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Majority of Indian Muslim women want to do away with oral triple talaaq: Study

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: When a study asked Indian Muslim women whether the system of oral triple “talaaq” be banned, an overwhelming majority (92.1%) of them said “Yes”, according to a Times of India report.

Photo: www.firstpost.com
Photo: www.firstpost.com

Divorcing one’s wife by saying the word “talaaq” (divorce) three times, has been a practice unique to the Muslim community and it has been legally adopted in the Muslim personal law. But, many consider it discriminatory as only the husband can divorce his wife and not vice versa.

The study which interviewed around 4,710 Muslim women, was conducted by NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) which has been working towards bringing reforms to the Muslim personal law. The study was conducted between July and December, 2013.

The study found that around 91.7% of Muslim women do not want their husbands to have a second marriage. Other findings include: 73% Muslim women were from families earning less than Rs. 50,000 per year; 55% were married before reaching 18-years; 78% were homemakers; 82% had no property in their name; and 53% Muslim women reported that they had faced domestic violence.

The report also revealed that around 83% Muslim women wanted an arbitration process before the divorce was granted and 83.3% women believed that Muslim family law should be codified.

The Times of India report quotes Noorjehan Safia Niaz, one of the authors of the report as saying: “An overwhelming number of women demands reforms in Muslim personal law. They want an elaborate codified law based on the Quranic justice framework to cover matters such as age of marriage, divorce procedures, polygamy, maintenance and custody of children.”

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Triple Talaq Now Banned In India

While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

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India
Indian Muslim women talk while walking through a market in Ahmadabad, India. VOA

India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

The government decision came after it failed to get approval of Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple “talaq” violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq,” or divorce, three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

Muslim
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of  women, VOA News

The government will have another six months to get Parliament’s approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

India’s Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board’s position.

Muslim
Muslim women hold placards during a protest against a bill passed by India’s lower house of Parliament last week that aims at prosecuting Muslim men who divorce their wives through the “triple talaq,” or instant divorce. VOA

After the Supreme Court verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government introduced a bill criminalizing the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority. But it couldn’t get the approval of the upper house, where the opposition controls the majority of seats.

The main opposition Congress party is opposing a three-year prison sentence for the offenders and wants a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue to reach a consensus. It favors a lesser sentence.

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In India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious laws in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched. (VOA)