How lawful are the oral "You are divorced" type of divorces?


It is common in many Islamic countries for a man who wishes to divorce his wife to say to her, "You are divorced" at any moment, which renders the marriage automatically dissolved. The divorce paper, which then follows, is just a formality. How lawful is this divorce as per the law of God in the Quran?


This hasty type of divorce is in total violation of the Quran.

When we study various Quranic verses that deal with marriage and divorce we find that God ordained marriage to be a lasting union between man and woman. As a result, and to discourage hasty divorces, we find that God placed a number of conditions that must be satisfied before a divorce can be executed.

1- The couple must wait 4 months (cooling period) before committing to divorce:

Those who wish to separate from their wives shall wait four months; if they reconsider, then God is Forgiver, Merciful. 2:226

2- The couple must seek a council from the 2 families and genuinely attempt to reconcile (4:35)

If you fear a rift between them, you shall send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. If they both seek restoration, God will reconcile between them. God is Knowledgeable, All-Aware. 4:35

3- If all efforts of reconciliation fail and the divorce is affected, a divorce does not become lawful in the sight of God unless it is witnessed by two equitable witnesses:

Then, when they have fulfilled their interim, you may either keep them equitably, or part from them equitably. You shall have this witnessed by two just people from among you, and establish the testimony for God.

This requirement once again confirms that all oral divorces that are not written down and witnessed are invalid.

In addition to the above requirements, a husband divorcing his wife must ensure the following:

4- The wife should not be evicted from the marriage home unless she commits a gross sin (65:1)

5- The man must pay the divorced wife a divorce compensation (2:241)

6- The man must pay for children's alimony (2:233)

7- If the man divorces a wife who is nursing his child, he must pay for her food and clothes for two years (2:233)

For a start, the rule of waiting 4 months before obtaining a divorce alone nullifies the act of men who issue oral rash divorces by saying "You are divorced". The above 7 conditions apply to all divorces.

To conclude, a divorce is not lawful by the mere utterance of "You are divorced". Some men claim that if this phrase is uttered 3 times, it becomes final. However, the conditions stated above assert that whether the "You are divorced" phrase is uttered 3 times or 100 times, it will always be totally worthless and will never make a divorce lawful in the sight of God.