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Why Evil Practice like Triple Talaq (Muslim Divorce) needs to be abolished soon!

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A Muslim Woman with her child (representational Image), VOA
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April 23, 2017: 

‘Triple Talaq’ is an Islamic practice where a man can divorce his wife by saying “talaq,” the Arabic word for divorce, three times. This controversial practice is enough to explain how much the oppression of women in prevalent in the religion; not to mention Polygamy which exists within the religion till today. Rules of Islamic divorce such as ‘Triple talaq’ comes under Sharia Law but the question is- Is it in sync with the Islamic Law?

There is a huge debate about the validity or existence of the practice under Islamic Law. This oral, out-of-court divorce is not only a matter of injustice and unfair treatment towards women but also flags gender inequality.

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Islamic Holy text Quran says, after declaring talaq (divorce), a man must consider his decision for a period of three months. It is only after uttering or stating three talaqs, a divorce is granted.
This is followed by a 3-month period where there is a scope for reconciliation between the couple and their families but the truth is that a woman can be thrown out of her house with a little notice, which can be surprisingly delivered by email, phone or text.

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In the recent years, ‘Triple Talaq’ has been confronted with many legal challenges. When the government wishes to replace it with a new uniform civil code which would be applicable to every religion, Muslim groups have stiffly opposed it arguing that new uniform civil code is discrimination against them.

Even though India is known to be a home to one of the largest Muslim populations across the globe, but unlike most Muslim-majority countries, it has not banned the practice of triple talaq. It should be noted that major Islamic countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh have already banned the practice for years.

Mohsin Raza is the only Muslim face in the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government has gone so far as even taking on the validity of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). He has wondered as to why an NGO like this spread mistrust and confusions in Muslim community while proper constitutional mechanisms exist in India.

According to a survey conducted by ‘Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan’ (BMMA), 78% of Muslim women are unilaterally divorced and 63.9% marriages were reported to be orally and arbitrarily dissolved through social networks or letters.

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In 95% of the divorce cases, wives are left without any financial backup or no proper ‘Mehr’ (alimony) amount.  Moreover, due to illiteracy and low educational qualifications, divorced women find it difficult to manage kids and earn a square meal for themselves.

Marrying at the early age reduces the chances of acquiring education and becoming economically sound. BMMA reported that over 39.8% of Muslim women are married before attaining the age of 15.

Getting married early augments the submissiveness of women to the monopoly of patriarchal elements that pose as ‘religious leaders’. They portray rampant interpretations of the holy Quran and mislead the masses. But, Quranic principles and tenets of justice and fairness are misunderstood. The ground reality of a Muslim woman is dreadful and grim despite the holy teachings and rules.

It was also surveyed if Muslim women wanted to put an end to the practice of polygamy, Triple talaq, custody of kids and unilateral divorces. More than 90% of them voted to put a ban on all the unethical and unjust practices that are being conducted under the name of religion.

by Himanshi Goyal of NewsGram

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Triple Talaq: Are the concerns and efforts real?

It cannot be deied that BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see it as Modi's distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and as a message to Muslims that the days when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments are now gone.

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Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
  • Triple Talaq has been seen as way of BJP gaining popularity among Muslims, and not as a real concern for the distressed women of the community.
  • BJP leaders are often accused of Anti-Muslim statements, which further proves the point.
  • However, if the law is passed, it will be a step towards empowerment of the Muslim women.

Only the naive will believe that deep concern for the welfare of Muslim “sisters” and for the maintenance of the “dignity of women” and “gender equality” persuaded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to introduce the bill in parliament to ban the practice of triple talaq.

For a party whose founder in its previous incarnation, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, thought that only a civil war can solve the Hindu-Muslim problem, as Tripura’s Governor, Tathagata Roy of the BJP, reminded us recently, and a BJP candidate in the Gujarat elections sought a reduction in the numbers of “topi and dadhiwalas” (sartorial allusion to Muslims), it strains credulity to believe that it has been guided solely by laudable motives to put an end to an admittedly reprehensible custom.

The belief will persist, therefore, that it is a desire to “garner votes” which is behind the decision, notwithstanding Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad’s disavowal of such an intention.

Few will deny, of course, that the practice itself is highly condemnable, not least because it is illegal even in Islamic countries. For a secular country, therefore, to allow it to prevail will point to a flawed outlook whose roots lie deep in the political calculations.

It cannot be gainsaid that the BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see the proposed law, first, as an example of “brother” Modi’s distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and, secondly, as a message to Muslims in general that the days are gone when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments.

The “secular” rulers of the past, on the other hand, also thought that they will gain votes by pandering to the predilections of the obscurantists among the minorities.

The worst example of this regressive attitude was the Shah Bano episode, when the Rajiv Gandhi government negated a Supreme Court verdict in favour of alimony for a divorced Muslim woman on the advice of Muslim fundamentalists.

Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common
Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common

The BJP’s rise from the sidelines of politics to the mainstream, can be traced through that event in the mid-1980s. The Congress will have to tread carefully in deciding on its stance on the bill which has followed the Supreme Court’s recent declaration of triple talaq as unconstitutional in a case involving the litigant, Shayara Bano.

The difficulty for the Congress is that it has given secularism a bad name by making the concept virtually synonymous with minority appeasement. While the BJP will not mind being closely associated with Hinduism, the Congress has been trying to shed the impression that it has become “mussalmanon ki party” or a party of Muslims, as the Congress leader, Ashok Gehlot, has said, ever since the 2014 defeat made him aware of this unwelcome image, as the A.K. Antony report pointed out.

The triple talaq bill gives it an opportunity to refurbish its reputation by articulating a rational position on drafting the law, aiming at protecting Muslim women from cruel and whimsical divorces and at the same time ensuring that the legislation does not lead to a police witch-hunt targeting men. Since the bill has to still pass through the Rajya Sabha, Parliament’s upper house, there is ample scope for fine-tuning it for smoothing out the rough edges, the most egregious of which is to introduce an element of criminality in a civil legal procedure.

If the Congress and other “secular” parties play a leading role in ensuring that the new law will unequivocally serve the ends of justice where no one — neither the women, nor the men, nor the children of divorced parents — will suffer, then these parties will be able to retrieve much of their lost reputation about cynical kowtowing to bigots in the Muslim community and reassure the country in general that politics can rise above partisan and opportunistic considerations.

From this standpoint, the bill provides a golden opportunity to the secular outfits even if the BJP runs away with much of the credit for introducing it.

Outside of politics, what is noteworthy is the failure of the Muslims to deal with the problem on their own. But ever since partition robbed the community of bold, educated leaders and self-confidence by inducing the minority complex of being forever under siege under the numerically superior Hindus — unlike other minorities like Sikhs and Parsis who have retained their poise and self-belief — the Muslims have come under the retrogressive influence of the mullahs with the result that they have remained stuck in the past.

Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.
Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.

Triple talaq is one manifestation of such backwardness along with polygamy and the veiling of women as they reinforce the age-old patriarchal norms. Only a small section of upper middle class women — film stars and sports personnel being prominent among them — has been able to extricate themselves from the grasp of medievalism and enter the modern world. But the majority of the poor and lower middle class women have been denied the opportunity of advancement by orthodox Muslim society. The new law offers them a ray of hope. IANS Live