The recent instance of a Qatari Muslim having had to face the prospect of his marriage being terminated for (jokingly) typing the word “talaq” thrice while chatting on Skype with his wife has generated varied opinions. The youth's “nikah” was annulled following a “fatwa” issued by the leading Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom, Deoband in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

The fatwa was in response to a written request (number 26,075) from the youth, whose identity is unknown. He wanted to know whether his nikah was valid as he had typed talaq three times while chatting with his wife. The Darul Uloom in its fatwa maintained that “when the talaq is pronounced three times, it means the talaq has taken place. It does not matter whether it is reciprocated by the wife, or not. The wife has become “haraam” [illegal].”

The fatwa stated that the husband had neither the right to take her back, nor solemnise a new marriage without “halaalah,” which meant that his wife after the mandatory “iddat” period of four months and 10 days will have to marry another man, seek divorce from her second husband, again undergo the “iddat” period before remarrying her first husband.

Authenticity

Reacting to the fatwa, the Naib Imam of Lucknow's Aishbagh Idgah and executive member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, said: “The important point here is that the husband had admitted that he had typed talaq thrice and whether he did not mean to divorce his wife, or had jokingly referred to the dreaded word, does not hold ground in this case.” The Maulana, however, added that the authenticity of the e-mail and whether it was sent by the man must be proved as there was also a possibility of the e-mail being hacked.

Issue between husband and wife

According to Naish Hasan, founder-member and general secretary of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, the man should not have approached Darul Uloom as it was an issue between a husband and his wife, what if talaq was typed or written three times, or 10 times. “The fatwa should be rejected,” Ms. Hasan said.

She said that the triple talaq was a “pre-Islamic” concept, and the Holy Koran was silent on it. Ms. Hasan was of the opinion that the marriage could not be annulled under these circumstances.

A serious issue

AIMPLB member Kamal Farooqui said ‘nikah' was a contract, a serious issue, and talaq could not be pronounced thrice even in a lighter vein. “Chatting in which the youth reportedly typed talaq thrice is evidence enough,” Mr. Farooqui told The Hindu from Delhi. He said in Islam marriage was a “pious union.”