Why the Number of Divorce is Limited to Three? By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi

Divorce is limited to only three pronouncements because the term ‘many’ is applied from that number besides, when a man divorces his wife, it is imperative that he gives it a careful thought and considers the pros and cons of his action. Thus, the necessity to pronounce the divorce thrice affords him an opportunity to do the thinking. Many people do not know the significance of divorce until they taste the separation from their wives. The true experience is after the first pronouncement. At the second pronouncement the experience is perfected. The condition to re-marry after the third pronouncement is to confirm renewal (of relationship) or the culmination (of relationship). If revocation of divorce was allowed without remarriage then it would have been a simple case of reconciliation (like against the first and second pronouncement). To remarry the divorced wife is to reconcile with her and as long as she is in her husband’s home and in his authority or with his relatives, it is understood that her husband will prevail over her. She will opt compulsorily for his opinions.

Once, however, she separated from him completely and experiences the different times and seasons by herself and they agree to reconciliation then she will first have to marry another man and have a sexual intercourse with him. This is the penalty for divorcing her hurriedly and it raises the women in the sight of her second husband and also shows that only such a man will dare pronounce divorce three times who stoops down dishonorable to separate from the woman.

The people of the days of Ignorance used to divorce their wives innumerable times and then revoke their pronouncements and reconcile with them. This was very hash on the women. So, the verse of the Qur’an was revealed:

الطلاق مرتان

Divorce is twice. (al: Baqarah, 2: 229)

After that they may reconcile. Then, if divorce is pronounced a third time unless the woman marries another man of her own free will she cannot be lawful for the first man. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has said that sexual intercourse with the new husband is a condition of her becoming lawful for the first. By pointing out this condition we do not mean to say that she may marry the man merely to become lawful for the first husband. Marriage is solemnized with the aim of perpetual living together but if she happens to get a divorce from the second husband then she is allowed to marry the former husband.


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