Nikah Halala

Nikah Halala or Halala (Urdu: حلالہ) Nikah means marriage and Halala means to make something lawful which is currently unlawful.[1] Nikah Halala is practiced by certain sects of Sunni Muslims. It involves a female divorcee marrying someone else, consummating the marriage and then getting a divorce in order to make it allowable to remarry her previous husband. Halala marriage makes the divorced wife lawful to the former husband, after she had become unlawful due to the three times divorce.[2][3]

According to Islam, if a man divorces his wife for the third time, meaning that he married her, divorced her, again married her, divorced her and then again married her for the third time and divorced her, then it is not permissible for them to remarry until she has married another man, because Allah 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” [al-Baqarah 2:230].

It is stipulated that this marriage which will make her permissible for her first husband should be a valid marriage. Temporary marriage (mut’ah marriage) or marriage for the purpose of making her permissible for her first husband then divorcing her (tahleel marriage) are both haraam and invalid according to the vast majority of scholars, and it does not make the woman permissible for her first husband. See: al-Mughni (10/49-55).

There are saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet Muhammad which show that tahleel marriage is haraam.

Abu Dawood (2076) narrated that Muhammad said: “Allah has cursed the muhallil and the muhallal lahu.” This was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Sunan Abi Dawood. A muhallil is one who marries a woman and divorces her so that she can go back to her first husband, and the muhallal lahu is the first husband.

Ibn Majaah (1936) narrated from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir that Muhammad said: “Shall I not tell you of a borrowed billy-goat.” They said, Yes, O Messenger of Allah. He said, “He is al-muhallil. May Allah curse al-muhallil and al-muhallal lahu.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah.

‘Abd al-Razzaaq (6/2650) narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said whilst addressing the people: “By Allah, no muhallil or muhallal lahu will be brought to me but I will stone them.”

This applies whether he states his intention clearly when doing the marriage contract and they stipulate that when he has made her permissible for her first husband he will divorce her, or they do not stipulate that and he intends it to himself only.

Al-Haakim narrated from Naafi’ that a man said to Ibn ‘Umar: I married a woman and made her permissible for her first husband, and he did not tell me to do that and he did not know. He said: No, marriage should be based on genuine intentions; if you like her then keep her, and if you do not like her then leave her. He said: At the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) we would regard that as zina. And he said: They will still be adulterers, even if they remain for twenty years.

Imam Ahmad was asked about a man who married a woman intending thereby in his heart to make her permissible for her first husband, but the woman did not know about that. He said: He is a muhallil, and if he intends thereby to make her permissible for her first husband, then he is cursed.

Based on that, it is not permissible for you to marry this woman if you intend thereby to make her permissible for her first husband. Doing that is a major sin, and the marriage will not be valid, rather it is zina – Allah forbid.[4]


A BBC report found that Halala is common in certain south-Asian Muslim communities in the UK. The report uncovered many instances where women were socially and sexually exploited by local religious figures.[2]


An India Today investigation found that a number of religious scholars in India are asking to be paid for a one-night stand with divorced Muslim women who are using Islamic law to save their marriages. The women are charged anywhere between Rs 20,000 (£240) and Rs 1.5 lakh (£1800) to participate in nikah halala, the probe discovered.[5][6]

Petitions have been filed by many Muslim women in Indian Supreme Court against Nikah Halala. In March 2018, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Indian government on the issue of nikah halala and polygamy. The government is in favor of criminalizing Nikah Halala as the government believes that the practice is against the principles of gender justice, and made its stand clear in the apex court on the issue.[7]

The Supreme Court of India will hear the petition against Nikah Halala and polygamy in Muslims from 20 July 2018.[8][9][10]

See also


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