He Sent A Message Via Mobile Phone Divorcing His Wife As A Joke: Ruling On Divorce Via E-mail|
Islamic Rulings - Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
If a husband sends a message to his wife on the
mobile phone telling her "You are divorced" is she
regarded as being divorced, whether that was joking or
Praise be to Allaah.
A man's divorce of his wife does not happen by
intention alone. If he expresses his intention
verbally – or by means of understandable gestures in
the case of one who is mute – or by writing, whether
on paper or via mobile phone messages or e-mails, all
of these mean that the divorce takes effect, provided
that that the writing can be proven to be from him,
because it is easy to forge messages in these cases.
For more information please see the answer to question
no. 36761 and 20660
There is no difference of opinion among the scholars
concerning the fact that divorce of one who is serious
counts as such.
As for one who is joking, if he clearly utters the
words of divorce "You are divorced (talaaq)" verbally,
not in writing, then the majority of scholars are of
the view that it counts as such. They quoted as
evidence the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may
Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: "There are three matters in which seriousness is
serious and joking is serious: marriage, divorce and
taking back (one's wife)." Narrated by Abu Dawood,
2194; al-Tirmidhi, 1184; Ibn Maajah, 2039. Classed as
hasan by al-Albaani in Irwa' al-Ghaleel, 1826.
See also the answer to question no. 44038
With regard to writing the words of divorce, whether
the husband writes them on a piece of paper or in a
message sent by mobile phone or by e-mail, this does
not count as a divorce unless that was his intention.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked about a man who wrote that his wife was divorced
on a piece of paper then gave it to her. He replied:
This divorce does not count for the woman mentioned if
he did not intend to divorce her thereby, rather it
was just writing or he intended something other than
divorce, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: "Actions are but by
This is the view of a large number of scholars, and
some narrated that it is the view of the majority,
because writing is a like a metaphor and divorce does
not take place by means of metaphors unless it is
accompanied by the intention to divorce, according to
the more sound of the two scholarly opinions, and
unless the writing is accompanied by something which
indicates that the intention is divorce, in which case
divorce does take place. End quote.
See also the answer to question no. 72291
Based on this, if your husband intended divorce by
this writing, then it counts as a divorce. But if he
was joking, as you say, and did not intend divorce,
then it does not count as a divorce.
Our advice to husbands is to fear Allaah and not to
take the rulings of Allaah as a joke or a game. They
should realize that divorce destroys families and
causes the children to be lost, and it exposes the
wife to humiliation and temptation. So they should
fear Allaah and preserve their families, and strive to
be patient and forbearing before they resort to
And Allaah knows best.
divorce via e-mail
First divorce communicated through
email to te wife ,father,and uncle whether valid or a
signed document necessary? whether the other two
remaining divorces can be obtained immediately?.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is well known in sharee'ah that divorce takes place
when the words are uttered, written or indicated by a
gesture that takes the place of speaking. See question
No. 20660. This is something that is between the
husband and his Lord if no one hears him say that.
With the regard to divorce via e-mail there is no
problem regarding the fact that it is valid: if the
husband writes that he is divorcing his wife then the
divorce takes place by virtue of that writing. But the
issue here is whether this divorce can be proven and
authenticated (in court).
It seems that the husband's divorce of his wife via
e-mail is effective if it is proven definitively that
the one who sent the e-mail containing the words of
divorce is the husband or someone whom the husband
appointed to issue the divorce, and he acknowledges
that and does not deny it.
But if that cannot be proven and the husband does not
acknowledge it, then this e-mail message is not valid
and divorce does not take place in this case, because
it is well known to those who work in this field that
it is possible to hack into e-mail accounts and send
messages. So we cannot be absolutely certain that the
one who sent it is the husband.
So proof and confirmation must be sought from the
husband, and the the divorce should not be regarded as
having taken place until after it has been confirmed
by the husband. If he confirms it then the ‘iddah
begins from the time when he uttered or wrote the
words of divorce.
The two remaining divorces (talaaq) cannot take place
immediately, for divorce takes place one at a time.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"The divorce is twice"
This refers to the revocable divorce (i.e., first or
second talaaq). Allaah did not say "two divorces" –
which indicates that it can only happen one at a time,
followed by the ‘iddah in each case. If the first
divorce is valid as is counted as such, then we have
to wait out the ‘iddah. If he takes you back during
the ‘iddah, then this divorce counts as one of the
three divorces, and he has to bring witnesses to
attest to that. If he does not take you back during
the ‘iddah, then you are divorced as soon as the
‘iddah is over, and it is not permissible for him to
take you back without a new marriage contract and a
new mahr, and he is regarded as a stranger to you like
any other man who may propose marriage, and the
marriage can only be done with your approval and the
agreement of your guardian.
The applies in the case of a second divorce; if he
takes you back during (the ‘iddah) then you are his
wife. In the event of a third divorce, you become
haraam for him until you have married another husband
in a legitimate shar'i marriage which is not done
solely with the intention of enabling you to remarry
your first husband, and which is consummated in the
proper manner. If it so happens that you get divorced
from your second husband then it becomes permissible
for you to remarry your first husband after the ‘iddah
And Allaah knows best