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Divorce during psychotic episode

Fatwaa ID: 1446

Question:
Assalamu Alaikum,

I was recently divorced by my husband three times in one sitting.

My husband was going through a Psychotic episode where his symptoms would come and go. He could do his usual daily tasks such as iron his clothes, go grocery shopping etc but amongst these he would have would symptoms of Psychosis. My husband hasn’t been diagnosed yet as he refuses to see a Psychiatrist due to lack of insight but his family member is a Psychiatrist and after I described the symptoms at that time, I was told my husband is going through Psychosis.

My husband’s symptoms in the period of around 1.5 months included:

  • Hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. He mentioned hearing a Judge’s voice telling him “in the winter” and from this he thought he would be killed. He thought we were being watched. He said “Believe it or not, there are powerful, influential people in this room” and “This room is crawling full of them”.
  • Seeing Allah’s name everywhere. E.g. in food. He told me to blame the divorce on him and to tell Allah this. He said he is “close to Allah”.
  • He thought our thoughts and emotions were being controlled by others.
  • He thought he was being watched by the government and was going to be killed.
  • Some inappropriate/strange behavior in public
  • Delusions of reference
  • Distrust of his colleagues and family members as he believed they were being controlled and involved with dealing drugs. He thought all Asian women have managers in Pakistan. He thought his cousin and her friend worked for the Pakistan government and regime.
  • He left his job because he thought all his colleagues were involved in the “crack cocaine system” and that his manager was giving him cases to ruin his reputation.
  • Excessive spending
  • He also spent most of his money as he thought the government would take it and then he took out a £15,000 loan without telling me.
  • Feeling “irritated”.
  • Not being able to sleep well. A few days before the divorce, he was assembling a table together with a noisy electric drill around 3am.

These were just some of his symptoms.

Out of concern and upon the advice of his family, I rang a Mental Health Crisis Team and a Mental Health Practitioner came to our home to assess him as he had not been taking their calls and he had refused to see the GP a few days before the divorce.

The Practitioner introduced herself and began with something along the lines of “Your wife called as you have mentioned Pakistan and the Government watching you and that you think you will be killed.” As she questioned him about this and why he left his job and other questions, he began getting irritated and angry and asked the Practitioner if she was there to assess him. She replied “Yes” and at this point, my husband said to the Practitioner that I had called her to obtain leverage for a divorce. I was shocked by this as I never wanted a divorce nor had I ever talked about wanting one.

He then said to the Practitioner I had mentioned divorce two weeks ago in a conversation in our car.

In the conversation two weeks before, I had asked my husband if anything in the future ever went wrong in the marriage, how would we manage this. It was just a hypothetical question and something I personally thought couples should discuss to prevent anything bad from happening in a marriage and to know how to resolve any issues.

At this point, nothing bad had happened in our marriage between us. We were newly weds, living together for only 3.5 months so far, had a lovely marriage so far alhamdulillah with no major arguments. In the conversation, my husband said a marriage should be ended if a couple can’t work it out between themselves. I said elders should be involved, couples should go through counselling and I also said separation and divorce should only take place after all avenues have been exhausted. I never once requested a divorce or separation as I was happy in my marriage. To me it was just a normal conversation couples should have but upon hearing the words “separation”, “divorce”, he got upset and had a paranoid reaction. He said “I don’t care how much your being paid, whether £500 or £600”. “I don’t care who is instructing you”, thus having a paranoid delusion.

I asked for forgiveness as it upset him and I didn’t intend this. I reassured him I was happy in the marriage and promised not to bring it up again. The next two weeks, everything was fine between us and we both never brought up this conversation.

As I was telling the Practitioner about the conversation to explain to her that I never asked for a divorce, my husband said I wanted a divorce. I told him I didn’t want a divorce several times and I said “Allah ki Kasam, Qur’an ki kasam I don’t want a divorce” but he stood up and said “Chutti chutti” and “Talaq, talaq, talaq”.

(He doesn’t recall saying Chutti Chutti).

After the Practitioner left our home, I went upstairs and my husband was sorting out letters into piles in the office. I asked him “Why did you say those words?” (I was referring to the talaqs). He swore about the Practitioner and told me he felt the Practitioner being there “pushed” him to say it and that it was an “attack” on him. He said she was there to “label” him and “form her opinion” about him. I explained that I never wanted a divorce and that the Practitioner came because I cared about his health and was worried, not for me to get leverage for a divorce. I then left the home and went to my parents home.

My husband later told me that he felt he lost control, wasn’t in his senses and that “it was a moment of madness” and that there had been no thought of the consequences.

The day after the divorce, my husband did attend his scheduled GP appointment and the GP referred him to a Psychiatrist for an assessment but he didn’t attend any of the appointments.

As my husband was refusing to see a Psychiatrist, I spoke to two Muslim Psychiatrists myself about my husband’s symptoms and the divorce situation.

They both said that my husband was Psychotic and delusional, showing irrational thinking and said he needs to see a Psychiatrist to be assessed. They both felt a divorce should not count due to his Psychosis and delusions.

My husband and I would like to reconcile. He said he never wanted a divorce.

I have been living at my parents since the divorce day as I was unsure whether or not the divorces count.

Please can you tell us that in this situation, do the divorces count?

JazakumAllahu khair. May Allah bless you.

(Personal details have been hidden for privacy reasons. The question and answer is being posted for educational purposes.)

Answer:
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

May Allaah Ta’aala make it easy for him and the family. We take note of the details of your query. Based on the information provided, it seems that he was in his full senses when he issued the talaaqs. He analyzed the matter and thereafter said what he said. Accordingly, the talaaqs issued were valid.

In terms of what kind of divorce took place and how many, kindly clarify from him whether he recalls saying “Chutti chutti”, and if he did then what was his intention when uttering them. Also, clarify why he uttered the word “talaq” thrice. Based on the provided details, three irrevocable talaaqs would take place. However, depending on the clarification, the ruling may somewhat be affected. You may revert to us at ask@mufti.nyc or by replying to this email.

Irrespective of the case, you must separate from him. Your ‘iddah has commenced from the time he uttered the statements in front of the practitioner.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
https://askthemufti.us/

12/19/1444 AH – 07/07/2023 CE | 383

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

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