Rights of Muslim women in India - iPleaders (2022)

This article is written byAditee Arya, a student ofGitarattan International Business School, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, India.

Table of Contents

Equality and justice have consistently been encircled by issues and summoned by politics and law. Women like Mernieth has been leader of the framework since 3000 BCE and even today women and men together rule over innumerable individuals too, yet this is not similarly spread all through all the networks of the world. There is likewise an comparison of statistical information dependent on the census of 2011 of Muslim people in India contrasting it and reality which exists in the Indian culture and in nations who has lion’s share of Muslim populace inside with the provisions of Indian laws and Muslim personal laws.

A “right life” is achieved at the point at which one has rights throughout his life. Each human is brought into the world free; liberated from duties, allowed to pick their method of living and any individual who meddles in their opportunity full life and ties them without their free will and command them, on purpose of making themselves better over the other, parting endlessly the delight and respect of other’s life for their own delight, is the person who indeed shouldn’t merit the “Right life”.

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India is a secular and a sovereign nation; it welcomes people from throughout the world carrying whatever history or religion. It purports to treat everybody with equality and dignity and so India is a diverse country. There are a hundred and eighty-two million Muslims (acc. To 2017 gauge), India’s Muslim populace is about the world’s third largest and the world’s biggest Muslim-minority population. Out of the total no. of Muslims throughout the world, India is home to 10.3% of the world’s Muslim populace.

According to the census report of 2011, there are more than 84 million Muslim women in India compared to more than 88 million Muslim men, this reflects a 5% less birth rate of females over males in Islam.

When we delve into the demographics and statistics of year 2011 we will see that around only 1.7 million females are graduating out of the complete populace of 84 million Muslim ladies though on the off chance that we note on men, at that point in excess of 3 million men have graduated and afterward in the event that we take a gander at the marriage pattern in Muslims an aggregate of very nearly 43 million ladies get married and on the opposite side only 37 million men got married.

We see a blatant infringement on right’s to Muslim women not just in India but on Muslim women throughout the world. If we draw a comparative analysis on laws of Muslim’s in some different nation, we will note that India provides enjoyment of personal laws and also of legislature made Indian laws. The Muslim women can go to Indian courts and have benefit of Indian rights and of their personal laws. This thing is not available in every country for instance if we pick Article 2 from the constitution of Egypt makes sharia to be the countries law source , hence they only follow Islamic law and so Egypt has very much restrictions on women’s maintenance rights also their marriage age is set at 16 with polygamy being permitted, the husband just informs the rest of his wives. This stands uniform for many other Muslim countries.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986

Section 3(1)(a) from Muslim women (protection of rights on divorce) Act, 1986 which expresses that “a sensible and reasonable maintenance and support to be made and paid to her inside the iddah period by her previous spouse”. If the women is living a life alone and she doesn’t have her family or relatives around to look after her needs and requirements also she doesn’t have any means to earn her livelihood or any way through which she could earn or look after herself then she shall be paid money by the state Waqf board. Thus, the major reason and objective of this act was also one of its drawback that this act limited the settlement of subsistence living amount by her spouse un till Iddah period and after that either by herself or her relatives or the state Waqf board but later in K Zunnaiddin v. Ameena Begam, in this case the court adhered that the word within in Section 3(1)(a) did not mean that the husband will have to pay only for the time between the time in iddah but what it really means is that he is liable to pay the wife un till she marries again. So, if wife does not marry for her whole life again so husband will have to pay maintenance to her for the rest of her life.

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Muslim Personal Laws in India

All Indian Muslims carry freedom to choose their personal laws like The Shariat Application Act, 1937.There are statutes which deals with succession, divorce, marriage among Muslims.

Marriage and divorce in Muslims

In India, marriage in Muslims is a common agreement. Disintegration of marriage is possible at the occurrence of the man (talaq), wife (khula) or commonly (mubarat). The husband has the capacity to articulate talaq to his better half or a third individual by understanding, called talaq-e-tafweez. The Muslim man does not need referring an explanation behind separation.

Unmistakably there is polygamy allowed in Muslim laws. That one man can have numerous spouses regardless of their age religion or number but females are allowed for one husband only additionally under Islam she isn’t permitted to wed a non-Muslim yet no such conditions for a Muslim man. He is absolutely free.

Women can seek divorce in a court of law. A woman can ask for divorce in many circumstances one of which is:

if the husband does not be good to her because he is with other wives as in Quran; or completes some other ground perceived as legitimate for the separation of relationships under Muslim law.


  • A boy gets twofold the portion of the girl any property they together acquire.
  • In instance of death: only one-fourth is given to the wife if both have no children on the contrary if there are children then only one-eight of the total property.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Right on Marriage) 2019

The Act makes all assertion of talaq, remembering for composed or electronic structure, is void. Talaq-e-biddat alludes to the training under Muslim individual laws where declaration of the word ‘talaq’ threefold at a time by an Muslim male The act makes revelation of talaq a cognizable offense, pulling in as long as three years’ detainment with a fine

Indian Statutes

Indian Constitution

  • The preamble read with Article 25 mentions about secularism and sovereignty which means a person is free to practice any religion and that India does not create difference among its citizens on their religion. Everybody can follow their own laws. Indian constitution guarantees to all women who lives in India many rights. India has done numerous works to uplift women. Some of the rights worth mentioning are:
  • Right to equality Article 14: it guarantees that no person due to caste, sex or religion shall be discriminated in India
  • Article 15: which provided for reservation to women and Dalit’s as well.
  • Article 15(3), renounces practices derogatory for a women’s dignity.
  • Article 16: that every person should get equal opportunity.
  • Article 21: No one shall be deprived of his life and liberty. This for sure is available for women as well so no women shall be deprived to live her life and that she deserves liberty to choose her own way of living a dignified and good life. This also give her a right of choosing her husband but some data reviles that not many women gets that right as they get married at very young age and so they didn’t got to either live their life their way or choose her life partner.
  • Article 39(d): which is a duty of state to ensure everyone in the workplace gets paid according to their work and not their gender or caste or religion etc. Besides them there are Article 42 and Article 51(A)(e) in the DPSP.


Section 125 CrPC: This section allows every woman to claim maintenance from her husband. Husband who has sufficient means and who refuses to take care of his wife or maintain her whoever needs it the courts makes it mandatory for such husbands to maintain their wives with monthly payments.

Polygamy in India

Polygamy is illegitimate in India since 1956 with exception for Muslims and in Goa. Section 494 and 495 makes polygamy a crime, also this is a ground for divorce for those who married under the Hindu Marriage Act as such marriages are null and void.

Right to Education

It is the fundamental parental duty to teach and educate their children up to 14 so that every female gets educated and do not become dependent on the males for every work.

If we talk about India and specially about Indian Muslims, we should go through the education system and trends in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K’s social, monetary and political conditions have expanded sex difference in the locale, with men ruling its financial and political procedures. Ladies’ jobs have generally been household, and ladies in country zones don’t approach training. As indicated by a 2011 census, the male education rate in J&K was 68.74 percent; education among ladies was 58.01 percent. The female secondary school dropout rate is higher than the male rate, and one out of each three adult ladies in J&K cannot peruse or compose (contrasted and one out of five adult males)

  • The Literacy Statistics of Muslim’s in India according to Census 2011




Matric Level


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Higher Secondary



Not Educated for Degree







  • Marriage status of ever married Muslims in India according to census 2011

Age group




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The tabular representation above only considers the Muslim population in India. This is based on the data provided in Census 2011, as we note we see that lesser no. of girls are educated then boys, which is a fundamental right of a child and duty of every parent to give education to children up to at least 16 years of age, but we see discrimination and infringement to equality right towards girls. We can also see a significant dropout rate not just for girls but for boys as well. Number of both girls and boys keep dropping as education level increases which lessens their future chances of opportunities.

On the other hand, now that we look at the marriage statistics, it is really shocking to see the number of girls and boys getting married at such a young age. Most of them are married at their very young age when they might don’t even know the meaning of marriage. Almost 3.7 million girls are married at the age of 15 and lesser number of girls is in education at the same age. Up till 7.9 million girls are married till the age of 21. Marriage at such young age takes away their freedom and the opportunity to grow or become independent. They give birth to new lives at such age when it was time for their own life.

Indian courts have put many efforts to improvise the conditions of Muslim women in India. Some of the important judicial decisions taken by the Indian courts are the following.

  • Shah Bano case

Justice Chandrachud who passed a verdict in shah bano’s favors sixty-year-old divorced women on the matter regarding her divorce and Mehr. Mehr is amount of money the husband pays to his wife at the time of marriage, that money belongs to the wife only. This case was a fight for Muslim Women’s right in India, and against their Male gender biased Muslim Personal Laws. Supreme Court helped those Muslim women in fight for their rightful claim over maintenance.

  • The award of Triple Talaq

Shayara Bano v. UOI & Ors. this case managed the divorce practice among Muslims, which is if on the off chance that any Muslim man said Divorce three times, at that point he is liberated from his marriage. The Supreme Court laid its verdict and said that “this non-religious if we check in to the Quran and such thing should be void and illegal” and shall not be encouraged ever at any cost. Presently no man can divorce from the spouse by only multiple times rehashing the words talaq. This additionally fortifies the Muslim women’s status and rights in India.

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What are the rights of women in Muslim? ›

Allah (SWT) has created both men and women without subordination of one another. Islam has ensured gender equality and women's rights in every sphere of their life. Islam has guaranteed rights of men and women in an equal degree and there is no discrimination between men and women.

Which of the following is primary source of Muslim law? ›

The primary sources of Islamic law are the Holy Book (The Quran), The Sunnah (the traditions or known practices of the Prophet Muhammad ), Ijma' (Consensus), and Qiyas (Analogy).

What is triple talaq case? ›

Shayara Bano v Union of India. The Supreme Court held that the practice of talaq-e-biddat or instantaneous triple talaq is unconstitutional.

What is the rule of marriage in Islam? ›

In Islam, monogamy is the general rule while polygamy is only an exception. The Prophet did not favour polygamy except in exceptional circumstances. According to the Muslim Marriage Laws in India, a man can have up to 4 wives, but a woman can only have one husband at a time.

Who was the first woman accept Islam? ›

The first converts to Islam at the time of Muhammad were: Khadija bint Khuwaylid - First person to convert and first free female convert.

Why is iddat necessary? ›

The object of the iddat is firstly to ascertain whether the wife is pregnant, and if so, the paternity of the child. Secondly, in the event of a revocable divorce, it gives the husband the opportunity to return to his wife, and thirdly, it gives a widow the opportunity to mourn the death of her husband.

What are the 5 categories of Islamic law? ›

Islamic law categorises human behaviour into five classes: obligatory (wajib); recommended (sunnat or sunnah); neutral (mubah); not recommended but not forbidden (makruh); forbidden (haram).

What is Halala in Islam? ›

Halala or Nikah Halala is an Islamic practice in which a woman after getting divorced through triple talaq marries another man, consummates the marriage and then she can remarry her former husband. Halala means permissible, and the procedure is meant to permit the woman to get in wedlock with her former husband again.

How many times can you divorce in Islam? ›

In Islam, the husband pronounces the phrase “I divorce you” (in Arabic, talaq) to his wife. A man may divorce his wife three times, taking her back after the first two (reconciling). After the third talaq they can't get back together until she marries someone else.

Who banned triple talaq? ›

Supreme Court Verdict:

Supreme Court, in a majority judgment rendered on 22nd August, 2017, set aside the practice of divorce by pronouncing instant Triple Talaq as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

What is haram for a woman in Islam? ›

In Islam, a mahram is a member of one's family with whom marriage would be considered haram (illegal in Islam) (excluding husband, whom the woman is already wedded to), concealment purdah, or concealment of the body with hijab, is not obligatory; and with whom, if he is an adult male, she may be escorted during a ...

Who was the second woman to accept Islam? ›

Islam. Lubaba claimed to be the second woman to convert to Islam, the same day as her close friend Khadijah. She and her sisters were very prominent in the early Muslim community.

Who is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran? ›

Mary (Maryam)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one of the most important women in the Quran, as she is the only one identified by name.

Who is the first boy in Islam? ›

When Muhammad reported that he had received a divine revelation, Ali, then only about ten years old, believed him and professed to Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq and some other authorities, Ali was the first male to embrace Islam.

What are the types of iddah? ›

  • Iddah for widows.
  • Iddah for divorced women.
  • Iddah for pregnant women.
  • See also.
  • References.

What is prohibited in iddat? ›

Rules of Iddat

She is forbidden to wear silken clothes or other gaudy dresses. No particular colour is specified to wear during this period like black or white or any such, just a simple and plain clothing would suffice.

Can a woman travel during iddah? ›

Additionally, the majority of jurists have underlined that the lady during Iddah period is not allowed to travel even for Haj or Umrah as long as this necessitates travelling even if this deprives her of performing Haj. She is allowed to go out of her house for necessary needs during the day.

What is Islamic law called? ›

Sharia is the ideal form of divine guidance that Muslims follow to live a righteous life. Human interpretations of sharia, or fiqh, are the basis of Islamic law today.

What are the main laws of Islam? ›

The Five Pillars are the core beliefs and practices of Islam:
  • Profession of Faith (shahada). The belief that "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God" is central to Islam. ...
  • Prayer (salat). ...
  • Alms (zakat). ...
  • Fasting (sawm). ...
  • Pilgrimage (hajj).

Why do Muslims pray 5 times a day? ›

Prayer is central to Islamic belief, which is rooted in discipline and perseverance for spiritual well-being. As part of this discipline, Muslims pray five times a day, a practice known as salat. The tradition of praying five times a day arose from an incident documented in the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

Can you remarry your ex wife in Islam? ›

Although it is not encouraged, most Muslims agree that divorce is permitted if a marriage has broken down, and generally Muslims are permitted to re-marry if they so wish.

Can a woman remarry after divorce in Islam? ›

In context of marriage then, it means that a divorced woman can become 'halal' (lawful) for her husband again after nikah halala is complete. Islam dictates that a Muslim man has the liberty to divorce and remarry the same woman twice.

How many wives does Islamic law allow? ›

Muslim societies allow for up to four wives, but not without specific rules and regulations. In traveling throughout Egypt I had an opportunity to talk with many young women about their views on polygamous unions and their applicability to the modern world.

Can Muslims drink alcohol? ›

Although alcohol is considered haram (prohibited or sinful) by the majority of Muslims, a significant minority drinks, and those who do often outdrink their Western counterparts. Among drinkers, Chad and a number of other Muslim-majority countries top the global ranking for alcohol consumption.

Who gave the first divorce in the world? ›

Early divorce law

The oldest codified law in the history of divorce was traced in 1760 B.C. during the reign of King Hammurabi of Babylon. It is believed that the King carved 282 laws in stone tablets including the law on divorce.

What is Iddat period after divorce? ›

The Iddat period after divorce in a Muslim marriage is a period of time where the wife is not allowed to marry anyone else or have sexual intercourse with anyone. Only women have to follow the Iddat period under the Muslim Law.

Is Halala mentioned in Quran? ›

There is no such thing as nikah halala in Islam or mentioned in the Quran. It is a word coined by Muslim men for their convenience. The opposite of the word haram, which means forbidden, is halal , that which is permissible.

Can a man do second marriage without divorce in Islam? ›

According to Muslim law and sharia, Muslim man can perform second marriage without giving divorce to first wife. Second marriage without divorce to first wife of man is valid. Second marriage of Muslim man is valid.

Is nikah Halala legal in India? ›

On September 18, 2018 the Supreme Court asked the government to provide adequate security to the victim. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board is against the outlawing of Nikah Halala, though it feels that its use should be discouraged and restricted to the "rarest of rare situations".

What are women's rights under Sharia? ›

Some Islamic jurists have ruled that this requires women to cover their hair and others their faces. But many Muslims around the world take it to mean simply that women should dress and behave modestly in public. Sharia establishes that a woman has the right to choose a husband.

Can men wear hijab? ›

Men in Hijab is a movement in Iran and other parts of the Persian world in which men wear the hijab, or female headscarf, as a show of solidarity with their female relatives and wives. It seeks to end the requirement of women to wear the hijab outdoors.

What is ijma qiyas and ijtihad? ›

The revealed sources are the Koran and the Sunnah forming the nass (nucleus/core) of the Sharia whereas qiyas and ijma are the non- revealed sources and are employed to derive law from the nass (plural, nusus) through the use of human reason and endeavour called ijtihad.

What are the primary and secondary sources of Islamic jurisprudence? ›

Secondary sources. All medieval Muslim jurists rejected arbitrary opinion, and instead developed various secondary sources, also known as juristic principles or doctrines, to follow in case the primary sources (i.e. the Qur'an and Sunnah) are silent on the issue.

What is ijma as a source of Islamic law? ›

Ijmāʿ (Arabic: إجماع) is an Arabic term referring to the consensus or agreement of the Islamic community on a point of Islamic law. Sunni Muslims regard ijmā' as one of the secondary sources of Sharia law, after the Qur'an, and the Sunnah.

What is ijtihad law? ›

ijtihād, (Arabic: “effort”) in Islamic law, the independent or original interpretation of problems not precisely covered by the Qurʾān, Hadith (traditions concerning the Prophet Muhammad's life and utterances), and ijmāʿ (scholarly consensus).

What are the types of ijtihad? ›

They are: Is- tihsan (juristic preference), istislah (human welfare) and maslaha (public interest). See, All Pakistan Legal Decisions 2000 Federal Shariat Court 1. These minor sources are all considered as forms of ijtihad.

Who can perform ijtihad? ›

Ijtihad is considered to be a religious duty for those qualified to perform it. An Islamic scholar who is qualified to perform ijtihad is called as a "mujtahid". Throughout the first five Islamic centuries, the practice of ijtihad continued both theoretically and practically amongst Sunni Muslims.

What is the other name of Islam? ›

synonyms: Islamism, Mohammedanism, Muhammadanism, Muslimism.

What are the two main resources of Islam? ›

The two major sources of the religion of Islam is the Quran and Hadith. These two are where the majority of the teachings come from. When looking for guidance, a Muslim often refers back to one of these two in order to educate themselves on a topic. The Quran is the central religious text of Islam.

What are the three key sources of authority in Islam? ›

There are four sources of law: the Qur'an, the Sunnah (as distilled from the hadiths), qiyas (the concept of analogical reasoning) and ijma' (consensus).

What are the 3 types of ijma? ›

TYPES OF 'IJMA: Ulama (Jurists) have mentioned many types of 'Ijma', however, two kinds of 'Ijma' are worth mentioning: one is called verbal clear 'Ijma' in which Fuqaha (the learned ones) have clear agreement concerning a commandment. It is also called real 'Ijma'. The other form is called tacit 'Ijma' (consensus).

What is Qiyas example? ›

An example of the use of qiyās is the case of the ban on selling or buying of goods after the last call for Friday prayers until the end of the prayer stated in the Quran 62:9. By analogy this prohibition is extended to other transactions and activities such as agricultural work and administration.

What fiqh means? ›

fiqh, (Arabic: “understanding”) Muslim jurisprudence—i.e., the science of ascertaining the precise terms of the Sharīʿah, or Islamic law. The collective sources of Muslim jurisprudence are known as uṣūl al-fiqh.


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