Friday, July 2, 2021

The Doctrine of Laan

 The doctrine of laan (curse):


Muhammad Yusuf, Khan Bahadur, in his Muhammadan Law, Volume II, Edition 1898, page 352 et seq, gives a full account of "laan" and the accuracy of the account there given has not been seriously questioned. Briefly put it is that when a Muhammadan makes an allegation of misconduct against his wife and the wife denies the same, both parties can go to the Kasi. The husband, in the presence of the Kazi, four times over repeats his allegation of misconduct before the Kazi, strengthens it by an oath, that oath being accompanied by the use of the word "laan" or curse of God. The wife gives testimony also four times over and accompanies her testimony by the use of. the word ghazab." If either of the persons refuse to make laan the Kazi is to imprison that person who refuses until he or she makes the laan. If both husband and wife have made their respective oaths, etc. the Kazi can effect separation between them.


The doctrine of "laan" has no farther place in Anglo-Muhammadan Law or that it should be considered obsolete. Mr. Mohammad Yusuf, Khan Bahadur, mentions it as still prevalent. Sir R. K. Wilson in his Anglo-Muhammadan Law, 4th Edition, 1912, paragraph 76, says: "The fact of a husband having (whether truly or falsely) charged his wife with adultery, will (probably) entitle her to claim a judicial divorce, without prejudice to any proceedings for defamation which she may be advised to institute, and independently of the result of any such proceedings."


Baillie in his Muhammadan Law after describing the form of "laan" goes on to say at page 338: "When both parties have taken the laan the Judge is to separate them." The second plea that no suit for dissolution is maintainable until the husband has been given the option of retraction of the accusation of his wife's adultery has not been supported.


The law on the subject is thus stated in Shama Charan Sircar's Muhammadan Law, Tagore Law Lectures for 1873, at page 406: "if a Husband charges his wife with adultery...the charge is investigated by the Kazi, who, upon proof, thereof, issues a decree of separation between the husband and the wife and thus their marriage is dissolved, The separation so effected is an irreversible divorce."


Mr. Ameer Ali lays down the rule in the following terms in Volume II of his well known work on Muhammadan Law, page 575, 3rd Edition: "When a false accusation (of adultery) is preferred against a woman, and the husband is unable to establish the charge, the woman is entitled to obtain a divorce from the Court." The same view is propounded in Sir Rowland Wilsons' Anglo-Muhammadan Law and in the Tagore Law Lectures by Khan Bahadur Muhammad Yusuf.


The proceeding known as laan or imprecation (curse) is only a procedure which either the wife or the husband could adopt before a Kazi or Judge. The reason for it is stated by Mr. Ameer Ali in the following terms: "Under the Musalman Law, a charge of adultery preferred by a husband against his wife can only be established by the direct testimony of four witnesses to the fact. From the nature of the offence, however, the oases in which ocular and direct evidence is available are extremely rare. In order to obviate the evils which would necessarily result from a denial of all redress to the injured husband, in those numerous instances, where he is morally convinced of the guilt of his wife, but has no direct testimony to establish it, or when he alone is cognisant of the fact, the law has prescribed the proceeding by laan."



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