A fatwa [an Islamic religious decree usually issued by the ‘ulma] issued by a Mufti [a Muslim jurist expert in the religious law] in Tunisia, allowing women to break matrimonial ties a third time a husband mentions divorce from them, has caused an uproar in a society where the composed lifestyles of women risk taking a new turn.
The hard won legal rights earned by tunisian women during the country’s independence in 1956 is now uncertain, following a religious decree issued by the mufti of Tunisia allowing a woman to divorce the third time her husband mentions divorce from her.
In such a scenario, the Muslim religion instructs the following; a total loss of the man’s right to make his wife honour the widowhood period and he can’t marry until after the ex-wife has been married to another man thereby voluntarily seeking a divorce from him.
According to the constitution, a civil divorce is only legal when the two parties appear before a court of law to validate their separation. This procedure is highly favoured among Tunisian women most of whom have openly criticised the fatwas which stand to take away their hard earned democratic rights.
Many are those who have spoken against prevailing religious statutes over cases. These laws enacted by certain state institutions cannot be contested.
Marriage and divorce are considered civil and whoever infringes upon the law is indicatble. This has now been ruled under the religious law as “obsolete” or “null and void”.
Tunisian women associations seeking to promote gender equality have condemned the religious wave threatening their status.
It should be noted that under tunisian law, no political party or association is allowed to use religion as a means to an end, a law which women’s rights assocaitions deem fit to defend.