Fatwa ID: 01584
Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Revoking the talaq after giving it to the wife through a text message
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
In Islam a verbal declaration of divorce is not necessary in determining the validity of a divorce.
Imam Kasani has said:
“Similarly issuing a divorce verbally is not a condition. Hence divorce will be effected with clear and unambiguous writing.” (Badai-al-Sanai P.100 v.3)
However, it should also be remembered that the written word in Talaq is not always taken at face value. There are situations where divorce issued with clear and unambiguous writing will constitute a legal divorce and in other situations it would not.
Before looking at your question, in the Hanafi Fiqh there are two types of written divorce:
- 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 a husband writes on the email, “Talaq” and sends it to the wife, then this becomes a formal letter, thus divorce will occur. (Raddul Muhtar p.456 v.4)
As soon as the husband 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, divorces written on a text message has the same effect of typing it on an email. Therefore, if the husband text divorce or talaq on his mobile phone and sends it to his wife the message has become 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 text ‘Talaq’, then it will depend on the intention of the husband.
With regards to your question, when the husband gave his wife talaq, the wife straightaway does not become unlawful for the husband. The husband can take her back if he revokes the divorce before the ending of the three menstrual periods (if she still menstruates) or three months. The choice of taking the wife back lasts only during the iddah period. At the expiry of this time, the rujuu also expires. (Bahrur Raaiq p.50 v.4)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham