Question: A person divorced his wife and within one month he returned to her. Now for the second time, due to some conflict he again divorced her saying, “You are divorced,” for three consecutive times. The husband says that he did not intend 3 divorces, his intention was only one. Two months have passed since this occurred, and he again wants to take her back. The wife is also pleased to return to him. Knowing that 2 months have passed already, can they now re-marry? Can the wife marry before the completion of the 3 months, or after?
Answer: In this case, the words of the husband would be considered as 3 divorces and not one (as he says). Therefore, after this divorce, the wife becomes unlawful for the husband in a sense that they are prohibited from husband-wife relations, and they are also prohibited from immediate re-marriage. However, permission to re-marry would only be granted after the wife goes through the process of Tahlil.
In Shariah, Tahlil means that after a woman has been divorced three times and the iddat of 3 menses passes, she marries another person. After consummation of that marriage, such a person divorces her or she becomes a widow of the same. After that, she observes the waiting period of 3 menses (in case of a divorce) or 4 months and 10 days (in case of a widow). Upon completion of the waiting period, she is now permitted to re-marry her husband who gave the three divorces.
(Shaami, Volume 2, Pg. 293 / Shaami, Volume 2, Pg. 410 / FataawaDarulUloomDeoband, Volume 9, Pg. 292 / FataawaDarulUloomDeoband, Volume 9, Pg. 303 / Kifaayatul Mufti, Volume 6, Pg. 75).
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.