Rethinking Post-Divorce Maintenance: An Alternative for the Empowerment of Muslim Women in Bangladesh
The current scholastic understanding and dominant judicial articulations- based on the classical interpretation of Islamic law demonstrate that women are only entitled to three months of spousal support during their religiously prescribed waiting period. The apex court of Bangladesh long back in 1999 in the famous Hefzur Rahman case not only provided its verdict in the same tune but also made a distinction between maintenance and Maa’ta, where the latter was settled as a consolatory gift. However, apart from the religious aspects, the issues of post-divorce maintenance and Maa’ta have a broader socio-political and economic connotation. Thus, the objective of this study is to examine whether the post-divorce maintenance and the support may work as an alternative for the empowerment of Muslim Women in Bangladesh. A pluralistic methodology combining both primary and secondary data has been used in this study. In order to assess the objective, the study at first revisited the existing literature after the conceptualisation of the term maintenance in the related fields that includes but not confined to the post-divorce maintenance in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah and also its journey from traditional concept to the legislations of modern Muslim world. The study then made a connection of these to the situation of post-divorce maintenance in Bangladesh. And then before presenting a case study, which is necessary to test the objective; the study construed the ways following which; post-divorce maintenance may be used as an alternative for the empowerment of the Muslim women in Bangladesh.. The study concludes that the proper actualisation of the post-divorce maintenance and support may be used as a valuable and alternative for empowering Muslim women in Bangladesh.