Can I get maintenance from my husband as a Muslim wife?

Q. What is Shia law? I was unaware of these laws before and my husband did not allow me to have touch with the outside world. According to my husband, I am not eligible to get any maintenance from him. He neglected me since five months and is not giving any amount for my expense. Presently he earns an income of more than eighty thousand as rent from his house.

Shia/Shariameans “the path”.  It is code of law derived from Koran and teachings of Mohammed and applies to Muslims.

Maintenance under Muslim Law is said as Nafqah which means a man spending over his family for food clothing and lodging. Maintenance of the Muslim women who has been divorced has been always a controversial issue that can be debated. Earlier before amendment in regard to this Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) states about maintenance under Section 125 and Muslim wife used to seek maintenance under this.  In many cases it is argued that Maher was the sum that the husband is liable to give to his wife and not maintain her for life.

Section 3(1) of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 states that a Muslim woman is entitled to a fair and reasonable maintenance made to her within the Iddat period by her husband and if she maintains the children that are born out of such marriage she has to be maintained and her Mahr amount should be paid to her along with all properties she was given during the marriage by her relatives. It is stated under the Mohamedan Law that the wife can get maintenance as per the provisions of Section 125 of CrPC.  Section 125 of CrPC explains that if any person who has sufficient means neglects to maintain his wife who cannot maintain herself allows a Magistrate of First Class who up on proof allow for maintenance of his wife and child.  Under this Section it is very clear that the husband is bound to maintain his wife who cannot maintain herself.  Court considers the income of the husband while ordering for maintenance and status of person who is claiming maintenance. Under this section petitioner can file any number of petitions to apply for enhancement of maintenance when needed. If proceedings occur under Section 125 CrPC it is considered as civil in nature although it is wholly governed under CrPC.

Muslim woman is entitled to reasonable and fair provision of maintenance and it is paid to her within the Iddatperiod by her husband, Dower/Mahrthat was received during marriage has to be paid to her. If a Muslim woman is not able to maintain herself after Iddat period then magistrate shall order her relatives to do so who is entitled to her property after her death. One of the famous case Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum (23 April, 1985)where the court granted maintenance to the wife. Court took the wordings of Quran and said that Muslim husband is under obligation to provide maintenance to the divorced wife.

by Sushma Javare.