An exploration of mata'a maintenance in anticipation of the recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa: (Re-)opening a veritable Pandora's box?

13 Jun 2013

Introduction: In Muslim personal law, the husband on pronouncing a divorce has a number of legal obligations towards his wife including maintenance and payment of outstanding dower. While there is no dispute among Muslim scholars and jurists that a wife’s right to maintenance (nafaqa) arises upon marriage as a natural consequence of it, there is no unanimity as to whether this right is extendable after the marriage ends. The position may also vary depending on the circumstances leading to the dissolution and the financial situation of the spouses. This is not surprising, as a basis for conflicting views on particular rights issues can be found in the same corpus of Islamic (common) law or Shari’a.