Rights of Women Seeking ‘Khula’ Should be Protected

Suad Hamada
Filed on January 4, 2010

MANAMA - Forcing women seeking divorce, without giving any reason (known as Khula in Islam), to pay high compensations to their husbands was condemned by rights activists on Saturday. They called upon authorities to appoint female judges to protect women seeking Khula from maltreatments.

At a forum by the Bahrain Women Society for Human Development, the misinterpretation of Khula by some Shariah judges was highlighted, especially denying women their religious rights of calling off their marriages without giving any reasons.

According to Shariah, women can go on with Khula by giving up their custody or other rights.

In some cases, husbands could ask for compensations for the harms they might face, but the amounts should be reasonable, Researcher at Al Tajdeed Cultural Society, Ahmed Al Orabai, told the forum.

He demanded of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs to protect the rights of those women to assign such cases to a special committee of trustworthy members rather than exposing those women to injustice and humiliation in courts. “The Holy Quran was clear about the rights of couple to end their marriages if one or two of them feel it is hard to stay together, so why women should be victimised by forcing them to compensate men for feeling hard to keep living with them.”

International Adviser to the United Nations Development Board Dr Naila Alsellini supported Al Orabai saying that Khula issue wasn’t limited to Bahrain but the rest of the Islamic world as many women seeking Khula were criticised by their societies.

She called upon religious leaders to step in to change many social misconceptions about gender equality in Islam to open up to adopt better international rights for Arab and Islamic women.

President of the Bahrain Women Society for Human Development, Dr Soroor Qarani, said that women seeking Khula wouldn’t be more opened to discussed intimate details about their marriage lives to female judges than male judges, while a lawyer, Abdullah Al Shamlawi recommended fast endorsement of a draft law to develop the outdated marriage contract to give more Khula rights to females.

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