Returning to his wife after giving her an irrevocable divorce and the wife marrying another who divorced her without consummating the marriage

Q 11: A man divorced his wife and she married another man who concluded the marriage contract with her but divorced her without having sexual intercourse with her according to her saying; will it be permissible for her first husband to marry her again or not?

A: If the first husband divorced her three times, it will not be permissible for him to marry her again unless she marries another man. The second marriage has to be a real marriage not with the intention of returning her to her first husband. Allah (Exalted be He) says, And if he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has married another husband. The word Nikah here means having sexual intercourse. `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, The wife of Rifa`ah came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said: I was married to Rifa`ah Al-Qurazhy and he divorced me three times, then I married `Abdul-Rahman ibn Al-Zubayr (Part No. 18; Page No. 438) and what he has is like the hem of a garment (i.e. He is impotent). The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) smiled and said, "Do you want to go back to Rifa`ah"? No, until you have tasted his (the current husband's) sweetness and he has tasted yours (until marriage is consummated). Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.