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Muslim Women in India Retaliate against Triple Talaq Practice

The rate of divorce in Indian Muslim society is still very low and the issue is being blown out of proportion by some “anti-Muslim” forces, said Asma Zehra of AIMPLB

Muslim brides wait for the start of a mass marriage ceremony in Ahmedabad, India. Image source:
  • According to Islamic law, husbands can divorce their wives just by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice
  • This law has been condemned by many organizations, and even BJP leaders
  • Triple Talaq has been abolished in many Muslim countries, but not in India

After receiving a letter out of nowhere from her husband, which read the words, ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’, 25 year old Afreen Rahman began the uphill battle to demolish the unjust Muslim law which allows a man to divorce his wife by simply repeating the word, ‘talaq’, thrice.

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Thousands of other Muslim have to suffer the same injustice across India when their husbands decide to stop taking ownership and simply ask for a divorce instead of discussing problems. Even though this practice and the tradition of polygamy is not allowed by law in all of Hindu-majority India, things work a little differently in the Islamic community.

“I have moved the court because I don’t want any Muslim woman to go through the pain, torture and humiliation which I have gone through”, says Afreen.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board is the legislative body that governs these matters for the 180 million people that live in India. This Board will oppose the law in court. However, this seems ironic, since the Board itself has declared that the triple talaq rule is non Quranic and called it haraam (forbidden). Despite this, it has passed a unanimous resolution urging the government to not interfere in its internal matters.

muslim women in India. Image source:
Muslim women in India. Image source:

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“We indeed condemn this practice. But AIMPLB being a moral body, it has no power to ban the practice. It can only advise or educate people against resorting to such practice”, says Asma Zehra, a member of the AIMPLB.

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an organization that fights for Muslim women’s civil rights, found that 92 percent of Indian Muslim women wanted triple talaq banned. The Andolan has recorded instances in which Muslim marriages have been dissolved by the most trivial means, like WhatsApp or Facebook conversations. Apart from this, several leaders of the ruling BJP Party have been fighting to establish a single civil code that would govern the entire population of India on a secular basis. They feel the current state of affairs is very unfair and demeaning to Muslim women in India.

Hilal Ahmed, an assistant professor at New Delhi’s Center for the Study of Developing Societies, is also highly skeptical of this practice. He feels that if the Muslim Law Board can issue fatwas to ban use of mobile phones during religious proceedings, laws can be bent for the well being of Muslim women too.

“How can a practice that is patently unjust be Islamic?” asks Javed Anand, general secretary of the group Muslims for Secular Democracy while talking to Religion News. “I hold the AIMPLB guilty of perpetuating patriarchy and injustice against women in the name of Islam.”

According to Professor Tahir Mahmood, the custom of triple talaq has been long abolished in many Muslim countries, and he feels it is not right that the custom still exists in a secular country like India.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96



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  • AJ Krish

    It is high time that we have a single civil code that would govern the entire population of India on a secular basis. The government can then interfere in all such matters.

  • Aparna Gupta

    How can one break marriage bond by just uttering three words of talaq? Its terrible.

Next Story

Sri Lankan Muslims speak of tragedies back home

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN against the recent violence targeting their community

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN. IANS
Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN. IANS

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN against the recent violence targeting their community, and for some of them it had been an intimate family tragedy.

While participating in the demonstration of about 250 people, on Wednesday, they narrated to IANS the harrowing moments they went through as they helplessly shared the trauma in real time over the phone with their families as the relatives were besieged by mobs during the riots.

Munir Salim’s parent’s home was destroyed and car set ablaze by a rampaging mob in Welekada Ambalateena near Kandy on March 7, and his elderly parents and his sister with her five children barely managed to survive only because the rioters could not break the main door.

Protest against violence and injustice. (VOA)

But they set fire to the second floor of the house, where his sister lived, said Salim, who is the president of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association of New Jersey. His sister fled downstairs with her children and survived with her parents, he added.

“I was feeling helpless talking to my parents when they first told me how they were throwing stones at our house and setting fire to the mosque and the shops in the area,” he said.

The rioters then moved away for a while seeking other targets, then returned to set the fire to the house and the properties as he was calling them back, he said.

The houses of two of his aunts nearby were also attacked and his cousin had to carry his paralysed mother as they fled for their lives, he said.

There were two deaths, injuries to dozens of people, hundreds of houses and businesses destroyed and several mosques damaged during the riots that started on February 26 and continued till March 10. Sri Lanka imposed a State of Emergency and deployed troops to quell the violence.

For Shihana Mohamed it was a heartbreak, listening over the phone as her family’s history of living harmoniously in the Kandy area for more than a thousand years, unraveled on March 6, she said.

She told IANS that her sister-in-law fractured her leg while fleeing the fury of the mob that attacked her brother’s house, destroying it and burning his car in Kengalla, also near Kandy.

Also Read: A proposed bill criminalising triple talaq, now empowering Muslim women

Her 83-year-old bedridden uncle’s house was also attacked, she said, and his family had to carry him to safety. As she was hearing about the attacks on her phone, she said that she wept and then desperately called diplomats asking for help. While the attacks were taking place, the security personnel stationed nearby did not intervene, she said.

Mohamed said that while the attackers were Sinhala extremists, there were other Sinhalas who came to the aid of Muslims at risk to themselves.

The Sinhala family next to her brother’s house tried to intervene, but the mob over-ran them, while a Sinhala neighbour stopped the rioters from burning down her house, even though they managed to break the windows, she said. Her uncle was protected initially by a Sinhala, she said. In another instance of communal amity, she said a Tamil family sheltered her sister-in-law, who had broken her leg.

For her family this was the second setback. During riots in 1989, which were not overtly communal but more political, her family’s properties were destroyed and they had to rebuild home and business.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

The Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in North America (Tasmina), which organised the protest, demanded that the UN intervene and hold the Sri Lankan government responsible for bringing the rioters to justice and protect minorities.

Ghazzali Wadood, who was one of the protesters, said, “It is the ultra-nationalists who are responsible for the attacks. The government should take action against the politicians behind the attacks.” IANS