The Unconventional Power of the 1961 Succession Law.

The Unconventional Power of the 1961 Succession Law.

Short introduction:

The Muslim Family Law Ordinance of 1961 is a significant legislation that governs various aspects of family law in Pakistan. It was aim of providing a comprehensive legal framework for marriage, divorce, maintenance and custody. This ordinance reflects the importance of Islamic principles while also incorporating modern legal concepts to ensure fairness and protection of rights within Muslim families.

1. Registration of Marriage:

Registering a marriage is an important step to ensure its legal recognition. In Pakistan, the registration of marriages is governed by the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, of 1961. It is advisable for couples to register their marriage with the concerned authorities, such as the Union Council or the Nikah Registrar, within the specified timeframe. This registration helps establish the legal validity of the marriage and provides various benefits and protections to the couple.

2. Polygamy:

To practice polygamy. These conditions include:

  1. Equal treatment: The husband must be able to treat all wives equally in terms of financial support, time, and affection.
  2. Prior consent: The husband must seek the prior consent of his existing wife or wives before entering into a subsequent marriage.
  3. Justification: The husband must provide a valid reason for marrying another woman, such as infertility or inability to fulfill marital responsibilities.
  4. Maintenance: The husband must ensure that he can financially support all of his wives and their children.

3. Maintenance and financial support:

The Maintenance Law of 1961, also known as the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, includes provisions regarding financial support and maintenance. It ensures that husbands have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their wives and children, even after divorce. The law aims to protect the rights and well-being of individuals within Muslim families by ensuring that they receive adequate financial support.

4. Succession/ Distribution of Property and Inheritance:

The Succession Law of 1961, also known as the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, governs inheritance and succession matters for Muslims in Pakistan. It outlines the rules and guidelines for the distribution of property and assets among heirs. The law ensures that inheritance is distributed fairly and according to Islamic principles.

5. The Dower Law of 1961:

The Dower Law of 1961, also known as the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, addresses the concept of dower in Islamic marriages. It ensures that the dower, which is a financial gift given by the husband to the wife, is specified and agreed upon at the time of marriage. The law protects the rights of women by ensuring that the dower is paid to them, regardless of the marriage’s duration or the occurrence of divorce. This law aims to promote fairness and financial security within Muslim marriages.

6. Divorce:

When it comes to divorce, the Muslim Family Law Ordinance provides guidelines to ensure a fair and just process. Some key guidelines include:

  1. Grounds for divorce: The ordinance recognizes several grounds for divorce, including mutual consent, cruelty, desertion, and failure to fulfill marital obligations.
  2. Notice of Talaq: If the husband wishes to divorce his wife, he must provide a written notice of Talaq (divorce) to her and the concerned authorities.
  3. Arbitration: In case of disputes, the ordinance encourages parties to seek reconciliation through arbitration or mediation before proceeding with divorce.
  4. Maintenance during Iddat: The husband is responsible for providing financial support to his wife during the Iddat period, which is the waiting period after divorce.

7. Arbitration Council:

Arbitration councils are an important aspect of the Family Law Ordinance in Pakistan. They are designed to help resolve disputes related to marriage and family matters. These councils consist of members who are knowledgeable about Islamic law and family issues. When a dispute arises, the parties involved can approach the arbitration council for guidance and resolution. The council acts as a neutral third party and tries to reconcile the parties through mediation and arbitration. Their goal is to find fair and mutually acceptable solutions while considering Islamic principles and legal provisions. The involvement of arbitration councils aims to provide an alternative to the formal court system and promote amicable settlements.


  1. What is the purpose of the Family Law Ordinance?
  2. Discuss changes the Family Law Ordinance bring to marriage and divorce laws?
  3. What are the grounds for divorce under the Family Law Ordinance?
  4. How does the Family Law Ordinance address issues of maintenance and custody?
  5. What role do arbitration councils play in the Family Law Ordinance?
  6. How can one approach an arbitration council for dispute resolution?
  7. Are the decisions made by arbitration councils legally binding?
  8. How does the Family Law Ordinance promote fairness and justice in family matters?
  9. What rights and protections does the Family Law Ordinance provide to women?
  10. How has the Family Law Ordinance contributed to the development of family law in Pakistan?