Jammu and Kashmir: Fatwa allows half-widows to remarry

Srinagar, Dec 28 : A group of Islamic scholars in Kashmir has issued a fatwa (decree) enunciating that a half-widow can remarry four years after the disappearance of her husband.

A huge number of women in Jammu and Kashmir have been living as half-widows due to the disappearance of their husbands.

Human rights groups noted that the number of people, who have disappeared so far in the past twenty years of armed resistance against Indian rule, is more than eight thousand.

One fourth of them were married.

In all such cases, the security forces denied any knowledge about the whereabouts of these men.

Their wives are known as half widows because they don't know whether their husbands are alive or dead. As such these women cannot decide whether to remarry or whether to wait for their missing men to return.

Most of the women have been living in miserable conditions. Only a handful of them are known to have remarried.

The Islamic scholars held three rounds of consultations over the issue before issuing the fatwa.

The four-year-long wait, which is the minimum, has been prescribed by the Maliki school founded by Imam Malik.

In Kashmir, most of the Sunni Muslims follow the Hanafi school of jurisprudence followed by Shaafis.

But Maulana Showkat Hussain Keng, who is among the signatories to the fatwa, said that there is no problem if Hanafis and Shaafis follow the easy prescription of Imam Maalik in this case.

He said this has become necessary as the problem of half-widows has become a huge crisis.

--IBNS (Posted on 28-12-2013)

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