The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most hateful permissible thing (al-Halal) in the sight of Allah is divorce.” (Reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah) The spouses should avoid divorce as much as possible. If they have difficulties and problems they should try to work out their differences and seek help from their relatives, friends or professional counselors.
Muslims must protect their family life. Using the words of divorce in haste or anger is not right. These words are serious and one should say them with the full understanding of the consequences.
Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states: “Abu Dawud quotes the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “Divorce and manumission do not count in case of Ighlaq.” Imam Ahamd says Ighlaq means anger; some other scholars hold it to mean doing something under force; others say it stands for insanity.
Anger is of three kinds:
1. Anger that renders one unconscious and completely unaware of what he speaks. There is Ijma’ (scholarly consensus) that divorce does not count in this case.
2. Anger that is normal and has no effect on man’s awareness. There is Ijma’ that divorce does count in this case.
3. Extreme anger that is between the two stages. It does not render one to be fully unaware of what he utters, but it is really fierce to the extent of causing one to act against his will. It’s reflected in man’s showing sign of remorse after uttering the words of divorce. This kind of divorce is controversial and the preponderant view is that it does not count.
I advise those who seek religious ruling for cases of divorce to give a honest remark when describing their state of anger, for some people tend to give some sort of exaggerating force to the state of fury, and thus describing it as having paralyzing effect on their power of reasoning when they pronounce divorce. Such people should fear Allah and speak the truth.”
The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is one of the scholars who give precedence to the view that divorce does not count in the third case. In setting out a criterion for distinguishing the anger with which divorce does not count, he states:
“Anger causes one to lose balance while speaking and acting, to the extent that he says and does a thing which he would not have done in normal state. This is what Ibn `Abdin mentions in his Hashiayah. We can add another criterion here, which is mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim in his Zad al-Ma`ad, in order to distinguish between extreme and normal anger. It is that one regrets and feels sorry for one’s previous act when anger subsides, and this indicates that pronouncement of divorce in that case is normally unintentional.”