Suspending Divorce on a General Statement but Intending a Specific Scenario

Question:

Zaid said to his wife, Hindah, “From tomorrow if you go outside you are divorced thrice,” but his intention was outside at any other locality or village. What divorce will occur in this case? Will the divorce occur simply by going out of the house or will it occur only by going to another locality or village?

Answer: وبالله التوفيق

On the condition that the question is accurate, in the above case when he said to his wife: “From tomorrow if you go outside, you are divorced thrice,” and he intended (going) outside the house to another locality or village, then in this case, diyanatan (between him and Allah)[i], his intention would be taken into account. Therefore, his wife would not be divorced simply by her exiting the house. However, based on his intentions, the three divorces would occur if she goes to another locality or village.

( نية تخصيص العام تصح ديانة ) إجماعا فلو قال كل امرأة أتزوجها فهي طالق ثم قال نويت من بلد كذا (لا) يصدق ( قضاء )

And Allah Ta’ala knows best

(Mufti) Muhammad Junaid Alam Nadwi Qasmi

Fatawa Imaarate Shariyah Vol.5 Pg.258


[i] On the other hand if this case was brought in front of a Muslim Judge, he would not take the intention into consideration. Rather, he would pass the verdict based on the apparent general meaning of the statement, which necessitates divorce simply by exiting the house.

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