#250: Unintentional Talaq


Assalamualaikum ustaz. Am I considered divorced? The reason is I was once watching a drama with my wife when before the lead can finish his sentence when he was divorcing his wife, I finish his sentence saying ‘I’m divorcing you,’ as a response to the drama and at the time my wife was beside me. Hope for an explanation.


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Scholars divided talaq in terms of the clarity of the utterance of talaq into two, which is sorih clear and kinayah of which there is a possibility it means talaq or otherwise. For sorih phrase, there are three words if uttered then it automatically considered as talaq which are divorce, separate and letting go.

The examples of sorih utterances are ‘I let you go’, ‘you’re divorced’ or ‘I’m separating from you.’ If these utterances are made by the husband to his wife, then they are considered divorced. Examples of kinayah utterances are ‘go back to your family,’, ‘get away from me’ and others. However, such utterances depend on the intention of the husband. If he said as such to divorce his wife, then they are considered divorced. [1]

Talaq is not a matter to be made fun of as narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where Rasullullah PBUH said:

ثَلاَثٌ جِدُّهُنَّ جِدٌّ وَهَزْلُهُنَّ جِدٌّ النِّكَاحُ وَالطَّلاَقُ وَالرَّجْعَةُ

 “There are three things which, whether undertaken seriously or in jest, are treated as serious: marriage, divorce and taking back a wife after a divorce which is not final.” [2]

However, one should know that the valid condition of talaq is that it is done intentionally and by his choice. Scholars explained that there are six situations where even if a husband utters a sorih talaq, the talaq is still invalid which are:

  • When one is asleep
  • If he is insane
  • A person who sabq al-lisan (unintentionally or by mistake)
  • A person who calls; if he has a wife named ‘Taliq’ which means a divorcee
  • Using unfathomable utterance
  • Forced and intoxicated due to a debility

Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili stated in his book al-Mu’tamad: “If a person utters talaq by mistake without intending the meanings of the letters of talaq, then it is useless (lagha) and the talaq is invalid. The same for if a person narrates a story of another person or a jurist who repeatedly utter talaq in his lessons, then these are also useless (lagha), for he doesn’t have the intention of divorcing.” [3]

The author of Matalib Uli al-Nuha stated: Unmeant talaq utterance is invalid just like talaq mentioned when one is teaching or talaq in a story and narration for divorce is not meant. [4]

According to the above question, the situation describes a situation of narrating and not meant or intended to divorce his wife. Thus, the talaq is invalid for this situation and he doesn’t have to reconcile (rujuk) with his wife. We advise that we should learn the Fiqh al-Nikah properly and always be cautious when uttering anything related to talaq. May Allah SWT grant us all the correct understanding in this religion. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.


[1] See al-Fiqh al-Minhaji,4/123

[2] Narrated by Abu Dawud (2194), Tirmidzi (1184) and Ibn Majah (2039). Syeikh Syuaib al-Arnaot stated in Takhrij Zad al-Ma’ad (5/182) that this hadith is hasan and there are syawahid that strengthen it.

[3] See al-Muʿtamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie, (4/164)

[4] See Matalib Uli al-Nuha, 5/321