What are the Effects of Apostasy on Marriage under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939?
But after the commencement of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 law on this point has been modified by Section 4 of this Act. The present law relating to the effects of apostasy by husband or wife may be summarised as under:
(1) Apostasy by Husband:
If a Muslim husband renounces Islam the marriage dissolves immediately. Section 4 of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, does not apply to apostasy by a husband. The result is that apostasy by the husband is still governed by the old law under which renunciation of Islam by the husband operates as immediate dissolution of the marriage.
Where a Muslim husband converts to another religion (say Christianity), his marriage is immediately dissolved and the wife ceases to be a Muslim wife of that husband. As such, the wife is not governed by Muslim law and is free to marry another person (immediately) without waiting for the Iddat period.
(2) Apostasy by Wife:
If a Muslim wife renounces Islam, the marriage is not dissolved. In other words, the apostasy by a Muslim wife does not operate as immediate dissolution of the marriage. She continues to be a wife married under Muslim law. Moreover, even after renouncing Islam, if the wife wants, she may obtain a decree for the dissolution of her marriage on any of the grounds specified in Section 2 of the Act.
The provision given in (2) above, does not apply if the wife was not a Muslim by birth. That is to say, where the wife was a converted Muslim at the time of her marriage, and such converted Muslim wife renounces Islam and again embraces her original religion, and then the marriage dissolves immediately. Thus, an apostasy by a converted Muslim wife results in the immediate dissolution of her marriage.