21 October 2015
The WhatsApp Divorce, Sharia Law and the Validity of Electronic Divorce
A man in India has divorced his wife via WhatsApp.
The couple had not even been married a month before the 27-year-old husband ended his arranged marriage with his wife, a 21-year-old student from Kerala.
Under Islamic Law, a man can provide a religious divorce orally to his wife by pronouncing “I divorce you” three times in Arabic. This is known as Talaq-Al-Bain, which literally means ‘prohibited’. The act of divorce using Talaq-Al-Bain is something which is highly frowned upon in the Muslim community where the sanctity of marriage is considered to be sacred and forever-lasting.
Unlike British law, Sharia Law allows the husband to issue a religious divorce on a ‘no fault’ basis, without involvement from his wife. Equally, the wife can exercise her rights to divorce her husband without any involvement from him. In England and Wales, spouses would need to cite one of the five facts – such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour – to obtain a divorce.
With new technology taking over the world, there will be people who try and push the boundaries to exploit Talaq-Al-Bain, also known as the ‘Triple Talaq’.
The reality is, in the event you are looking for a divorce, be it religious, legal or both, it should be documented properly. When Sharia Law was created, there was no such thing as WhatsApp, thus divorce via triple talaq carried out via messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook has left Islamic scholars divided, with the majority claiming divorce should be carried out in person and questioning whether WhatsApp can be considered as a legal document.
Slater and Gordon’s Islamic Divorce expert Kaleel Anwar often deals with cases involving an international division and would be happy to discuss your case with you further.