AMMAN — Once again, Islamist, conservative and tribal MPs dashed the hopes of both women and equal rights groups on Sunday by rejecting the Personal Status Law for the second time.
The Lower House voted down the amended temporary Personal Status Law — widely known as the "khuloe law" that gives women the right to divorce their husbands in return for monetary compensation — by a narrow margin, with 44 deputies out of 83 present during the session voting for rejecting the law.
The law was first rejected in August 2003, citing the same reasons given this time around — because it encourages moral disintegration, tears down family values and is against Islamic law (Sharia). But the Senate returned the legislation to the Lower House for consideration after insisting on keeping it as it is.
The main articles of controversy between legislators were concentrated on the right of women to divorce, raising the age of marriage from 16 for males and 15 for females to 18 for both sexes and the right of the judiciary to inform women of their husbands’ decision to take another wife.
"This law gives women the right to divorce their husbands to pursue affairs with other men they like better than their husbands," charged Islamic Action Front (IAF) MP Mohammad Abu Fares, who voted against approving the Senate’s decision. "Women who initiate divorce proceedings under this law are often women of comfort and leisure who don’t care about their families," IAF Deputy Ali Otoum said.
MP Mohammad Bani Hani agreed, adding that no judge has the right to inform a wife of her husband’s decision to remarry should the husband decide to keep it in secret, charging that "secrecy is needed for a while until the right time comes for the husband to tell his wife that he got married to another." Several other deputies were against raising the age of marriage to 18, claiming it may encourage immorality
"Delaying marriage harms the Islamic society and since males and females reach puberty at an earlier age than Western countries early marriage should not be discouraged," Balqaa MP Mahmoud Kharabsheh said.
Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ahmad Hilayel defended the Cabinet’s decision to endorse the temporary law and countered IAF and independent deputies’ claims that the law contradicted Sharia. He explained that no marriage age was set in the Koran but marriage was defined by mental and sexual preparedness of the male and female as well as the groom’s financial readiness.
In addition, Hilayel cited several Sharia experts’ endorsement of khuloe, as well as publicizing marriage contracts.
Source [The Jordan Times]
How do I feel about it? Well, I put my frustration down on paper, so to speak, back in August when the cabinet rejected the law the first time. For those interested, you can read my scribbles here. I think now I’m less angry than I was back in August. Maybe because I have become numb with all the political and religious mayhem currently taking place in the Middle East! Ah, I’m losing hope.
[article remainder:]However, another factor played against the government’s drive to endorse the law with several deputies taking a stand against the continuous rejection of Lower House legislative decisions by the Senate. MPs Abdul Karim Dughmi and Mamdouh Abbadi were two such deputies who declared their support for the law but voted against approving the Senate’s endorsement.
"Every time we turn down a law returned to us by the Senate we get accused by [the media] of being backward and regressive, so despite my earlier vote of approval, I am going to vote against the Upper House recommendations," Dughmi stated.
According to the Constitution, the Lower House decision will be presented to the Senate who will either accept or reject it. Should the Upper House stick to their resolution a joint session between the two Houses will be held.
The law will then be deliberated by members of both Houses and will only be endorsed if a two-thirds majority of those present approve it. Women’s groups had earlier showed optimism about gaining House endorsement for the law, particularly, after it was passed by the Legal Committee two weeks ago.
"I do not believe [the law] will be heavily attacked because many of the deputies who opposed it the first time changed their minds after meeting with women’s groups and listening to their point of view," Jordanian Women’s Union President Amneh Zu’bi had then told The Jordan Times.
The introduction of the law by former Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb came in response to repeated calls by women’s rights activists who complained of slow court procedures that delayed divorce cases sometimes for as long as five years. Around 200 women have filed khuloe cases at Sharia courts since the beginning of this year.
Tribe Bani Hani is PSYCHO and backward.
They also uphold honor killing and in breeding.
VERY bad for the face of islam in deed.
I agree with you both that this is a very important issue. And obviously their rejection has nothing to do with Islam and Sharia. It’s so wrong for them to keep coming up with all these false allegations.
It’s so wrong to deny women rights that are logically and religiously theirs.
In Tunisia, we don’t have this problem at all, and the rights women have are amazing.
In fact, I think we Men should start fighting for our rights here.
I really hope so Natasha. And I can imagine how many women will be suffering if the decision was a negative one.
I know I totally agree with you. Here in Qatar, women can divorce their husbands with no sweat. The law has been effective for a while.
I guess the issue in Jordan is more political than anything else. Some far-left parties just want to disagree to prove a point and make a presence.
Let’s hope that the final decision – after both the Upper and Lower house meet- be a positive one.!
I think they don’t follow Sharia. They just follow what they personally think is best building on their own mentalities, not Sharia. Coz Islam recognizes the wife’s right to claim for divorce from courts of justice just like the husband. The Holy Quran permits a wife to ask for a divorce: “If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best.” (Quran sura 4, aya 128). And in this case the wife gives up all or some of the dower she received at the time of her marriage.
And also in the case of marrying a second woman, it’s stated in Quran that for such a marriage to be fair and right, there are reasons to be present and conditions to be fulfilled, and above all the 1st wife should approve and be informed. So keeping it a secret is nothing but a fabrication for a personal interest and not what Islam says. I’m Muslim, and I just hate it to know that people do things like that and then claim it’s Islam. Here are some references:
http://www.zawaj.com/articles/divorce_reem_sultan.html , http://www.amualumni.8m.com/Divorce.htm , http://www.mwlusa.org/publications/positionpapers/divorce.html .