Asalamu alaikum. I have been married to my husband for over three years, but the marriage was held privately in a masjid where only the imam and two male witnesses were present, along with me and my husband. We signed a marriage contract, but he witheld the information of the marriage from his family. They later became aware of our marriage after a year. After two years, I found him cheating with another woman. He did not want to divorce me at first, but I kept asking until he agreed. He said talaq three times. Three months later he came to me asking for another chance, so he told me he went to a sheikh to ask if we could still get back together since the iddat was not over and he told me the sheikh said that since he said talaq three times in a row and not separately, we were allowed to come back together since the three talaq only counted as one. We have both tried to make this marriage work, but he continues to lie about what he is doing and where he is going and his family has told me he is looking for other women to marry and he denies this to me even when I ask. His family has also expressed to me that they think he never went to the sheikh to ask him if our marriage was still valid and that he lied about it just to get me back. We dont live together and never have since we were married and I have begged and pleaded with him to do this but he won't. He also does not help me financially and I have given him money to help him buy things he wants with his promise to pay me back, but he never does. He spends his money on others things he doesn't need, but never to help me, even when I express to him that I am struggling financially. The community still doesnt know that he is married and his family wants to keep it secret from the community for fear it will bring shame on us. I have now asked him for a divorce because I can't continue living this way. My health is now affected because of the stress and worry of his lies and unknown whereabouts on a nightly basis as he is always going out with his friends at night and rarely comes to see me. When I express my sadness toward this matter, he becomes angry and defensive. He said he will not grant me a divorce because he wants to stay with me but I have told him this type of marriage is not healthy and is making me worry sick to the point that I am now having anxiety attacks and am constantly depressed. I reverted to Islam shortly before marrying him so I didn't fully understand islamic marriage. I am not sure who to turn to for help and if I am warranted in getting a divorce from him. We are not legally married, only Islamically married as we live in the west. Please, I need help and guidance in this matter as I am feeling trapped. He told me if I go to a sheikh that it will only be harder for me to get a divorce from him as he is the only one who can give me the divorce. He knows I am not happy in this marriage and still refuses to divorce me. I feel trapped.
الجواب وبالله التوفيق
As per the situation described in your question, when your husband issued three talaqs (divorces) to you, all three took effect. You became mutallqa mughallidha(irrevocably divorced) through that and became haram upon your husband. It is haram(impermissible) to live together without performing Shar‘ai Halalah.
The three talaqs issued in one sitting are considered three and not one, although issuing three talaqs simultaneously is considered a grave sin and an opposition to the commands of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘ala. It has been proven by the Quran, hadith, consensus of Sahaba, the pious predecessors, fuqahah, mashaikh and from the rulings of the aimma arba‘ including Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa, Hazrat Imam Shaf‘ai, Hazrat Imam Malik and Hazrat Imam Ahmed Bin Hambal Rahimahumullah.
قال تعالی فان طلقھا فلا تحل لہ من بعد حتی تنکح زوجا غیرہ (القرآن، سورہ بقرہ
اخبر رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم عن رجل طلق امرأتہ ثلاث تطلیقات جمیعا فقام عضبانا ثم قال ایلعب بکتاب اللہ وانا بین اظھرکم حتی قام رجل وقال : یا رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم الا قتلہ (عن محمد بن لبید نسائی کتاب الطلاق)
A person informed Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam that a man has issued three talaqs to his wife simultaneously, Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam became furious and stood up and stated "do people play around with the book of Allah, although I am present amongst them?" It was such a moment of fervor that a person asked Rasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallamif he should kill this man. Owamir ‘Ijlani issued three divorces to his wife simultaneously andRasulullah Sallallaho Alyhi Wasallam validated them as effectual.
عن سھل بن سعد فی ھذا الخبر قال فطلقھا ثلاث تطلیقات عند رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم فانفذہ رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم
(ابوداؤد شریف کتاب الطلاق)
عن عائشہ ان رجلا طلق امراتہ ثلاثا فتزوجت زوجاً فطلقھا قبل ان یمسھا فسئل رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم أتحل للاول لم قال لا ، حتی یذوق عسیلتھا کما ذاق الاول(نسائی کتاب الطلاق
(لو قال لزوجتہ انت طالق طالق طالق طلقت ثلاثا (فتاوی قاسمیہ ص ۲۵۱، ج ۱۵، بحوالہ الاشباء والنظائر
(اوی الشامیۃ: (ثلاثۃ متفرقۃ) وکذا بکلمۃ واحدۃ بالاولٰی ۔۔۔ وذھب جمھور الصحابۃ والتابعین ومن بعدھم من ائمۃ المسلمین الی انہ یقع ثلاث (فتاوی قاسمیہ ص ۳۰۰، ج۱۷، بحوالہ شامی وغیرہ)