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  Opinion   Oped  30 Apr 2017  The Vanguard of Triple Talaq

The Vanguard of Triple Talaq

Maulana Mehmood Dariyabadi is a businessman and general secretary of All India Ulema Council, a body of Muslim scholars
Published : Apr 30, 2017, 6:13 am IST
Updated : Apr 30, 2017, 6:13 am IST

Muslim scholar says it's a non-issue, government should concentrate on reducing the violation of talaq instead of the idea of scrapping it completely.

According to the 2011 Census, the  ratio of divorce and  separation amongst Muslims is lower than other communities.
 According to the 2011 Census, the ratio of divorce and separation amongst Muslims is lower than other communities.

As a community, we think that the whole debate about talaq is being blown out of proportion clearly as an attempt to create an issue out of it. According to the Census 2011 data, the ratio of divorce and separation amongst Muslims is lower than other communities like Hindus, Sikhs and even Parsis. (It is unfortunate that our media is not aware of the facts, but they have been falling victims to propaganda). Talaq is completely a non-issue for Muslims and it’s definitely not worth being a national issue.

In Islam, nikaah (marriage) is a contract; there is no concept of lifelong companionship or the idea of divine intervention at play. When couples want to separate, there are laws in place to take care of it. If a couple doesn’t want to stay together, for whatever the reason is, it is best for both to separate. So in a way divorce is an ‘emergency exit’. Even the Hindus realised it and included (even though it was an anathema) as an afterthought in the Hindu Code Bill.

A Muslim man enjoys the power to ask for talaq only thrice. Ideally, after asking for talaq for the first time, one is given about two months to reconsider, then there is the second step, even after which, a couple can reconcile. It is only after the third time that the couple cannot reconcile any further, although there is a very complex process, in which I don’t intend to indulge now.

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According to the Constitution, the criminal courts are common for all, the civil court is almost 99.9 per cent common to all. There are only 14 customs that don’t come under the civil court. Instances like talaq, marriage, even heritage are some of those customs where we can practice according to our religious orders. This is what is known as Personal Law, which was brought in its being by the British in 1937. As we know, there are Personal Laws for every other minority of the country, including the tribals. Overall, there are 300 personal laws. If they want to end one of these, then they must reconsider all of the 300 laws. Article 371 of our Constitution has specific laws for different states. Unfortunately, people talk about Article 370, on Kashmir, but not many people talk about Article 371.

The actual problem today is that like any other law, many married Muslim men are misusing the law. Going by our religious orders, we at best can ostracise the person. It would be more helpful if the Government could help us prevent or at least reduce it other ways. As a matter of fact, suppose tomorrow the government actually bans triple talaq and suppose a man says talaq to his wife thrice, then do you think the woman (a believer in Sharia law) would go back to her husband even on the insistence by the government? Most of them wouldn’t.

The government’s intention is to polarise people, knowing that we would raise an objection to the proposal. But what we really want never really comes to their attention. But now I hope things falls into its place. A total of 5 crore Muslims (with 2.45 crore women) have signed a petition which has been sent to the chairman, Law Commission of India (LCI) saying that they are fully satisfied with the commands of Islamic Laws, especially, the orders related to nikaah, talaq khula, fuskh, and wirasat (heritage) and opposing any possibility of change in them. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board submitted the documents 10 days ago.

The government and even the media, unfortunately, remain oblivious of it. About 65 per cent of Muslims are surviving below the poverty line, which includes not only women but also children. What about them?

The other most important issue is communal violence — where many people get killed and several get arrested. Most often, women and children end up being victims in hands of the perpetrators. The police harass even the families of the ones who get arrested later. The other problem that’s gnawing us slowly is education. Only two per cent of our communities avail higher education, the remaining are dropouts.

So, if the government really wants to help, it should concentrate on how to reduce the violation of talaq instead of the idea of scrapping it completely and rather help us with tackling bigger and more urgent problems like education and poverty.

As told to Somudra Banerjee

Tags: triple talaq, constitution, hindu code bill