He Divorced His Christian Wife Three Times, Then She Married A Christian Man, Who Then Divorced Her; Is She Permissible For Her First Husband?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
I married a Christian woman but she did not become a Muslim. Our marriage was
done in the Islamic way. I divorced her three times, and after the divorce she
got married to a Christian man, then he divorced her.
Is it permissible for me to marry her again?
Praise be to Allah.
If a Muslim marries a Christian woman, then divorces her three times, then she
marries a Christian man after that in a valid marriage, and he is intimate with
her in the manner in which a man is intimate with his wife, then he divorces
her, in that case she becomes permissible for her first husband, the Muslim,
after the end of her 'iddah. That is because of the general meaning of the verse
in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "And if
he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter
until she has married another husband. Then, if the other husband divorces her,
it is no sin on both of them that they reunite, provided they feel that they can
keep the limits ordained by Allah" [al-Baqarah 2:230]. And the Christian man in
this scenario is a husband. This is the view of the majority of scholars.
Imam ash-Shaafa'i (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Umm (4/289):
If a Muslim man divorces his Christian wife three times, then a Christian or a
slave marries her, and has intercourse with her, then she becomes permissible to
the first husband if the second husband divorces her, once her 'iddah has ended,
because either of these two men is a husband, and Allah, may He be glorified and
exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): "until she has married another
husband" [al-Baqarah 2:230]. So in this case she has married another husband.
Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about a man who married a
Christian woman, then divorced her, then she married a Christian man who then
divorced her. Can she go back to the Muslim? He said: Yes; do you not see that
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "until she has married another
husband" [al-Baqarah 2:230]? And is this man not a husband? End quote.
And he was asked about a Christian woman who was married to a Muslim, who
divorced her three times, and her 'iddah ended, then she married a Christian man
who consummated the marriage with her, then he died or divorced her; is it
permissible for her Muslim ex-husband to marry this Christian woman?
He said: Yes, because he was a husband. A Christian may make a dhimmi woman
permissible for a Muslim to remarry.
End quote from Ahkaam Ahl al-Milal wa'r-Riddah (p.170)
It says in al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah (1/473):
If a Christian woman was married to a Muslim and he divorced her three times,
then she married a Christian man and he consummated the marriage with her, she
becomes permissible for the Muslim who previously divorced her three times (to
remarry). End quote.
It says in al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah (10/256):
The majority of fuqaha' are of the view that intercourse with her dhimmi husband
makes it permissible for her to remarry the first husband (if the second husband
then divorces her), because the Christian man is a husband. But that is contrary
to the view of Maalik, Rabee'ah and Ibn al-Qaasim, who said that this does not
make her permissile (for the Muslim man to remarry). End quote.
For more information, please see the answer to question no. 45645, 84849 and