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 About Divorce
 Islamic View on Divorce
 Divorce Is Not The Answer
 Effects of Divorce
 After a Divorce
Type Of Divorce


Definition of Talak

Talak is an Arabic word meaning "to release" or "to divorce". Under the Muslim law, talak means "to untie the matrimonial knot by articulating a word denoting divorce."

If a husband utters the word on his wife, the two of them would automatically be divorced and the wife would be in a state of iddah. If, during iddah, the parties wish to reconcile, the divorce may be revoked without their having to go through the process of nikah. Allah says:

"Take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms."
Quran - 65 : 2.

   Pronouncement of Talak

The pronouncement of talak falls under two categories:

  1. Syarih
  2. Kinayah.

Syarih means "clear" or "distinct". In other words, the husband utters the talak on his wife clearly or distinctly; there is no ambiguity in meaning.

Examples of Syarih pronouncement of talak:

  1. I divorce you with one talak.
  2. I am letting you have the talak.
  3. With effect from today, you are divorced.

Such unequivocal or Syarih utterance of the talak by the husband would, without exception, effect a divorce between him and his wife albeit there is neither intention on his part to divorce his wife nor a witness to the occasion.

Kinayah means indirect, or the word or words uttered can be interpreted in more ways than one.

Examples of Kinayah pronouncement of talak:

  1. I do not want you anymore. You may go back to your parents' house.
  2. Get out of here. Go anywhere you like.
  3. We are through. There's nothing between us anymore.
    Such utterances are classified under Kinayah. If the husband has no intention to divorce his wife, no divorce will take place despite the utterance. However, if the husband has the intention to divorce his wife when he utters these words, then a divorce does occur.

Parties who are not sure whether a divorce between them has taken place as a result of words uttered by the husband should contact the Syariah Court for clarification. Similarly, couples who wish to have their divorce revoked must report to the Syariah Court for advice.

Types of Talak

There are six classifications of talak, namely:

  1. Talak Raj'ie
  2. Talak Battah
  3. Talak Bain
  4. Three divorces pronounced on one occasion
  5. Talak Sunni
  6. Talak Bid'i

1. Talak Raj'ie

Talak Raj'ie means a divorce that is revocable during iddah without the couple having to go through the process of nikah. The talak that is uttered by the husband is classified as raj'ie (revocable) only if it is the first or the second divorce.

2. Talak Battah

Talak Battah is a permanent divorce pronounced by the husband on his wife. For instance, the husband says:

"I divorce you for good".

According to the Shafi'e School of Law, a divorce in this instance takes place only on the basis of the husband's niat or intention. If the husband's intention is to divorce his wife by one talak, then the wife is accordingly divorced by one talak. Likewise, if his intention is to divorce his wife by three talak, then the wife is divorced by three talak.

3. Talak Bain

Talak Bain falls under two categories:

  1. Talak Bain Kubra
  2. Talak Bain Sughra

Talak Bain Kubra is a situation where a divorce has taken place on three occasions - in other words, the husband has divorced his wife three times. The divorce is irrevocable. The husband may re-marry his ex-wife only if, subsequent to the third divorce, the ex-wife has married another man and the marriage has ended in a divorce / in death.

Talak Bain Sughra is a divorce that takes place less than three times but is irrevocable even during iddah. A couple divorced under such a circumstance must go through the process of nikah if they want to live as husband and wife again. Talak Bain Sughra occurs in the following situations:

  1. Divorce decided by Hakam
  2. Khulu' (Divorce by Redemption)
  3. Decree of fasakh issued by a Judge.

4. Three Divorces pronounced on one occasion

In the days of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and Abu Bakar (r.a.), three divorces pronounced on one occasion were considered as one divorce. However, when Umar Ibnu Khattab (r.a.) became Caliph, he ruled that all three divorces pronounced on one occasion were effectively three divorces and were thus irrevocable. Sayyidina Umar had come by this decision because members of the community during his time had taken the utterance of talak lightly.

When such a situation occurs, the Judge shall hear the case of the couple concerned and make a ruling on the divorce.

5. Talak Sunni

Talak Sunni is a divorce in accordance with the tradition of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in that the husband utters the talak on his wife in the presence of two witnesses at a time when she is not menstruating and they have not had sexual intercourse after her last menstruation.

6. Talak Bid'i

Talak Bid'i is a divorce uttered by the husband:

  1. at a time when the wife is having her menstruation;
  2. during the wife's postnatal period; or
  3. during the period when the wife is not menstruating but the husband has had sexual intercourse with her.