Can divorce take place by force? Does divorce take place by unclear expressions?

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Can divorce take place by force? Does divorce take place by unclear expressions?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to the Hanafi madhhab, the divorce uttered by a sane man who has reached the age of puberty becomes valid. It does not matter whether he is a free man or a slave, whether he has divorced her of his own accord or due to the pressure of somebody else. However, according to the Maliki madhhab, divorce does not occur under pressure. (al-Jawharatun Nariya)

Islam has always protected the institution of marriage. It does not approve of divorcing a woman indiscriminately; it does not allow a man to harm the honor of a woman by uttering words of divorce for fun or randomly. Therefore, it is accepted that if a man says to his wife jokingly or for no reason, "I have divorced you", the divorce is valid.

For, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Three things are regarded as serious even if they are uttered jokingly: Marriage, divorce and taking back a wife."  (Abu Dawud, Talaq 9)

Similarly, if a man stumbles and divorces his wife by mistake, divorce takes place. Therefore, a believer has to be very careful when he does or utters something and he has to control himself.

Clear divorce is divorce that is uttered through certain words that are distinct and that reflect the aim.Since it is clear, intention is not necessary. When it is uttered, it becomes valid; intention is not taken into consideration. The following expressions and similar ones are clear: "You are divorced. I have divorced you."

If divorce is uttered through ambiguous words, intention is taken into consideration. For, the words that are uttered can mean divorce or some other things. Therefore, scholars say divorce that is expressed through ambiguous words becomes certain only through intention because it is not clear in which sense the words are used.  

(see Celal YILDIRIM, İslam Fıkhı)

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