Nikah halala

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Nikah halala (Urdu: نکاح حلالہ), also known as tahleel marriage,[1] is a practice in which a woman, after being divorced by triple talaq, marries another man, consummates the marriage, and gets divorced again in order to be able to remarry her former husband.[2] Nikah means marriage and halala means to make something halal, or permissible.[3] This form of marriage is haram (forbidden) according to the hadith of Islamic prophet Muhammad.[4][5] Nikah halala is practiced by a small minority of Muslims, mainly in countries that recognise the triple talaq.[6][7]

Islamic law[edit]

In classical Islamic law, a husband may divorce by simply announcing to his wife that he repudiates her (talaq).[8] The initial declaration of talaq is a revocable repudiation (ṭalāq rajʿah) which does not terminate the marriage. The husband can revoke the divorce at any time during the waiting period ('iddah) which lasts three full menstrual cycles. Resumption of sexual relations automatically retracts the repudiation. The divorce becomes final when the waiting period expires. This is called a "minor" divorce (al-baynuna al-sughra) and the couple can remarry. If the husband repudiates his wife for the third time, it triggers a "major" divorce (al-baynuna al-kubra), after which the couple cannot remarry without an intervening consummated marriage by the wife to another man.[9] [10] This is known as tahlil marriage or nikah halala. Making the third pronouncement irrevocable acts as a deterrent to rash repudiations.[11]

There are hadith indicating that entering a tahleel marriage with the intention of divorcing so that the original spouses can remarry is forbidden (haraam). Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah reported that both the first husband (muhallil) and the temporary husband (muhallil lahu) were cursed by God, and Ibn Majah calls the temporary husband "a borrowed billy-goat." Al-Hakim Nishapuri adds that marriage should be based on genuine intentions, and that in the time of Muhammad, tahleel spouses would have been considered adulterers.[12]


A BBC report found that halala is practised in certain Pakistani Muslim communities in the UK. The report uncovered many instances where women were socially and sexually exploited by local religious figures.[6]


Petitions have been filed by a few Muslim women and rights organisations in the Supreme Court of India against nikah halala.[13] Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) is one such petitioner. BMMA is a national movement of Muslim women in India. In March 2018, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Indian government on the issue of nikah halala and polygamy. The Indian government made its stand clear in favor of criminalizing the practice of nikah halala in apex court.[14]

The Supreme Court of India will hear the petition against nikah halala and polygamy in Muslim communities from July 20, 2018. On September 13, 2018, a Muslim woman named Shabnam Rani was attacked with acid. She was one of the petitioners against the practice of nikah halala. Islamic radicals are the main suspects. On September 18, 2018 the Supreme Court asked the government to provide adequate security to the victim.[15][16]

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board is against the outlawing of Nikah Halala, though it feels that its use should be discouraged and restricted to the "rarest of rare situations."[17][18]

Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader, Ashwini Upadhyay filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India against Nikah Halala and polygamy as violations of fundamental right to life and liberty.[19]


Nikah halala and triple talaq are practiced among the Kurdish Sunni community of Iran. There has been pushback from women's rights activists, lawyers and human rights activists.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Ali, Shaheen Sardar; Griffiths, Anne (2016-04-15). From Transnational Relations to Transnational Laws: Northern European Laws at the Crossroads. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-13158-8.
  2. ^ Singh, Vatsala (24 July 2018). "What Does Quran Say About Nikah Halala? Will Banning it Help?". The Quint. Bloomberg LP. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Halala in Muslims". 22 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Sunan Abi Dawud 2076 - Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah) - - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  5. ^ Ahmad, Yusuf Al-Hajj. The Book Of Nikkah: Encyclopaedia of Islamic Law. Darussalam Publishers.
  6. ^ a b Ahmad, Athar (2017-04-05). "The women who sleep with a stranger to save their marriage". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  7. ^ "Nikah Halala: A Law That Demands A Woman To Sleep With Stranger To Remarry Her Divorced Husband". Outlook India. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  8. ^ Abed Awad; Hany Mawla (2013). "Divorce. Legal Foundations". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-976446-4. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  9. ^ "So if a husband divorces his wife ˹three times˺, then it is not lawful for him to remarry her until after she has married another man and then is divorced. Then it is permissible for them to reunite, as long as they feel they are able to maintain the limits of Allah. These are the limits set by Allah, which He makes clear for people of knowledge."[Quran 2:230 (Mustafa Khattab)]
  10. ^ Maaike Voorhoeve (2013). "Divorce. Modern Practice". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-976446-4. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  11. ^ Wael B. Hallaq (2009). Sharī'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations. Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition). p. Loc. 7921–7950.
  12. ^ Ali, Shaheen Sardar; Griffiths, Anne (April 15, 2016). From Transnational Relations to Transnational Laws: Northern European Laws at the Crossroads. Routledege. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-315-58358-7. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Petition filed in SC seeking abolition of Nikah-Halala". Business Standard. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  14. ^ "Centre to oppose nikah halala in Supreme Court - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court To Begin Nikah Halala and Polygamy Hearing From July 20". 12 July 2018.
  16. ^ Bansal, Aanchal. "Before SC hearing, Modi govt builds case against Nikah Halala, polygamy". The Economic Times.
  17. ^ "AIMPLB against outlawing of 'nikah halala', but wants it to be discouraged". The Times of India. 17 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Declaring Triple Talaq Illegal Would be Like Rewriting Quran: Personal Law Board".
  19. ^ "Writ Petition Summary (Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay)". Supreme Court Observer. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  20. ^ Alikarami, Leila. "Instant verbal divorce rips families apart in Iran's Kurdish region". Al-Monitor.
  21. ^ Warraich, Faizan Ali (27 September 2016). "Hatheli, based on Halala, on air from today". The Nation.