Divorce in Islam is governed by the Quran and other customary practices. These principles have been recognized by the law and this is what people are bound by. Since the origin of all this law is the Quran and many non-codified customs followed by people, the laws on marriage and divorce are not linear and clear. However, there are basic principles of what will constitute a valid divorce for Muslims across sects.
Marriage is a contract under Muslim law, which may be in a written form or an oral form. A married Muslim couple under the law has to fulfill certain marital obligations such as living together and having sexual relations. Apart from marital obligations, they also have certain legal obligations to fulfill, such as:
- Dividing the property (land, flats, investments and insurance) of the husband and wife.
- Giving maintenance to the wife.
- Right to dower/mehr of the wife.
When a Muslim marriage ends, it means that the contract you have with your husband or wife has also ended. This, in turn, stops marital obligations between your spouse and you but does not necessarily stop all the legal obligations.
There are two ways by which, a marriage can end:
Death of a Spouse
Death of either your husband or your wife ends the marriage. Since the nature of the marriage is of a contract, it is as if death has resulted in the spouse exiting the contract.
Divorce for Muslims can happen without involving the Court. However, if required, you can involve the court in the case of a dispute during a divorce. During a divorce, either you or your spouse can initiate the divorce.
Marriage can end in either of the following ways:
- When the husband chooses to end it.
- When the wife chooses to end it.
- When both husband and wife end it together.
In most cases, it is the man who has more options than the woman to say that he no longer wishes to be part of the marriage without approaching the court. The woman has only one way of doing this. However, she has other recourses through the Court.