Dissolution of Muslim Marriage in Bangladesh

The author in this article discusses the procedure of dissolution of Muslim marriage in Bangladesh and how the marriage registration takes place by signing in the marriage registration book. The wedding couple signs in the book in the presence of several witnesses.

The nature of marriage is pure, divine, and sacrosanct. There is a belief that it is the meeting of two souls. A marriage takes place either with the choice of the bride or the family elders. The wedding couple sees and communicates with each other, and later if both are satisfied with their communication,i.e. the meeting of minds, then they give their consent for the preparation of the wedding ceremony. Next, the families perform the wedding rituals. Family and friends attend the wedding to give their blessings to the newly wedded couple and see the wedding rituals. Then the groom offers money to the bride in the form of Mahr or Dower. The marriage registration takes place by signing in the marriage registration book. The wedding couple signs in the book in the presence of several witnesses. A Government official (Registrar) is also present to see the wedding. It is illegal if a license is granted to another person during the subsistence of one registrar for the same area.[1] The registrars work ward wise if more than one registrar is appointed for a union.[2] The Nikah (the Muslim marriage in Bangladesh) takes place where the testimony to the wedding takes place. Finally, the families perform the rituals in the form of a prayer for the newly wedded couple.

Topics Covered in this article

Sunni Marriage

In Bangladesh, the Muslim marriage in Bangladesh’s registrar must register the marriage between a wedding couple. The Qazi (priest of the Muslim community), or a lawyer performs the wedding rituals. Simply drafting an affidavit for marriage will make the marriage void. Although the Qazi performs his work, i.e. the recitation of Surah (a chapter in the sacred scripture of Islam), itis not enough. The registration of the marriage is mandatory for a wedding to be valid and legal in Bangladesh.[3]

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Requirement

In a Muslim marriage in Bangladesh, a girl is eligible for marriage if she is 18 years or above. The bride needs to bring essential documents like her birth certificate or/and citizenship card to the marriage registrar office. Similarly, a boy must be of 21 years or above to be eligible for marriage, and he must carry documents like his passport or/and school certificate to the marriage registrar office. Then one of the family offers for the wedding to take place, and the other side accepts the offer by saying Qubool. Witnesses play a significant role in a marriage. A minimum of 2 witnesses and one head person from each side of the family must be present. The head person of the bride’s side asks the groom for Mahr or dower. The registration fee varies depending upon the dower amount. More the dower amount, the more the registration fee.

Divorce Law of Bangladesh

No marriage gets dissolved on its own, circumstances arise which lead to the dissolution of marriage. Divorce is one of the ways for the dissolution of a marriage. In Muslim law, divorce takes place through a decree. Divorce is an exception to the long-lastingbond, marriage. Divorce arises due to the guilt of parties which leads to family disturbances. Divorceis known as Talaqin Urdu,which means ‘freedom’ or ‘relinquishment’. There is a saying that divorce signifies the absolute power of the husband.

The various kinds of divorce in Bangladesh are: –

  • Talaq-e-BiddatorTriple Talaq– Muslim man can divorce his wife by speaking the word ‘talaq’ three times.
  • Talaq-e-Hasan-It involves three revocable pronouncements of divorce after each menstrual cycle of the wife.
  • Talaq-e-Ahsan– It is the single revocable pronouncement of divorce and sexual abstinence during the waiting period.
  • Zihan
  • Ila– The marriage is dissolved if the husband fulfils his oath, i.e. he will refrain from sexual relations with his wife for four months.
  • Khul-Mutual Divorce
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These are the various kinds of divorce given by the husband to his wife. This includes injurious assimilation by mutual agreement.

The wife can divorce her husband in the form of Talaq-e-Tafweez. Here the husband would pay a certain amount of money to his wife in default of divorce.[4]Later, the courts declared this practice asimmoral[5]and against public policy[6].

Case Laws

In the case of Mst. Balaquis Ikram v. Najmal Ikram[7], the court which aids women against their husband said, “the rightof a Muslim woman is known as Khula”.Section 2 of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 (the Act) entitles women married under the law to obtain a decree.A courtjudged in favour of the wife because the husband failed to maintain his wife. To bring a divorce into effect, the husband mustact as per Section 7 of Actby writing a notice to the Chairman, this makesthe dissolution of marriage easy as seen in the case of Syed Ali Nawaz Gardezi v. Lt. -Col. Muhammad Yousuf[8].talaq until and unless revoked before acceptance, shall not be effective until the end of 90 days, starting from the date of submission of the notice to the Chairman.Sometimes cruelty becomes a factor for divorce. Courts haveconcluded this matter to bethe prime ground for divorce.The interference of a third person in the procedure of divorce is not necessary in case of retaking by the former husband.

Conclusion

It has always been the men who dominate in most aspects of life. Similarly, Islam law empowers the husband to divorce his wife without any justification. But the courts have given the right to Muslim women to challenge the divorce which happens arbitrarily. Women face problems because of divorce due to poverty, illiteracy, lack of knowledge, poor financial condition, etc. If the Government aids the women in such circumstances, then the dissolution of marriage will be hazel free for women and may also prevent the dissolution of marriage.

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[1]Syed Shariatullah v. Secy. Law Deptt, 1983 BCR 324

[2]Md. Shamsul Alam v. Prov. E. Pak, 22 DLR 513; 19 DLR 802

[3] Abdullah v. Rokeya Khatun, 21 DLR 213

[4] Mohd. Khan v. Mst. Shahmali, AIR (1972), J. & K., 8

[5] Muhammed AliAkbar v. Fatima Begum, AIR (1929), 660

[6] Janson v. Driefontein Consolidated Mines Ltd, (1902) Appeal Cases 484

[7] 2 (1959), WP, 321

[8] PLD 1963 SC 51, supra, note 220