DIVORCES IN SAUDI ARABIA
Triple talaq is a form of divorce that was practised in India, whereby a Muslim man could legally divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq (the Arabic word for divorce) three times. The pronouncement could be oral or written, or, in recent times, delivered by electronic means such as telephone, SMS, email or social media. The man did not need to cite any cause for the divorce and the wife need not have been present at the time of pronouncement. After a period of iddat, during which it was ascertained whether the wife is pregnant, the divorce became irrevocable. In the recommended practice, a waiting period was required before each pronouncement of talaq, during which reconciliation was attempted. However, it had become common to make all three pronouncements in one sitting. While the practice was frowned upon, it was not prohibited. A divorced woman could not remarry her divorced husband unless she first married another man, a practice called Nikah Halala. Until she remarried, she retained the custody of male toddlers and prepubescent female children. Beyond those restrictions, the children came under the guardianship of the father. Triple talaq as a practice is not mentioned in the Quran or Sharia law. It is also largely disapproved by Muslim legal scholars. This Government is taking all necessary steps to abolish/ban this practise of triple talaq as, it is banned in most of the countries and it is not a matter of religion or faith, it is an issue of gender equality and a matter of social justice.
Women in SAUDI ARABIA, will be notified by text message if they are divorced under a new law designed to protect them from having their marriage ended without their knowledge. The new law came into effect on Sunday January 6th, 2019, was seen as a way to end secret divorces and ensure women are fully aware of their marital status so they can protect rights such as alimony. This move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has started to give women more rights in the Conservative Kingdom, which included lifting a ban on women driving last year. Saudi courts have started to send such divorce notifications as a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients, said by Saudi Ministry of Justice in a statement on their website. It also said that women could check their marital status on the Ministry’s Website or visit the relevant Court to get a copy of divorce papers.
Suad Abu Dayyeh from GLOBAL RIGHTS GROUP, said, “In most Arab Countries men can just divorce their wives. At least women will know whether they are divorced or not. It is a tiny step; it is a step in the right direction. Knowing about a divorce does not mean a woman will get alimony or the custody of her children. Campaigners said that main sticking point always remained is, Saudi Arabia’s guardianship policy, whereby women must have permission from a male relative to work, travel, marry and even get some medical treatment. As reiterated by Abu Dayyeh, the male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled. It controls women in each and every step of their lives. This system strangles Saudi Women. Although many have hailed the Saudi Government’s reforms, these have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent with about a dozen female activists arrested.
In November 2018, Rights Groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Saudi Arabia of torturing and sexually harassing some detained female activists, but the allegations have been denied. A group of British parliamentarians and lawyers recently requested an “URGENT RESPONSE” from the Saudi Ambassador by January 9th, to allow them to speak with the detained activists.
Its notable that in recent years’ women in Saudi Arabia, have been allowed to enter sports stadiums for the first time, vote in local elections, take a greater role in the workforce it tries to diversify its oil dependent economy. But many Saudi women have taken to social media to push for more freedom, including protesting against the country’s strict dress codes where women are required to wear an abaya, a loose, all-covering robe when seen in public.
This is not to compare both the countries, but India is now trying to ban TRIPLE TALAQ, in India, where it is to be noted, that TALAQ should be said three times, of one word TALAQ, in three different places, in the presence of their religious head, or elders. But this issue took a serious tone because men starting giving talaq over the social media like what’s app, SMS, phone and cell, misusing the technology for their own purpose, which became a very easy and viable thing to do. To protect the women from being time and again exploited, abused, the TRIPLE TALAQ issue came up and it’s at the parliament for want of support for the act to be passed. Muslim men are very against it, because they think, this would take away their inherent right to say talaq anywhere, wherever, whatever time they like to say or send messages.
But for a country which has always been very conservative, where women, who have not had seen any freedom, such divorces would rise in number, the women won’t know whether they are having married or divorced status. This would definitely increase the insecurity in women who don’t enjoy freedom of movement, economic independence, or any other activity which can be done on their own. Their freedom of decision-making, actions are all curbed in Saudi Arabia and nothing cannot be done without the consent of their father, brother or husband as the case may be. This would only increase DIVORCE RATES, That too with,
NO GUARANTEE OF ALIMONY OR CUSTODY FOR CHILDREN….
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE