10th June 2020
Question: If a man wrote on a letter addressing his wife that he has divorced her and thereafter he shredded the paper without the wife knowing anything about it, does the divorce take place Islamically? Similarly, if he wrote divorce on a text then deleted the message before he sent it to her then does that mean she is now divorced?
الجواب حامداً و مصلياً
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
In reference to the above case scenario, as a point of principle, the validity of divorce remains contingent on the husband writing the divorces out of his free will and a clear sense of mind. Divorce lies in the hands of the husband and his pronunciation of it makes it legally binding. If he pronounced it willingly without attaching any conditions to it, for instance, he wrote, “I divorce you” or “You are divorced” whilst addressing his wife by her name then the divorce is valid. The jurists state that divorce takes into immediate effect upon writing it regardless if he intended it or not, whether she was aware of it or not as her knowledge of it is not essential or immediately discarded it by deleting the message or shredding the letter. In the advent of the divorce taking into effect, her waiting period begins instantly after writing or texting the divorce.
[Allãh Knows Best]
Written and researched by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed
Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam
JKN Fatawa Department
 Fatawa Hindiyyah, Kitāb al-Talāq, vol 1, p. 414
[الْفَصْلُ السَّادِسُ فِي الطَّلَاقِ بِالْكِتَابَةِ]
وَإِنْ كَانَتْ مَرْسُومَةً يَقَعُ الطَّلَاقُ نَوَى أَوْ لَمْ يَنْوِ ثُمَّ الْمَرْسُومَةُ لَا تَخْلُو أَمَّا إنْ أَرْسَلَ الطَّلَاقَ بِأَنْ كَتَبَ أَمَّا بَعْدُ فَأَنْت طَالِقٌ فَكُلَّمَا كَتَبَ هَذَا يَقَعُ الطَّلَاقُ وَتَلْزَمُهَا الْعِدَّةُ مِنْ وَقْتِ الْكِتَابَةِ.
Durrul Mukhtār wa hashiyah Ibn Ābideen Shāmi, Kitāb al-Talāq, vol 4 p. 456
[مطلب في الطلاق بالكتابة]
وإن كانت مرسومة يقع الطلاق نوى أو لم ينو ثم المرسومة لا تخلو إما أن أرسل الطلاق بأن كتب: أما بعد فأنت طالق، فكما كتب هذا يقع الطلاق وتلزمها العدة من وقت الكتابة.
Fatawa Tatarkhaniyyah, Kitāb al-Talāq, Bāb Iyqa Talaq, vol 3, p. 377
Fatawa Mahmoodiyyah, Kitāb al-Talāq. Bāb Talaq bil-Kitabat, vol 12, p. 658-660
Fatawa Diyniyyah, , Kitāb al-Talāq, vol 3, p. 419