Saturday, 25 March 2017

TRIPLE TALAQ | A TRAVESTY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A SECULAR STATE

It Is A Blasphemous Interpretation Of The Holy Quran 


By Shahina Mulk

For ages, the naked dagger of instant talaq dangling over the heads of Muslim women has kept them terrorized and has brought about extreme misery to divorced women. Social disabilities have been clamped down upon them in the name of Muslim Personal Law, based on dubious religious interpretation. Muslim women have been placed under the fetters of customs and pseudo-traditions not sanctioned by Islam.
It is a popular fallacy that the Quranic injunctions authorize a Muslim male an arbitrary, unbridled authority to liquidate his marriage unilaterally in a single sitting. This practice of instant divorce derives legal sanctions from the Muslim clergy, who ironically, though, term it a great sin, validate it constitutionally.

 Triple Talaq Has Brought About Extreme Misery To Divorced Women

Though harsh, it is a naked truth that Triple Talaq is seen as an instrument by the conservatives to keep their females subdued and leave them with no other option, apart from capitulating meekly to the whims and caprice of the masculine authoritarianism.
Islam in no way is to be blamed for entailing a law, which brings immeasurable miseries to the weaker sex as this practice does not finds roots in the original texts. It is a religion that has always accorded women a status at par with men and its laws have been so framed as to prevent masculine injustice against women. However, Muslim society under the influence of a feudal ethos has never realized this revolutionary potential of true Islam.
The abominable practice of Triple Talaq in actuality is a blasphemous interpretation of the Quran. It goes against the very spirit of the procedures of divorce laid down in the Holy Quran, which emphasizes upon giving maximum time and opportunity for reconciliation. The pronouncement of Talaq to be considered final must be delivered at three separate intervals of one month each.
The Quran is replete with passages for proper and egalitarian treatment to women. The practice of impulsively uttering Talaq thrice in a single sitting or writing it thrice on a piece of paper is nothing but a blatant violation of Allah's directives.
The Quran strictly forbids a man to seek pretexts for divorcing his wife, so long as she remains faithful to him. The Islamic law gives to the man primarily the right of dissolving the marriage if the wife is guilty of some ‘open lewdness’ (adultery) and if she renders married life unhappy. But in the absence of serious reasons, no man can justify a divorce. If he abandons his wife or ‘puts her away’, he draws upon himself divine anger.
This practice has been looked down upon by The Prophet and is said to earn the wrath of Allah. The Prophet states that “of all things which have been permitted, divorce is the most hated by Allah.” Islam discourages divorce in principle and permits it only when it becomes impossible for the parties to live together in peace. It avoids, therefore, the greater evil by choosing the lesser one, and opens a way for the parties to seek agreeable companions and, thus, to accommodate themselves more comfortably in their new homes.
Progressive Muslim Women Rre Rising To Take Up
Cudgels Against The Regressive Practice
Islam does not believe in unlimited opportunities for divorce on frivolous grounds. Any undue increase in the facilities of divorce would destroy the stability of family life. Therefore, while allowing divorce on genuine grounds, Islam has taken great care to introduce checks and balances designed to limit the use of available facilities.
The Muslim jurists who hold the opinion that three pronouncements in a single sitting can have the effect of final separation, are definitely misled, confused and have deviated from the teachings of the Quran. In fact, this departure from the rules laid down by the Prophet, came into being during the period of the second Caliph, Hazrat Umar, who reluctantly, according to the situation prevalent at that time, allowed this practice of Triple Talaq in one session.
The Quran leaves open multiple opportunities for reconciliation. It says that everything should be done to strengthen the social and spiritual aspects of marriage. The Quran (Surat IV Al Maida Verse 35) states, “It is not for the husband to put away his wife, it is the business of the judge to decide the case. Nor should divorce cases be made too public. The judge is required to appoint two arbiters, one belonging to the wife’s family and the other to the husband’s. These two arbiters will find out the facts, but their objectives must be to effect reconciliation between the parties. If all hope of reconciliation fails, a divorce is allowed. But the final decision for divorce rests with the judge who is legally entitled to pronounce a divorce.”
What Indian Muslims need is a comprehensive code of true Islamic personal law. Most Muslim women are ignorant and in the name of religion, they have been placed under the fetters of customs and artificial tradition not sanctioned by Islam. If they receive proper Islamic education, become conscious of their rights as well as their duties, they can easily break their chains.
In The Spirit of Islam, the great jurist Syed Ameer Ali wrote, “The Islam of Mohammad contains nothing which in itself bars progress or the intellectual development of humanity.” He famously adds, “The prophet inculcated the use of reason; his followers have made its exercise a sin.” Badruddin Tyabji wrote that the dogma of past centuries, laboriously and conscientiously elaborated by the most eminent divines and theologians, can no longer serve our purpose. It was made for other times by other people.
Despite considerable public pressure, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has not only failed to ban the practice and declare it null and void, but it has always been swift to take up cudgels against anyone who stands up against this age old practice of meting out injustice to Muslim women. Maybe this can be attributed to the conservative Muslim psyche, which charges men with implicit power and women to slavish relegation. The radicals, who dominate the board are groomed in a tradition of extreme patriarchy, thus expectations of reform from them is a farce.
The double standards of AIMPLB, which raises slogans of “Islam in Danger”, get exposed when they lay emphasis on retaining Muslim Personal Laws in the Civil sphere, but never raise demand for a separate Criminal Law as enshrined in the Holy Quran! Or do they believe in passing religion through a sieve that separates the sweet from the sour.
We have to forge our own code by our own study and understanding of the Quran in the light of our own needs. Islam when expounded in its original rationalism without radicalism brings out a luminous meaning of the great Prophet’s humanist teachings. One only needs to break through the iron curtain of injustice-laden misinformation, which has been the vested interest of status-quo religion and politics.
When even theocratic Islamic countries like Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Lebanon have made it mandatory for the husband to satisfy the court about the reasons of divorce, how can this antiquated regressive practice of Triple Talaq be allowed here in a secular setup?
Turkey and Cyprus too have adopted secular family laws; Tunisia, Algeria and the Malaysian State of Sarawak do not recognize a divorce pronounced outside a court of law. And in Iran, triple talaq doesn’t have validity under the Shia law.
Dubious religious interpretations with values valid in a bygone age are being enforced today by civil courts in our secular State, when those values have become mere legal superstitions. It is a travesty of justice that despite, on and off, Indian courts declaring Triple Talaq as unacceptable, in the absence of a uniform civil code, Muslim women are forced to wait for years shuttling between courts for the rights granted to them by their religion itself. This defeats the very cause of social justice. Divorce should only be permissible if it fulfills the entire prerequisite mentioned in the Quran.
Politicians in India, till now, have only played interest-based politics, where party ideologies are sacrificed on the altar of naked opportunism. They thought it prudent not to jeopardize obscurantist Muslim votes for the sake of social justice to the weaker sex. For long, social reforms have fallen prey to vote bank politics in India.

Muslim Women Have Voted For The Saffron Party In Hope Of A Reform

The so called “secular political parties” have been in symbiotic relationship with sundry Muslim organizations. The arrangement has been such that both benefited from the status quo. While Sharia was interpreted by these Muslim Organizations to assert their supremacy, political parties thought it prudent to silently continue reaping electoral benefits without getting caught within the web of controversy that could upset their political equation.
While the less privileged class had come to terms with it, accepting it as its destiny and Allah’s verdict, the educated ones having an in-depth understanding of the Quran, have gradually risen to guard their rights. A new chapter has got unveiled in the history of Muslims in India, with progressive Muslim women breaking their shackles and stepping out in large numbers to take up cudgels against injustice meted out to them in the name of Muslim Personal Law.
A survey conducted by the Mumbai-based Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, last year, also suggests that nearly 92 per cent of Muslim women want a total ban on oral unilateral divorce. Many cases have come to light, where women are increasingly being divorced over media platforms, such as Facebook, Skype, text messages and WhatsApp.
The bold steps that PM Narendra Modi has taken in different sectors have ignited high hopes in hearts of these women.  Muslim women, especially in Uttar Pradesh, have voted for the saffron party, pinning hopes on it for bringing about a reform that removes this social anomaly from their lives. There is no doubt they helped the BJP clinch 312 seats out of a total of 403 — the biggest majority for any party in Uttar Pradesh since 1980. It is important to mention here that according to the 2011 census, Muslims make up 18.5 per cent of the 200-million strong population of Uttar Pradesh.
Now, it’s high time the BJP government should step in and protect the rights of Muslim women from any arbitrary interpretation of Quranic injunction. It should not succumb to Muslim fundamentalists’ pseudo cry of “Religion in danger,” for the sake of social justice to the weaker sex. All eyes are set on the Modi government to deliver what it had promised to the Muslim women.
The judiciary system in India too needs strengthening so that women do not go through lengthy legal procedures that tend to multiply their social and economic woes. Indian can never stand tall as a democratic country if one section of its society continues to be denied the Fundamental Rights of Equality and Justice.





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