Levirate Marriage Meaning Definition Customs Laws

Levirate Marriage Means Or Defined As Practice Or Norm In Which The Brother Of A Deceased Man Is Obliged And Forced To Marry His Brother’s Widow As Per The Levirate Customs And Laws

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What Is The Meaning Or Definition Of Levirate Marriage:

Levirate marriage means or is defined as the practice of social norms in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged or even forced to marry his brother's widow. Such rules are mostly outdated, but they still exist in some sections of society.

Levirate Marriage Main Rationale:

Let's say if a woman's husband dies, leaving the widow with children to raise, which may not be sustainable due to poor economic conditions. Things get a lot more ugly if the woman belongs to the lower or even lower middle class, taking a significant economic toll, which may lead to poverty and even homelessness or hunger. Moreover, there can be a serious psychological and emotional loss, for the wife to be alone and for the children to lose their father. If the woman has more than one child, it makes it less likely for her to find another man for remarriage. The rules of levirate come to the rescue in such conditions. In levirate, if a woman's husband dies, she is given the option to marry her deceased husband's brother, or another male in her dead husband's lineage.

Levirate Marriage Basic Principles:

Levirate marriage requires that a man is supposed to and expected to marry the childless widow of his deceased brother in order to produce children who will carry the deceased brother's legacy and name, just so that the dead brother's name will be remembered. If a man dies and has no child, then the dead brother's widow is given the first option to marry her deceased husband's brother or kin as opposed to another outside man. Her dead husband’s brother is expected to go to her, take her with him as a wife, and execute all the duties that his brother did. When there is a child born, that child is supposed to carry the name of the deceased brother, and not the alive brother.

Levirate Marriage When The Brother In Law Refuses To Marry:

In case the brother of the deceased husband refuses to marry the widow, then the widow is supposed to follow a process in front of the elders. She informs all elders that her dead husband's brother has refused to marry her, and the brother has to admit that he has refused to marry her. After all this, she is free to marry any other man that she desires.

Levirate Marriage Brother-In-Law Qualifications:

In case the brother-in-law is under the age of 13 and hence is not capable of performing the duties of a husband, then the widow must wait until the time when he reaches adulthood. The brother-in-law must be at already born the time of the death of his brother, and it did not apply to one born after his brother’s death. Moreover, both brothers must have the same father. Both these conditions must be fulfilled, or else the childless widow was free to marry anyone she chooses.
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November 15 ,2020
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