You already know that Islam allows a Muslim man to take up to four wives simultaneously in a practice called polygamy.
You may not know that Islam also allows wives the right to refuse husbands permission to marry more than one wife by adding it in the taklik.
This is a completely accurate, yet not that well-known piece of information.
In this age where the polygamy privilege is routinely being abused by irresponsible husbands – causing the wives severe financial and emotional distress – I hope to share widely the rights that women already have under Islamic laws, which she can exercise for her own protection.
What is taklik
Taklik – sometimes spelt as takliq or ta’lik or ta’liq – is a type of agreement between husbands and wives. The husband utters it during the wedding solemnisation in accordance with Section 2 Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) 1984.
Taklik is already standard practice – different states use different texts. For example, Selangorians use this text:
“Saya mengaku apabila saya tinggalkan isteri saya (nama isteri) selama empat bulan hijrah berturut-turut atau lebih dengan sengaja atau paksaan,
dan saya atau wakil saya tiada memberi nafkah kepadanya selama tempoh yang tersebut pada hal ia taatkan saya atau saya melakukan sebarang mudarat kepada tubuh badannya,
kemudian ia mengadu kepada mahkamah syariah, dan apabila sabit aduannya di sisi mahkamah syariah, dan ia memberi kepada Mahkamah Syariah,
yang menerima bagi pihak saya satu ringgit maka pada ketika itu tertalak ia dengan cara talak khuluk.”
(You can view other states’ standard taklik text here)
Can you add on to the standard taklik text?
Yes, you can. Section 22 of Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) 1984 states that there is no condition to additional taklik, as long as it doesn’t go against Syariah laws. Dato’ Seri Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, Mufti of Federal Territories also confirmed it.
Hukum isteri melarang suaminya untuk berpoligami tidak berdosa, sekiranya dibuat atas dasar nasihat, Syura demi untuk mengelakkan daripada berlakunya kezaliman dan penindasan terhadap haknya.
— Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri (@drzul_albakri) December 4, 2019
Read the full version of the above at Al-Kafi #1398: The Ruling of a Wife forbidding her Husband from marrying another woman
I’d like to highlight this particular text:
..if she forbids him with justifications which are permitted by syarak, then it is lawful and is encouraged. For example, if practicing polygamy may cause injustice in terms of the nafaqah (obligation of sustenance and provisions) and qismah (allocation of days between wives), wives or nafaqah of the children and parents, then forbidding and preventing the husband from this is an honorable advice in religion.
Some netizens have shared how it’s been told to them during pre-marital courses too.
Masa kursus kahwin, ustaz ada cakap yang dalam taklik, isteri boleh letak syarat “Kalau suami cakap dia bujang di hadapan wanita lain, isteri boleh mintak cerai.” Not sure how many women have done this though, or even know about this. But from what I heard, it’s allowed. https://t.co/USPqXURJrf
— Shafiqah Othman (@sfqomhz) October 18, 2019
So with the knowledge that only 32% of Muslim women in Malaysia allows their husbands to take on another wife, the rest can and should do this additional taklik so that expectations are clear between both parties.
Men who want polygamous marriages are free to marry women who don’t mind being in polygamous marriages. Again, clarity. No cheating, no hurt feelings, no running away to Thailand. Just fairness.
Aside from no polygamy, what additional taklik can Muslim couples add on?
As mentioned above, anything goes as long as it’s not against Islam. Muslim couples can add on to their taklik (non-exhaustive list):
- Husband is not allowed to take more than one wife during the duration of their marriage
- Husband and wife are not allowed to lie about their marital status to others
- Husband is not allowed to force wife to quit her job after marriage
- Husband and wife are not allowed to physically hurt each other
- Husband allows wife the power to divorce him upon conditions (ie cheating)
- Husband and wife both will share responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and other homemaking tasks
- If either husband or a wife suggests marriage counseling, the other party must agree to it
- And more
Check this article and this writeup for some more ideas for clauses that Muslims can put in taklik. Note that the taklik don’t necessarily have to include the ‘no polygamy’ clause, just what is mutually agreed between the couple, as basis of their married life.
Can married Muslim couples add on to their taklik?
I thought that Muslim women can only add on taklik before they get married, but according to Sisters in Islam’s legal panel, there is no barrier to adding on taklik at any time, post-marriage.
As long as both husband and wife consents, all they have to do is to bring the document containing the taklik agreement to the nearest Islamic department and register it at the Marriage and Divorce Department.
The husband will then read out the additional taklik in front of the officer and his wife, with two witnesses. Everyone will sign the document to certify it as done.
Islam is good. Islam is fair.
Muslims, on the other hand… are humans. Ugly. Greedy. Horny. Opportunistic. Full of flaws.
A part of me is comforted by the fact that taklik can give me protection, but at the same time I wish that Muslim women’s rights are given by default, not on as-requested basis. I only learned about taklik and the option to disallow polygamy at age 31, and I consider myself well-read. How many others had no idea about it, before this?
Writing this reminds me of Faraid laws, or Islamic inheritance laws, which is the default if Muslims didn’t set a wasiat or hibah in place. Under Faraid, male relatives receive at least twice as much as female relatives, and non-Muslim family members aren’t entitled to any inheritance at all.
(If that’s something you don’t want for yourself and your family, go read my How to Avoid Islamic Inheritance Laws in Malaysia article.)
In any case, I welcome your views and suggestions. What else should Muslim couples entering into a marriage should add in their taklik? Have you done yours? Let me know in the comments section.
Help me share this article about taklik and its protective capabilities widely to your networks. Tell your Muslim friends, especially if they’re about to get married. View it like insurance – get it just for the peace of mind, best case scenario is you never have to use it.
Thanks in advance and may Allah swt bless us all.