In Sunni Islam, I am often told that divorce can be performed without witnesses, which doesn't really make sense to me since everything in Islam requires witness (even when an adulterer commit adultery require witnesses). Is this the same in Shi'a Islam, and if so, why? Wouldn't unwitnessed divorce cause problems?


According to Qur'an divorce requires witness: At-talq:65/2.

A man can start the process of divorce in presence of no one but it should be completed and committed with two witnesses after they fulfilled their term otherwise the divorce is not done and they return to their normal life.

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Shi`a and Sunni Muslims differ in the acceptable method of divorce. Wikipedia says Sunni practice requires no witnesses and allows triple-talaq and Shi`a rules do not allow this.

The primary evidence used by the Shi`a are the first two verses of Surat at-Talaq:

O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and fear Allah , your Lord. Do not turn them out of their [husbands'] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave [during that period] unless they are committing a clear immorality. And those are the limits [set by] Allah . And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself. You know not; perhaps Allah will bring about after that a [different] matter. [At-Talaq: 1]

And when they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or part with them according to acceptable terms. And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] Allah . That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out [At-Talaq: 2]

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  • Thanks @ezati. I still am not sure how it work. Does divorce mean nothing if you do it alone? May be we can chat about this to clarify. It is such an important issue in my view. – muslim1 Oct 10 '12 at 11:23
  • @Thecrocodilehunter - As far as I know, in Shia belief it means nothing. Actually none of the Shia Muslims does it alone, cause we don't believe in this way of getting divorce at all. – Zahra Ezati Oct 11 '12 at 7:57
  • This does not fit our current policies. – مجاهد Apr 12 '14 at 14:02
  • @Ezati - the answer has been edited and undeleted. Please read our policy on copy-paste answers and use this as a model of how your answers can improve and avoid deletion. – Ansari Apr 16 '14 at 23:31
  • Nice effort @Ansari . – Bleeding Fingers Apr 17 '14 at 5:15

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