INEQUALITIES UNDER THE ISLAMIC LAWS

Islamic laws are derived from the Quran, which is Islam’s holy book, as well as the Sunnah and Hadith which are the deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. These Islamic laws are called “Sharia”. Sharia acts as the code for living that all Muslims must adhere to. In other words, Sharia is Islam’s legal system. There are certain inequalities present under Islamic laws.

Marriage and Divorce Laws

“Nikah” or an Islamic marriage, is a civilian agreement created for the goal of reproduction rather than a sacrament. This contract is based on the consent of the bride and groom.[1] As a result, if both partners are legally capable to enter into contracts, their consent is necessary for a lawful matrimonial relationship. A marriage will be deemed illegal if there is no free consent. Consent can be provided by a custodian in the case of a minor or a person of unsound mind. In such circumstances, when the minor reaches majority, he or she can either ratify or repudiate the marriage. It’s known as the puberty option. As a result, a girl cannot be compelled to marry. It is not a valid marriage, even if she is coerced into it. She has the right to use the option of puberty to end the marriage.[2] This legislative clause appears to be in favour of women, as it grants the opportunity to a woman to choose her husband. However, in reality, she can only choose the option of puberty if she can support herself or if someone else is willing to assist her. The law of women’s maintenance after marital breakdowns in Islamic law is not in their favour. Only during the period of ‘iddat’[3] can a Muslim divorced wife receive maintenance from her husband.[4] If she is unable to support herself, her children, parents, and any relatives who will inherit her property upon her death will be responsible for her upkeeping. If no one else is willing to care for her, then the court may order the State Wakf Board to do so.[5] A Muslim divorced wife, like other “divorced women” governed by other personal laws, is not entitled to maintenance from her husband under the Criminal Procedure Code. She and her husband can only receive relief under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, if they agree to be controlled by the rules of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 relating to maintenance.[6] Also, in Islamic law, a husband is given unrestricted ability to dissolve the marriage which is called Triple Talaq. Though this practice was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2017, the amount of Triple Talaq cases being lodged in the police stations and courts suggests that it is still very much in practice. A Muslim lady, on the other hand, has no such rights. Only the terms of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, allow her to dissolve her marriage. As a result, the number of reasons available is restricted, and a similar limitation applies. Only when a Muslim female is self-sufficient or has someone to support her can she divorce. A male spouse is allowed to have four spouses at the same time, according to Islamic law. “Marry of the women who appear good to you, two or three or four, if you think that you would not be able to do justice to so many, then one (only),”is what the Quran says. A Muslim woman, on the other hand, can only have one husband. If she marries again while being bound to the original marriage, the second marriage stands null and void. The Indian Penal Code, 1860, allows her to be prosecuted for bigamy. According to Islamic law, a male can marry a female despite her religion. A female, on the other hand, can only marry a male. The marriage will stand null and void if she marries a person from another religion.

Women’s Rights to Property

Followers of Islam in India were ruled by customary regulations that were exceedingly unfair and discriminatory towards females until the reforms were introduced in 1937. Muslims in India were regulated by Muslim personal law in their private issues after the 1937 Shariat Act. However, this had no significant impact on women’s property rights. Males and females have equivalent inheritance rights under Islamic law. If a Muslim male dies with both male and female heirs, both will get the possessions at the same time. But in reality, the amount of property inherited by a woman is half of what a male successor of equal standing receives. It is a clear example of the discriminatory treatment of women.


[1] “Amina v. Hassan Koya, (2003) 6 S.C.C. 93.”

[2] The Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, § 2.”

[3] Iddat is a ‘period of waiting’ where a woman must observe for some period after a divorce takes    place

[4] The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, § 2(b).”

[5] Id. § 4.”

[6] Id. § 5.”

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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