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Muslim Women are not Doormats: The Shocking Truth about the ‘Nikah Halala’

Though many Islamic countries have long banned it, in India, this practice still continues

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Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala
Muslim Women and Shocking truth about the Nikah Halala

– by Salil Gewali

  • Many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala but in India, the practice is still done
  • This is a criminal offense committed in the name of religion
  • More vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against Nikah Halala

Shillong (India), August 21, 2017: The most shocking fact about the ‘Nikah Halala’ has recently been brought to light by the India Today media. This media certainly deserves a pat on its back for broadcasting to the world the “darkness of lust” that invariably frightens away the very spirit of womanhood. How on earth such practices which openly dehumanize the woman are sanctioned by law is difficult to fathom. She is sexually exploited by an unknown person for over a night. Is it not outrageous?

Though many Islamic countries have long banned Nikah Halala, in India, this practice often forces the desperate women, who want to regain the warmth of the past husband, to depend on the cleric scholars around. Such lecherous people put up themselves for the job. Is it not humiliating fact that apart from spending one night with a complete stranger, the divorced Muslim women are required to cough up anywhere between Rs. 20000/- to Rs. 150000/-.

This shocking Nikah Halala or one-night-marriage makes only a divorced Muslim women eligible to further seek the formal reconciliation (marry) with the first husband. Is not the sex without “love” itself spiritually a big sin? Alas, this retrogressive and godless practice is still prevalent in the 21st century while the roar of the triple talaq is still getting shriller!

 

More vocal Malalas should take birth
More vocal Malalas should take birth

Though no strong scream of protest against this bizarre practice is heard, a few conscious Muslim men and Muslim women are up in arms, also some Muslim Maulvi’s. Maulana Maqsood-ul-Hasan Qasmi, the head of the Imam Council of India, retorts – ‘This is lust. It’s not permissible in “Islam”. This is a “criminal offense” committed in the name of religion’.  One friend of mine Mr. Shafiq Alam bursts out in deep anguish “As a father of three daughters I know how such anti-female practices have brought “grief” to millions of households. Much of the texts of the Holy Quran have been either misread or deliberately distorted and misinterpreted by the vested interests which they use to justify any inhuman activities”. Indeed, most of the “explosive activities” that have often been rocking and shocking the world have their roots in the “wrong interpretation” of the holy texts.

Muslim women suffering
Muslim women suffering

There is nothing secret how disgustingly countless females across the globe suffer under the veil of chastity which only contributes to stifling their “vigor” of individuality, feminine potentiality, and creativity. I guess, more vocal Malalas should take birth to raise the relentless voice against ‘Nikah Halala’, gender discrimination and irreligious prejudices strangling the holy Islam. Oh Allah the Almighty, save us all from the evil mongers!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali


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Ban ‘Triple Talaq’: India Criminalizes Centuries-Old Practice of Sudden Divorce Among Muslims

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice

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triple talaq
FILE - Indian Muslims protest against the government approving an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down a Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce in Mumbai, India, Sept. 19, 2018. VOA

India’s parliament has passed a measure to criminalize the centuries-old practice of instant divorce among Muslims and punish men with jail terms if they defy a ban on what is known as “triple talaq.”

The government said a law was necessary because there have been instances of Muslim men continuing to terminate marriages by repeating the Arabic word “talaq” three times, although the practice was outlawed by India’s Supreme Court in 2017.

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice. It will become law as soon as the president signs it. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbins of history,” and it “corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women.”

The measure, called the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, was passed in the upper house of parliament amid protests from the main opposition Congress party,  which opposed setting a prison term for offenders and wanted further scrutiny of the bill.

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Indian Muslims stand outside Parliament House in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 26, 2019. VOA

Critics of the law say it is a harsh measure that’s open to misuse and is being used by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to target Muslims. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill, saying it was necessary to protect the dignity and honor of Muslim women and ensure gender justice.

The bill’s passage is seen as a major victory for Modi’s government, which failed to pass it during Modi’s first term in office. The bill had been passed by the lower house last week, but all eyes were on Tuesday’s vote because the government does not have a majority in the Upper House. It passed 99 to 84.

The practice of “triple talaq” has long been banned in several Muslim countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan but continued in India.

Zakia Soman, a cofounder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organization, which was at the forefront of the legal battle to scrap “triple talaq,” welcomed passage of the bill. “It will not change our lives overnight, but it would give strength to the movement for justice for Muslim women,” according to Soman. She said “it was a moment to rejoice.”

triple talaq
If we don’t cry now, Triple Talaq, and such other vices, might go digital, and burn millions of households. VOA

Women rights activists had cited many cases where men had divorced women via letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype by uttering or writing the three words. They said what was practiced in India was a misinterpretation of Islamic law.

Conservative Muslim clerics, however, had staunchly opposed efforts to scrap “triple talaq,” calling it a religious issue that should not be interfered with. Although India’s constitution guarantees equality, it allows matters such as marriage, divorce and alimony to be governed by religious laws.

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Tahir Mahmood, an expert on Islamic law, said he hoped the law would act as a deterrent on Muslim men divorcing wives in an arbitrary manner. He said the practice should not have been made a criminal offense, but he pointed out that religious leaders of the community had failed to do anything to curb the practice.

Some scholars of Sharia law call “triple talaq” a travesty of divorce as envisaged in the Quran. They say the word has to be pronounced over three months and accompanied by efforts at reconciliation. (VOA)