Sir Syed’s granddaughter had drafted model Nikahnama nearly half a century ago

New Delhi: Muslim Personal Law has begun its 2-day plenary session. Apart from other topics, the new model Nikahnama was also discussed. The new model Nikahnama has a clause which will stipulate the procedure of giving divorce. In today’s scenario talking about model Nikahnama seems to be a modern and revolutionary move, but there was always a scope for stipulating conditions in Nikahnama as Nikahnama is basically nothing but a contract between bride and groom. Hence both the parties with their mutual consent can put their conditions in it.

When Nikah of Shahzadi Begum, granddaughter of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of Aligarh Muslim University, was solemnized, she had put some conditions in the Nikahnama. She had studied from Oxford and was an efficient professor. When she decided to marry she wished to marry her maternal uncle’s son. Aleem though smart, his qualification didn’t match with that of Shahzadi’s.

According to sources when the marriage was conducted in 1971, the Nikah was solemnized by Mufti Ateequr Rahman Osmani. It is said that Shahzadi Begum just at the time of Nikah sent a slip from inside which had some conditions written on it. One of the conditions was that her husband would not perform second marriage during her lifetime. The other condition was that Shahzadi Begum did not need her husband’s money as she was self-dependent. The last condition among the various conditions was that in the event of divorce, two arbitrators from each side would be nominated who would decide on the issue of children’s custody.

Shahzadi Begum’s conditions were included in the Nikahnama in the presence of muftis, which makes it clear that there is such provision in Islam; if not why the scholars and muftis didn’t object to it?