Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
- Marriage cannot be annulled except if there are two just witnesses to prove that the husband is the one who wrote the words of divorce.
- If there are no two just witnesses and the husband does not confess to issuing the divorce, then the wife will be considered as still married and fully entitled to her rights as a wife.
In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
There are so many people who use the e-mail and other methods in an evil way. When it comes to the matter of divorce, which is of grave consequences, one has to exercise caution in applying that serious matter which might entail the disintegration of a Muslim family. The issue of divorce is a serious matter and it is a grave mistake to abuse it.
As for divorcing one’s wife through the e-mail or by sending a text message on cellular phone, we have to view two important things:
- If the husband confesses that he wrote the divorce, then the divorce is valid and it is counted as one divorce.
- If the husband does not admit or if he is away and there is no access to him, while the lady receives an e-mail or a text message on her cell phone, then we go with the juristic rule that states: “certainty cannot be removed by a mere doubt.”
What is certain is her marriage, and divorce is shrouded in doubt.
So, marriage cannot be annulled except if there are two just witnesses to prove that the husband is the one who wrote the words of divorce. If there are no two just witnesses and the husband does not confess to issuing the divorce, then the wife will be considered as still married and fully entitled to her rights as a wife.
The reason why we are very cautious regarding this matter is that corruption has spread nowadays and we cannot easily know the right from the false.
In the period of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) the case was different.
Now we have so much fitnah and corruption is rampant, so we have to be on our guard against anyone who wants to cause trouble especially to a solemn covenant like marriage.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.