4.1.5 Khulu’ (tafreeq)
Khulu’ is the annulment of a marriage, and is usually initiated by the wife. Most schools regard khulu’ as the wife’s right to release herself from the marriage contract. Under khulu’,the husband is asked by the personal status court to accept the returnof money, goods or benefit in kind, which he gave his wife as mahar, and divorce his wife. Women need not provide a reason for why they seek khulu’ nor do they have to show harm or dharraron the part of the husband. However, they may have to pay compensationto the husband in return for having the marriage contract annulled. Inaddition, they are not entitled to compensation since there is no dharrarfor which they should be compensated. However, as AI research hasshown, women normally resort to it in cases where no judicial findingof dharrar has been made.
Under khulu’ the contractual obligations arising out ofthe marriage cease and the position of both parties reverts to thesituation before marriage. Therefore, if a man paid mahar of a certain amount, the wife must return that amount to him. The decision about how much is to be paid or how to settle khulu’cases is often reached with the judge’s close involvement, as is thecase in all divorce cases which are initiated by women. It is notuncommon for a woman to find that she not only has to pay back mahar butalso has to pay compensation. In some cases this can involve womenbeing forced to give up the family home or even custody of theirchildren.