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Of nikah and talaq

india Updated: Jul 06, 2006 13:27 IST
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Lately, not a week passes when one does not hear of a model nikahnama coming up. But there is such an abundance of rights for women in Islam - a definite provision for the woman to ask for divorce, a clause any Muslim woman and her family can include at the very time of signing the nikahnama.

Since marriage is a contract in Islam, any one of the two partners can think and talk of dissolving that contract if the state of the marriage is beyond repair and all efforts for reconciliation have failed. The woman also has the right to ask for khula  (release from marriage), if she is unhappy in the marriage and is sure that she would prefer to opt out of it.

Not that divorce is encouraged in Islam. Rather it’s the last option if all efforts at reconciliation fail. In fact, there is this hadith which says, “The thing which is lawful but disliked by God, is divorce.”

Mind you, even here there is another hadith, which says that parents ought to be good to the divorced daughter, as it states, “Shall I not point to you the best of virtues? It is your doing good to your daughter when she is returned to you having been divorced by her husband.”

The woman also has the right to retain her father's surname or family name or using add-ons like Fatima or Khatoon; so there's little dependence on the husband, not even on his name. She has the right to property, to re-marriage, to mehr  (a sum payable to her if divorced fixed at marriage), to playing an active role in society and at work. And above all, the right given to you as a woman, to be answerable to just about nobody except God. No, there are no mediators in Islam. For Prophet Mohammed says, "Do not prevent your women from coming to the mosque."

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