Halala: The Most Vile Custom among Muslims

By Sohail Arshad, New Age Islam
14 Dec., 2012
New Age Islam

If a man divorces his loving wife in a fit of rage someday and then after coming to his senses he realises his mistake and wants to take her back in his life, the mullah of his town tells him of the only option that is Halala that can make her ex-wife lawful for him.  He explains to the young man that to remarry his wife, first he will have to allow her to get married to another man who will consummate the marriage as her lawful husband. If the man divorces her only then he can remarry her after she spends the three-month iddat period.

And this has become a widely accepted practice across Muslim societies. In many towns, the Maulvis (priests) arrange for a man for the marriage of such a divorced woman by paying him a specific fee. He divorces her after consummating the marriage within a stipulated period of time making the woman lawful for her first husband. In most of the cases all the expenses of the marriage and the fee are paid by the former husband.

In recent years, the practice of administering Halala has taken an ugly turn as corruption has crept in the clergy and in the society at large in the religious affairs that have become both means of earning money and getting the opportunity to legally keep a mistress for a short period of time without having to worry about any social and legal hassles. Therefore, in many towns and cities, these muftis themselves have taken up the lofty task of serving the Muslim Ummah by offering the service of Halala by marrying such hapless women to make them lawful for their former husbands. According to reports, one mufti has even established a ‘Halala centre’ to cater to the needs of such bad-tempered husbands and the filthy rich with uncontrollable lust of keeping concubines for short periods of time.

According to the editor of Newageislam.com, Mr Sultan Shahin, such ‘Halala services’ are also offered by the managing committee members of some mosques in Western countries (in Brussels, for example) where the managing committee consists of rich people who are ready to offer Halala services. The richest of them all gets to perform Halala on the most beautiful woman that comes for this purpose. A fatwa of divorce is given most easily, sometimes on the flimsiest grounds and sometimes without any ground altogether. This is accepted by the husband’s family largely as the fatwa and offer of Halala is also accompanied by a threat of ex-communication by the priests.

This custom has been questioned by non-Muslim as they say that it subjects a faithful and modest woman to go through this painful orgy due to the mistakes of her irresponsible husband. In their opinion, it is a bizarre custom devoid of any logic as the wife has to suffer humiliation and stigma for the folly of her husband.

The custom of Halala has itself become a problem because of its sheer misinterpretation and misapplication. The verses of the Quran have been misinterpreted to misuse the practice of Halala. The Quran says:

"So if a husband divorces his wife (for a third time), he cannot, after that remarry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case, there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah which He makes plain to those who know". (2:230).

Actually, Halala is not a means of remarrying a wife after uttering divorce. When a man permanently divorces his wife by uttering three Talaqs (divorce) he cannot remarry her at any cost. If only the woman decides to have a second marriage to spend the rest of her life peacefully and for the sake of the future of her children (if any) and at any point of time if the second husband also divorces her on his own accord as a matter of coincidence and if, in case the woman also wants to get back to her first husband, she can remarry her first husband. And this process will be called Halala.

So, the whole episode will be based on a number of coincidences and on the willingness of the woman to get back. Halala is not an option to get her back by stage-managing a mutah (temporary marriage) where everything is planned or agreed upon, that is, a man agrees to marry the divorced woman by charging an amount of money only to divorce her after having physical relationship with her for a stipulated or mutually agreed period of time, say, one day or one week and then divorces her according to the agreement in order to make the woman lawful for her first husband.

Or the man only wants to keep a mistress for temporary enjoyment and money with the purpose of divorcing her after a mutually agreed period of time like in mutah (temporary marriage) without having any commitment towards her. This kind of Halala is Haram and prohibited in Islam and a bid’at (religious innovation). The Quran and hadith both prohibit such a marriage and accursed are all those who are involved in such marriages. Such practice of Halala is Haram as it is in clear contravention of Hadith and the Quranic ordainments.

Nowadays, the Halalas are arranged marriages and paid-for-affairs in order to fulfil the minimum criteria to reunite with the spouse. But the holy Prophet (PBUH) has strictly prohibited such practices in the name of Halala. The holy prophet (PBUH) admonishes those who misinterpret the verses of the Quran regarding Halala to serve their own petty interests and removes the confusion. According to a Hadith, the holy Prophet (PBUH) said:

"'The Curse of Allah be upon the one who marries a divorced woman with the intention of making her lawful for her former husband, and upon the one for whom she is made lawful!'.


This Hadith was reported by Hadhrat Ali ibn Talib (R.A.) (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2071).


This Hadith not only invalidates arranged Halalas but also replies to the criticism of the detractors of Islam who say that by giving sanctions to Halala, Islam has done great injustice to the divorced women. The holy Prophet (PBUH) cursed both the men who make the wronged woman go through humiliation and severe mental and psychological torture and cause her a permanent stigma. Clearly, the Prophet (PBUH) does not blame her and absolves her of all responsibility in the entire episode because he too believes that the woman has been meted out grave injustice by the one who has ruined her life and the other who has married her only to use her as a sexual object.


Halala is itself an un-Islamic custom, with no Islamic validity.The current practice is based on wrong interpretation of the Quran, and, therefore, it has only created other social problems. Most of the time, the second husband refuses to divorce the ‘Halala’ wife or delays the divorce violating the agreement. In some cases, the wife herself decides to settle down with the second husband to teach her first husband a lesson or because she likes or falls in love with him or feels more secure with him. 

Halala is an offshoot of another un-Islamic custom, triple Talaq. Quran clearly gives the method for divorce in three months; if that is followed and made mandatory there would be no Halala issue altogether. 

Muslims should not accept divorce as legal until a divorce has been pronounced on three separate occasions. If this were made clear to couple that no matter how many times the husband pronounced divorce the first time it will be considered one divorce, after which coming together is just a matter of sleeping together and so on, this evil custom will come to an end.

So this evil is basically a result of a craftily devised Mullah conspiracy to fulfill their own vile desires. That is why they have made triple Talaq acceptable and Halala prevalent.

The most worrying aspect of this practice is that the corrupt muftis and mullahs have promoted this un-Islamic practice to satisfy their lust for having sex with multiple women without fear of condemnation or opposition either from their wives or from the society. Such un-Islamic practices of irresponsible sections of the Muslim society should be exposed and stopped to save the lives and honour of women in distress. Muslims should be educated to behave responsibly with their wives as there is no way of remarrying a woman after divorcing her. Halala comes only as a coincidence. And remember, coincidences are rare, very rare.


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