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Muslim women get right to divorce

Scholars rule that 'irrevocably broken' marriages can be ended and approve divorce by mutual consent reporter, Bhopal

March 7, 2012

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Islamic scholars this week issued new guidelines that allow women the conditional right to dissolve their marriages. Some 300 experts, including 30 from overseas, attended the closed-door meeting on March 2-5 in Mhow, a hill station in Madhya Pradesh state. Maulana Mohammed Umar Quasi, a scholar who attended the meeting, told that after long discussion a consensus was reached to allow a woman to end her marriage with certain conditions. “A Muslim woman now can move an application before the local Mufti seeking dissolution of her marriage provided it is irrevocably broken,” he said. The Mufti, after getting her application, would summon the couple and counsel them to restore their family life. But if she insisted on separation and the husband refused to divorce her, the Mufti can decide on the matter, Quasi said. The scholars also allowed marriage dissolution through mutual consent to discourage Muslim couples from going to civil courts, Quasi said. The meeting was organized by the Islamic Fiqha Academy, which addresses issues affecting the Muslim community and seeks solutions based on the Quran and the Hadith. While the issue of divorce was the chief topic under consideration, Quasi said the scholars also issued fatwas, or rulings, that prohibited the purchase of life insurance and that forbade Muslims from taking drugs or intoxicants unless they suffered from a life-threatening illness.
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