Divorce is usually studied in terms of two distinct perspectives. One focussed on the procedure laid down for giving the seal of final authority to a divorce. The other explores the processes that are set in motion once the stability of a marriage is threatened. The latter perspective does not see divorce in isolation but treats it in the wider context of social structure.
When divorce in Muslim communities is discussed, the tendency quite often is to place theology and law at the centre. This book recognizes that divorce in Muslim communities entails substantial theological and legal dimensions, but takes as its point of departure the view that it is only by placing divorce in the social and cultural context that meaningful conclusions can be arrived at. It examines, in the light of empirical evidence, the incidence of divorce and separation, the social and other causes due to which divorce and separation takes place, and the position of divorced women in society as well as their prospects of remarriage. In the process substantial methodological and theoretical questions relevant to the study of divorce as a social phenomenon are raised.
The book has an immediate practical aim as well. Muslim law of divorce, particularly the provision of triple divorce, which vests a unilateral right in the husband to pronounce a summary divorce upon his wife, has been the subject of considerable controversy. Essentially, the papers brought together in this book are sociological analyses of divorce and remarriage among Muslims in India and the data thrown up as part of these analyses should clear some points in the controversy.
About the Author:
Imtiaz Ahmad is former Professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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