fbpx
LifeMarriagePractice

Is There An Egalitarian Way For The Dissolution Of Marriage Among Muslims?

Advertise on TMV

Advertise on TMV

Mubarat as divorce is said to take place when the husband and wife, with mutual consent and desire, obtain release and freedom from their married state. The outstanding feature of this way of divorce is that both the parties share an equal weightage. Thus, the proposal may emanate from either side.

Talaq, often translated as divorce, is one of the many ways and processes in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) through which divorce is made possible. With the growing sensitivity towards gender equality among Muslims, Talaq has undergone heavy criticism because of its gender-biased nature, where the husband (man) has an upper hand in the dissolution of marriage.

The word ‘Talaq’ literally doesn’t stand for divorce. The literal translation goes as, “setting free”, “letting of ties or restrain”. If one goes by the concept of marriage in early Islamic times, then this authority of “setting free” lied with the man, the husband. It was the husband only who could give Talaq as authority rested with him in marriage. This is the common aspect that all forms of Talaqs like Talaq al Bida, Talaq e Hasan, etc. share: the bestowing of the authority to the husband for dissolution of marriage.

Marriage (Nikah) as per Islamic understanding is a strong civil contract between two consenting adults (heterosexual as per popular understanding). This concept of marriage was formalized in a society that was highly patriarchal. Men dominated most of the social sphere and women were dependent on men for their maintenance and identity. One of the reasons for men to provide Mahr for their bride was because of this very fact that among the two, only he had the social privilege and capacity to provide. Therefore, men were referred to as guardians (Wali) and protectors (Qawaam) of their wives. 

Islam did bring a change in the way marriage was perceived in Arabian tribes in relation to the rights of the wife and the position of women in the social sphere. Unfortunately, these steps taken to initiate the process of change towards an egalitarian society were taken as an end by most followers of Islam.

The status and role of women in contemporary society are not the same as it was during the advent of Islam. Women through their persistent struggle against patriarchy have redefined their places in society. All concepts and ideas are being revisited and feminist interpretations have become an important aspect for historicizing, deconstructing, and proper understanding of various discourses. 

Many Islamic jurists and theologians have tried to break away with the hegemony of Talaq as the only way of divorce, to address rising concerns of gender inequality in Islamic Shariah. Efforts have been made to lay equal stress on Khula as an alternative and balance of power. 

Al-Khula, however, acts as an empowering tool – enabling the wife to initiate the dissolution but conceptually it shares a similar problem as that of Talaq. Khula translates as “shedding” or “removal of authority”. This concept like Talaq grants men with higher authority over his wife from which she needs to free herself. As gender relations are still far from being balanced, Khula provides some form of immunity and restricts the abuse of authority by men to some extent.

Besides Talaq and Khula, there is another way of divorce that has received far less attention than it deserved. Mubarat, a divorce through mutual consent, is an egalitarian alternative, giving equal status to both partners. The literal meaning of the word Mubarat” is obtaining release from each other.

Mubarat as divorce is said to take place when the husband and wife, with mutual consent and desire, obtain release and freedom from their married state. The outstanding feature of this way of divorce is that both the parties share an equal weightage. Thus, the proposal may emanate from either side.

This understanding of divorce is a better replacement than the popular perception of divorce as Talaq. Mubarat conveys a sense that dissolution of marriage should be based on the same principle as its annulment, that is realizing the importance of giving equal weightage to the consent of both partners.

Advertise on TMV

Keep Reading

Subscribe on YouTube

Advertise on TMV

Menu