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ARBNDEENIDTRUR
ٱلطَّلَٰقُ
The divorce
مَرَّتَانِۖ
(is) twice.
فَإِمْسَاكٌۢ
Then to retain
بِمَعْرُوفٍ
in a reasonable manner
أَوْ
or
تَسْرِيحٌۢ
to release (her)
بِإِحْسَٰنٍۗ
with kindness.
وَلَا
And (it is) not
يَحِلُّ
lawful
لَكُمْ
for you
أَن
that
تَأْخُذُوا۟
you take (back)
مِمَّآ
whatever
ءَاتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ
you have given them
شَيْـًٔا
anything,
إِلَّآ
except
أَن
that
يَخَافَآ
both fear
أَلَّا
that not
يُقِيمَا
they both (can) keep
حُدُودَ
(the) limits
ٱللَّهِۖ
(of) Allah.
فَإِنْ
But if
خِفْتُمْ
you fear
أَلَّا
that not
يُقِيمَا
they both (can) keep
حُدُودَ
(the) limits
ٱللَّهِ
(of) Allah
فَلَا
then (there is) no
جُنَاحَ
sin
عَلَيْهِمَا
on both of them
فِيمَا
in what
ٱفْتَدَتْ
she ransoms
بِهِۦۗ
concerning it.
تِلْكَ
These
حُدُودُ
(are the) limits
ٱللَّهِ
(of) Allah,
فَلَا
then (there is) no
تَعْتَدُوهَاۚ
transgress them.
وَمَن
And whoever
يَتَعَدَّ
transgresses
حُدُودَ
(the) limits
ٱللَّهِ
(of) Allah
فَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ
then those -
هُمُ
they
ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ
(are) the wrongdoers.

Attalaaqu marrataani fa imsaakum bima'roofin aw tasreehum bi ihsaan; wa laa yahillu lakum an taakhuzoo mimmaaa aataitumoohunna shai'an illaaa ai yakhaafaaa alla yuqeemaa hudoodallahi fa in khiftum allaa yuqeemaa budoodal laahi falaa junaaha 'Alaihimaa feemaf tadat bihee tilka hudoodul laahi falaa ta'tadoohaa; wa mai yata'adda hudoodal laahi fa ulaaa'ika humuzzaa limoon

Sahih International:

Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allah. But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah - it is those who are the wrongdoers.

Ahmed Ali

Divorce is (revokable) two times (after pronouncement), after which (there are two ways open for husbands), either (to) keep (the wives) honourably, or part with them in a decent way. You are not allowed to take away the least of what you have given your wives, unless both of you fear that you would not be able to keep within the limits set by God. If you fear you cannot maintain the bounds fixed by God, there will be no blame on either if the woman redeems herself. Do not exceed the limits of God, for those who exceed the bounds set by God are transgressors.

Ahmed Raza Khan

This type of divorce is up to twice; the woman must then be retained on good terms or released with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take back from women a part of what you have given them except when both fear that they may not be able to stay within the limits established by Allah; so if you fear that they may not be able to observe the limits of Allah, then it is no sin on them if the woman pays to get her release; these are the limits set by Allah, so do not exceed them; and those who transgress Allah’s limits are the unjust.

Ali Ünal

Divorce is (to be) pronounced twice. Then (at the end of each pronouncement) the husband should either retain (his wife) without offending her honor and in a fair manner, or release (her) kindly and in a manner fairer and pleasing (to her). (In the event of divorce) it is not lawful for you to take back anything of what you have given them (as bridal-due or wedding gift or gifts on other occasions), unless both fear that they might not be able to keep within the bounds set by God. If you fear that they might not be able to keep within the bounds set by God (and deviate into unlawful acts particularly because of the wife’s disgust with the husband), there is no blame on them that the wife might pay some compensation to be released from the marriage tie. Those are the bounds set by God, therefore do not exceed them. Whoever exceeds the bounds set by God, such are wrongdoers.

Amatul Rahman Omar

Such a (revocable) divorce may be (pronounced) twice, then, (after the second pronouncement) there should be either retaining (the wife) with honour and fairness or letting (her) leave with goodness. And it is not lawful for you to take (back) anything of what you have given them (your wives); however, if both (the husband and the wife) fear that they cannot abide by the injunctions of Allâh, and if you (- the Muslim community, also) fear that they cannot observe the limits (prescribed) by Allâh then there is no blame on either of them in what she gives up to redeem herself (as Khula`). These are the injunctions of Allâh, therefore, do not violate them; and whoso violates the injunctions of Allâh, it is they who are really the wrongdoers.

A. J. Arberry

Divorce is twice; then honourable retention or setting free kindly. It is not lawful for you to take of what you have given them unless the couple fear they may not maintain God's bounds; if you fear they may not maintain God's bounds, it is no fault in them for her to redeem herself. Those are God's bounds; do not transgress them. Whosoever transgresses the bounds of God -- those are the evildoers.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Divorcement is twice: thereafter either retaining her reputably, or letting her off kindly. And it is not allowed unto you to take away aught ye have given them, except the twain fear that they may not observe the bonds of Allah. If yes fear that the twain may not observe the bonds of Allah, then no blame is on the twain for that where with she ransometh herself. These are the bonds of Allah, wherefore trespass them not; and whosoever trespasseth the bonds of Allah, then verily these! they are the wrong-doers.

Faridul Haque

This type of divorce is up to twice; the woman must then be retained on good terms or released with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take back from women a part of what you have given them except when both fear that they may not be able to stay within the limits established by Allah; so if you fear that they may not be able to observe the limits of Allah, then it is no sin on them if the woman pays to get her release; these are the limits set by Allah, so do not exceed them; and those who transgress Allah’s limits are the unjust.

Hamid S. Aziz

Divorce is permissible only twice (after an intermediate reconciliation); then keep them in honour, or let them go with kindness. It is not lawful for you to take from them anything of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within Allah´s bounds. So if you fear that you cannot keep within Allah´s bounds there is no crime in you both if she ransoms herself. These are Allah´s bounds. Do not transgress them; and whoever transgresses Allah´s bounds, they it is who are unjust.

Hilali & Khan

The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of your Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) which you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah (e.g. to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it) for her Al-Khul' (divorce). These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).

Talal Itani

Divorce is allowed twice. Then, either honorable retention, or setting free kindly. It is not lawful for you to take back anything you have given them, unless they fear that they cannot maintain God's limits. If you fear that they cannot maintain God’s limits, then there is no blame on them if she sacrifices something for her release. These are God’s limits, so do not transgress them. Those who transgress God’s limits are the unjust.

English Literal

The divorce (is) two times/twice, so holding/clinging/refraining (the marriage) with kindness/generosity or divorcing/releasing with goodness , and (it is) not permitted/allowed that you (M) to take/receive from what you gave them (F) a thing, except that they (B) fear that (they) do not take care of (B) God`s limits/boundaries , so if you feared (that they) do not take care of (B) God`s limits/boundaries , so no offense/sin on them (B) in what she ransomed/compensated with it. Those are God`s limits/boundaries , so do not transgress/violate it, and who transgresses/violates God`s limits/boundaries , so those are, they are the unjust/oppressive.

Abul Ala Maududi

Divorce may be pronounced twice; then either the wife be kept honourably or parted with gracefully. And it is not lawful for you to take back anything out of what you have given them. There is, however, an exception to this; if you fear that they might not be able to keep within the limits imposed by Allah, there is no harm if both agree mutually that the wife should obtain divorce by giving something as compensation to the husband. These are the bounds set by Allah; therefore do not violate them, for those who violate the bounds of AIIah are the tansgressors.

Maulana Mohammad Ali

Divorce may be (pronounced) twice; then keep (them) in good fellowship to let (them) go with kindness. And it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah. Then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is not blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so exceed them not; and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah, these are the wrongdoers.

Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

The divorce is twice, after that either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of what you gave them (the Mahr, bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah (e.g., to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it). These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the wrongdoers.

Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Divorce must be pronounced twice and then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in kindness. And it is not lawful for you that ye take from women aught of that which ye have given them; except (in the case) when both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits (imposed by) Allah. And if ye fear that they may not be able to keep the limits of Allah, in that case it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransom herself. These are the limits (imposed by) Allah. Transgress them not. For whoso transgresseth Allah's limits: such are wrong-doers.

Ali Quli Qarai

[Revocable] divorce may be only twice; then [let there be] either an honourable retention, or a kindly release. It is not lawful for you to take back anything from what you have given them, unless the couple fear that they may not maintain Allah’s bounds; so if you fear they would not maintain Allah’s bounds, there is no sin upon them in what she may give to secure her own release. These are Allah’s bounds, so do not transgress them, and whoever transgresses the bounds of Allah—it is they who are the wrongdoers.

Qaribullah & Darwish

Divorce is twice, then an honorable keeping or allowed to go with kindness. It is unlawful for you to take from them anything you have given them, unless both fear that they will not be able to keep within the Bounds of Allah; in which case it shall be no offense for either of them if she ransom herself. These are the Bounds of Allah; do not transgress them. Those who transgress the Bounds of Allah are harmdoers.

Muhammad Sarwar

A marital relation can only be resumed after the first and second divorce, otherwise it must be continued with fairness or terminated with kindness. It is not lawful for you to take back from women what you have given them unless you are afraid of not being able to observe God's law. In this case, it would be no sin for her to pay a ransom to set herself free from the bond of marriage. These are the laws of God. Do not transgress against them; those who do so are unjust.

Mohammad Habib Shakir

Divorce may be (pronounced) twice, then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah; then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust.

Wahiduddin Khan

Divorce may be pronounced twice, and then a woman must be retained honourably or released with kindness. It is not lawful for you to take away anything of what you have given your wives, unless both fear that they would not be able to observe the bounds set by God. In such a case it shall be no sin for either of them if the woman opts to give something for her release. These are the bounds set by God; do not transgress them. Those who transgress the bounds of God are wrongdoers.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

A divorce is only permissible twice; after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (Men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (Themselves as well as others).

Tafsir jalalayn

Divorce, that is, repudiation of the type that may be revoked, is twice; then honourable retention, that is to say, you are then obliged to revert to them to retain them, without harming them; or setting, them, free kindly. It is not lawful for you, O male spouses, to take of what you have given them, of dowry, if you divorce them, unless the, married, couple fear that they may not maintain God's bounds, that is to say, that they will not honour the rights God has established for them (a variant reading [for yakhf, `they (dual form) fear'] has yukhf, with the direct object taking the accusative ending; all yuqm is an inclusive substitution for the person [governing the verb]; both verbs are also read in the second person [sc. takhf, `you fear', tuqm, `you maintain']). If you fear they may not maintain God's bounds, neither of them would be at fault if she were to ransom herself, of some money, so that he should divorce her. In other words, in this instance, there is no culpability either for the man, should he take of the dowry, or for the woman, should she offer of it. Those, prescriptions mentioned, are God's bounds; do not transgress them. Whoever transgresses God's bounds -- those are the evildoers.

Tafseer Ibn Kathir

Divorce is Thrice

Allah says;

الطَّلَقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ
The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness.
This honorable Ayah abrogated the previous practice in the beginning of Islam, when the man had the right to take back his divorced wife even if he had divorced her a hundred times, as long as she was still in her Iddah (waiting period). This situation was harmful for the wife, and this is why Allah made the divorce thrice, where the husband is allowed to take back his wife after the first and the second divorce (as long as she is still in her Iddah).
The divorce becomes irrevocable after the third divorce, as Allah said;
الطَّلَقُ مَرَّتَانِ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ
(The divorce is twice, after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness).
In his Sunan, Abu Dawud reported in Chapter;

"Taking the Wife back after the third (Divorce) is an abrogated practice," that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah;
وَالْمُطَلَّقَاتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثَلَثَةَ قُرُوَءٍ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَن يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللّهُ فِي أَرْحَامِهِنَّ
(And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs,) (2;228). The man used to have the right to take back his wife even if he had divorced her thrice. Allah abrogated this and said;
الطَّلَقُ مَرَّتَانِ
(The divorce is twice).

This Tafsir was also collected by An-Nasa'i.
Ibn Abu Hatim reported that Urwah said that a man said to his wife,
"I will neither divorce you nor take you back."
She said, "How?"
He said, "I will divorce you and when your term of Iddah nears its end, I will take you back."
She went to Allah's Messenger and told him what happened, and Allah revealed;
الطَّلَقُ مَرَّتَانِ
(The divorce is twice).
Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) also reported this Hadith in his Tafsir.

Allah said;

فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ
after that, either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness,

meaning, `If you divorce her once or twice, you have the choice to take her back, as long as she is still in her Iddah, intending to be kind to her and to mend differences. Otherwise, await the end of her term of Iddah, when the divorce becomes final, and let her go her own way in peace, without committing any harm or injustice against her.'
Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said,

"When the man divorces his wife twice, let him fear Allah, regarding the third time. He should either keep her with him and treat her with kindness, or let her go her own way with kindness, without infringing upon any of her rights."
Taking back the Mahr (Dowry)

Allah said;

وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَأْخُذُواْ مِمَّا اتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْيًا
And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of (the dowry) what you gave them,

meaning, you are not allowed to bother or pressure your wives to end this situation by giving you back the Mahr and any gifts that you have given them (in return for divorce).

Similarly, Allah said;

وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُواْ بِبَعْضِ مَأ ءَاتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ
and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of what you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. (4;19)

However, if the wife willingly gives back anything with a good heart, then Allah said regarding this situation;

فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَىْءٍ مِّنْهُ نَفْساً فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيياً مَّرِيياً
but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm. (4;4)
Allowing Khul` and the Return of the Mahr in that Case

When the spouses have irreconcilable differences wherein the wife ignores the rights of the husband, dislikes him and becomes unable to live with him any longer, she is allowed to free herself (from married life) by giving him back what he had given her (in gifts and Mahr). There is no sin on her in this case nor on him if he accepts such offer.

This is why Allah said;

وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَأْخُذُواْ مِمَّا اتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْيًا إِلاَّ أَن يَخَافَا أَلاَّ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللّهِ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللّهِ فَلَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ
And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of what you gave them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah (e.g., to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back.

Sometimes, the woman has no valid reason and she still asks for her marriage to be ended. In this case, Ibn Jarir reported that Thawban said that Allah's Messenger said;

أَيُّمَا امْرَأَةٍ سَأَلَتْ زَوْجَهَا طَلَقًا فِي غَيْرِ مَا بَأْسٍ فَحَرَامٌ عَلَيْهَا رَايِحَةُ الْجَنَّـة
Any woman who asks her husband for divorce without justification, then the scent of Paradise will be forbidden for her.

At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and stated that it is Hasan.
Ibn Jarir said that;
the Ayah (2;229) was revealed about Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas and his wife Habibah bint Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul.
In his Muwatta, Imam Malik reported that;

Habibah bint Sahl Al-Ansariyah was married to Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas and that Allah's Messenger once went to the Fajr (Dawn) prayer and found Habibah bint Sahl by his door in the dark. Allah's Messenger said, "Who is this?"
She said, "I am Habibah bint Sahl, O Messenger of Allah!"
He said, "What is the matter?"
She said, "I and Thabit bin Qays", meaning, (she can no longer be with) her husband.
When her husband Thabit bin Qays came, Allah's Messenger said to him;

هذِهِ حَبِيبَةُ بِنْتُ سَهْلٍ قَدْ ذَكَرَتْ مَا شَاءَ اللهُ أَنْ تَذْكُر
This is Habibah bint Sahl, she said what Allah has permitted her to say.

Habibah also said, "O Messenger of Allah! I still have everything he gave me."

Allah's Messenger said;

خُذْ مِنْهَا
Take it from her.
So, he took it from her and she remained in her family's house."
This was reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i.

Al-Bukhari reported that;
Ibn Abbas said that the wife of Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas came to the Prophet and said, "O Messenger of Allah! I do not criticize his religion or mannerism. But I hate committing Kufr in Islam (by ignoring his rights on her)."

Allah's Messenger said;

أَتَرُدِّينَ عَلَيهِ حَدِيقَتَه
Will you give him back his garden?
She said, "Yes."

Allah's Messenger said;

اقْبَلِ الْحَدِيقَةَ وَطَلِّقْهَا تَطْلِيقَة
Take back the garden and divorce her once.

An-Nasa'i also recorded it.
The `Iddah (Waiting Period) for the Khul"

At-Tirmidhi reported that;

Rubayi bint Mu`awwidh bin Afra got a Khul during the time of Allah's Messenger and the Prophet ordered her to wait for one menstruation period for Iddah.
Transgressing the set limits of Allah is an Injustice

Allah said;

تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللّهِ فَلَ تَعْتَدُوهَا وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللّهِ فَأُوْلَـيِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ



These are the limits ordained by Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the wrongdoers.

This means that the laws that Allah has legislated are His set limits, so do not transgress them.
An authentic Hadith states;

إِنَّ اللهَ حَدَّ حُدُودًا فَلَ تَعْتَدُوهَا وفَرَضَ فَرَايِضَ فَلَ تُضَيِّعُوهَا وحَرَّمَ مَحَارِمَ فَلَ تَنْتَهِكُوهَا وَسَكَتَ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ رَحْمَةً لَكُمْ مِنْ غَيْرِ نِسْيَانٍ فَلَ تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا

Allah has set some limits, so do not transgress them; and commanded some commands, so do not ignore them; and made some things unlawful, so do not commit them. He has also left some matters (without rulings) as a mercy with you, not because He has forgotten them, so do not ask about them.
Pronouncing Three Divorces at the same Time is Unlawful
The last Ayah we mentioned was used as evidence to prove that it is not allowed to pronounce three divorces at one time. What further proves this ruling is that Mahmud bin Labid has stated - as An-Nasa'i recorded - that Allah's Messenger was told about a man who pronounced three divorces on his wife at one time, so the Prophet stood up while angry and said;

أَيُلْعَبُ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَأَنَا بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِكُم
The Book of Allah is being made the subject of jest while I am still amongst you.
A man then stood up and said, "Should I kill that man, O Messenger of Allah."
The Wife cannot be taken back after the Third Divorce

Allah said