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Zihar (Arabic: ظھار‎) is a term used in Islamic Jurisprudence, which literally means “you are like my mother”.[1][2][3] It is a form of divorce (though invalid) and if a husband says these words to his wife, it is not lawful for him to have intercourse with her unless he recompense by freeing a slave or fasting for two successive months or feeding sixty poor people.[4]


Zihar was accepted as a declaration of divorce among pre-Islamic Arabs[5] and it is mentioned in the Quran in reference to Khawla bint Tha'labah, who was divorced by this formula in the chapter 58, verses 1-4:[6]


Zihar is illegal and considered an insult in the Islamic law. It implies that the man, declaring his wife akin to his mother or sister, is guilty of the sin of forbidding the lawful things. It has been proscribed by law and the act does not ensue in divorce. It is condemned in the law. Thus, penalties in the form of setting free a slave, fasting, or feeding the poor have been imposed for it.


  1. ^ "Zihar Definition". Archived from the original on 2017-12-30. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  2. ^ Riḍā, Amīnī, ʻAlī. Taḥrīr ar-Rauḍa fī šarḥ al-Lumʻa. Ǧild 2. Tihrān: Sāzmān-i Muṭālaʻa wa Tadwīn-i Kutub-i ʻUlūm-i Insānī-i Dānišgāhhā [u.a.] ISBN 9644596943. OCLC 553888895.
  3. ^ Cappelletti, Mauro (31 January 1972). "International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law". Brill Archive – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Al-Zihar". Archived from the original on 2017-12-30.
  5. ^ Ph.D, Prof Drs H. Akh Minhaji, M. A. (1 November 2008). "Islamic Law and Local Tradition:: A Socio-Historical Approach". Kurnia Kalam Semesta – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Surah Al-Mujadila [58:1-4]". Surah Al-Mujadila [58:1-4]. Archived from the original on 2017-12-30.