Talaq ul bidaat or triple talaq validity in India
Different types of Divorce in Islam
There are two categories of divorce under the Muslim law:
- Extra judicial divorce, and
- Judicial divorce
The category of extra judicial divorce can be further subdivided into three types, namely,
- By husband- talaaq, ila, and zihar.
- By wife- talaaq-i-tafweez, lian.
- By mutual agreement- khula and mubarat.
The Judicial divorce category is the right of the wife to give divorce under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.
What is Triple Talaq?
‘Triple Talaq' is the term used to signify the methodology of divorce in Islam. Usually the term is used to signify that after saying divorce three times, the couple cannot be together.
In Sharia law, there are broadly two kinds of talaq :
- Talaq al ahsan, which is done by saying a single word 'talaq' 3 times, with an interval of one month every time. The talaq becomes complete when the third time the word 'talaq' is used.
- Triple talaq, or talaq ul biddat, which is done by saying 'talaq' 3 times one after another, with no interval of time. So this results in immediate divorce. As a matter of fact, this is the most widely practised method.
Talaq ul bidaat or triple talaq rules in India
Under Muslim law the divorce may take place by the act of the parties themselves or by a decree of the court of law. In Islam, divorce is considered as an exception to the status of marriage.
Under the “Shariah” law in India there are three forms of Express divorce- Ahsaan Talaq, Hasan Talaq (both are forms of Talaq-ul-sunnat) and Triple Talaq (Talaq-ul-biddat).
A single pronouncement of Talaq (‘I divorce you’) is made by the husband during wife’s menstruation free time (called Tuhr). In another form of express divorce - Hasan Talaq, the Husband is required to make three pronouncements during consecutive menstruation free period of his wife. Divorce becomes effective after the third declaration if it has not been revoked earlier. And the most popular form of Talaq is instant ‘Triple Talaq’ or (Talaq-ul-biddat). it is also the most controversial.
This Talaq is also known as Talaq-ul-Bain. The most distinctive feature of this Talaq is that it becomes effective as soon as the words are pronounced and there is no possibility of reconciliation between the parties. Triple divorce is a recognized but disapproved form of divorce and is considered by the Islamic jurists as an innovation within the fold of Sharia. It commands neither the sanction of Holy Quran nor the approval of the Holy Prophet.
What is the validity of Talaq -ul- Bidaat?
There has been Numerous court judgements which have established that Triple Talaq is invalid and have set some definite requirements for its validity.
In Masroor Ahmed v. State (NCT of Delhi) [2008 (103) DRJ 137 (Del.), Triple Talaq was held to be one revocable Talaq meaning that the divorce can be revoked at any time before the completion of a waiting period of 90 days (called Iddat) after which the marriage is dissolved. Talaq must be for a reasonable cause. (Talaq given in anger is not valid).
In Riaz Fatima v Mohd. Sharif [(2007) DMC 26], evidence must be given by the husband of the reasons that has compelled him to seek divorce. A proof that talaq was proclaimed thrice in the presence of witnesses or in the letter must be provided and an attempt of reconciliation has been made. There has to be proof of payment of meher (dowry) amount and observance of iddat (the period of waiting by a woman after divorce or the spouse’s death before she can marry again).
Why is talaq - ul - bidaat followed in India?
While many Muslim countries have amended their legal strictures in terms of divorce procedure, India, as far as this practice is concerned, continues to be stuck in the medieval age by continuing to uphold provisions of the archaic Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937.
Although there have been wave of debates, petitions and uproar over the constitutional validity of this mode of Talaaq, the archaic law continues to persist in India due to country's rules protecting Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities following religious law.
India being a Hindu majority nation has to assure the Muslim community that it is not doing injustice with them. And in order to appease the Muslim community, Indian political leadership refrains from taking a risk of involving their personal laws. The frequent communal riots are example of sensitivity of the personal laws in India. Furthermore, any attempt to trifle with these laws is met with ferocious opposition from religious boards like All India Muslim Personal Board and other Authorities, who support that there is no scope of change in the triple talaq system. Their contention is that the abolition of triple talaq would be contrary to the teachings of the Quran; second, that men are more capable of making decisions; third, that polygamy, although not desirable, is Islamic and that it actually helps rather than hurts women; and fourth, that the Supreme Court does not have the right to intervene in religious law.
What is Iddat/Iddah period?
After first divorce there is a waiting period. This waiting period is called iddah and depends on the state of the woman (usually three menstrual cycles). The couple can reunite in this iddah without having to have a new marriage contract.
After this period has ended and the couple want to reunite then there will be a new marriage contract and new mahr’ (dowry given by groom to the bride.) If the husband does not want his wife back then after this iddah, the woman can marry another person.
What is Halala Marriage (Nikah Halala)?
Majority of Muslim population work as per the Sharia law. Sharia is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith.
In Sharia law a couple which undergoes a divorce cannot remarry unless the women marries another man, consummates the marriage and then her second husband dies or divorces her. In this case the marriage (Nikah) of the women with her second husband is called Nikah Halala.
How can women divorce in Islam?
Muslim women in India can get a divorce from their husband through two customary ways -
- One is through their personal Sharia law through Talaq e tafweez and Lian.
- The other through the statutory provision under Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1938.
However, divorce through personal Sharia law has to be under the scrutiny of Quazi, mostly guided under the regulations of All India Muslims Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
Talaq e tafweez
A husband may delegate his power to give Talaq to any third party or even to his wife. He may delegate the power absolutely or conditionally, temporarily or permanently . A permanent delegation of power is revocable but a temporary delegation of power is not. This delegation must be made distinctly in favour of the person to whom the power is delegated, and the purpose of delegation must be clearly stated. This delegation is called tafweez. An agreement made either before or after the marriage providing that the wife is at liberty to divorce her husband under certain specified conditions is valid, provided that such power is not absolute and unconditional and that the conditions are reasonable and are not opposed to public policy. Talaaq-i-tafweez or delegated divorce is recognized among both, the Shias and the Sunnis.
If the husband levels false charges of unchastity or adultery against his wife then this amounts to character assassination and the wife has got the right to ask for divorce on these grounds. Such a mode of divorce is called Lian. However, it is only a voluntary and aggressive charge of adultery made by the husband which, if false, would entitle the wife to get the wife to get the decree of divorce on the ground of Lian. Where a wife hurts the feelings of her husband with her behaviour and the husband hits back an allegation of infidelity against her, then what the husband says in response to the bad behaviour of the wife, cannot be used by the wife as a false charge of adultery and no divorce is to be granted under Lian.
Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1938
Qazi Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi had introduced a bill in the Legislature regarding the issue on 17th April 1936. It however became law on 17th March 1939 and thus stood the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.
Section 2 of the Act runs thereunder:
A woman married under Muslim law shall be entitled to obtain a decree for divorce for the dissolution of her marriage on any one or more of the following grounds, namely:-
- That the whereabouts of the husband have not been known for a period of four years
- That the husband has neglected or has failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two years
- That the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years or upwards
- That the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of three years
- That the husband treats her with cruelty
These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.
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