The union of husband and wife in an irregular marriage, without observing the period of iddat, might have repercussions under Islamic law, but it can’t be regarded as illegal, according to a ruling issued by the Lahore High Court.
In a verdict issued on a petition of a man who said his wife committed zina by contracting marriage without completing her iddat, Justice Ali Zia Bajwa explains that a woman’s marriage before completion of her iddat period would be “irregular”, but not void.
Iddat refers to a period a woman has to observe after the dissolution of a marriage.
Petitioner Ameer Bakhsh had challenged a decision of ex-officio justice of the peace of Muzaffargarh whereby his application for registration of a criminal case against his former wife and her new husband was dismissed.
He submitted that the respondent, Amina Bibi, was legally married to him and residing in his house being his legally wedded wife. She, with mala fide intentions, secretly filed a suit for dissolution of marriage and got the same decreed ex-parte against him from a family court.
The petitioner challenged the decree and his application is still pending before the family court concerned.
Ex-wife entered into another marriage without iddat
The petitioner said his wife after obtaining the ex-parte decree got married to Mohammad Ismail the next day without observing iddat as ordained in the Holy Quran.
He said this act of his wife and the respondent was against the teachings of Islam and amounted to committing of zina under the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979, which is a cognizable offense.
However, he said, the justice of the peace dismissed his application without applying his judicious mind and without appraising the facts of the case in their true perspective.
In his verdict, Justice Bajwa observes that a Sahih (valid) marriage is one that is free from all sorts of defects and infirmities. It is in absolute conformity with the requirements of Shariah.
For a valid marriage, it is necessary that there should be no legal prohibition affecting the capacity of the parties to marry. A marriage that is short of a valid marriage will be termed an invalid marriage.
There are two kinds of invalid marriages — irregular (fasid) and void (batil). “Irregular (fasid) marriage is the one where the impediment to the validity of such marriage is temporary, while in case of a void (batil) marriage, such impediment is permanent,” he adds.
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