Li’an

Posted on 05/19/2012 by marina

LI’AN لعان
Lit. “Mutual cursing.” A form of divorce which takes under the following circumstances. “If a man accuses his wife of adultery, and does not prove it by four witnesses, he must swear before ‘God that he is the teller of truth four times and then add: If I am a liar, may God curse me.’ The wife then says four times, ‘I swear before God that my husband lies’; and then adds: ‘May God’s anger be upon me if this man be a teller of truths’ After this a divorce takes place ipso facto.” (see Suratu- ‘n-Nur, xxiv. 6. Mishkat, book xiii. ch. xv.)
In the case of Li’an, as in the other terms of divorce, the woman can claim her dower.
Li’an is not allowed in four cases, so, a Christian woman married to a Muslim, a Jewess married to a Muslim, a free woman married to a slave, and a slave girl married to a free man.
The children of a woman divorced by Li’an are illegitimate.

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam