What is Halala (Hulla)

Details of the Question
What is Halala? How is it performed? What are the conditions for Halala?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Can two people who divorce marry each other again? Does hulla exist in Islam? Can a woman who marries an old man marry him again after she is divorced?  

According to the Islamic decrees, there are three bonds of marriage between a person and his/her spouse. One of these bonds is broken with each divorce. When all of them are broken, that is, when a person divorces his wife three times, it is not religiously permissible for them to continue their marriage.  

The term "hulla", which is derived from the verb halla, which means rendering halal, means the marriage of a woman who was divorced by her husband to marry another man first in order to marry her previous husband again. This deed is also called tahlil or tahlil ash-shar'iyya.

The religion of Islam prohibits harming women through divorce and limited the unlimited number of divorces that causes it. The following is stated in the Quran: "A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness. (...)So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand." (al-Baqara 2/229,230)

If the spouses who were divorced by three talaqs want to get married again, the woman needs to marry another man truly, without any tricks, and has to have sexual intercourse with him. Hz. Prophet states that it is not halal for a woman to marry her first husband again without any sexual intercourse with her new husband. (Bukhari, Talaq, 4; Abu Dawud, Talaq, 49)

The dishonest marriage called hulla, which is made in order to make it halal for the woman to marry the previous husband, is contrary to the principles of Islam and the limitation of divorce as three times in order to protect the rights and prestige of the woman. Therefore, Hz. Prophet declared the man who makes hulla and who makes another man to make hulla as people are damned by Allah. (Abu Dawud, Nikah, 15; Ibn Majah, Nikah, 33; Ibn Majah, Nikah, 33)

The Companions also state that hulla is not halal. The madhhabs of Islam also state that the marriage made based on the condition of hulla is haram;  two Hanafi imams, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, and Imam Shafii say this marriage will not render marrying the previous husband halal; Imam Malik and Ahmed ibn Hanbal say a marriage made on the condition of hulla is invalid.  

However, if a woman who was divorced with three talaqs marries another man truly, without any tricks, and if her husband dies or if she is divorced due to dissension, etc, it is halal for her to marry her previous husband again.  

Accordingly, if a woman marries an old man truly even if he is 70, she can marry her previous husband again if her husband dies or if she is divorced. 

HULLA

In Islam, the family established through marriage is a serious and holy institution. The marriage makes the woman connected to her husband through three bonds. If a man divorces his wife once and breaks one of these bonds, he can return to his wife when she feels the pain of separation; their relationship continues with two bonds and more carefully. If the man trifles with this serious institution and divorces his wife again and then wants to return to his wife again, he is given one more right and their relationship continues with one bond. If the man divorces her again and trifles with such a serious institution, it is regarded as making fun of the honor of the woman and his demand to return to her again is not accepted. The Quran decrees it as follows: "... if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her." (al-Baqara (2, 230) That is, after the third divorce, she needs to wait for her iddah, marry another man truly and have sexual intercourse with him; and if she is divorced by her new husband after that and waits for her iddah again, she can marry her previous husband if he wants to marry her again. For, if he puts up with something which harms his honor, that is, his wife's marriage with another man, it means he has learned a lesson.

However, people find ways of bypassing laws; when a man wants to marry his wife that he divorced three times, he makes a deal with another man and make him marry her on condition that he will divorce her immediately. This is called "hulla" or "tahlil"; the second husband that marries the woman on that condition is called "muhallil". These words are derived from the word "halal". "Hulla" means becoming halal, "tahlil" means making halal, that is, rendering halal, and "muhallil" means the one that makes halal.

Since the Prophet likened this second man who makes "hulla" to a male goat for rent (Ibn Majah, Nikah 33) and he said, "May Allah damn the one who makes hulla and the one for whom hulla is made" (Ibn Majah, Nikah 33; Abu Dawud, Nikah l4; Tirmidhi, Nikah 28; Musnad 1/83, 88, Il/323), all of the Islamic scholars unanimously agree that it is a very ugly and haram deed. However, what will happen if it is done despite its ugliness? All of the Islamic scholars except Hanafis state that "hulla" has no value and that a woman who returns to her previous husband like that is not halal for her husband. Hanafis say it is a damned deed but if a person does it without being disgusted, he/she will have committed haram. However, the woman can be halal for her previous husband because when the Prophet damned it, he used the phrase "makes halal". (see. Sabuni, ibid 1/340) That is, making halal takes place even though it is through an ugly way.

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