17, Dec 2023

The personal law in India is a law for people of various religion and applicable consistent with the faith of the person. For many decades Muslim women are fighting for gender equality in the Islamic law that govern right related to marriage, divorce and property rights. However, All-India Muslim Personal Law Board is, one among the most influential body in Muslim community. Muslim women rights of marriage, divorce, inheritance has encouraged many Muslim women activists to fight theirs rights. Personal laws in India and particularly Muslim personal law has been a serious political and controversial issue, and has been extensively debated. Since independence it has been a rallying point for not only Muslim organisations, but also for Hindu rights wing politics. After the 1986 Shah Bano Case, and the enactment of the Muslim Women (protection of Rights on Divorce) Act thereafter, the debate has assumed a central position, and majority identity politics has gained mileage, evident in the weakening of centrist secular parties in the absence of the proper codified law in Muslim personal law women are at much disadvantage position, because of the obscurity within the various rights and various interpretation of Quran. Moreover, many baseless ‘fatwas’ most of time go against the right of the Muslim women. Muslim women always remain the most economically and socially depressed section in Muslim community itself. There is great need for the codification of Muslim personal Law today. It should be done as early as possible. What is known as Muslim personal law today, was known either’s as Anglo- Mohammendan law during the British period or simply as Mohammendan law and was enacted by the British. But after independence the terminology changed and the Anglo Mohammendan law in order to wipe out its colonial stamp, came to be renamed as Muslim personal law. However, its contents did not change. Thus changes in its terminology was apolitical act, not a harbinger of Social Change as in other Muslim countries to de colonise its name isn’t enough, one must de colonise its contents as well. India is a land of different religions including Hindu, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others. 

The status of women in society is neither a new issue nor is it a totally settled one. status of women completely different in several in numerous human societies of the world is different. Whether, it’s developed,  developing or  underdeveloped  societies, women inhabit associate inimitable position. Nearly all human societies in numerous a part of the world are male dominated. Male are active part and females half passive half within the society. for several decades Muslim women are troubled for gender equality within the law that oversee rights associated with marriage, divorce, and property rights. This paper is intended to supply a quick and real exposition of Rights of Muslim women and a quick survey of the     status   of women. Recent debates associated with Muslim Personal Law (MPL) are significantly in favor of abolishing the present system for many reasons. it’s said that the present organization of MPL in place discriminates against women in three distinct ways; they’re that 1) a Muslim man is allowed to marry up to four wives at a time, 2) he can divorce his spouse while not entering into any legal processes, and 3) he doesn’t need to give support to his ex-wife after 3 months of the divorce, whereas men of different religions are likely needed to support their ex-wives forever. the main issue with any reform or replacement of such provisions within the MPL system is that Muslim identity is such a vital a part of women’s life. If women were to pursue alternative interests (i.e try to get eliminate such provisions within the MPL system), the Muslim community would feel a way of betrayal in that the traditional values that outlined domestic life wouldn’t be the same. 14 percent Muslims are present in India which is second largest Muslim population in any country. While a change is visible in the status of Indian women towards one of greater equality with men and in her role towards greater participation in family decision making and other social and economic activities, the elements and space of such change cannot be said to be the same across all religious communities in India. Muslims are considered to be lagging behind other religious communities; Fundamentalism and ignorance have also prevented Muslim women from enjoying modern privileges. For the development of Muslim community the social participation of their women is equally important. They should have equal vistas to education and employment to keep up the rate of progress and improvement.

The shah Bano case[1] of 1978 is said to those discriminatory provisions. a woman named shah Bano was married to a person named Mohommed Ahmed Khan. Khan fathered many kids with a second spouse and shah bano was forced out of the home; she at the start wanted a maintenance order for Rs. 500 per month, however was given solely Rs. 200 per month upon the separation agreement[2]. No contribution was ever created to her, and she set to seek legal counsel as a result. Khan very clearly determined the aim of the divorce by deciding specifically how much to award shah Bano with, once to award her and how to try to to it. By finally deciding to enter into the legal system, Bano shows her pursuit of alternative interests and also the conflict associated with muslim domestic life.

Marriage (Nikah) is defined to be a contract that has for its object the breeding and also the legalizing of children. the inspiration of marriage in Islam has three aspects: Legal, Social, and non secular. Legally, it’s a contract and not a forfeit. The social side of marriage has three necessary factors: islamic law provides to the women an doubtless high status once marriage; He with confidence enjoined marriage to all or any those who could afford it. actually marriage is a sign of gift of allah.

In India, marriage among all sets of Muslims is sometimes solemnized by persons aware of the necessity of law and they are chosen as Kazis or Mullas. two persons, formally assigned for the aim, act on behalf of the catching parties, with sure figure of witness. Women’s hassle within the perspective of marriage are frozen within the icon of her as a dependent passing from the charge of her father to that of her husband, however according to Islam women enjoy equal right of choice or selection. The Muslim woman has the freedom of married selection, her assent is important for the validity of the marriage contract. A full-grown up woman shall be asked consent concerning herself and her permission is her silence and if she declines, there shall be no obligation on her. The islamic laws have accepted women as free and responsible member of society, and have allotted to them an expedient position. Muslim wife maintain her distinct individuality even when marriage and she never assumes her husband’s name. Islam has treated women with nice sense of pride.

Muslim intellectuals are to initiate measures for drafting a comprehensive law punctually written which can embody the Quran spirit. Triple Divorce and unregulated matrimony has typically been the cause of attacks on otherwise quite progressive Muslim personal law. polygamy may not be abolished fully however strictly regulated as directed by the Quran[3]

The other major hassle is that of triple divorce in one session. this type of divorce has very caused a lot of misery to a huge number of Muslim women in India the Prophet reserved the power of divorce overcome by husband and gave to the women the right of getting partition on reasonable ground. If the marriage was fulfilled, wife may marry a further person when the completion of iddat, if the marriage wasn’t consummated; she is free to marry immediately. If the matrimony was fulfilled, the woman unrestricted to payment of the total of the unpaid dower, both on time and overdue. If the marriage wasn’t completed, and also the sum of dower was precise within the contract, she is entitled to partly that amount. The divorced wife is at liberty to maintenance and accommodation until her period of iddat expires. Khula and Mubarat are two kinds of divorce by joint consent. Khula means that release and Mubarat suggests that mutual separation, are two kinds of divorces by the wife with the assent of her husband.

The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937 additionally recognized the rights of the wife to amass divorce on 2 additional grounds, i.e. (I) Ila & (ii) Zihar. The divorced wife is entitled to urge maintenance from her ex- husband until she observes iddat that varies to totally different period in different cases. it’s clear that there aren’t any terms for the maintenance of a divorced wife in Muslim law when the epoch of iddat or the period when delivery and suckling of the kid. Much the same as those of women of any longer country, property rights of Indian Muslim women have evolved out of permanent struggle linking the grade quoits and also the progressive forces. Indian Muslim ladies forever wont to get fewer rights in terms of right to property in contrast to male.

We all know Muslims personal law haven’t codified their property rights of Muslim women neither the Shias nor the Sunnis[4].However, Ma-hr could   be a key idea in shariah that is unswerving connected with the right to property of the Muslim women and authorisation of the      women. Ma-hr is largely is termed as a gift that becomes due from a Muslim husband to his wife on marriage as a token of admiration symbolising his honesty and love for     her[5].           The subject affair of ma-hr will be wealth or the other thing having worth, depending upon the acceptance of the wife. Upon the entity or property given as a ma-hr, the possession lies solely with the women. Further, the award of absolute possession of the ma-hr property to the Muslim wife shows the activist measure adopted by Muslim personal law to vest women with the property rights to ensure them an unbiased marital status. Hence, married Muslim women who had been ever devoid of status of marriage have such property rights that square measure entirely unconditional in her property rights. 

Mohd. Ahmad Khan v. shah Bano begum[6]

In instant case issue was that, up to what extent of Muslim husband’s liability to keep up his single divorced below Section 125 of the Cr.P.C 1973? In instant case court went into the main points of various authorities and translation of the verses of the holy Quran in support of the read that a Muslim woman who has been single by her husband has very well to be maintained even after the period of Iddat. additional court upheld that provision of the maintenance under section under of the Cr.P.C isn’t obsessed with the religion of the spouses. it’s a secular law applicable to all or any no matter the religion. Therefore, the judgment evoked unexampled discussion and controversy on the Muslim woman’s rights to assert maintenance from the husband when divorce. It ultimately led to the enactment of the Muslim women (Protection of rights on Divorce) Act 1986[7].

Shamimara v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2002)[8].

In instant case Court held that, Talaq to be effective, has got to be expressly pronounced. more court held that, a mere plea taken within the written statement of a divorce having been pronounced typically within the past cannot by itself be treated as effectuating talaq on the date of the delivery. Hence, judgment seeks to provide some norms and parameters among that the husband can pronounce a talaq. The very concept and right of unilateral triple talaq has but being assailed. Hence, from the above cases it becomes profusely clear that court had compete a really important role for the protection of the women’s rights under Muslim personallaw[9].

Islam has raised women’s status within the society by issuing several laws to safeguard her and provides her associate honorable and dignified life.Muslim personal laws has given numerous rights to Muslim women like preference in wedding, inheritance etc.Islamic law provides to the women a actually high social rank after marriage. The Muslim woman has the freedom of matrimonial selection, her assent is significant for the validity of the marriage contract. The Muslim laws have accepted girls as free and responsible member of society. the opposite major hassle is that of triple divorce in one session. this type of divorce has very caused a great deal of misery to a large range of Muslim women in Republic of India the Prophet reserved the power of divorce overcome by husband and gave to the women the proper of getting partition on affordable ground. The single spouse is at liberty to maintenance and accommodation until her amount of iddat expires. Indian Muslim girls forever wont to get fewer rights in terms of right to property in the correct to male. As we all know Muslims personal law contrast statute their property rights of Muslim women neither the Shias nor the Sunnis.However, Ma-hr may be a key construct in shariah that is dependable connected with the right to property of the Muslim women and authorization of the women. The preamble of the Act spells out the objectives of the act as ‘the protection of the proper of Muslim women who are separated by, or have obtained divorce from, their husband’Sec. 3 of the Act speaks of ‘provision and maintenance’ the right Sec. 4 talks solely of maintenance. one in every of the foremost necessary changes that Islam created on the society is giving women the right of inheritance. A woman’s share of inheritance may be additional, less, or up to a man’s share, counting on the case and therefore the range of the survived relatives and their respect to the decedent. moreover, Islam is that the solely religion that provides women honest rights of inheritance. The response of the judiciary on the standing on women underneath the Muslim personal law has been hesitant. several of the cases provide the intuition that the role of our judiciary has been healthy and satisfactory. it’s fascinating to notice that, there are necessary judgment favorable to Muslim women even if not in landmark class, however terribly significant.

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  • Shibani Roy. Op.cit. Ref.3
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  • Engineer. 2000 The emergence of Feminism among Indian Muslim women. New Delhi: Oxford University press.
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[1] AIR 1985 SC 945

[2] The shah Bano case

[3] Rights of Muslim women An Analysis of Indian Muslim personal Law

[4] Property Rights of India.

[5] Rights of Muslim women An Analysis of Indian Muslim personal Law

[6] AIR 1985 SC 945

[7] Rights of Muslim women An Analysis of Indian Muslim personal Law

[8] SCALE 183

[9] Rights of Muslim women An Analysis of Indian Muslim personal Law

Vikas Vishnoi


Vikas hails from National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi and he spends most of his time in researching and writing. His Interest area law and policy. For any clarifications, feedback, and advice, you can reach us at [email protected]