Before understanding what triple talaq is, we must understand what a ‘Nikah’ (Marriage) stands for in Islam.
Nikah is essentially a contract laid down in a ‘Nikahnama’ drawn between the husband and the wife. This contract can have conditions and has a compulsory ‘consideration’ (Meher) to be paid at the time of the marriage. This Meher is paid by the man to the wife, and can be at time waived off by the woman as per her own will.
To understand Triple Talaq, one must understand that in Islam, everything is followed as per Sunnah (Deeds of the prophet).
According to the Prophet’s sayings, giving talaq to a wife in a fit of rage or anger is strictly prohibited. The Quran advises the husband to settle the differences through a mutual conversation as the first talaq. This step is known as the Fa’izu Hunna.
First Talaq. Before pronouncing the first Talaq, it is recommended that the husband must attempt to talk to the wife, make peace with her and talk about the gravity of the situation.
Second talaq. If the differences continue between the husband and the wife, the parties should refrain from any conjugal acts till they settle their dispute. This step of physical separation known as the Wahjuru Hunna is prescribed so that the couple re-unites.
Third talaq. is known as the Wazribu Hunna. However, Quran advises that even if the third step fails, the fourth step of ‘arbitration’ must be followed.
Arbitration. During this arbitration, a member from each of the spouses’ family is present and the parties try to make amends in the strained relationship.
It is only after all these four steps have failed that a husband pronounces the first Talaq.
When can the husband pronounce the second Talaq?
The husband has to compulsorily wait for a wife's iddah (menses) to complete before pronouncing another talaq.
Not more than two Talaqs can be pronounced during the course of iddah. Iddahs are considered to be the three monthly courses. During these three month cycles, a man cannot give his third Talaq. This had been envisaged so that the couple sorts out their differences in this period.
Quran prescribes that if a woman has attained the age of menopause then the period of iddah is three months, whereas if a woman is pregnant, then the period of Iddah would be till the child is born or the termination of pregnancy.
If the differences still persists then the third talaq is pronounced, after which the relations between the husband and the wife are severed.
How is it different from Talaq-e-Sunnah? Instant Talaq is women being divorced through SMS or over a mere phone call. The husband only has to write or speak Talaq, Talaq, Talaq for an instant divorce, where he is not responsible for providing any reasons for such divorce.
Can a man re-marry his wife after pronouncing the third talaq?
No. After the third Talaq, a woman is supposed to marry another man, consummate the relationship, and only after following the original procedure of Talaq-e-Sunnah, will she be able to marry the former husband again.
Do women have any right to divorce the husband in Islam?
There are two methods under which a wife can claim divorce. One is Talaq-e-Tafweez and the other is Talaq-e-Khula.
Tafweez. Under Tafweez, the husband ‘may’ delegate his power to give Talaq to his wife or any third party. This right has to be in the form of a contract with conditions, like, ‘if a man marries again’ then there can be a divorce, etc. But a contract will not be without conditions or be absolute.
Khula. The second one is Khula. This is a divorce which is at the ‘request’ of the wife. In this case the woman has to make an offer of divorce to the man.
The man must accept the offer with consideration, which often means the woman, has to give back the Meher taken during marriage. After these two steps, a Khula is granted.
The woman often approaches a qazi-court as well to demand a Khula from the man. There needs to be an execution of a Khulanama.
But something which needs to be observed is that in both the cases, it’s only a request or a husband's wish to draw up a contract to give the wife an option to divorce him.