All praise is due to Allah. May Allah's peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and all his companions.
Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
When a says, "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce," there are two possibilities for this statement:
The first possibility: The intent for this repetition will be affirmation of the divorce. Thus, only one divorce will occur in this case because using repetition for affirmation is used in Arabic language. So if this is the first divorce or second pronouncement of divorce, the divorce issued will be revocable.
The second possibility: The objective of repeating the divorces will be for giving three divorces. In that case the divorce will be an innovated and prohibited divorce according to the majority of the scholars. This is because the divorce which was legislated in Allah's book and the Sunnah of His Prophet is that a man should issue one divorce at a time. This is because Allah said, " Divorce must be pronounced twice" [al-Baqarah: 229], and then He said, "And if he has divorced her [for the third time]" [al-Baqarah: 230]. Thus the divorced mentioned in these verses is three separate divorces.
An-Nasaa‛i transmitted a hadeeth with an authentic chain of narrators from the hadeeth of Mahmud ibn Labeed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed about a man who divorced his wife three times whereby he pronounced all the divorces at once. He angrily stood up, and he said, " Is the Book of Allah being toyed with while I am still among you? " Thus the Prophet (peace be upon him) considering giving three divorces at once to be toying with Allah's Book. There is no difference in this respect whether
the divorces are uttered in one sitting or different sittings.
As for the person who issues three divorces at once; the Sunnah indicates that only one divorce will count because such a person will have acted contrary to the Allah and His Messenger's legislation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated in a hadeeth which was transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim from the hadeeth of 'Aisha that, " He who innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not of it will have it rejected (by Allah).” Moreover, hadeeth by ibn 'Abbas which was transmitted in Saheeh Muslim states, " the (pronouncement) of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and that of Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of Umar (Allah be pleased with him) (was treated) as one. But Umar ibn Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said:"Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So if we had imposed this upon them, and he imposed it upon them." A hadeeth which was transmitted with a sound chain of narrators in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and Sunan Abi Dawood from ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) states that Aboo Rukaanah divorced his wife by pronouncing three divorces at once, and he was saddened by this. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him, "They will count as one."
A number of scholars held the opinion of considering three divorces which are pronounced at once to be one. This was the view of some Sahaba and those who came after them. This is the preponderant opinion contrary to the view of the majority.
Therefore, based on this, the questioner's three pronouncements of divorce at one will count as one. Furthermore, he should repent to Allah the Exalted because of his contradiction of the legislated way of divorcing his wife. He should take back his wife as long as she is in the waiting period. If he wants to divorce her, he should divorce her as was commanded by Allah, the Exalted. He should give her one divorce in her clean period in which he has no sexual intercourse with her. And Allah knows best.
Shaykh Khalid al-Mosleh
Regional Mufti in Al-Qassim