Apostacy And Its Effect

Astuti Singh
Article By Astuti Singh | 2nd Year Law student at ICFAI Law School, Dehradun

What is Apostacy?

The word apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasy, which signifies desertion. Apostasy is defined as the abandonment of faith or a lack of faith. Apostasy is a term used by society to describe a person’s separation from their religion. Non-believers’ implication, in a technical sense, is to downplay the negative significance. Apostate is defined by sociologists as a conflict of ideas that causes an individual to strive against their previous belief or faith. Apostasy is the act of rebelling against God or religion. Apostasies, in general, are an attempt to escape, redeem, or release oneself from a notion or behaviour that restricts one’s freedom.

Apostasy is derived from the Greek term apostasy, which means desertion. Apostasy is defined as a lack of faith or the abandonment of one’s beliefs. Apostasy is a term used in society to denote someone who has abandoned their religion. In a technical sense, non-believers’ meaning is to downplay the negative significance. Sociologists define apostacy as a clash of ideas that drives a person to reject their former conviction or faith. The act of revolting against God or religion is known as apostasy. Apostasies are attempts to flee, redeem, or free oneself from a belief or behaviour that inhibits one’s freedom in general.

What is the definition of marriage?

Marriage is a universal custom recognised as a union between people in many cultures. Individuals have a variety of personal motivations for starting a marriage, including legal, social, familial legacy, emotional, economical, spiritual, and even religious grounds. Marriage is treated as a personal law since it is impacted by religious ideas and practises, which can have a big impact on marriage and inheritance rules. Marriage is a traditional rite in many religions, but in Muslim law, the marriage, or Nikah, is a civil contract that legalises sexual intercourse as well as the production of children.

Marriage according to Islamic Law

The Nikah, or Islamic marriage, is a civil contract governed by the India Contract Act of 1872.

There is no requirement for a formal wedding ceremony to be valid. The following are the basic preconditions for a legal contract:

  • Proposal and Acceptance;
  • Marriage Contracting Capacity;

The proposition is referred to as Ijab, while the acceptance is referred to as Qubul. In the presence of two male or one male and two female witnesses, the proposal and acceptance must be made in one meeting. As a result, a lawful marriage contract is formed. It will not result in a legitimate marriage contract if the proposal is made in one meeting and the acceptance of the proposal is confirmed in another meeting. I have married you or I have consented are two ways to accept a proposition.

Capacity to enter into a marriage contract – If a person has reached puberty and is of sound mind, he or she is eligible to marry. It’s grouped with Sections 11 and 12 of the Indian Contract Act of 1872.

Absence of any impediment: To have a legitimate marriage contract, there should be no impediments such as:

Getting married to a fifth wife – If a man already has four wives, his marriage to the fifth wife is null and void. One of the four wives can be divorced to eliminate the impediment. Absence of witnesses- Under Sunni law, a legal marriage contract requires the presence of two witnesses. In Shia law, however, having witnesses to validate a marriage is not required.


In Islam, there is a concept known as apostasy.

In Islamic literature, apostasy is referred to as Ridda. Murtad, which meaning “one who turns back” from Islam, is the name given to an apostate. A murtad Fittri is a person who was born to Muslim parents but subsequently rejects Islam, whereas a murtad Milli is a person who converted to Islam but later rejects the religion.

Apostasy’s impact on marriage

Before the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act of 1939, apostasy from Islam by one of the married couple would have been treated as immediate dissolution of marriage, without:

  • a judge’s decree; or
  • a repudiation of marriage, whether the conversion occurred before or after consummation.

Section 4 of the Act was enacted after the Act was passed in 1939.

Husband’s apostasy

A Muslim husband’s apostasy from Islam will result in the immediate dissolution of the marriage. Apostasy by the husband is not covered by Section 4 of the Dissolution of Marriage Act, 1939. As a result, apostasy by a husband is still governed by ancient law, which states that a husband’s repudiation of Islam will result in the marriage’s complete and immediate breakup.

When a Muslim husband converts to another faith (for example, Christianity), his marriage is instantly dissolved, and the wife ceases to be the husband’s Muslim wife. As a result, the woman is not bound by Islamic law and is free to marry someone else (immediately) without having to wait for the Iddat.

Wife’s apostasy

A married Muslim woman’s conversion to a faith other than Islam does not automatically break her marriage. Furthermore, the wife may get a decision for the dissolution of her marriage on any of the grounds stated in Section 2 of the Act, even if she has renounced Islam.

Section 4 does not apply to a woman who converts to Islam and then returns to her previous religion. As a result, if a Hindu lady converts to Islam and marries under Muslim law, the marriage will be dissolved ipso facto if she abandons Islam and returns to Hinduism. The marriage will not dissolve if she does not re-embrace Hinduism and instead converts to Christianity.

CASE – A Hindu wife converted to Islam at the time of marriage in Munavvar-ul-Islam v. Rishu Arora (AIR 2014 Del 130). Her marriage was annulled when she returned to her old faith of Hinduism. Her case falls under the Act’s second proviso, and the pre-existing Muslim Personal Law, which states that apostasy by either spouse ipso facto terminates the marriage, would apply.

The marriage is automatically dissolved if the husband abandons Islam. As a result, if his wife remarries before the iddat expires, she will not be charged with bigamy under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. A Muslim man and woman married in Abdul Ghani vs Azizul Huq [(1912) ILR 39 Cal 409]. After some time, the husband converted to Christianity, but at his wife’s iddat, he restored to Islam. The wife, on the other hand, married another man before the iddat time ended. The first husband then filed a case under Section 494 against the wife, her father, and her second husband. It was determined that no offence had been committed.

Whatever perspective is taken of the parties’ uncertain status during the period of iddat, and as illegal and void under Mohammedan law the woman’s second marriage during the period of iddat may be, there is no basis for any accusation under Sec 494 of the IPC against her, the court stated. Her second marriage is null and void not because it occurred within the lifetime of her first husband, but because of a specific tenet of the Mohammedan law of iddat with which the Indian Penal Code has no dealings.

This article was written by,  Astuti Singh, 2nd Year Law student at ICFAI Law School, Dehradun. She may be reached at astutisingh76@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of Hello Counsel.

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