#339: Whispers Urging Divorce

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. One night, my husband told me something worrying. He said, “Ever since we got married, I hear whispers urging me to divorce you,” Am I considered divorced after he told me this?

Answer:

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.

Sighah (forms) of talaq utterances are basically divided into two:

  • Sighah talaq sarih: Talaq uttered of which they are famous to be known as talaq, such as the word talaq itself, divorce or any words with the same meaning.
  • Sighah talaq kinayah: any word uttered that may mean talaq or another meaning.

Furthermore, jurists discussed not only the matter of the form or types of talaq utterances but rather w wider angle is also discussed such as the valid conditions of talaq for a mutalliq, the person uttering the talaq. Thus, the matter discussed is the situation the person uttering the talaq is in. What is the purpose of him saying as such, whether it is as a lesson, story-telling or for other purposes? Thus, it is stated talaq through ikhbar or story-telling according to Sheikh Wahbah al-Zuhaili:


يُشْتَرَطُ بِالاتِّفَاقِ القَصْدُ فِي الطَّلَاقِ: وَهُوَ إِرَادَةُ التَّلَفُّظِ بِهِ، وَلَا يُشْتَرَطُ فِي هَذَا الرُّكْنِ إِلَّا تَحْقِيْقَ المُرَادِ بِهِ، فَلَا يَقَعُ طَلَاقُ فَقِيهٍ يُكَرِّرُهُ، وَلَا طَلَاقُ حَاكٍ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ أَو غَيْرِهِ؛ لِأَنَّهُ لَمْ يَقْصِدْ مَعْنَاهُ، بَلْ قَصَدَ التَّعْلِيْمَ والحِكَايَةَ، ولَا طَلَاقُ أَعْجَمِيٍّ لُقِّنَ لَفْظَ الطَّلَاقِ بِلَا فَهْمٍ مِنْهُ لِمَعْنَاهُ. وَلا يَقَعُ طَلَاقُ مَرَّ بِلِسَانِ نَائِـمٍ أَوْ مَنْ زَالَ عَقْلُهُ بِسَبَبٍ لَمْ يَعْصِ بِهِ، وَيَلْغُو

“It is conditioned through ittifaq (agreement of scholars) al-qasd (intention) in talaq. Which means the intention to utter it (the words) talaq (with its original meaning which means to divorce). Al-qasd isn’t conditioned except to determine the meaning from the utterance. Talaq isn’t valid when a faqih (scholar in fiqh) repeats the word of talaq and it isn’t valid on a person who is telling a story (because he is telling the story of another), for he doesn’t mean the talaq, of its original meaning, moreover, (the faqih) the purpose of him stating talaq is to teach and (a person who is telling a story) purpose is informing or telling a story. Talaq isn’t valid on an ajam (non-Arabs) who utter talaq without knowing its meaning. Talaq isn’t valid for those who uttered it when they were asleep or lost rationality (suddenly) without sinning, then (the words of talaq) is considered a waste (isn’t valid).” [1]

According to the above statement, the issue of hearing whispers to commit sin actually also happened to the Prophet Adam AS and his wife, Eve (Hawa) who was incited by Iblis to violate the prohibition of Allah SWT. This is as stated by Allah SWT:

Allah SWT states:

فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِن سَوْآتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ

“But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.” [2]

Ibn Kathir in his commentary stated: Iblis was envious of them both (Adam and Eve) and cunningly tricked them, with deceit and doubt to confuse them and beautify and convince them there are blessings and goodness of the tree. [3]

We find that there are numerous people out there who are tested by Allah SWT with matters such as this. Such matters should be considered lightly and left untreated for long. Indeed, the issue of hearing whispers or in Arabic is known as hadith al-Nafs. This issue is mentioned in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَجَاوَزَ لأُمَّتِي عَمَّا وَسْوَسَتْ أَوْ حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسَهَا، مَا لَمْ تَعْمَلْ بِهِ أَوْ تَكَلَّمْ

“Allah forgives my followers those (evil deeds) their souls may whisper or suggest to them as long as they do not act (on it) or speak.” [4]

It is clear, that whispers or voices don’t affect anything as long as it isn’t spoken or acted on.

Scholars explained the six situations where talaq isn’t valid when it is uttered by a husband:

  • Asleep
  • Insane
  • Sabq al-Lisan (unintentionally)
  • Calling his wife; if a person’s wife’s name is ‘Taliq’ which means a person who is divorced.
  • Uttering something he doesn’t understand
  • Forced or intoxicated or irrational due to a sickness or debility

To conclude, in our opinion, talaq isn’t valid due to a retelling of an incident. The reason is that when the husband stated the talaq with the intention of telling a story, then he doesn’t intend to divorce his wife.

To treat the problem of hearing whispers, let us all practise or recite verses of the Holy Quran to protect ourselves from the whispers and disturbances of the devil wanting to plant doubt in people. Among them is to recite surah al-Nas, which contains verses seeking protection from doubts in our souls:


قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ (1) مَلِكِ النَّاسِ  (2)إِلَٰهِ النَّاسِ(3)  مِن شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ  (4)الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ (5) مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ

“Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The Sovereign of mankind. The God of mankind, From the evil of the retreating whisperer – Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – From among the jinn and mankind.” [5]

Ibn Kathir explained: In surah al-Nas, there are three attributes of Allah which are:  ‘رَبِّ النَّاسِ’ – ‘مَلِكِ النَّاسِ’ – ‘إِلَٰهِ النَّاسِ’. Allah the Protector, Allah the King and Allah as the One worthy of Worship. He is the protector of everything, the sovereignty and God worthy of worship. Everything is created for Him, under His authority and His slaves.

Believers who are seeking protection are commanded to seek protection from Allah with these attributes, from the evil whispers of the hiding devil, those who are assigned to incite people. Indeed, none from the lineage of Adam is exempted from having a qarin (accompaniment) who will tempt him towards sins and deceive him. Those who are protected are only those protected by Allah SWT. [6]

Whispers of doubt are in the chests of people, for it is common for Arabs to say that the thought of a soul is in his heart, while a person’s heart is in his chest. [7]

Furthermore, we also suggest supplicating with prayers asking for goof and happiness in a marriage such as: 

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.”

May Allah SWT grant us all good understanding in everything that is sanctioned by Allah SWT. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] See al-Fiqh al-Islami wadillahtuhu, 9/6886

[2] Surah al-A’raf : 20

[3] See Tafsir al-Quran al-’Azim, 3/397

[4] Narrated by Al-Bukhari (6664)

[5] Surah al-Nas: 1-6

[6] See Tafsir al-Quran al’Azim6/715

[7] See Tafsir al-Maraghi15/7748

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