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A Critical Appraisal of ‘Triple Divorce’ in Islamic Law

Posted: 13 Mar 2009  

Nehaluddin Ahmad

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 2009


The issue of the ‘triple divorce’ is regarded as highly sensitive among the Muslims, not only in India but elsewhere. The Holy Qur’an is very cautious in matters of divorce. Three talaqs have to be spaced over a period of 3 months to give husband and wife time for reconciliation through the intervention of relatives and friends. Moreover, talaq can be pronounced only when the wife is in a state of tuhur, ie purity after menstruation. Yet, despite clear Qur’anic injunctions to the contrary, immediate triple divorce is permitted, destroying marital life in one breath. The practice of immediate triple divorce is widespread among Sunni Muslims and has legal validity. Even then the jurists call it a talaq-e-Bidat (innovative form of divorce). The dispute has been highlighted by reports of some Muslims instantly divorcing their wives by mail, over the telephone, and even through mobile phone text messages. This article explains the different theories of divorce prevailing in the contemporary Muslim world and what checks and restraints have been imposed by Islam over the exercise of husband's power of talaq. The article critically appraises the ‘innovative triple divorce’ by examining whether it is sanctioned by the Holy Quran or the sunnah and if there is a consensus of opinion (ijma) on the effectiveness of triple divorce.

Suggested Citation

Ahmad, Nehaluddin, A Critical Appraisal of ‘Triple Divorce’ in Islamic Law (April 2009). International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 23, Issue 1, pp. 53-61, 2009; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 09-64. Available at SSRN: or

Nehaluddin Ahmad (Contact Author)

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