Woman remarrying after being divorced.

Q. My question is that after getting divorced once or twice (not thrice) and after the end of the iddat period, can the woman marry anyone other than her former husband who gave her 1 or 2 talaqs? Is it permissible? In other words, does the woman become totally free and available for marriage after just 1 or 2 talaqs and after waiting the iddat period?

A. When a woman is divorced with one or two divorces, then she comes out of the contract of the husband upon the completion of her iddah period. The termination of the iddah brings an end to their marriage and they now become strangers to each other. In this state, the woman is allowed to marry another person. In this regard, the Holy Quran states, ‘O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their iddah, and count their iddah (periods), then when they are about to attain their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner’. (Sura At Talaq (65) verse 1,2)

The above verses clearly indicate that when a divorce is given, then one must begin to count the iddah period. The verses continues to state that when the iddah is about to be completed, then the husband must then make the decision whether he wants to keep his wife, or he wishes to release her from the marriage. If he wishes to keep his wife then he can simply revoke the divorce which he has given (before), and if he wishes to release her then he will allow the iddah to come to an end without taking back the wife.

It is mentioned in the Musanaf of Ibn Abi Shaiba (compilation of hadith) that the Sahabahs (companions of the Prophet (SAS)), when any of them wanted to divorce his wife, he will give one divorce and leave his wife to pass her iddah of three haidh (menses). Upon the completion of the iddah, the marriage terminated, which means that the woman was out of the wedlock of the husband, and she was free to marry another husband. (Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaiba from Ibraheem An Nakhi).

The Quran states in Sura Al Baqara verse 235, ‘And do not make the contract of Nikah to a woman until her iddah has reach its end’. It means that one must not marry a woman who is in her iddah. However, as soon as she has completed her iddah, one can send a proposal to marry her.

In another verse, while speaking about the iddah, Allah states, ‘And divorced women shall wait for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation’. (Sura Baqara verse 228)

In the above verse, it is established that while the divorced woman is still in her iddah period, then the husband has a ‘right’ to take her back as his wife. This is evident in the statement, ‘And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period’. (2:228) This clearly points to the fact that when the period of iddah comes to an end, then the husband loses the right of taking back his wife, and she is now free to marry someone else.

In the books of Fiqh, it is mentioned ‘The best way of giving a divorce is that one should divorce his wife (with one divorce) at a time when his wife is in her pure state (not haidh) and he did not have sexual relations with her. After giving one divorce, he leaves her (that is, he does not return to her as a husband) until she completes her iddah’. (Al Hidaaya vol.2 pg.334). This statement means that upon the completion of the iddah, the marriage will come to an end, and the woman is now free to marry someone else.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan