Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

Wife cannot be taken back after the Third Divorce


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 230


“And if he has divorced her (for the third time), then she is not lawful to him afterward until [after] she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her [or dies], there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep [within] the limits of Allah. These are the limits of Allah , which He makes clear to a people who know.” [al-Baqarah 2: 230]

Pronouncing Three Divorces at the same Time is Unlawful

Ibn Katheer writes it is not allowed to pronounce three divorces at one time. What proves this ruling is that Mahmood ibn Labid has stated – as an-Nasa’i recorded – that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was told about a man who pronounced three divorces on his wife at one time, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up while angry and said,

أَيُلْعَبُ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَأَنَا بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِكُم

“The Book of Allah is being made the subject of jest while I am still amongst you.”


As much as one is excited about getting married, they should first study the fiqh of marriage and divorce. Many conflicts occur due to our lack of knowledge. One should know what their rights and duties are, and what it means to be married. Though painful, one should not completely ignore the understanding of the matter of divorce. These are all phases of life that one must have knowledge of and should do as prescribed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Let us not choose ignorance.

In the heat of an argument, some husbands say: I divorce you 100 times. Remember that this is a laghw The Sunnah way of divorce is to give divorce only once, let the waiting period expire and then you are both free to live your separate lives. There is no need to add fuel to the fire. From this we learn that we should watch our statements even in anger. Blaming everything on Shaytan is not the Muslim way. If we watch our speech while we are sane, there is no way that insulting words will come to our tongue in anger.

“And if he has divorced her (for the third time), then she is not lawful to him afterward until (after) she marries a husband other than him.” This ayah indicates that if the man divorces his wife for the third time after he divorced her twice, then she will no longer be allowed for marriage to him until she legally marries another man. For instance, if she has sexual intercourse with any man, she would still be ineligible for marriage for her ex-husband (who divorced her thrice), because whomever she had sexual relations with was not her legal husband. If she marries a man without consummating the marriage, she will not be eligible for her ex-husband.

[Divorce is Thrice]

The Curse on the Participants of Tahleel/Halalah

The reason for the woman (who was divorced thrice) to marry another man must be that the man desires her and has the intention of having an extended married life with her. These are the legal goals and aims behind marriage. If the reason behind the second marriage was to make the woman eligible for her ex-husband again, then this is the Tahleel that the hadeeth have cursed and criticized. In addition, when the reason behind this marriage (if it was Tahleel) is announced in the contract, it would make the contract invalid according to the majority of the scholars.

Imam Ahmad reported that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa salam cursed the one who does Tahleel, the one in whose favor it is done, those who eat Riba (usury) and those who feed it (pay the usury).” At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i reported this hadeeth.

In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim reported that Nafi’ said: A man came to Ibn ‘Umar and asked him about a man who divorced his wife three times. Then, his brother married her to make Tahleel for his brother, without the brother knowing this fact. He then asked, “Is she allowed for the first (husband)?” He said, “No, unless it is a marriage that involves desire. We used to consider this an act of adultery during the time of Allah’s Messenger.”

Abu Bakr ibn Abu Shaybah, Al-Jawzjani, Harb Al-Kirmani and Abu Bakr Al-Athram said that Qabisah ibn Jabir said that ‘Umar said, “If the participants to Tahleel are brought to me, I will have them stoned.”

[Tahleel Marriage is Haram and Invalid]

When does a thrice divorced woman become eligible for her first husband?

“And if the latter husband divorces her (or dies), there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep (within) the limits of Allah.” It means after the second husband has had complete marital relations with her and kept her as a wife and later disagreements emerged between the couple due to which he divorces her, only then is the wife eligible to re-marry her former husband. There will be no sin upon them provided that they live together honorably. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us of His limits; His commands and legislations must be honored at all times.

Allah’s commands are clear for people who know. See the reminder to seek knowledge? The Qur’an tells us to be knowledgeable people and not live our lives as cattle having no sense of our purpose. We did not come here only to get married and have children, we must also have the knowledge of how to live this life and honor our duties while seeking Allah’s pleasure.


After the third divorce the wife no more remains married to the husband – there is no rujooh in this divorce. That is it! The marriage is over now.

The only possible situation of their reunion is when the woman marries another man and that husband out of his own will divorces her or dies. Then the woman has a choice if she wants to remarry her first husband. But remember such a marriage cannot be pre-planned. A culture is emerging where husbands say that they divorced their wife in anger and regret their decision. They go from one scholar to another finding out a way to reunite. They are presented with the option of halalah where the woman is temporarily married to another man (such as the husband’s friend or someone paid to perform this job), and that person is to later divorce her as per their plan so that she can reunite with her first husband. This is haram and Muslims must refrain from practicing it.

[What is Tahleel Marriage?]

Let us not make fun of the ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And if the latter husband divorces her (or dies)…” There is an if here meaning this will be a proper marriage where there will be nikkah, mahr and valima. There will be an announcement for this marriage and guests will be invited to the wedding feast. This is not a paper marriage done in secret to make the divorced couple lawful to one another. This is forbidden in Islam.

People who say they divorced their wife in anger need to go through emotional therapy because it is a lame excuse. No one says: O my darling! I love you so much so I divorce you. Divorce is given in anger and pain, when there are no chances of reconciliation. People should take their marriages seriously. Do not enter a marriage if you fail to perform your responsibilities and have no regard for human sentiments. Refrain from committing injustice against your own selves and others.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 230

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم                
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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