As the issue of ‘triple talaq’ rages over the uniform civil code, Teena Thacker spoke to Asma Zehra, working committee member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), to understand why has it become a political flashpoint.
, working committee member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), to understand why has it become a political flashpoint.
The government said that “triple talaq” violates the right to equality of women as well as their dignity, and it has no place in a secular country.
The issue of “triple talaq” has surged in the last six months. The rights of Muslims have been studied in detail. In fact, the government appointed Rajinder Sachar Committee. The report has not raised the issue of “triple talaq”. It is a detailed report, conducted during the time of the UPA government. However, since the BJP government has come to power, suddenly a non-issue has become an issue. The issues pertaining to Muslim women are common to all women in India. Our stand is that the issue of “triple talaq” is blown out of proportion. It is a pre-planned attack by the BJP government to target the Muslim personal law, to snatch away the fundamental rights. Everyone has a freedom of religion in this country and every community practices its own personal law.
Do you think that the practice of “triple talaq” is being wrongly interpreted In Islam, divorce is the last resort; It is done only when all efforts of reconciliation have proved futile. The holy Quran sets certain guidelines for separation and in this the man is given the right to divorce the wife and the woman has the right to accept the marriage. The verbal acceptance “qabool hai” makes the marriage valid, in the same way husband can finish the marriage.
But what about women Women has the right to consent, she can refuse and accept. If she enters the wedlock and suppose the couple finds it difficult to sustain the marriage, there are three methods of separation: one is the right to talaq, which is a Quranic right given to the husband; second is the right of khula, which is the right of women to separate. However, if there is a situation that they fight and disagree with one another and if the woman wants to separate there is an option of going to a quasi for the dissolution of marriage.
Can you explain khula The woman can seek divorce. She cannot say talaq, the reason being the head of the family is the father or the husband. In Quran, man has the responsibility to feed woman while she takes care of the house. There are biological responsibilities and according to the Quran there is a difference in guidelines. At the time of divorce, he has to pay mehar and clears all the dues, but the woman seeking khula, however, can forgo and leave the husband. Talaq is not always a problem it can be a relief for both the parties. It can be a solution for a long marital dispute. The concept of marriage in Islam is different, it is not “pati parmeshwar” and there is no concept of “janm janm ka bandhan”. The ideology differs. Islam says that both husband and wife are garments to each other, which means they cover and shield each other’s private matters. It says if you can live nicely live with grace... covering each other’s weaknesses. However, the contract can be broken; there’s no need to go to a court or a judge. The husband can just relieve her and she can go to a quasi for dissolution of marriage.
Do you think pronouncing “triple talaq” is an easy and simpler way of dissolution of marriage unlike the practice adopted in other religions Divorce rate is less in Muslim community. A report by Muslim Mahila Andolan said that issues with women and their marriage are same irrespective of cultures and religions. Frequent fights with husband, demands for dowry, an alcoholic husband, disputes with in-laws are the issues present in every community. Desertion is a problem in other communities. Quranic measure is a gradual procedure. In other laws, both parties want to teach each other a lesson and the case lingers on. Here, after the break-up there is a road ahead. Instead of fighting, it makes things simple and easy. The Quran says keep her like a queen or separate with grace. You have no right to beat her; you should not cause any torture to her.
Why are you saying that it is a calculated move to disrupt communal harmony The government has its manifesto. They want to bring a uniform civil code. There has been an issue over beef earlier. These are all calculated moves to curtail the right of minorities. Nobody is suffering from this issue, but there are other burning issues like female security, female infanticide, why don’t we debate on these issues Mass tragedies like Bhopal gas tragedy, Gujarat carnage... people are still waiting for justice. The speed with which the Supreme Court has moved in this case is questionable.
Why do you think that a uniform civil code is not good You cannot have a single ideology for everyone. For example, north India follows different customs than south, how can you have uniformity In south India the “mamu” marries the sister’s daughter, in north it doesn’t happen. So how can they bring uniformity Every religion has a system.
Why can’t we have debate on the Law Commission’s questionnaire Why is it rejected and boycotted straight away The draft is framed in such a way that you are made to submit to it. There is no option like “I don’t agree”. They have framed it to suit their agenda as though you have to agree to a uniform civil code. All the questions are related to the regulation the problem which is being projected is not a problem. Don’t offend any religion. Our constitutional rights are being snatched in the name of protecting our rights.
Do you mean “triple talaq” is the best way It is for the couple to decide. It works for women and not always against women.
Along with Muslims other minorities like Christians would also lose their existing rights. But the most vehement opposition has come from the Muslim board. Why We are fighting back because we are concerned about women of our community and their problem is our problem. There is no draft that has been intellectually discussed. How will the government bring uniformity