Fatwa ID: 01666
Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
I would like to ask a question about talaq. I separated from my husband 6 weeks ago due to marital issues and have been staying at my parents. I have tried several times to contact my husband and his family to try and resolve our issues but they just ignored me. Then last weekend two of his family members came to my house and delivered a small note of paper that simply said my full name at the top, with no other words before or after. It then said just the word "divorce" on three separate lines. The note had my husband’s signature at the bottom and is written in his handwriting. Is this a valid irrevocable divorce?
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)
It is stated in Fatawa al-Hindiyya: “Writing (a divorce) is of two types: A formally written letter and informal writing. A formally written letter is that which has a heading and title like that which is written to a non-present person, and non-informal writing is that which does not have a heading. Then, non-formal writing is of two types: Clear and understandable writing and unclear writing. Clear writing is that which is written on a piece of paper, wall or ground in a way that it is understandable and readable, and unclear writing is that which is written in the air, on water or on something in a way that it is not understandable or readable.
In the case of unclear and unreadable writing (like on water or in the air), divorce will not come into effect even if one intends it. And if the writing is clear but not as a formally written letter, divorce will be effected if the person intends it otherwise it will not count. As far as a formally written letter is concerned, divorce will count regardless of whether one intends it or not.” (Vol1, P378)
Regarding your question, the piece of paper which was addressed to you and had the word “divorce” written on three separate lines will effect three divorces. Your marriage with your husband has now been terminated. The waiting (iddah) period will commence from the date it was written and the woman will be free to remarry once that period has expired. It is stated in the books of jurisprudence that the waiting period for a women who has been divorced is three haidh (periods) (Durrul Mukhtar, Vol 1, p. 651)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.