#254: A Husband Claims He’s Single


Assalamualaikum ustaz. Am I divorced if my husband claims that he’s single in front of his friends? 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.

Talaq according to the 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan means a release from the bonds of marriage with the utterance of talaq, divorce and others by the husband. [1]

Allah SWT states:

ٱلطَّلَـٰقُ مَرَّتَانِ ۖ فَإِمْسَاكٌۢ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌۢ بِإِحْسَـٰنٍ

“Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment.” [2]

Syeikh al-Maraghi stated in his commentary: “The phrase ‘Then, either keep [her]’ means reconcile without any intention of ever hurting her. However, with the intention of islah (improvement) and doing good with her. Ans the phrase ‘or release [her] with good treatment’ after three times talaq, then give her, her rights.” [3]

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.

First: Sighah Sorih

Sighah sorih means a form of clear talaq speech and it doesn’t have any other meaning except talaq.  Such words are talaq, divorce and separation. These words if uttered doesn’t need for the intention of talaq. Even if a person denies the intention of wanting a divorce afterwards: “I didn’t mean it as divorce.” Then, the denial is unaccepted.

For sorih utterances, there are three words if spoken it is considered as divorce. The words are, divorce, separate, let 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. [4]

Imam al-Baijuri said: “Talaq sorih doesn’t need for intention. The intention is of getting a divorce. For there is no ihtimal other than talaq for it.” [5]

Second: Sighah Kinayah

Kinayah means figurative speech. Figurative words may have various meanings at the same time. Thus, it needs for the intention of divorce when the words are uttered. If he doesn’t mean to divorce when stating it, then it isn’t considered a divorce. For example, a husband said, ‘you’re zero’, ‘you’re free’, ‘go back to your parents’ and ‘you’re now permissible’.

 While kinayah utterances are unclear. Whether it is considered a divorce depends on the intention of the husband.

Ibnu al-Qasim al-Ghazzi stated: “Kinayah is any utterance that could mean talaq or other meaning. And it needs for the intention. If he intends to divorce when he utters it the kinayah, then they are considered as divorced. If not, then they aren’t considered as divorced.” [6]

According to the above question, in our opinion claiming to be single doesn’t mean divorced. And even if it is included as talaq, it is a very weak kinayah talaq. This is due to the fact that when a person says he’s single, it denotes various meanings:

  • He may mean he is single at the moment because he’s living alone and far from his wife because of their work.
  • It may also mean that he’s still “single” as in he can still marry since he only has one wife and he can actually marry another three women.
  • Or there is a possibility that he claims he’s single as a lie so that he can marry another woman. The reason is claiming to be single isn’t the same as claiming to be divorced.
  • It may also mean that he feels as though he’s single because he has a lot of time for his private matters.

Thus, in our opinion, it isn’t considered a divorce if a man claims he’s single for the word isn’t included in sorih or kinayah utterances. If it is included in the meaning of the oddest and weakest meaning for being single is different than being divorced.

We’d like to take this opportunity to advise all of us to be cautious in choosing the words we say to that we are safe from any confusion. We end with the supplication:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” [11]

Wallahu a’lam.



[1] See: https://prpm.dbp.gov.my/cari1?keyword=talak

[2] Surah al-Baqarah :229

[3] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/169

[4] See al-Fiqh al-Minhaji,4/123

[5] See Hasyiah al-Baijuri ‘ala Syarh Ibn al-Qasim ‘ala Matan Abu Syuja’, 2/263

[6] See Syarh Ibnu al-Qasim ‘ala Matan Abi Syuja, 2/264