TalAq literally means �undoing the knot,� but in Islamic law, it now means annulment of marriage by the pronouncement of certain words.

The marriage and divorce laws of Islam derive from the Prophet�s own practice and pronouncements.  According to the Shias, the Prophet had twenty-two wives, two of whom were bondswomen; but that was a special divine dispensation for him alone.  The other believers are allowed only four wives at a time, exclusive of slave concubines, who do not count.  The total of four wives at one time cannot be exceeded, but individual wives can be replaced through talAq.  The procedure is not difficult; once a man says the word talAq three times, the divorce becomes operative.

Yet there are certain restrictions.  For example, it is forbidden to divorce a woman during her menstrual period (3473-3490).  �Abdullah, the son of �Umar, the future KhalIfa, divorced his wife while she was in a state of menses.  When �Umar mentioned this to Muhammad, the latter ordered: �He [�Abdullah] should take her back, and when she is pure he may divorce her� (3485).

author : ram swarup

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