Praise be to Allaah.
If the husband says of his wife: ‘I have divorced her’, then
divorce takes place, whether he intended divorce or not, and whether he was
telling the truth or lying, because this phrase is clear and divorce takes
place thereby even if he did not intend it.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in
al-Mughni (7/306): If it is said to him, Do you have a wife? and he says
no, intending thereby to lie, then he does not have to divorce his wife. But
if he says, ‘I have divorced her’, intending thereby to lie, then the
divorce is binding. Rather [the first scenario] is not binding if he
intended to lie, because he is saying ‘I do not have a wife’ which is a
metaphor that cannot refer to divorce at all. And if he is telling lies with
no intention of divorce, then it does not count as such.
But if he said, ‘I have divorced her’, intending to lie, then
she is divorced, because the word divorce (talaaq) is clear and divorce
takes place thereby even if it was not intended. End quote.
The divorce that takes place in this case is a revocable
divorce; a husband may take his wife back during the ‘iddah if it is the
first or second divorce.
And Allaah knows best.