Post-Divorce Maintenance Rights for Muslim Women in Pakistan and Iran: Making the Case for Law Reform

Protecting women and children is one of the core values of the Islamic legal tradition. In Muslim countries religious, constitutional, and legal frameworks obligate the state to take special measures to provide protection to women and children within families and in society. However, despite such provisions, post-divorce maintenance rights are not granted to women in Pakistan and Iran. Family law enacted in Pakistan and Iran still differs in form and substance from what has been mentioned in the primary sources of Islamic law and from the previous articulations of early Islamic law scholars. Moreover, patriarchal notions of male authority are still sustained through law and judicial interpretations when it comes to the question of giving post-divorce maintenance to women. As a result in the absence of a welfare system divorced women are left in a vulnerable situation. Although in Iran, some financial compensation under the concept of Ujrat ul Misl is given to divorced women, but it remains unclear whether the right to Mata’at-ul-Talaq has been recognised under the family law. In Pakistan the law does not include any provision for giving women Ujrat ul Misl and Mata’at- ul -Talaq. Moreover in the absence of a welfare system, divorced Muslim women in both countries are left in a vulnerable situation. This article engages with plural normative sources and contemporary notions of human rights to make the case for family law reform and for awarding post-divorce maintenance rights to Muslim women in Pakistan and Iran.
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DOI 10.1515/mwjhr-2018-0004
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