Remarriage in Islam
Guide to Understanding Islam

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About…


What must a divorced wife do before her husband can take her back?

Summary Answer
According to the Qur’an, a woman who is divorced by her husband (which is easy for him to do) can only be taken back by him if she first marries another man and he divorces her.

The Qur’an:
Sura (2:230)“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…”

From the Hadith:

Bukhari (063:190) – Muhammad tells a woman that she cannot return to her first husband until she has sexual relations with another man.

Abu Dawud confirms this in two places: 2192 and 2302.

Additional Notes:

If, in a fit of anger, a man pronounces the ‘triple talaq’ (repeating “I divorce you” three times) to his wife, they are divorced under Islamic law.  However, if the couple wishes to reconcile – perhaps for the sake of their children – they cannot do this until she first marries and divorces another man.

The requirement is not symbolic.  Muhammad is very clear about the fact that the interim marriage must be consummated.

This command is utterly degrading to the woman, who may have done nothing to merit her husband’s rage, yet must bear the brunt of his temper in the most humiliating way.  This also provides irrefutable insight into the sexism that is so deeply rooted in Islam.

Sura 2:229-230 says that divorce and remarriage can only take place twice before the marriage is permanently unlawful.


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