The word ‘Talaq’ simply means Divorce and it grants Muslim men the power to dissolve a marriage instantly by saying the word ‘Talaq’ three times. This can be done by letter, telephone, face to face and more increasingly as technology has now advanced men are doing it via text messages, WhatsApp and Skype.
Traditionally when a man gives a Talaq to his wife, there should be a waiting period of three months. The three month period is intended to allow the couple a chance to reflect upon their marriage and possibly attempt reconciliation. The three month period is also a time to ensure that the Wife is not pregnant. Following the three months, if there is no reconciliation and the Wife is not pregnant the couple are considered to be divorced and will be free to remarry. It is worth to note that this is the procedure for a Talaq, however an increasing number of men are simply saying Talaq three times to their wives and are then considering themselves divorced. This of course leaves women in a very vulnerable position, as following an instant Talaq they will have no financial or emotional support. There have been cases whereby women have not even known that their husband’s have divorced them.
Most Islamic countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh have banned the instant triple talaq, but the custom continued in India up until recently when the Supreme Court with a 3-2 majority ruled that the instant Triple Talaq was ‘un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional.’ This was a landmark decision for Muslim women in India who have said that they have lived their lives with the threat of an instant divorce dangling over their heads like a sword.
Many have supported the Indian Supreme Court’s judgement calling it a “historic day”. The decision ends the struggle many Muslim women face in India, as now they will have the security of knowing that if their husband wishes to use the triple talaq procedure he would need to use the traditional three month period together with the provision of proper financial support.
It is safe to say that the Triple Talaq conflicts with many countries’ own legal systems. India is the 23rd country to outlaw Triple Talaq. As the U.K has its own procedure for divorce a Triple Talaq is not considered as lawful, however there have been cases where individuals consider themselves divorced after saying ‘Talaq’ three times. In reality, the couple may not be legally divorced, and if they choose to remarry they will be committing the criminal act of bigamy.