Divorce through email or text message
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
There are two types of written divorce:
2. Ghair Marsumah
Marsuma is where the letter is addressed to his wife and Ghair Marsumah is where the letter is not written to his wife. Then Marsuma and Ghair Marsumah have two types: clear and understandable writing and unclear and unreadable writing. Example of the first one will be writing that is written on a piece of paper, wall or ground in a way which is understandable and examples of unclear writing will be writing in the air, on water or on something in a way that is not understandable or readable.
In a situation where the writing is unclear, divorce will not occur irrespective whether it is Marsumah or Ghair Marsumah or whether he made an intention or not.
In a situation where the writing is clear but it is not directed or written to his wife for example he typed the word ‘divorce’ or ‘Talaq’ then talaq will occur if he made an intention.
In a situation where the writing is clear and it is directed or referred to his wife for example he says ‘O Zainab! I have given you divorce,’ then talaq and divorce will occur irrespective of whether he makes an intention or not. (Fatawa Hindiyyah p.378 v.1)
With regards to your question, when your husband wrote on the email, “Talaq” thrice and sent it to you, then this becomes a formal letter, thus three divorces will occur and you will become unlawful for you husband. (Raddul Muhtar p.456 v.4)
As soon as he emailed the message the letter became Marsumah, i.e. addressed to the wife thus talaq will occur without an intention of talaq or not. If he had not sent it but just typed ‘Talaq’ thrice, then it will depend on the intention of the husband.
Finally, the claim made by your husband that he was angry etc… would not be taken into consideration, as divorce in anger is also effective. Furthermore, his claim that he was not in his senses would not be held valid unless a doctor says that he has a history of mental illnesses.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham