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Passages relevant to marriage
[2:221]. [4:21]. [4:22] [4:23]. [4:24*].[4:25]. [24:32]. [25:74]. [40:8]. [30:21]. [5:73].
Muslims are expected to marry because prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was married and
Muslims are not allowed to become celibate as monks or nuns. All Muslims agree that marriage is a
contract, witnessed by God, which is ideal for good life.
Muslim marriage is a contract. Though it has importance as the only religiously sanctioned way for
individuals to have legitimate sexual relationships and to procreate (now that slaveconcubinage is no
longer practiced), marriage is a civil agreement, entered into by two individuals or those acting on their
behalf. And because it is a contract (`aqd), it conveys legal rights and obligations to each spouse. This
brief essay will discuss those rights along with the crucial issue of how, and whether, they can be
modified through contractual stipulations (shurut, sing. shart). The focus here is on "Islamic law" in the
sense of jurisprudence (fiqh), and not, it should be stressed, on what Islamic marriage ideally should be
according to the Qur'an or prophetic tradition.
Muslim Divorce System
Cooling Off Period
If a couple is considering a divorce, the Quran specifies that they are to wait for a period of four months
before taking action. This "cooling off" period is designed to give them the opportunity to consider
whether this is the course of action they want to take. The couple may choose to separate after the
fourmonth mark, but the separation must be equitable.
The grounds for divorce are the same for both genders. Most of the time, the decision to divorce is a
mutual one. The situation could arise where one of the couple does not consent to a divorce but the
family arbitrators feel that divorce is the best solution. In that case, the divorce will proceed. The law is
applied equally to men and women.
On divorce, a woman is not to be abandoned without financial support. Her former husband is directed
to provide for her according to his ability to pay. Widows and divorced women are to be supported for a
12month period, so long as they remain part of the same household.
The woman may leave if she chooses, as she has that right. She is not to be forced to stay in the home if
she does not want to be there. By the same token, the woman has the right to stay in the home she
occupied before the divorce.
A man and a woman may be divorced and then remarry under the Muslim divorce system. They may be
divorced twice. After that point, this couple may not remarry each other unless the woman marries
someone else in the interim and is divorced from that other man. The husband is not entitled to take
back anything he has given to his wife.
Women of childbearing years are directed to wait until three menstrual cycles have passed before
remarrying after a divorce. If during this waiting period, the woman discovers that she is pregnant, then
her former husband has the right to remarry her. This is a situation where the man's wishes weigh more
heavily than the woman's desires.
Postmenopausal women are also asked to wait three months before remarrying, in case there is a
chance that they have conceived a child. If a marriage ends without having been consummated, then
there is no waiting period to be observed before the woman remarries. Widows must wait four months
and 10 days before remarrying. In the interim, they can become engaged to another man, if they wish.
The engagement can be announced publicly or kept secret..
Major disadvantages of Polygamy:
A. Less time with the husband since his spared time is now shared between two or more wives
B. Less attention
C. Jealousy and unshared love since the woman likes to have full attention and full unshared love
from her partner.
D. Family malfunctioning and Chaos since husband spends less time with the children i.e. less
discipline and guiding.
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E. Less money saved or given to the wife and children since money should be shared coequally with
the other family.
F. Population problems that burden the society since both wives (may be more) are going to have
G. Unfairness and discrimination since the husband can have more than one partner while the wife
should marry only and exclusively one.
Automatic childcare in a sexist society gives women more effective choice to have a career without
devaluing the role of homemaker.…read more