Isnin, 20 Mei 2013

kes Bangladesh Hefzur Rahman Siri 3

Keputusan Mahkamah Agung Bangladesh: makna dan maksud Mut’ah.

Berikut pula ialah keputusan material YA Mustafa Kamal J dalam kes Hefzur Rahman (Md) v Shamsun Nahar Begum and another 51 DLR (AD)(1999) 172 Supreme Court Appellate Division (ivil). Hakim-Hakim yang terlibat dalam memutuskan kes tersebut adalah terdiri dari: ATM Afzal CJ; Mustafa Kamal J; Latifur Rahman J; Md. Abdur Rouf J; Bimalendu Bikash Roy Choudhury J. Keputusan di beri pada tarikh 3 December 1998.

Penghakiman Mustafa Kamal J:
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Will a divorced Muslim woman get maintenance only up to the period of iddat or for an indefinite period till she loses the status of divorcee by re-marrying another person, is the central issue in this appeal by leave by the defendant-appellant, along with some other issues.

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78. Then the learned Judges of the High Court Division suo motu addressed themselves to a legal query as to whether plaintiff No 1 could have claimed maintenance beyond the period of iddat. Quoting Sura 4 Ayats 240-242; Hedaya, Baillie, Sura Yonus (10:47), Sura Al-Qamar (54), Sura Al Imran (3:7) and observing that like statutes, the Holy Quran prescribes, a literal construction of its basic and fundamental verses, the learned Judges referred to the dictum of the Privy Council in the case of Aga Mohammad Jaffer Bindavim vs Koolsoom Beebee and others, ILR 25 (Cal) 9, namely, that their Lordships “do not care to speculate on the mode in which the text quoted from the Koran which is to be found in Sura II, verse 240 is to be reconciliated with the law as laid down in the Hedaya and by the author of the passage quoted from Baillie’s Imamea. But it would be wrong for the Court on a point of this kind to attempt to put their own construction on the Koran in opposition to the express ruling of commentators of such great antiquity and high authority” and held that this dictum pronounced a hundred years ago in 1887 cannot be followed on three grounds, first, the learned Judges of the Privy Council were non-Muslims, secondly, the interpretation is in conflict with Article 8(1A) of the Constitution of Bangladesh and thirdly, the decision is in derogation of Sura Al-Baqarah Verse 121. Relying on an observation from the case of Rashida Begum vs Shahan Din and others, PLD 1960 (Lahore) 1142, the learned Judges agreed with the view that if the interpretation of the Holy Quran by the Commentators who lived thirteen or twelve hundred years ago is considered as the last word on the subject then the whole Islamic society will be shut up in an iron cage and not allowed to develop along with the time. The learned Judges therefore came to the conclusion that a Civil Court has the jurisdiction to follow the law as in the Holy Qur-an disregarding any other law contrary thereto even though laid down by the earlier jurists or commentators of great antiquity and high authority and followed for a considerable period. Thereafter the learned Judges considered the literal meaning of the First Part of Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah(2) reproducing word for word the English translation of the said part of the Ayat from “The Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran” by john Penrice and immediately held that a person after divorcing his wife is bound to maintain her on a reasonable scale beyond the period of iddat for an indefinite period till she loses the status of a divorcee by re-marrying another person.

79. The learned Judges thereafter restored the judgment and decree of the Family Court with the modification that plaintiff Nos 1 and 2 shall get maintenance at the rate of Taka 1,000.00 each per month from the defendant-appellant till plaintiff No 1 and plaintiff No 2 remarries or attains majority respectively.

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91. Since we have held that the impugned judgment has been passed in excess of jurisdiction, our judgment could have been concluded here, but we prefer to continue to deal with the second point on leave has been granted, because to leave it unattended is to allow a lurking uncertainty in the law of maintenance and also because elaborate oral and written submissions on this matter have been made by the parties, the interveners, the invitees and the amicus curiae.

92. We are thankful to all of them for their able and diligent assistance and for having reminded us that we cannot travel beyond Shariat on this point. In particular, our attention has been drawn to section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat Application Act, 1937), which is as follows:

“2. Application of Personal Law to Muslims—Notwithstanding any custom or usage to the contrary, in all questions (save questions relating to agricultural land) regarding intestate succession, special property of females, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provision of Personal Law, marriage, dissolution of marriage, including talaq, ila, zihar, han, khula and mubaraat, maintenance, dower, guardianship, gifts, trusts and trust properties, and vakfs (other than charities and charitable institutions and charitable and religious endowments) the rule of decision in cases where the parties are Muslims shall be the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat).”

93. We have also been rightly reminded of Article 8(1) of the Constitution which says that ‘The principles of absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah … shall constitute fundamental principles of state policy” and of Article 8(1A) of Constitution which says that “Absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah shall be the basis of all actions”.

94. In our discussion on the second point on which leave was granted, we shall use the revised and edited English translation of the Holy Quran by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali, published by King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex, Medina in 1940 Hijri. The original translation (first edition in 1934) was revised and edited by the Presidency of Islamic Researchers, IFTA, Call and Guidance and it is stated in the Preface that as many as four successive Committees have checked up the revised and edited translation both in respect of adopting the most accurate expression and in updating the Notes.

95. First of all, we would like to dispel some of the basic assumptions on which the learned Judges have proceeded to discuss the topic of maintenance. The learned Judges stated after quoting Sura All Imran 3: 7,

“Thus according to Qur-an as quoted above its verses are easy to understand. That is to say Quran prescribes rule of literal construction of its verses. This rule is a universal one. The first and elementary rule of construction is that it is to be assumed that the words and phrases have been used in a statute in their ordinary meaning and that every word in a statute is to be given a meaning.”

96. It is true that in several Ayats of several Suras, Allah has revealed that He has made the Holy Quran easy to understand and remember and that the Holy Quran makes things clear. But it does not follow from this that the Holy Qur-an prescribes a rule of literal construction of its Ayats. Easy understanding does not mean that it is also easy to interpret the Holy Qur-an. Easy to understand and easy to interpret are not the same thing. If it is easy to interpret why should there be four Schools of thought in Islam? “Easy understanding” can never be a rule of construction of a Revealed Book. The Holy Quran is not a Book of law in the sense Salmond’s Jurisprudence is and one cannot call in aid the rules of construction of statutes, as propounded by Maxwell, Craies or Crawford, in the interpretation of the Holy Qur-an. The Holy Qur-ãn has its own rules of construction, which, for the sake of brevity, we are not elaborating. We can easily understand Sura Kaferun 109:6—Lakum Deenokum Waliya Deen. (To you be your Way/And to me mine). But in interpreting it we have to take into account the meaning of the word ‘Deen’. For example, the first part of Ayat 19 of Sura Al Imran (3) says, Innallazi na Indallahe Al Islam—(The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His  Will) and Ayat 85 of the same Sura says, “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) Never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost. “A “Deen” (way, religion) of unbelievers and of those who do not submit to His Will is not a “Deen” at all in the Revelation of Allah. A ‘Deen’ of believers submitting to His Will and accepting a c9de of life and conduct which is true, just and beautiful and which leads to a permanent abode in the heaven is a ‘Deen’ acceptable to Allah. Literal interpretation of Sura Ayat 109:6 will result in a wrong interpretation, meaning that the religion of believers and unbelievers are all to be treated at par by the Muslims.

97. Then comes the question of competence or incompetence of persons to interpret the Holy Qur an. There are also several attributes qualifying a person to interpret the Holy Quran. In Sura Baqarah (2) it has been revealed in Ayat 2 that “This is the Book; In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah (Hodallil Mottaqin).” Those who do not fear Allah will not get any guidance from the Holy Qur-an and for them it is not possible to interpret the Holy Qur-an correctly. In the same Sura, in keeping with Ayat 6 thereof, Ayat 7 reveals that in respect of unbelievers Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing And on their eyes is a veil Hence there can be no question of an unbeliever or a non-Muslim interpreting the Holy Quran so as to make the interpretation a binding law on Muslims and even if he or she does so it will not be acceptable to the Muslims. The learned Judges discarded the previously-quoted dictum of the Privy Council in ILR 25 (Cal) 9 because they decided the issue before them in accordance with the laws propounded by Muslim jurists ‘rather than independently”. In other words, the learned Judges recognised the right of whom they themselves called “non-Muslims” to interpret the Holy Quran independently of Muslim jurists, which is an absolutely untenable proposition.

98. The learned Judges of the Privy Council rightly refrained themselves from putting their own construction on the Holy Quran because they were non-Muslims. They abstained from opposing the express ruling of commentators of great antiquity and high authority because they were not qualified to do so. A person who ventures to interpret the Holy Quran (1) shall be a Muttaqi (2) must have a wide knowledge of Hadith in connection with the Prophet’s (S) interpretation of the Holy Qur-an and with the statements of his sahabis (c and their successive companions (3) have a knowledge about those parts of the Holy Qur-an which have been repealed or substituted (4) have a knowledge about the significance of each Ayat (5) have a knowledge about Ilmul Kirat (6) have a profound knowledge of. the Arabic language, grammar, diction, etc. as the Holy Quran was revealed in the Arabic language (7) must have a thorough knowledge of all the major commentaries and works of different schools of thought, (8) must be a faqih and other qualifications as well, not necessarily limited to and special preserves of Ulemas. All these qualifications follow either from the Holy Qur-an or from Hadith and dedicated and knowledgeable Muslim interpreters of the Holy Qur-an. We do not question the competence of the learned Judges of the High Court Division or of the learned Advocates who addressed us to interpret the Holy Quran, but we ourselves are not sure about, our own competence in the matter and are approaching the subject by force of circumstances with a great deal of trepidation in our hearts, lest we commit mistakes unknowingly, for which we beg Almighty Allah’s forgiveness in advance.

99. The learned Judges have conferred on the Civil Courts “the jurisdiction to follow the law as in the (Holy) Quran disregarding any other law on the subject, if contrary thereto even though laid down by the earlier jurists or commentators may be of great antiquity and high authority and though followed for a considerable period.” This conferment of jurisdiction in, the manner it has been done is unacceptable because it gives the believers and non- believers alike an equal jurisdiction to decide whether a law laid down by earlier jurists or commentators of great antiquity and followed for a considerable period is contrary to the Holy Quran an or not It gives a blank cheque to all Judges of the Civil Court to interpret the Holy Qur an according to their own individual understanding and make it into a binding law. Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 provides that in deciding certain matters including maintenance “the rule of decision in cases where the parties are Muslims shall be the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat).” Shariah’ is an Arabic word meaning the Path to be followed. Literally it means ‘the way to a watering place’. The Holy Quran is the first primary source of Shariah. The second primary source of Shariah is the Sunnah. The Prophet (S) never spoke or acted from his own imagination but told what Allah had revealed unto him. In Sura An-Najm (53: 4-5), the Holy Qur-an bears testimony to this statement: “Nor does he say (aught) Of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him:” In Sura An-Nahl (16:44) the Holy Quran says: “(We sent them) with Clear Signs/And Scriptures/And we have sent down/Unto thee (also) the Message; That thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.” The explanation of the Holy Quran by the Prophet (S) either by way of elucidation or by way of preaching or practice is a guide to the interpretation of the Holy Qur-an. The secondary sources are Ijma, Qiyas and Ijtihad. Ijma owes its origin to the following Ayat of the Holy Quran in Sura An-Nisaa (4:59): “0 ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything! Among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah And the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable! for final determination.” Qias is analogical deduction to come to a logical decision on an issue of law. It must be based on Quran, Sunnah and Ijma. If there is no indication as to the right answer, it should be sought by Ijtihad which literally means to exert, and in Islamic Jurisprudence means an exertion with a view forming an independent judgment on a legal question. The learned Judges’ conferment of jurisdiction on Civil Courts is in the manner of bestowing an authority upon all individual Judges to interpret the Holy Qur-an all by themselves without the aid of Sunnah, Ijma or Qiyas and to ignore Sunnah, Ijma or Qiyas if their own individual understanding of the Holy Quran is contrary to established precedents. The Holy Qur-an thus loses security in all its Ayats and Suras. The Holy Qur-an Ordinance, 1985, the Civil Courts had taken up, has been thrown into the lap of judge to judge, court to court, to be tossed about freely according to individual understanding, irrespective of whether they are competent to interpret the Holy Quran independently or not. This is an invitation to anarchy, pernicious in effect. We do not approve of this direction and expressly repudiate it.

100. We do not subscribe to the opinion that the doors of interpretation of the Holy Qur-an or re-opening of issues settled by Ijma are closed. In this respect we agree with the learned Judges of the High Court Division. Revelation is not opposed to reason. It rather appeals to reason. In Sura An-Nahl (16:125) the Holy Qur-an says,
“Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.”

“In re-interpreting the Holy Qur-an or in re-opening a settled point by Ijma, two conditions, in our opinion, should be present, viz. (1) a valid reason or reasons for re interpretation (2) it must be based on the Holy Qur-an and Sunnah by those who are competent to do it.”

101. It has been argued by some of the learned Advocates of some of the later group of interveners supporting the respondents that there is no established law at all that maintenance is limited to the period of iddat only. That this is well-established law throughout the last 1400 years has been acknowledged by the learned Judges in the impugned judgment by quoting from Hamilton’s translation of Hedaya and Baillie’s Digest of Mohammadan Law. Apart from submitting some tafsirs and some memoranda of some Boards of Ulemas from Kerala, India and Sri Lanka, the said learned Advocates could not produce a single piece of judgment from any jurisdiction during the last 1404 years showing the established law to be different.

102. It has been argued that for 1400 years women had no forum to put their point of view on maintenance. This is not true. The prophet (S), the Khalifas (R), later the kazis and during the colonial days up to the promulgation of the Family Courts complaints of various nature from women, either appearing personally or through Counsels. No woman is on record to have claimed maintenance till re-marriage relying upon Ayat 241 of Sura Al Baqarah (2). Even in the instant suit plaintiff, No.1 claimed maintenance for 3 months only, commensurate with her period of iddat.

103. Relying upon the case of Rashida Begum vs Shahin Din and others, PLD 1960 (Lahore) 1142, it has been argued that hadith as a second primary source of Shariah is of questionable character, because, first, the prophet (S) himself discouraged ‘compilation and writing down of his own sayings during his lifetime and ordered ‘its destruction, secondly, the subsequent compilation did not start before the expiry of 100 years after which the question of its authenticity, trustworthiness and dependability became a legitimate and complex issue and lastly, even Imam Abu Hanifa (R) (born 80 Hijri and death 150 Hijri) used only about 17 or 18 traditions in deciding the points raised before him.

104. Unfortunately, the learned Judges of the Lahore High Court failed to note the replies thereto, already available at the time of pronouncement of the judgment on 21-07-60.
First, the Prophet (S) discouraged the written compilation of his sayings in his lifetime, lest the Muslims regard it as another holy book, at par with the Holy Quran. The Prophet (S) was conscious of his rank in the Revelations of Allah as a Messenger, an Apostle, a Warner, a giver of good news to a people who believe a mortal and so on.
Secondly, the compilation started a century after the death of the Prophet (S) because distortions and fake sayings started to creep in. The learned Judges of the Lahore High Court should have remembered that no other human being on earth has been so painstakingly and systematically investigated, researched and documented as the Prophet (S). To discard the Sunnah is to consign the labour; patience, sincerity and methodical and systematic exercise of centuries of compilers to the dustbin of history which will be a delight to those who wish to wreck the second primary source of Shariah from within.
Thirdly, the fiction about Imam Abu Hanifa (R) is attributed to Ibn Khaldun who did not project it as his own view. He has stated it to be the version of some unknown person. Later the so-called Orientalist picked that fable up and Joseph Schacht in his book An introduction to Islamic Law propounded his theory thereon that the ancient schools of Islamic law were independent of the traditions (Sunnah). Subhi Mahmasani wrote about Imam Abu Hanifa (R) in The Philosophy of Islamic Jurisprudence at P 43 as follows:

“Abu Hanifa (R) was very careful regarding the choice of the traditions. He accepted only those traditions which are narrated through reliable chains. In spite of this his companions and his students have narrated fifteen Masanid from him. The Chief Qadi Abu Al-mu’ayyad Khawarzami has compiled all of them in one volume. For this reason we reject what Abu Ibn Khaldun and some others have stated that only seventeen traditions have been narrated by Abu Hanifa.”

105. It has also been argued that for so long there was a conspiracy to interpret the Holy Qur-an against women and that the patriarchal attitude of the society precluded women from getting an equitable interpretation of the Holy Qur-an. The judiciary was and still is male-dominated. It is time now to re-interpret the Holy Quran keeping in view the interests of women in the context of vastly changed social milieu.

106. We are simply astonished to hear this argument. It would be wholly wrong to view the controversy in this appeal from the viewpoint of women’s rights or male chauvinism or from the point of view of cut and dried secular statutory laws, divorced from Allah. The family laws of Islam are not enforceable by statutes alone. The topmost priority and an a priori condition are that men and women must have fear of Allah in their hearts (taqwa) and an environment conducive to the observance of Allah’s laws. Notice what has been stated in the beginning of Sura An-Nisaa (4) Ayat 1;

“O Mankind! Fear your Guardian Lord Who created you from a single person, created out of it his mate, and form them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women Fear Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) …”

107. “Fear Allah your Lord” runs through the threads of Islamic Family law. One has to purge oneself from alien thoughts and ideas propounded by humans and be prepared to observe laws revealed by the Almighty Allah spontaneously with fear of Allah in one’s mind. We should get our perspectives right. Both male and female are Allah’s creations, Sura Az-Zumar (39) says in Ayat 6, “He created you (all) From a single Person: Then created, of like nature, his mate; …” Allah’s creation is in pairs and it is impossible to conceive of the creation of a man without woman and vice versa. Each woman is either the wife, mother, sister or other relation of a man and so is a man either a husband or father or brother or other relation of a woman. A society will be rendered absolutely unworkable without co-operation between man and woman. According to Ayat 10 of Sura Al-Hujurat (49), “The Believers are but/A single Brotherhood.” All believer women therefore are sisters of believer men and all believer men are brothers of believer women. There is no adversarial relationship or relationship of hatred and competitiveness between them. As per Ayat 71 of Sura Al-Tauba (9), “The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another …” Ayat 103 of Sara Al-Imran (3) enjoins upon all believers, men and women, to hold together, to remain united, “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah (Stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” There can be no question, therefore, of a male-dominated interpretation of the Holy Qur-an or a male-dominated judiciary pronouncing against the interests of women. The Imams, jurists and others kept the Holy Qur-an as their guidebook while interpreting it. Most of us do not know the real name of Imam Abu Hanifa (R). His real name is Hazrat No’man ibne Sabet (R). A few women asked him once a question, if men can keep four women as wives, then why a woman cannot keep four husbands? The Imam was plunged into a great difficulty. His exalted daughter Hanifa told him, “Father, I will give a solution to this problem, provided you agree to be known after by my name”.
The Imam agreed and then the daughter asked the women to bring the milk of four kinds of animals like lamb, goat, camel and dumba. When they brought it, she mixed it up and then asked the women to separate the milk. The women went away by saying that they got the answer. Abandoning the centuries-old practice of being known as the son of his father Hazrat No, man ibne Sabet (R) came to be known thereafter as Abu Hanifa (R), Father of Hanifa. That is also the spirit with which the Imams, tafsirkars, judges and other exalted persons of high authority decided issues and to accuse now that they were conspirators and biased against women is to display a high feat of ignorance. These types of accusations will only gladden and pamper those who have a global agenda to discredit and disavow the past heritage of Muslims from within.

108. We shall go back to the learned Judges’ method of interpretation. They have isolatedly picked up Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) and translating each Arabic word thereof into English with the aid of an Arabic-English dictionary came to their conclusion. This method of interpretation of a subject matter of law and legal rights by way of an isolated and literal interpretation of a single Ayat of a single Sura of the Holy Quran, divorced from its context and without bringing together all, the Ayats of all the Suras together connected with the subject for a consolidated consideration, is against the principle of interpretation of the Holy Qur-an and is prohibited in the Holy Qur-an itself. In Ayats 90-93 of Sura Al-Hijr (15), thee is a stern warning against such maneuvering interpretations:

“(90) (Of just such wrath) As we sent down  on those who divided (Scripture into arbitrary parts), (91) (So also on such) Who have made Qur-an into shreds (as they please). (92) Therefore, by thy Lord, we will, of a surety, call them to account (93) For all their deeds.”

109. The learned Judges ought to have brought together, all the Ayats of all the connected Suras, discussed the subject “in its various aspects” comprehensively and then come to a conclusion, keeping in view

(1) the consistency of Allah’s Revelation, as stated in the Holy Quran in Ayat 23 of Sura Az-Zumar (39): “Allah has revealed (from time to time) The most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects). “.

(2) the absence of any contradiction or discrepancy in the Holy Qur-an, as stated in the Holy Qur-an in Ayat 82 of Sura An-Nisaa (4): “Do they not ponder on the Quran? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.”

110. When a divorce proceeds from the husband, it is called talaq, when effected by mutual consent; it is called Khula or Mubara’at, according as the terms are. The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 has given statutory recognition to a wife’s right of divorce (talaq-i-tafwiz) in exercise of the delegated power to divorce, as also to dissolution of marriage otherwise than by talaq. There are different modes of talaq according as the pronouncement of talaq is by the husband. In the case of Talaq Ahsan (most proper), a single pronouncement is made during a tuhr (period between menstruations) followed by abstinence from sexual intercourse up to three following menstruations, at the end of which talaq becomes absolute. In the case of Talaq Hasan (proper), three pronouncements are made during successive tuhrs, there being no sexual intercourse during any of the following three tuhrs. In the case of Talak-ul-bidaat or Talak-i-badai (which is popularly called Bain talaq in Bangladesh), either three pronouncements are made during a single tuhr in one sentence or three separate sentences or a single pronouncement is made during a tuhr clearly indicating an intention to dissolve the marriage irrevocably. This form of talaq is not recognised by the Shafi and Shia Schools of thought, but the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 recognises “pronouncement of talaq in any form whatsoever’, section 7(1).

111. It has been variously argued by some learned Advocates for some of the latter group of interveners supporting the respondents that there is no nexus between iddat and maintenance. Nothing could be further from the truth in this bald assertion. There is a clear and unambiguous connection in the Holy Qur-an between talaq and iddat on the one hand and between iddat and maintenance on the other.

112. Iddat (a period of waiting, a prescribed period) is a concept distinctive and unique in Quranic jurisprudence, like of which is not to be found in any other known system of jurisprudence. The question of iddat for women arises on other occasions as well, as on the death of husband, on periods of abstinence from sexual intercourse and on periods of abandonment of prayers and fasting by women, but it arises also when there is a pronouncement of talaq.
The purpose of iddat after divorce is four-fold, first, to allow the parties to recon ciliate and to give the divorce a go by in the cases of Talaq Ahsan or Talaq Hasan, secondly, to ascertain whether the woman is carrying any offspring of her husband in the womb or not, so that the legitimacy of the child remains beyond dispute, thirdly, to prevent re-marriage of the woman during the period of iddat in order not to forestall reconciliation and to avoid future controversies on legitimacy and fourthly, to make arrangements for the maintenance of the woman during the period of iddat.

113. The relevant Sura and Ayats of the Holy Quran on iddat, reconciliation, maintenance and mata’a after pronouncement of talaq are to be found in Sura Al-Baqarah (2:228-237, 241), Sura At-Talaq (65:1-6) Sura Al-Ahzab 33:49 and Sura An-Nisaa (4:35). The Holy Quran divides divorced women into 6 categories :—(l) those divorced before consummation of marriage, but without fixation of dower (mahr) (2) those divorced before consummation of marriage, but after fixation of dower (3) those divorced after consummation of marriage but not bearing any offspring in the womb at the time of divorce (4) those bearing an offspring in the womb at the time of divorce (5) those who, at the option of the father, would give suck to the child after divorce and (6) those who by mutual consent and after due consultation with the husband would give the child to a foster-mother.

114. Separate provisions have been made in the Holy Qur-an for no or separate periods of iddats and maintenance for each of the above categories of divorced women. There is no period of iddat and no maintenance is to be provided to the first category who are divorced before consummation of marriage, but without fixation of dower. The authority for this proposition is Ayat 236 of Sura Al Baqarah (2) as follows:

“There is no blame on you  if ye divorce women before consummation or the fixation of their dower, But bestow on them (a suitable gift), The wealthy according to his means, and the poor according to his means; A gift of a reasonable amount is due from those who wish to do the right thing.”

115. The contents of the said Ayat are repeated in Sura Al-Ahzab (33:49) as follows:

“O ye who believe When ye marry believing women, and then divorce them before ye have touched them, No period of ‘Iddat have ye to count in respect of them; So give them a present, and release them in a handsome manner.

116. For the second category of divorced women, those divorced before consummation of marriage but after fixation of dower, there is no provision for observing iddat for any length of time and no provision for maintenance either. They are only to be paid half of the dower due to them. The authority for this proposition is contained in Ayat 237 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2), which is as follows:

“And if ye divorce them before consummation, but after the fixation of a dower for them, then the half of the dower (is due to them), unless they remit it or (the man’s half) is remitted by him in whose hands is the marriage tie and the remission/ (Of the man’s half is the nearest to righteousness. And do not forget liberality between yourselves for Allah sees well all that ye do.”

117. It is to be noted that in respect of the above two categories of divorced women the Holy Quran does not enjoin upon the parties to effect any reconciliation either. The divorce takes effect immediately after the pronouncement of divorce and in the case of the first category all that is due to them is a suitable gift (Mataaum-Bil-Ma’aruf) of a reasonable amount according to the means of the husband. In the case of the second category of women, the half of the dower is due to the divorced women, unless remitted.

118. In the case of the third category of women the period of iddat has been precisely fixed in Ayat 4 of Sura At-Talaq (65) as follows:

“Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, Is Three months, and for those who have no courses it is the same): for those who are pregnant, their period is until they deliver their burdens: And for those who fear Allah, He will take things easy for them.”

119. Door is left open for reconciliation in the case of Talaq Ahsan or Talaq Hasan. Ayat 35 of Sura An-Nisaa (4) says,

“If ye fear a breach between them twain appoint (two) arbiters, One from his family, and the other from hers they seek to set things right, Allah will cause their reconciliation For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted/with all things.”

120. During the whole period of iddat the divorced women shall remain in their houses unless they are turned out for being guilty of some open lewdness. The authority for this proposition is Ayat 1 of Sura At-Talaq (65) as follows

“O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, Divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately) their prescribed periods: And fear Allah your Lord: And turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, Those are limits set by Allah: and any who transgresses the limits/Of Allah, does verily/Wrong his (own) soul: Thou knows not if per chance Allah will bring ‘about thereafter some new situation.”

121. If we take a literal construction of Ayat 1 of Sura At-Talaq (65) divorced women are only entitled to remain in their houses during the period of iddat. There are no express words in that Ayat providing for their food, clothing and medical expenses. Assistance has been taken from Ayats 6 and 7 of Sura At-Talaq (65) to shed light on what is fully meant by providing, for accommodation only in Ayat 1. Ayats 6 and 7 say.

“6. Let the women live (in ‘iddat’) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they are pregnant, then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring) give ‘them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable and if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father’s)”

“7. (Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him after a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.”

122. That the women would live in iddat in the same style as the husband lives according to their means led the jurists to come to a consensus that divorced women of the third category shall live at the expense of the husband during the period of iddat. The husband will meet all her expenses i.e., he will maintain her.

123. For the fourth category of divorced women, those who bear an offspring in their womb at the time of divorce, the period of iddat is extended up to the delivery as we have seen in Ayat 4 of Sura At-Talaq (65), quoted before, and the husband is to maintain the divorced women till delivery as is clear from Ayats 1, 6 and 7 of Sura At Talaq (65), quoted before.

124. For the fifth category of women, i.e., those who, at, the option of the father, would give suck to, the child the period of iddat is over after delivery, but the maintenance continues after the period of iddat. There is a clear provision to bear the cost of food and clothing of both the mother and the child on equitable terms for two whole years, if the mother should give suck to the child.

125. For the sixth category of women who by mutual consent and after due consultation decide on weaning and give their child to a foster-mother, an obligation has been cast upon the husband to pay the foster-mother on equitable terms. The authority for this proposition is contained in Ayat 6 of Sura At Talaq (65), previously quoted, and more fully in Ayat 233 of Sura Al (2) as follows:

“The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years for him who desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul, shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of his child, an heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation there is no blame on them, if ye decide on a foster-mother for your offspring there is no blame on you, provided ye pay (the foster’ mother) what ye offered, on equitable terms, but fear Allah and know  that Allah sees well what ye do.”

126. The same provision is contained in Ayat 6 of Sura At-Talaq (65), quoted before, in a condensed form. Reading therefore the Quranic texts together it is very difficult for us to accept the submission that there is no nexus between iddat and maintenance. This is not what the learned Judges said themselves in the impugned judgment.

127. Nor do we find anything in Sura Al Baqarah (2: 228), as held by the learned Judges in the impugned judgment that “Qur-an directs a woman who is divorced to undergo a period of iddat elsewhere (Second Sura Baqarah, Verse 228) and herein (i.e., in Ayat 241) Quran directs a man to give maintenance in case he divorces his wife.” Ayat 228 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) is as follows:

“Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. And it is not lawful for them to hide what Allah hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; But men have a degree over them and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

128. Ayat 228 is about the period of iddat, non- concealment of pregnancy, reconciliation, and a degree of men over women and we have not found in that Ayat what the learned Judges have found. On the contrary, Sura At-Talaq (65:1) asks men not to turn the divorcee women out of their houses and asks women not to leave their houses. Only if a woman is guilty of some open lewdness, the husband can turn her out of their house, in which case she will undergo the period of iddat elsewhere. The learned Judges have totally misread Ayat 228 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2).

129. It has been pointed out by some learned Advocates on behalf of some interveners supporting the respondents that section 3 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 provides that the provisions of this Ordinance shall have effect notwithstanding any law, custom or usage. This means that the provisions of this Ordinance will prevail over section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. Section 7 of the Ordinance has been referred to and it has been argued that this section has done away with the concept of iddat altogether and consequently; maintenance can no longer be connected with iddat.

130. Upon perusal of section 7, we find that situation to be the opposite. Section 7(1) provides that any man who wishes to divorce his wife shall, as soon as may be, after the pronouncement of talaq in any form whatsoever, give the Chairman notice in writing of his having done so, and shall supply a copy thereof to the wife. Section 7(3) says,

“Save as provided in sub-section (5), a talaq, unless revoked earlier, expressly or otherwise, shall not be operative until the expiration of ninety days on which notice under sub-section (1) is delivered to the Chairman.” Section 7(5) provides, “If the wife be pregnant at the time talaq is pronounced, talaq shall not be effective until the period mentioned in sub-section (3) or the pregnancy, whichever be later, ends.’ Where is the throwing away of iddat? The principle of revocation of divorce, finality of divorce of a non-pregnant woman after three menstrual courses, or of a pregnant woman till delivery coincide with the periods mentioned in section 7(3) and 7(5). The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 when interpreted in the light of Articles 8 and 8(1A) of the Constitution preserves iddat as laid down in the Holy Qur-án.

131. Then comes Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) where the key words are “Mataaum-Bil-ma’aruf”. In its original form (first edition in 1934) the said Ayat was translated into English by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali as follows:

“For divorced women maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale). This is a duty on the righteous.”

132. For the learned Judges of the High Court Division and for the learned Advocates supporting the impugned judgment this translation is the basis, the sheet anchor and the only authority in support of all their arguments.

133. In the revised and edited translation, we are using, Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) stands translated as follows:

“For divorced women is a suitable Gift, This is a” duty on the righteous.”

134. It is to be noticed that in Ayats 236 and 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) the words Mataaum-Bil Ma’aruf  have been used. Allahma Abdullah Yusuf Ali translated this expression in Ayat 236 in his original translation as “a suitable gift” which is now ‘a gift of a reasonable amount” in the revised and edited translation, but while translating the same words Mataaum-Bil-Ma’aruf in Ayat 241 he translated it in his original translation as maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale).” It is to remove this anomaly that in the revised and edited translation, the words “Mataaum Bil-Ma’aruf’ have been given a uniform meaning and we are of the opinion, rightly.

135. The context in which Ayat 241 was revealed is also important. In Ayat 236 of Sura Al Baqarah (2), ‘a suitable gift” was made due to those women who have been divorced before being touched but whose mahr has not been fixed and it would come from those “who wish to do right thing” (Haqqan A’alal Muhsenin). A group of Muslims said that they would make the gift if they were kind, otherwise not. Then Ayat 241 was revealed making the suitable gift “a duty on the righteous” (Haqqan A’alal Muttaqeen). As the same words Mataaum-Bil-Ma’aruf have been used in both Ayats 236 and 241 and as Ayat 241 has been revealed in elucidation of Ayat 236, it cannot be that the same words will carry two different meanings in two separate Ayats, one a one-off payment of a gift as a duty and the other a payment of maintenance on a reasonable scale as an obligation. The revised and edited translation has appropriately done away with this anomaly.

136. The legal meaning of the word “maintenance” in Anglo-Saxon Jurisprudence is contained in Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, as follows

“Sustenance, support, assistance, aid. The furnishing by one person to another, for his or her support, of the means of living, or food, clothing, shelter etc. particularly where the legal relation of the, parties is such that one is bound to support the other, as between father and child, or husband and wife While term primarily means food, clothing and shelter, it has also been held to include such items as reasonable and necessary transportation or automobile expenses, medical and drug expenses, utilities and household expenses.”

In Bangla, we use the word ‘maintenance’ as equivalent to “Khorposh mor bhoronposhon”. In Arabic the root word of the word maintenance is Nafaqatun, a noun. Its verb is Nafaqa. In past tense, the verb is Anfaqa. The imperative verb is Anfiq (singular), Anfiqa (double) and Anfequ (plural). The word ‘Anfequ’ has been used in Sura Talaq (65:6), where women have been given the right to live in the same style in iddat as their husbands live according to their means. The word “Yonfequ” (present indefinite tense in plural) has been used in Ayat 7 of Sura At Talaq (65:7) following the verse, on the maintenance of non-pregnant and pregnant divorced women.

“Let the man of means spend according to his means: arid the man whose resources are restricted let him spend according to what Allah has given him …”

137. The word ‘rizq’ is used in Sura Baqarah (2:233) wherein men have been directed to bear the cost of food and clothing for two whole years if divorcee mothers have to give suck to their offspring.

138. The word ‘Nafaqa’ has other meanings as well as is clear from the meaning given to it by Huns Wehr in A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, edited by J Milton Cowan (Third Printing, 1974) as “to spend, expend, lay out, disburse, to use up, consume, spend, exhaust, waste, squander, dissipate support, bear the cost of maintenance, to provide means of support, bear the cost of SO’s (subject of) maintenance. “Dr Rohi Baalbaki in his Arabic-English dictionary Al Mawrid, a standard work of great repute, gives the dictionary meaning of Nafaqa, inter alia, as follows:

“expense, cost, charge, expenditure, outlay, money spent.” (Tenth Edn., 1997)

139. No such word denoting cost of maintenance in all its imperativeness like Anfequ or denoting livelihood as rizq has been used in Ayat 241, as in the Ayats and Suras providing for maintenance to women during the period of iddat. The words used in both Ayats 236 and 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) are ‘Mataa’ aum-Bil-Ma’aruf. The learned Judges themselves relied on the dictionary meaning of the word ‘Mataaun’ from the Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran by John Penrice as follows:

House-hold stuff, utensils, goods, chattels, provision, convenience.” To bear the cost of maintenance is far from ‘Mataaun’, even when the learned Judges’ own reliance on John Penrice is complete.

140. In Hans Wehr’s afore-quoted dictionary ‘mata’a’ is given the meaning, inter alia, as “to give as compensation to a divorced woman.” The plural of mataa’s is Amti’a which means in the same dictionary “enjoyment, pleasure, delight, gratification; object of delight; necessities of life; chattel, possession, property, goods, wares, commodities, merchandise, furniture, implements, utensils, household effects, baggage, luggage, equipment, gear, useful article, article of everyday use, things, objects, stuff, odds and ends, etc.” Again in Al-Mawrid, Dr Baalbaki gives the meaning of the word ‘mata’a’ as ‘effects, goods, wares, chattels, (personal) property, personality, belongings, possessions, equipment, gear, supplies, baggage etc., but never maintenance or livelihood as in the case of nafaqa’ or rizq’.

141. The word ‘Ma’aruf is given the meaning in Hans Wehr’s Dictionary as “known, well-known, universally accepted, generally recognised, conventional, that which is good, beneficial or fitting, good, benefit; fairness, equity, equitableness, kindness, friendliness, amicability, beneficence, favour rendered, courtesy, mark of friendship etc.” In Al-Mawrid Bil-Ma’aruf is given the meaning as “amicably, in a friendly manner, with kindness”. John Penrice gives the meaning as “known, recognised, honourable, good, befitting, kindness.” Therefore the word ‘Ma’aruf cannot be given the meaning of a “reasonable scale”. It may be a reasonable amount, but not a reasonable scale.

142. Mataa’um-Bil-Ma’ruf in its Arabic meaning in the Holy Qur-an cannot mean “maintenance on a reasonable scale”, If amplified, it means a compensation in the form of a presentation of some means of enjoyment which is an article of everyday use and which can take the shape of a dress, money, chattel, property or any other means of enjoyment according to prevalent practice. That even the Prophet (5) was not asked to provide maintenance were he to set free from marriage bond any of his wives is clear in Ayat 28 of Sura Al. Ahzab (33) as follows:

“O Prophet! Say to thy Consorts: If it be that ye desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come! I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner.’

143. As for Sunnah, the Prophet (S) himself divorced a wife named Zaonia with a parting gift of a pair of dresses (Bukhari Sharif Bengali translation by Shaikhul Hadis Maulana Azizul Huq, 6th Volume, p 227, published 1413 Jijri). The Prophet (S) directed a man named Hafs Ibne Mugira to pay mata’a to his divorced wife Fatema even though he lamented that he had no means to pay it. The Prophet (S) said, you have to pay mata’a even’ though it is a quarter to one kilo of dates. (Assunatul Kubra by Imam Baihaki Vol 7 (Out of 10), p 257) the Sahabis of the Prophet (S), the Tabeyis, the Imams of all the four schools of thought in Islam, and the recognised commentators from the 3rd century Hijiri up to the 15th century Hijri have never deviated from the following propositions with regard to mata’a:

1. Mata’a is a parting gift to divorced women as a comfort and solace for the trauma they suffer from divorce.
2. As it is a presentation denoting Godliness, courtesy, equity, handsomeness and reasonableness, no limit has been fixed in its payment. It has been left to the pleasure and means of the husband:
3. Since mata’a is a presentation, the future life of the wife or her post-divorce financial position has not been made a subject matter of consideration while giving mata’a.
4. Mata’a is a temporary one-off gift and is not a matter to be given repeatedly or at intervals.
5. Mata’a has never been judicially enforceable because it is a gift. A valid gift, once made, is judicially enforceable, but no one can compel another to make a gift through a process of law. There are however opinions in favour of the view that divorced women described in Ayat 236 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) can maintain an action for mata’a in a court of law, as mata’a is a legal due, not a mere gift, in such cases.

144. These are in short the established Ijma on mata’a for the last 1400 years and we do not find any reason from the impugned judgment why this long- established ijma should be broken. Dr Abdul Karim, a former Professor of Baghdah University and a famous jurist says in his Al Wajiz from Usulil Fiqh at pp 186-187:

“Among separate opinions if there is a consensus on a particular matter, then it is not permissible to create such a third flow of opinion which creates dissension in the consensus for it amounts to breaking of an established ijma and is not permissible.” (English translation is ours).

145. We therefore, find that the learned Judges’ re-opening of an issue which is established in the Holy Qur-án itself, by the Hadith of the Prophet (S), by the Shahabis and Tabeyis, by the opinion of the four Imams of four schools of thought and by commentators during the last 1400 years was unwarranted, uncalled for, impermissible and without any rhyme or reason. The learned Judges in the impugned judgment and some of the learned Advocates for some of the interveners supporting the respondents have taken the original English translation of Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) of the Holy Qur-án by Allama Abdullah Yusuf Ali to be the Holy Qur-an itself and have interpreted the Holy Qur-án by laying emphasis on and interpreting the English words used in it and have not cared to interpret the said Ayat by using the Arabic text. A translation of the Holy Qur-án is not the Holy Quran and by treating a translation to be so the learned Judges committed the greatest blunder.

146. If left destitute after divorce, the divorced women, under Islamic dispensation, is entitled as of right to claim maintenance from their opulent prescribed relations. If not so available, the State is bound to maintain them. Those who do not find solution to the problems of destitute women after divorce within Shariat may usefully explore a compulsory realisation of Zakat by the State and will soon find that there will be a dearth of recipients of Zakat.

147. The learned Judges’ conclusion that under Ayat 241 maintenance is to be paid to divorced women for an indefinite period until remarriage or till they lose their status as divorcees has taken even some of the learned Advocates of some of the interveners for the respondents by surprise and they have conceded that this is an abrupt conclusion without any reason. One of them has however submitted that maintenance till remarriage is not a novel concept falling down from nowhere. Several tafsirkars have understood Ayat 241 to be so. We have also been referred to the Report of the Family Laws Commission of the Government of Pakistan, presided over by Abdur Rashid, CJ, and published in the Pakistan Gazette Extraordinary on 20-6-56. The report, recommending that the proposed matrimonial court shall be empowered to order that a husband has to pay maintenance to the divorced wife for life or till remarriage, commented that a large number of middle-aged women, who are being divorced without rhyme or reason, should not be thrown on the street without a roof over their heads and without any means of sustaining themselves and their children. That report is not an interpretation of Ayat 241 and in any case the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 which was enacted to give effect to some of the recommendations of that Committee, did not enact that recommendation in the Ordinance. The tafsirkars referred to have given’ their individual opinions, which have never been crystallized into an Ijma. We may profitably quote from the eminent jurist Gazi Shamsur Rahman’s (Commentaries on codified Islamic Law) at p 611 as follows:

(“So it emerges from the above discussion that a husband divorcing his wife is bound to maintain her only up to the completion of her iddat period. All faqihs of all ages of all schools of thought are unanimous on this point.” (English translation is ours).

148. Maintenance up to re-marriage has been sought to be justified, in the absence of any reason in the impugned judgment, by some learned Advocates of some of the interveners supporting the respondents on the ground of (1) a humane, just, equitable and fair approach as an obligation upon the righteous and (2) on equitable doctrine.

149. It has been urged that the word ‘mata’a’ has been used in the Holy Qur-án at least in 14 places (2:36; 3:14; 24:29; 28:61; 33:53; 40:39; 43:33-35; 57:20; 80:24-32; 33:28; 2:240; 2:241; 33:49 and 2:236), referring to and quoting from a booklet entitled “A Way to Islam” with a commentary from an undisclosed source on the cover page of the book describing the book as ‘inspiring and demanding” written by the author-Judge of the impugned judgment Mr Justice Mohammad Gholam Rabbani and published during the pendency of this appeal for free distribution in October, 1998 by two NGOs, namely, Bangladesh Jatiya Mohila Ainjibi Samity (BJMAS) and Institute of Democratic Rights (IDR), The BJMAS has entered appearance in this appeal as an intervener to support the impugned judgment. It has been argued from that book that ‘mata’a’ in those named Ayats means livelihood, enjoyment, anything connected with wealth, worldly belongings, gold, silver, adornments, fruits meal; conveniences, goods and chattels, provisions. Therefore the meaning of the word ‘mata’a’ in Ayat 241 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) cannot but be provision or maintenance, as written in the said book, as also in the argument advanced.

150. The conclusion reached in the argument is in the nature of a forced conclusion, because ‘provision’ in the sense of legal, formal and regular supply of necessities of life and livelihood at intervals, as in the case of maintenance, was never the meaning of mata’a in any of the named Ayats. Nor mata’a means maintenance, as we have seen earlier. If this meaning is given it will run counter to Ayats 233, 236 and 237 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2) and Ayats 6 and 7 of Sura At-Talaq (65). It is plainly inhuman, unjust, inequitable and unfair to impose on a man the burden of maintaining a divorced woman whom either he has not even touched or from whom he receives no consideration after divorce. Marriage in Islam is a contract both religious and social in nature and after the contract ends, the only consequential benefits are those described earlier and a forced and laboured interpretation will lead to discrepancies and contradiction with the aforesaid Suras and Ayats.

151. Pleading next that no controversy should be created on the meaning of mata’a and reading Suras and Ayats 2:229, 231 and 232, and 65:2 in the light of Sura 2: 106, it has been argued that while the Holy Qur-án repeats itself, it betters and makes progressive provisions to meet the challenges of time. “Part with them on equitable terms” (65:2), set them free’ (2:23 1) and other Suras and Syats, it is argued, are signs in the Holy Qur-án and are guidelines for applying the equitable doctrine. Mata’a should be regarded as comparable to pension and retirement benefit. It can be done by way of making a gift” (we are quoting from the learned Advocate’s written submission) of a house and property, agricultural land, fruit bearing trees, etc. which will generate a continuing income for the hapless divorcee.

152. The second argument is contradictory to the first. Having asserted first that under the principle of a humane, just, equitable and fair approach as an obligation upon the righteous, the word ‘mata’a’ in Ayat 241 cannot but mean provision or maintenance, it is now argued that controversies apart, ‘mata’a can be a ‘gift’ of an income-generating property. Surely one can make a ‘gift’ to his divorced wife of a generous amount or a substantial property if he wishes, but still it will be a ‘gift’ which one cannot compel another to make through a process of law. Both branches of this particular submission do not therefore lead to the conclusion that mata’a means maintenance.

153. Some Muslim countries have enacted laws to provide for compensation to the wife in the case of arbitrary repudiation by the husband. If Ayat 241, had spoken of mata’a as a compensation for arbitrary divorce, what was the necessity of enacting laws to remedy these ills? And where are the words “arbitrary divorce” in Ayat 241? These laws are therefore outside of the scope of Ayat 241. Laws in Muslim countries like Syria, Jordan and Egypt make an arbitrary divorce on the part of the husband a condition precedent to payment of compensation to wife, the amount of compensation varying from country to country, but not exceeding maintenance for three years, s in the case of Syria. Jordan and Egypt grant maintenance for 1 year and 2 years respectively. The point to note here is that in these statutory laws, no liability has been imposed upon men even in a case of arbitrary divorce, to provide maintenance to divorced women for an indefinite period till remarriage. Only in Tunisia, if any material or moral injury is caused to either spouse as a result of divorce (not when the husband arbitrarily divorces his wife) an injured woman may receive an allowance, liable to revision upwards or downwards, for her lifetime or until she remarries. These statutory laws are not sources of Quranic jurisprudence and will therefore have no effect on the interpretation of Ayat 241.

154. Under the strict interpretation of the word mata’a all that can be given is three pieces of cloth sufficient for a divorced woman to pray. The maximum that can be given is half of the dower money fixed. But, of course, instances have been provided to us that Hazrat Hasan Bin Ali (R) gave his divorced wife 10,000 Dirhams in those days. It is our understanding that the Holy Qur-án has left the quantum of mata’a to the Godliness, sense of justice, equity and fairness on the apart of the husband, since it is a voluntary payment.

155. Another strict interpretation is that Ayat 241 is related to only those women who have been described in Ayat 236 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2), because of the context in which Ayat 241 was revealed, as described earlier. It is argued that Ayat 241 is an elaboration of Ayat 236 and is therefore limited to those divorced women who are described in Ayat 236. The liberal view (Tafsir Ibne Kasir, a disciple of Imam Shafi) is that the presentation of a suitable gift is obligatory in the case of all divorced women and not merely in the case of women referred to in Ayat 236 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2). The counter-argument is that if it is so, then the women who have been divorced before consummation but whose dower has been fixed will not only get half of the dower but also a suitable gift which is contrary to the provisions of Ayat 237 of Sura Al-Baqarah (2). To obviate this difficulty the Moroccan Law provides, “every husband shall have the obligation to provide mata’a for his divorcee if divorce proceeded from him, according to his affluence and her means, except the women for whom a dower was specified and was divorced prior to consummation.” We are not concerned with this controversy because in any view of the matter mata’a is a voluntary gift payable by the righteous. A righteous man will please Allah and if righteous men make a voluntary gift to all kinds of divorced women it is for Allah to consider whether they have acted righteously or not. Righteousness and mata’a go hand in hand.

156. We have been urged by some learned Advocates to view the reinterpretation of the Holy Qur-an from the angle of social justice. We would humbly suggest them to re-direct their focus on social justice from the Islamic point of view and ponder over the following observations made by the eminent jurist Gazi Shamsur Rahman in his previously-quoted book at p 611, as follows:

(The Islamic law recognises each adult and intelligent person as separate entities. They will carry and observe themselves their own responsibilities and duties, whether they be males or females. Each one is responsible for his/her maintenance. The only exceptions are the responsibilities of the husband to maintain his wife and those of the guardians to maintain their wards till they are adults and can maintain themselves. As in this society parents are not bound to maintain their adult sons and daughters, so also a man divorcing his wife is not bound to maintain his ‘I repudiated wife. As a marriage bond converts a pair of man and woman into husband and wife and creates mutual responsibilities and duties towards each other, so also a talaq or severance of marriage ties breaks the bond between husband and wife and takes them back to their pre-marriage situation and the two turn into two separate persons having no mutual relationship with each other and there is an end to their mutual responsibilities and duties …”)

157. After the second hearing of the appeal was concluded on 4-11-98 and we reserved the appeal for judgment we found in a daily newspaper ‘The Daily Star” on 5-11-98 in the editorial page under “Opinion” column an Article written by the learned author-Judge of the impugned judgment entitled “Muslim Law: Maintenance of a Divorced Woman”. The learned author-Judge, knowing full well that his judgment was sub judice under appeal and that the appeal was being heard in his Division, thought it fit and proper to justify the impugned judgment and to say that he understood that these objections were now being raised against it and after noting those objections he replied to the same. We leave it to the learned author-Judge himself to ponder whether a comment on a sub judice matter at a time when the matter was being heard by this Division and was kept reserved for judgment will not attract the mischief of contempt of Court as a direct interference with and influencing the judgment of this Court. He will also ponder whether such conduct is in keeping with judicial propriety. He will also ponder as to whether his judgment was a self-contained one, or else why should it n supplementation? The article itself is an admission that the impugned judgment is an incomplete and inadequate judgment which does not answer objections to the views expressed in the impugned judgment. Further, if all the learned Judges of the High Court Division start following the example of the learned author-Judge, it should be a matter of concern to the learned author-Judge himself as to what will happen to judicial discipline in future. In our not-so-short experience as Judges and lawyers, we have not ever found any learned Judge committing such act of indiscretion. It is our earnest hope that the learned Judge will desist from committing such an act in future.

158. In the result, the appeal is allowed without any order as to costs. The impugned judgment and order of the High Court Division are set aside.
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