I live in Birmingham, UK.
On 2nd November 2018, my wife and I had a very heated argument. I suffer from depression and mixed mood syndrome diagnosed by a clinical psychologist. This syndrome results in me having a very short fuse and sudden outburst of anger over trivial matters takes over my faculties.
I began to swear a lot and smash things. I have been suffering from this condition for 3 years since a severe car accident in 2015 which led to anxiety and mood swings. The condition means I become mentally unstable when I get immensely angry. I suffer physical symptoms such as feeling light-headed and I lose awareness of what I am saying.
I have a historical issue with intense anger where I have resulted in smashing items in the house, breaking tables, throwing plates/cups. In these moments, I lose control of what I am saying or doing. It is like a switch is thrown on in my head and I turn into this insane person.
On this particular night, my wife had left for her parents without permission during an argument over some petty matter relating to my children (she is the stepmother to my children). I was unable to reach her by calling several times to her mobile which I thought she had deliberately switched off. A few hours later, I called her mother who said she had gone to sleep. I asked her mother to wake her as I have tried calling her 7 times. My wife then answered her phone on my 8th attempt. It was past midnight. By this stage, I was already at the stage of immense anger. I asked her to return home in the morning – which she refused and she stated she needed space. I took this as a direct provocation from my wife as I deemed her to be challenging my authority and rights over her.
Previously, my wife has provoked me in arguments to give her divorce, but I was very careful with my words. However, on this night I lost total control as she had left the house and she had never done this before. This sent me into a fit of anger and under provocation and duress, I screamed triple talaq at her, then hung up and text the same. I could feel the blood drain from my face and my voice and hands began to tremble.
Respected Mufti saheb – What would be the ruling in such an incident in the Hanafi fiqh? I swear by almighty Allah (swt) that I had no premeditated intention of pronouncing the talaq and only the extreme anger compelled me to utter the triple talaq. Had I not been in this state of rage I would not have uttered these words and transgressed the boundaries of my religion. I have sincerely repented to Allah (swt) for this grave sin and I pray that I am forgiven for this extreme error of judgement. I am able to provide documentary medical evidence of my psychological issues on request.
I would appreciate it if you could provide a clear fatwa regarding my circumstances as soon as possible, inshallah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
The jurists have categorised anger into three stages:
1. The initial stage of anger where one's mind is sound and fully in control of what one is saying. In such a case talaq will occur without any doubt.
2. Extreme anger to the point of insanity, where one is unaware of where he is or what he is saying. In such a case talaq will not occur.
3. Finally, that stage which is between the above two stages in that one was extremely angry but not to the point of insanity and one was aware of what one was saying. In this case, also, talaq will also occur.
Normally it can be said that the anger does not reach the level of insanity as mentioned above, therefore divorce is valid and will take place.
However, in circumstances where it is claimed that the anger was such that a person lost his sanity, then in those occasions it is necessary that the person has a previous medical history of insanity or has been diagnosed by the doctor of being of an unstable mind, or has two male witness or one male and two female witnesses testifying that in fact, on that occasion the person had indeed lost his sanity, then the divorce will not take effect.
In conclusion to the above situation and the illness mentioned, it seems that one will fall under the 3rd category – which is that stage which is between the above two stages in that one was extremely angry but not to the point of insanity and was aware of what one was saying. In this case, talaq will occur.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Belaal Ahmed
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham