Pronouncing Divorce while Angry
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
All praises belong to Allah and may His Peace and Mercy be upon Muhammad. The issue of divorce is a sticky topic and most cases can only be resolved before a judge in a courtroom. And even stickier is the subject of divorce while angry. Many brothers and sisters use the reason of anger at times to try a salvage their fading marriage for another chance. Many jurists have concluded that when a man is in a fit of rage and divorces his wife then the divorce is invalid. There are pieces of evidence from the Quran, the Sunnah, and the Qiyas which support this view. In this article, the opinion of Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah is discussed. He authored a complete book on the subject, “ Ighathatul Lahfan fi Hukmi Talaqil Ghadban”.
Ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned various proof and evidence from the Quran, Sunnah, and statements of the Salaf to support his view that pronouncing divorce in a rage of anger is not valid
The 1st proof comes from a Hasan hadith collected by Abu Dawud and others.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘There is no divorce and no manumission at the time of coercion.’ “
The Arabic word in this hadith which points to Anger is,(الغلاق). Imam Abu Dawud said I think this word means anger. Also, Imam Ahmed, Al-Khalal, Abu Bakr Abdul Aziz all said this word means anger. The people of Hijaz said the word(الإغلاق) refers to coercion and the people of Iraq say it implies anger, while others say both are included.
The 2nd proof comes from the Quran.
Allah said: And were Allah to hasten for mankind the evil (they invoke for themselves and for their children, etc. while in a state of anger) as He hastens for them the good (they invoke) then they would have been ruined. So We leave those who expect not their meeting with Us, in their trespasses, wandering blindly in distraction.[Yunus:11]
Imam Ibn AL-Qayyim mentioned that Mujahid said: This verse refers to those who make dua against their children and wealth in a fit of fury saying, ”Oh Allah don’t bless them and curse them.”
Supplicating against your child while you are angry isn’t answered. Anger is one of the things which prevents dua from being answered; because the person in a fit of rage doesn’t intend in his heart what came out of his mouth. Plainly put, the sane person would never make dua for the destruction of his child and his wealth. It is from the Mercy of Allah that this type of dua isn’t answered; as he didn’t truly intend this supplication, but rather his anger pushed him to utter those words and anger is from Satan.
The second verse from the Quran is Allah’s words;
“And when Musa (Moses) returned to his people, angry and grieved, he said: “What an evil thing is that which you have done (i.e. worshipping the calf) during my absence. Did you hasten and go ahead as regards the matter of your Lord (you left His worship)?” And he threw down the Tablets and seized his brother by (the hair of) his head and dragged him towards him. Harun (Aaron) said: “O son of my mother! Indeed the people judged me weak and were about to kill me, so make not the enemies rejoice over me, nor put me amongst the people who are Zalimun (wrong-doers).”[Al-‘Araf:150]
Ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned that the evidence from this verse which supports divorcing while angry is invalid is Musa[صلى الله عليه و سلم ]was propelled by anger to throw the Tablets which Allah wrote, there was no benefit for him or the children of Israel in this action. Moreover, it was his fit of fury which caused him to pull his brother Harun by his beard. Therefore Allah didn’t blame or hold him responsible for his actions. Whenever anger results in the person doing an action outside of his ability to control, then this action isn’t attributed to that person.
The 3rd proof from the Quran is the verse, “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaitan (Satan) then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.”[Al-“araf:200]
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: Whatever is said while a person is mad whether its divorce, cursing or so forth, is from the whispers of the devil, so he should seek refuge from him from saying something he didn’t choose.
In a hadith collected by the Bukhari and Muslim, Sulaiman b. Surad reported that two people abused each other in the presence of Allah’s Prophet (ﷺ) and one of them fell into a rage and his face became red. Allah’s Prophet (ﷺ) saw him and said: I know of a wording; if he were to utter that, he would get out (of the fit of anger) (and the wording is): I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the accursed. Then, a person went to him who had heard that from Allah’s Prophet (ﷺ) and said to him: Do you know what Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said? He (ﷺ ) said: I know some words; if he were to say them, (the fit of rage) would vanish (and the words are): I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the accursed. And the person said to him: Do you find me mad?
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: If the devil’s whispers cause a person to say things which aren’t by his choice then the verdicts of his actions are dismissed.
Now many people today say and proclaim they were angry after they divorce their wife for the 3rd time and according to many Jurists it doesn’t count. However the issue is the definition of anger. Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim mentioned anger is divided into categories;
- A person is angry from beginning to end and his frame of mind doesn’t change. He’s fully aware of what he’s saying and intends. The divorce pronounced from this person , the freeing of a slave, and the agreement of a contract are all valid. Especially if he goes back and forth in his thoughts for the decision.
- The person who starts off calm but in the end becomes enraged to the point the doors of knowledge and free will are closed to him. He’s unaware of what he says or sincerely wants to do. Theres’ no difference of opinion here for this kind of person that the divorce is not valid.
- The person who is between the 1st and second category. He’s considered furious but not in an extreme fit of rage to point he’s like a madman. The scholars differ if his expression of divorce is valid, or not. The evidence from the Shariah support the opinion that this divorce is ineffective.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The judge (Qadi) must not pass a judgment when he is angry.”
The 3rd evidence that divorce spoken from an enraged person doesn’t count are the statements of the companions[رضي الله عنهم ] and the Salaf.
- Uthman ibn ‘Affan may Allah be pleased with him] rejected the divorce pronounced by an intoxicated person. There’s no known difference of opinion among the other companions regarding his view.
- Abdul Malik Al-Maymoni said: I used to believe that divorce carried out by an intoxiced person was acceptable until I became aware of the proofs, then I changed my position that it’s unacceptable.
- Imam At-Tahawi,Abu Hasan, Imam Al-Haramain, Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah concluded that divorce while being enflamed with anger doesn’t happen.
The 4th evidence is derived from analogies found in texts which can be applied to case of an angry person.
- Allah said: Allah will not call you to account for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will call you to account for that which your hearts have earned. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing.[Al-Baqarah:225]
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: a person is called to account for what he says based on what his heart intends.Whatever is said without the hearts intention as in a state of fury or drunkenness isn’t from the intention of the heart.
- Being pressured to divorce and pushed to it is by forced. Being forced to divorce is clearer than doing it while angry;as the intention and the will are both there;however he’s being pressured to divorce his wife. Therefore this isn’t his true intention,so the divorce of the coerced person is invalid and the divorce coming from this kind of person is invalid then it’s logically acceptable that the divorce of angry person is invalid.
- A mad person in his fit of rage does and says things he normally wouldn’t. Did you mean to and intend to divorce your wife ? He’d swear by Allah that he didn’t! In fact it happened without his choice.
- An angry person enflamed will rip his clothes, and burn money, and utter divorce and much more without being forced to do so. If he says the wording of divorce then it’s not accepted from him.
- Anger is an illness and disease of the heart similar to the whispers of the devil, a fever, and an eplictic fit all which are manifest on the body. The person in fit of rage is subdued by his anger similar to the one with a fever or having a seizure. This is a correct analogy. When a person is engulfed in anger he’ completely unaware of what he utters.
The cases of a pronounced divorce from an angry person
- Something from his wife happens which makes him angry. Thus he thinks he has the right to divorce her,so he does. Then later on it becomes clear that his wife his free from the those accusation. This divorce is invalid. Because the reason for the divorce in reality is nonexistent. This is similar to one saying if you do such and such you are divorced, so if she doesn’t the divorce can’t take place.
- His wife did something which made him very angry and he’ certain that she did this act;therefore he says, “I divorce you”,with the complete intention of it and is fully aware of his language. He believes that divorce is means to punish his wife. This kind of divorce is valid. If this kind of divorce wasn’t legit then most of the divorces which take place wouldn’t be valid. Few divorces happen with pleasure.
- There isnt anything in specific which makes him want to divorce his wife,but his fit of anger pushes him to do so. He becomes so angry that he is mad. This anger blocks him from being rational with a sound will and intention. In this frame of mind he’s similar to an intoxicated and crazy person. He doesn’t know the magnitude of his words. He’s judgement is blurred so he cant have a sincere intention. In this case the divorce isnt valid.
Translated and prepared by the one in need of Allah’s Mercy
Abu Aaliyah Abdullah Battle
Doha, Qatar 1440H
 Abu Dawud,Ibn Maja ,Ahmed[6/276],Hakim[2/198]
 Al-Bukahri and Muslim