Under Mohamedan law, it is the duty of the husband to maintain his wife, whether she is Muslim or not, rich or poor. Unless she has deserted her husband, she is eligible to receive alimony. However, in case the desertion is on account of cruelty on the husband’s party, he is still bound to maintain her. The question of maintenance may arise in the following cases:
Continuance of Marriage:
The husband is bound to maintain his wife so long as she lives with him and is faithful to him. Any agreement in a marriage contract that the wife is not entitled to maintenance is void. If the husband neglects or refuses to maintain his wife without any lawful cause, the wife may sue him for maintenance. She may apply for an order for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in which case the court may order the husband to pay maintenance.
On Dissolution of Marriage:
After divorce, the wife is entitled to maintenance during the period of iddat (nine months). If the divorce is not communicated to her until after the expiry of that period, she is entitled to maintenance until she is informed of the divorce. The wife has the first right, greater than any other persons, to maintanace.
On Death of Husband:
A widow is not entitled to maintenance during the period of iddat (four lunar months and ten days after the death) consequent upon her husband’s death.