Maintenance Under Muslim Law

Under maintenance laws in India, maintenance under Muslim law is known as "Nafqah" which means what a man spends over his family. "Nafqah" basically includes food, clothing and lodging. 

A Mohameddan is bound to maintain his wife under Muslim law. Her right to maintenance is absolute and not conditional to whether she can maintain herself or no.

Maintenance may be denied to a wife only under the following circumstance:

  1. she has not attained puberty

  2. she abandons conjugal domicile without any valid cause

  3. she is disobedient to reasonable commands of her husband

  4. she has eloped with somebody

Social status of the parties and economic conditions of the husband are taken into consideration while determining the quantum of maintenance. 

Under Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to the following from her former husband;     

  1. Reasonable and fair provision and maintenance within the Iddat period

  2. Where children born before or after the divorce are being maintained by the wife, then reasonable and fair provision and maintenance to be paid for 2 years from the respective dates of birth of such children

  3. An amount equal to Mahr or dower agreed to be paid to her

  4. All properties given to her before or at the time of marriage or after marriage by her relatives, friends or husband or any relative of husband or his friends.

If the entitlements as prescribed under Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 are not provided by the husband to the wife on divorce then, the wife or somebody on her behalf can make an application to the Magistrate for an order for payment of such provision and maintenance.