Islamic Marriage and Divorce

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A divorce is dissolution of marriage, which has many influences of culture and religion. Divorce is considered to be a personal issue in many civilizations. However, it is necessary to carry it out with the help of social and religious norms. These norms will differ according to the cultural background of the country. For Islamic countries, the rules and regulations for marriage and divorce are decided on the basis of the quotations from the 'Quran'. The Islamic Marriage and divorce laws will be different in two prominent sects that is, in Shia's and in Sunni's.

In Pre Islamic Arabia, Nikah (i.e. marriage) meant that women should be totally dependent on their husbands, and they had no right of inheritance. Prophet Mohammad declared that Islamic marriage is a civil contract. It has the following features.

  • A woman can keep her property as per her wish. There should be no other control on her regarding the ownership of property.
  • A woman would not lose her individuality in the marriage

The Prophet announced that marriage was his Sunna. If an individual does not adhere to this mode of life, then he / she is not the Prophet's follower.

Intentions of Islamic Marriage

  • To expand the family
  • To take care and responsibility of children
  • To set an order in domestic life
  • To control sexual passion

The procedure of a marriage in Sunni is based on their faiths. They require the consent of both partners. The marriage contract is not made in Sunni marriages, whereas, the Shia's give importance to marriage contract, with specific marriage period.

Pre-requisites for Islamic Marriage

  • The marriage shall take place in the presence of 2 male witnesses or 1 male and 2 female witness. These witnesses must be Muslim, adult and sane.
  • Both the parties must have free consent to the marriage.
  • There should not be any legal disability. There should be an absence of any restrictions on the basis of valid Islamic grounds that prevent the parties from marrying.
  • The competence of the parties for marriage is decided as follows. The party must be a Muslim who has acquired the age of puberty and must be a Muslim of a sound mind.
  • One party must make a proposal of marriage and the other party must accept it. The proposal must include an agreement regarding a dowry as well as a mahr. A mahr is a gift of marriage by the groom to the bride. A dowry is a gift from the family of the groom to the family of the bride.

Highlights of Islamic Divorce

Many individuals believe that an Islamic husband can utter the word "talaq" three times on one occasion and this leads to an Islamic Divorce. This triple pronouncement of this word was studied by several scholars and the following points were established -

  • Islam, as a religion, strongly denounces divorce
  • During the marital life, if there are difficulties between the husband and wife, which they fail to resolve on their own, each spouse is free to appoint a conciliator or arbitrator to find a solution.
  • The concept of talaq-ul-biddat: The word "biddat" indicates disapproval. It is implied that Prophet Mohammad never recommended or practiced divorce.
  • Caliph Umer legitimized the triple pronouncement of talaq for divorce as an emergency measure.
  • Several countries have banned the triple pronouncement of talaq. These are as follows -
    • Bangladesh
    • Indonesia
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Algeria
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey

    However, this practice is allowed in India

  • Several Islamic people are of the opinion that between each pronouncement of the word "talaq", there should be a gap of 1 month. It sometimes happens that during these pronouncements, the wife disregards the lawful order of her husband. In case of such an occurrence, the husband may divorce her. However, the couple must take the assistance of their relatives or try to prevent the breach of marriage themselves.
  • There is concept of waiting period in the Islamic divorce where a wife waits for three months after divorce for reconciliation. Generally, after the complete process, a wife is considered as illegitimate for the former husband. Therefore, before finishing the procedure, councilors or mediators help is offered to such couple to reconcile.
  • The 'Talaq' is considered as the husband's initiative for the divorce while a 'Khula' is wife's initiative for ending the marriage. The Khula is a right of the wife in order to apply for divorce. They can even file a petition to 'qadi' in case the husband disagrees.

Islamic marriage and divorce is strictly followed in the countries where the religion is practiced by a majority of the population. The practices of Islamic marriage and divorce may vary according to the opinions of scholars in different sects.

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