As per the Supreme Court’s ruling on 3rd august, 2022, a woman has the legal right to be ‘maintained’ by her husband as long as she is ‘loyal and fulfils her own matrimonial obligations’ under Islamic law.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, in the ruling, wrote ‘A Muslim husband is required to maintain his wife even if no term in the regard was agreed upon before between them at the time of the marriage or she can maintain herself out of her own resources.’
This ruling came after a lawsuit was filed by Ms. Naheed Begum, the wife of Mr. Haseenullah, who approached the family court seeking maintenance for herself and her 5 minor children as well as the 4 kanals of agricultural property that were listed in column 16 of their nikkahnama, which also served the purpose of her dowery.
After the district court turned her away, she decided to approach the Supreme Court instead. Justice Shah emphasised in the ruling that the Holy Quran declares men to be the ‘protectors and maintainers of women’ since God has given one of them greater strength than the other and because they provide for them financially. The judgement added that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) also commanded Muslim men to maintain their wives in a proper manner and declared it to be a woman’s prerogative.
“This is a male-dominated society; men since ages have always been more concerned about their rights by using religion for their own convenience, especially in matrimonial matters, but forget religion when it comes to their duty and obligation towards women,” Justice Shah observed.
The Holy Quran also forbids the believers to take back anything from their wives out of the paid dower even it be a great sum, Justice Shah observed. In Islam, the payment of dower to a bride at marriage was an obligation that was imposed by God Almighty and was thus an intrinsic and integral part of a Muslim marriage.
“It is regrettable that the petitioner, an educated person who belongs to the noble profession of teaching, does not realise his obligation to pay the dower agreed upon by him at the time of marriage, not only under the law of the land but also under the commandments of the God Almighty given in the Holy Quran to persons who proclaim to be Muslim.
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