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Indian Muslim divorces wife by email

Or does he? Clerics investigate

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Indian Muslim clerics have the rather tricky task of deciding whether an email sent by a US-based husband divorcing his wife in India is valid, the Hindustan Times reports.

Rahat Iqbal married Rubab in 1998. He left for the US shortly thereafterafter, promising to call for her in three weeks. Six long years later, she received her official email notification of divorce from the absent Rahat.

Clerics are now debating the validity of Rahat's e-divorce. Maulana Khalid Rashid stated that since emails contained no signature, the husband would need to authenticate the missive - preferably by calling her to confirm his intentions. Furthermore, the email must adhere to the "triple talaq" principle - whereby a wife can be disposed of if her spouse repeats "talaq" ("I divorce thee" or thereabouts) three times.

However, Maulana Akhtar Raza Khan decreed that "divorce should be handwritten and the wife should recognize the handwriting", thereby putting paid to the digital quickie divorce. Furthermore, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad considered email termination "absolutely illegal", adding that the triple talaq scheme is widely accepted only among Sunni Muslims.

Interestingly, the Hindustan Times notes that "Malaysia, which was facing a massive problem of divorce through SMS and e-mail, has banned such divorces". ®

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