What is Zihar under Muslim Law in India?
(i) She may go to the court for a judicial divorce or,
(ii) She may go to the court for an order for restitution of conjugal rights.
Where the husband wants to revoke Zihar by resuming cohabitation within the said period, the wife cannot seek judicial divorce. But cohabitation with a wife who had been compared with mother or sister is sinful. Therefore, in such a circumstance although the wife cannot claim a judicial divorce, yet she can compel the husband to perform penance for this sinful conduct of comparing her with his mother or sister.
The penance which the husband is required to perform for being absolved of this sinful conduct is (1) feeding sixty poor persons or, (2) observance of fast for two months or, (3) release of a slave.
It is to be noted that if the wife gets order of the restitution of conjugal rights she may insist the husband to perform the penance. If a wife sues for restitution of conjugal rights after her husband has made Zihar and had not made expiation (penance) the court may order him to perform penance.
According to Shia law, the declaration of Zihar must be made in presence of two competent witnesses.
ILA and Zihar, as modes of divorce have now become outdated. Although the provision of such a constructive divorce still exist in the law, but it does not exist in practice. A Muslim husband who wants to repudiate his marriage may do so by Talaq which is simple and more convenient than the indirect modes of ILA and Zihar.