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Protecting Married Women's Rights with Ta'liq
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Questions & Answers

There are still many married couples who do not know what ta'liq is and that it can protect wives from undesirable marital conditions that occur after the time of marriage.

1. What is ta'liq?

Section 2 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 states that ta'liq is a promise given by the husband to the wife after solemnization of marriage in accordance with hukum syara' and the provisions of the Act.

The content of the ta'liq has been standardized by the Malaysian government. This government standard takes the form of a declaration letter which is meant to be used in all of the states in Malaysia (although in practice it can vary across states). The standard ta'liq is as follows:

"I hereby declare that if I were to leave my wife (insert name here) for four consecutive Hijrah months or more, whether it be voluntarily or involuntarily, and I or my representative do not provide for her maintenance for that period of time even though she is obedient to me, or if I were to cause any harm to her person, and she subsequently lodged a complaint to a Syariah Judge who, on my behalf, accepted the payment of RM1, she would at that moment be divorced via khul'"

2. Can other conditions be added to the standard ta'liq?

Section 22 of the Act allows for additions to be made to the standard ta'liq, or for altogether different ta'liq to be registered. It is worth noting that the conditions that may be set are undefined by the Act except that they may not contradict hukum syara'.

3. What conditions are said to not go against hukum syara'?

Some examples of ta'liq conditions that are in accord with hukum syara' include that a husband cannot force his wife to resign from her employment; a husband cannot inflict emotional distress upon his wife; a husband cannot practice polygamy without the expressed consent of his existing wife; and that a wife is granted the right to petition for divorce.

4. Does a breach in any of the ta'liq condition automatically result in a divorce?

No, a divorce does not take place automatically if conditions are breached. To affect a divorce, a wife must lodge a report with the Syariah Court. Once it has been shown that there is a legitimate ta'liq and that one party has acted in contravention to it, the court has the power to decide on the matter of the divorce.

5. Can a married couple add conditions to their existing ta'liq after the marriage is solemnized?

Yes. So long as both partners agree to the addition of conditions to the ta'liq, those conditions may be added at anytime after the marriage.

6. How are conditions added to an existing ta'liq?

A document that contains the conditions for ta'liq has to be brought to the nearest Religious Office to be registered with the Department of Registration of Marriage and Divorce. The husband then has to pronounce the additional ta'liq in front of the Registrar, his wife, and two witnesses. The husband, the wife and the witnesses then have to sign the additional ta'liq declaration letter to make the ta'liq valid and enforceable.

Panel lawyers,
Sisters in Islam

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