Lifestyle & Belief

Divorce via text message becomes popular in Tajikistan


Tajik Muslims pray in the Mavlonoa Mosque outside Dushanbe October 24, 2006.


Vyacheslav Oseledko

A growing number of Muslim men in Tajikistan are using a simple, three-worded text message to divorce their wives, the Associated Press reports.

Decades of shared families, responsibilities and commitments can be ended with a message reciting the words, "Talaq talaq talaq."

The "triple talaq" is an Islamic ritual whereby a man can recite the Arabic phrase, "I will divorce you," three times and thereby end a marriage. In countries where it is permitted, the man does not need to go to court to file for divorce.

A 33-year-old mother of two told the AP that she received such a message from her husband of 14 years while sweeping her yard in October. The woman, Marina Dodobayeva, immediately called her husband, who had been working in Russia.

"He told me not to call him any more," she said, "because now he has a new family."

The growing number of Tajik men who have used their mobile phones to divorce has prompted religious authorities to condemn the practice, and there are plans to issue a fatwa against it, AP states. Tajikistan is a predominantly Muslim Central Asian country.

Other countries have faced similar social predicaments as technology has influenced how people behave. The practice of Muslim men divorcing by text message has been debated in many Muslim countries and banned by some communities, AFP reports.

Singapore's religious authorities banned such divorce by text message in 2001, whereas Malaysia ruled it legal in 2003 and Saudi Arabia saw its first text-message divorce in 2009.