Says no government or political party has authority to meddle with religious practices.
New Delhi: Fatehpuri Shahi Masjid Shahi Imam Dr Mufti M Mukarram Ahmed on Monday made a fervent appeal to all the political parties to sway away from the contentious triple talaq issue, saying neither any government nor any political party has any right or authority to meddle in the religious practices followed by any community. He urged the government to set up a centralised centre for registration of Qazi’s who could solemnise marriages of the Muslim community.
The views of Dr Ahmed, who is the most respectable religious head of the Muslim community, assumes significance as the city is gearing up to face the crucial civic polls and the 16 per cent vote share of the community plays a decisive role in getting the councillors elected in about 40 municipal wards.
The BJP, which is the front runner in the civic elections, has been openly demanding ban on triple talaq with the aim that its stand on the contentious issue could help it garner some votes of progressive Muslim women in the civic elections.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Sunday’s Surat rally raised the triple talaq issue by saying Muslim women must get justice. “If there are social evils, the society should be awoken and efforts should be made to provide justice to the victims.”
While talking to The Asian Age, Dr Ahmed said the triple talaq issue was dominating political and public space only because people were not well informed about the religious teachings of the Quran. “If a person says talaq just once, it is a divorce. But after giving a thorough thought, the person can again live with his wife. If there are serious differences between the couple after first talaq, one can give a second talaq as well. Even after second talaq, Islam says, the couple can again lead their marriageable life. But on the third occasion, the marriage is bound to end.”
Dr Ahmed said that talaq is solemnised under Muslim laws and it was in no way, a human rights issue. “The government has no religion. Like Muslims should stay away from interfering in the religious practices of Hindus and Sikhs, same way other religious figures should not meddle in our practices.”
Asked why triple talaq was not being practised in an Islamic state like Pakistan, Dr Ahmed said the marriage in the neighbouring country is solemnised through registered Qazi by the government machinery. “Nikkah (marriage is registered in Pakistan) with certain conditions and rules. And for talaq also, they follow the guidelines with prior information to the government.”
Dr Ahmed said that the government should set up a centralised office for registration of engagement process of the couples. “After engagement, one should go for Nikkah by a registered Qazi and then follow the set guidelines to go for talaq. During the British period, Nikkah was solemnised by a Qazi, who was a government-approved person.” He said he would appeal to the Muslim Personnel Law Board to work 24x7 to bring clarity and take a final call on the important matter, which was otherwise spreading like a deadly virus.