A couple had an argument about something and the husband in anger picked up three coins and gave it to her. Upon being asked, he said he had intended three divorces. Is his wife considered divorced? Also, some people have strange customs where they do certain actions indicating divorce, is divorced issued this way?
Actually, the great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) mentions this very scenario in his renowned classical work, Radd al-Muhtar. He states:
“…..With the above, it becomes clear that if a man was to have an argument with his wife, and he gave her three stones with the intention of divorcing her, but he did not verbally pronounce divorce, neither in clear terms nor in allusive terms, then divorce will not occur, as is the Fatwa given by al-Khayr al-Ramali and others. Similarly, some residents of the village order their wife to shave off her head (signifying divorce). Divorce will not occur by doing this even if the husband was to intend it.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/230-231)
The reason for this, as explained by the fuqaha, is that divorce only counts if the man pronounces the divorce verbally or in writing. The main integral (rukn) of divorce is the verbal statement of the man or the writing which takes place of this verbal statement. Yes, if one is dumb, then his clear and understood gesture (ishara) will constitute a divorce.
Therefore, the couple’s marriage is still intact and no divorce has taken place. Giving three coins to the wife does not effect a divorce even if the husband intended divorce when giving them. The same ruling will apply to other such customs, acts and expressions, as long as one does not pronounce the divorce verbally or in writing.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK