What happens if I divorce my wife before sleeping with her?

Short Answer

If you divorce your wife before having intercourse with her then she will not have any waiting period [ʿiddah], half her dowry [mahr] must be returned to you, and the pronouncement of divorce is irrevocable [bā’in]. If you have been alone with her in private [khalwah] such that intercourse would have been possible then this counts as consummating the marriage too.

What the Qur’an and Sunnah Say

Allah says, “O you who believe, when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, then they have no obligation of any waiting period for you that you may count…” (Qur’an, Al-Ahzab 33:49)

What the Scholars Said

Imam Ibn Abidin states, “The position of the [Hanafi] School is that of the obligation of observing the waiting period after being alone together, regardless of the presence of a deterrent from having sexual intercourse (fasida) or otherwise (sahiha).” (Radd al-Muhtar 2:483)

Imam Haskafi states, “Revoking the divorce is not valid in the waiting period after remaining alone together (without consummation).” (Radd al-Muhtar 3:37)

Version 0.25

Shaykh Mustafa Umar