In a climate of intense political discussion, many Muslim women’s concerns may get saddled. It all started with the need to have a uniform law code. The AIMPLB (All India Muslim Personal Law Board) was asked to abolish all laws which are not in conformation with Indian constitution. Muslim personal law is relevant in matters of property, marriage, divorce and custody. However, even those who do not want a uniform civil code, do agree that some practices like triple talaq are highly patriarchal.
A new petition against triple talaq has been signed by 1 million Indians. You can find the source of this news here. The voice of the people is clear. Many women and men feel this practice is un-Islamic and patriarchal. There is a hope that if triple talaq is banned, women will feel safer and get more justice. Men will also be compelled to try harder and save the marriage. The petition was started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an Islamic organization affiliated with the right wing of RSS.
How did the rebellion start?
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) earlier gave a statement saying that they feel Triple Talaq should not be banned and that this is a case of Muslim community being attacked by a Right-wing government. Some men have defended triple talaq by saying that “it’s better to divorce than to kill”. So getting the woman out of the way by any means is okay, apparently.
As a sort of counter-attack, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) conducted a survey of around 5000 women from different cities of India. In many cases, they found that the divorce was unilateral, initiated by men (roughly 72%) of the cases.
Triple talaq allows Muslim men to say talaq thrice and dissolve the marriage in a matter of seconds. The survey also revealed that almost 92 to 95% of the women felt that the practice should be banned. Contrasting to this, if a woman has to seek divorce, the proceedings are much longer and have to involve a Qazi. Moreover, she may even have to give up her dowry and haq mehr and may not even be entitled to compensation.
Triple Talaq is not Islamic
Many proponents of the ban, especially those who moved the supreme court, have said that the practice is un-Islamic. The ideal procedure is a wait of at least 6 months or so after saying the first “talaq” and thereafter try to work on the issues for about a year. Only after a year or more of trying and not being successful, should they dissolve the marriage. Even a petition to the same effect was signed by over 50,000 men and women earlier. Maybe this is why the Allahabad High Court was in favour of banning Triple Talaq.
The problem against the ban
So there are mainly two issues that are coming in the way. Conventional Muslims want to retain the practice of triple talaq as they feel conceding to demand of change will lead to many more! However, in reality, the ban will only bring about gender equality as quoted by the BMMA.
The other problem is that the Muslim personal law has not gone through a lot of changes. Apart from the few amendments here and there, the act is the same since 1937. Sadly, the laws of that time have made use of a very patriarchal reading of the religious texts.
Women are being divorced over Skype, Facebook and email. In many cases its found that their husbands have extra marital affairs and want to therefore get rid of them. Uneducated housewives stand to lose the most as this practice can disrupt their lives in seconds. Therefore, it appears from most quarters that most Muslim women want to ban the practice of triple talaq. The question is, will the Supreme Court here these voices?
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