Assalam-o-Alaikum,Firstly, I'd like to appreciate the service that the Ulema atRehmat-e-Alam foundation are providing. Jazak Allah for your efforts.May Allah give you all a long & peaceful life and take more service ofdeen from you and also accept us all for the effort of Deen. Aameen.My question is regarding the validity of my parents' marriage. My parents got married back in 1974. It was only 3 months into the marriage when my father jokingly said to my mom "maine tumhain talaqdee, maine tumhain talaq dee, maine tumhain talaq dee". He was just teasing my mom as he knew that she was somewhat religious minded.However, none of them knew that this might actually constitute adivorce so they kept on living with each other without even thinkingthey might be actually divorced now. They lived together having aphysical relationship for about 16-17 years and had 1 daughter & 3 sons (including me).In early 90s, my dad fell in love with a colleague of his and he married her secretly without letting my mom know. However, she eventually found out about his remarrying which caused a big fight and since then the relationship between my dad & mom have not been that good. The current situation is that my dad visits our house like a guest once in about 2-3 days and only for a few hours. They don't have a physical relation for the last 15-16 years but they do talk over the phone, eat together & consider themselves husband & wife.My father is not religious at all and it would be hard to talk to him about this issue. My mom is very religious, spends time in tabligh n all but she is not giving this issue much importance as she says she doesn't have a physical relationship with my dad anyway. She is not willing to consult the Ulema regarding this issue coz of shame. That is why I am emailing you about it so that I can ask that what can we do about all this mess which started about more than 30 years ago.I am not really worried about my dad coz he's not that religious anyway but my mom is a pious woman and I don't want her to displease Allah in any way. She herself doesn't want to disobey Allah but for some reason she cannot accept that she is divorced and should cut off all kinds of contact with my dad. Also, it would be hard for us totell our dad that you got divorced 3 months after the marriage when they have been together for about more than 30 years now.I would really appreciate if you could let us know that what should wedo in this situation. Both my mom & dad live in Pakistan (but inseparate houses) but they do meet and talk often. My dad does not spend the night with my mom. He is usually with his 2nd wife.Jazak Allah Khaer,
الجواب وبالله التوفيق
In the situation described in your question, it is evident that by saying “I divorce you” 3 times, an irrevocable divorce (Talaq-e-Mughallidha) has taken place. Without performing a Shar‘ai Halalah it is impermissible for your parents to live together.
فَاِنۡ طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا تَحِلُّ لَهٗ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدُ حَتّٰى تَنۡكِحَ زَوۡجًا غَيۡرَهٗ ؕ (البقرۃ 230
Divorce (or Talaq) is such a word that it takes effect whether it is said while joking around, teasing or in complete seriousness.
عن ابی ھریرۃرضی اللہ تعالی ٰ عنہ قال قال النبی ؐثلاث جدھن جد و ھزلھن جد النکاح والطلاق والرجعۃ
(ابو داؤد، ترمذی –باب فی الطلاق علی الھزل)
Also, knowing that a divorce takes place by saying these words this way is not a precondition for the divorce to actually take effect. After giving 3 Talaqs, living together for such a long period is a disliked act and impermissible, hence they shall repent and do Istagfhar.