated from her. Even if the she does not love the first husband, still getting the "financial support" from him along with the option of separation from her children is enough reason for her to wish to reunite with the former husband.

This is one of the main reason why Muslim women are very harshly and unilaterally hit by divorce, and they may feel themselves strongly compelled to return to their first husband (even if these women were totally innocent, and it was the fault of their husbands to divorce them). This is the "Only Chance" available for a Muslim woman in Islam to have a complete family life (which includes husband and her children).

Combination of This Ruling + Wife Beating + Wife not having the right to get her freedom through divorce

This Islamic Ruling does not affect the woman's life alone, but it works in combination of two other Islamic ruling (i..e Wife beating + A wife does not have the right to take divorce).

The combination of all three of them in action is found in the following Hadith:

Rifa`a divorced his wife whereupon `AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. `Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by severe beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, `Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women (i.e. men were not beating their wives so brutally during the era of ignorance as they beat after Islam). Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When `AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, `Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa`a (i.e. the first husband)." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa`a unless `Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet (ﷺ) saw two boys with `Abdur- Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that `AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow,"

Why this Sahabaia lady (i.e. female companion) made false slander of impotency against her 2nd husband?

From the Hadith of wife of Rifa`a, it is clear that either this Sahabia lady (i.e. female companion) was telling a lie about the impotency of her husband (and that too in front of Prophet Muhammad himself), or her 2nd husband was telling a lie when he claimed to not to be impotent.

Muhammad later declared that female companion to be a lair, while her 2nd husband already had 2 sons from another wife.

So, what compelled that female companion to come up with this lie of impotency of her husband?

Answer is, in case of impotency, she had a chance to get her freedom through an Islamic court. Here you could read about these rare cases, where an Islamic court could give freedom to the women through Faskh (i.e. dissolution of marriage).

Risks involved for the Muslim woman in the 2nd marriage:

This hadith of the wife of Rifa`a also makes clear about the huge risks and the severe consequences that a woman could face in case of marriage with the 2nd husband.

Even if a woman marries with the intention of divorce to the 2nd man, still there is a huge risk for her that the 2nd husband would not grant her freedom by giving her divorce as it is solely his right according to Islam. A Muslim woman could not get her freedom even through Khul' in Islam, as Khul' is also the right of the husband in Islam and no Islamic court could compel him to set her free.

Even more risk is involved for her that Islam also allows the 2nd husband to beat her severely in order to make her submissive, so that she provides him with the sex-services properly.

This beating could be so severe that she could even get the bruises all over her body. Even 'Aisha was complaining and testifying that the women in the pre-Islamic era were not beaten so brutally, as the Muslim women were being beaten by their Muslim husbands.

Love and desire to reunite with the first husband is "natural" despite the irrevocable divorce

This hadith of wife of Rifa`a also proves that love is natural, and desire to return to him is also natural and no irrevocable divorce could end this love and desire.

And if a Sahabia (female companion) lady was unable to control over her love and desire for the 1st husband, and if she was ready to come up with false slanders to achieve her desire, then it could not be expected from the women of today to not to love their ex-husbands and not to make such false moves in order to achieve their true desires.

Two houses and two families are going to be destroyed due to the restriction upon the love

This hadith of wife of Rifa`a also proves if religion is going to curb the love, and even succeeds in compelling her to marry another man, then still two families are going to be destroyed.

The house of first husband is going to be destroyed, while the children are without the mother. And the house of 2nd husband is going to be destroyed while there is no peace there and this house becomes the the center of beating of the woman.

Therefore, it is not only the woman, but the children and the whole two families are going to pay the price of this restriction.

Halala (Tahleel Marriage)

In Halala (or Tahleel Marriage), the 2nd marriage tooks place with the intention of later giving divorce to the woman, so that she could become lawful (Halal) for her former husband to marry her again.

There is a difference of opinion in different Fiqhs regarding the 2nd marriage with the intention of divorce[7]

  • Hanafi and Shafi'i Fiqhs allow a woman to marry a 2nd man with the 'intention' of taking divorce later, and to remarry her first husband. That is why, we see 'Halala Centers' in the Islamic countries, and even in the western countries too where Muslim population resides.
  • While Hanbali and Maliki Fiqhs don't allow such marriage with the intention of later taking Talaq. In this case, practically all the doors are shut for a woman to reunite her children and the former husband.