Why is a verbal divorce given only by a man when marriage is proven on paper?
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
First, let’s take a look at the letter of the law:
Technically, a marriage can take effect without being written down on paper. While it is recommended that a marriage contract be drafted, a nikah is perfectly valid with a verbal statement of offer and acceptance, provided that it is witnessed by two men (or, alternatively, one man and two women according to the Hanafi maddhab).
Divorce also takes effect through verbal pronouncement. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Every pronouncement of divorce counts.”
Thus, if a man makes three pronouncements of divorce all at once, the divorce takes place immediately and becomes irrevocable. The wisdom behind this is the deterrent effect. In actuality, this method of divorce should be the last thing men do. Divorce is not meant to be taken lightly.
According to an answer by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawhthari, the above divorce is a bid’ah-type divorce. Although the divorce takes effect, this type of divorce is extremely frowned upon.
The spirit of the law:
Allah Ta’ala says in the matter of divorce,
“Retain them in kindness or release them in kindness…”
When a couple are unable to reconcile their marriage, then there is a proper way to proceed with the divorce. This is more in keeping with the spirit of the law, which holds that marriage is premised on love and mercy, not oppression and abuse. As Shaykh al-Kawthari explains,
“The Ahsan (most preferred) divorce is to make one pronouncement of divorce to the wife, in an interval between menstruations (Tuhr), in which no sexual intercourse with the wife has taken place. After which she is left until her waiting period (Iddah) is over.
The Sunnah (preferred) divorce is to pronounce three divorces in three separate intervals of Tuhr, in which no sexual intercourse with the wife has taken place.”
Source: The D-BOMB: What happens after one pronounces divorce three times?
This method of divorce is far more equitable as it gives the couple the time and space to rethink their decision and possibly reconcile.
Unfortunately, many men fail to implement the spirit of the law when they divorce their wives, thus resulting in broken hearts and broken marriages.
May Allah Ta’ala strengthen our marriages and help us to implement both the letter and spirit of Sacred Law.
And Allah knows best
Answered By: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani