Triple Talaq divides Indian Muslims

Source : SIFY
By : Syed Ubaidur Rahman
Last Updated: Mon, Jun 13, 2016 12:28 hrs

Triple Talaq is an issue that has been hogging the limelight for a very long time. More and more women are approaching different courts on the issue of triple talaq in different parts of the country. 

Muslim ulama in the country have been at pains trying to tell whoever seems even least interested in listening to their argument that triple talaq is legit and this is something that has Quranic sanction. And no one, not even the courts, have any power to tinker with it. 

Muslim religious scholars have also been trying to impress upon the courts and governments that the four schools of thoughts among Muslims have unanimity when it comes to the legality of triple talaq in one setting. 

Some of them have talked about some punishments for those people who resort to triple talaq in one setting, but even they suggest that if someone gives triple talaq, it will be valid. A report in Roznama Inquilab says, “Triple talaq has become a serious issue now. Several well educated women too have approached courts. These women, unlike in the past, are not illiterate or semi-literate, but are well-qualified. One such woman, Shayara Bano, has been in limelight due to the fact that Supreme Court has accepted her petition for hearing. Last year the court had sought the opinion of the Attorney General and National Legal Service Authority on why these incidents should not be termed as violations of fundamental rights of Muslim women.” 

“This year, Justice RM Sahay talked about codifying the Muslim personal law and asked the government to give this responsibility to Law Commission to prepare a comprehensive law in association with Minorities Commission. There are also reports that a bench may be created in the apex court on talaq and polygamy. All these are aimed at creating ground for implementation of Uniform Civil Code in the country.” 

“Muslim Personal law Board’s reaction is not different than its stated stand in the past. It has said again that notwithstanding the fact that pronouncing triple talaq in a single sitting is a sinful act, the talaq in such cases will be legal if someone does it…The clerics continue to parrot that as our personal law is based on Quran and the Hadith, any change in it cannot be allowed. When they are told about several Muslim nations where changes in such Muslim laws have been implemented, their ready answer is that a wrong step of another government cannot be made precedent in this regard.” 

The report goes on to add, “Instead of putting the blame on others, why we don’t do some soul searching in this regard? Why we don’t think twice before transgressing the instructions from Allah and the Prophet and before committing crimes against women. Why we don’t give inheritance to our daughters or the dues that Islam asks us to give to a widow. 

Why we don’t feel ashamed while demanding huge dowry? Why doesn’t our conscience force us to think twice before uttering the talaq word in a fit of rage? There is no denying that our women have faced repression in the guise of talaq, polygamy, inheritance or even dowry. This will continue till we come up with a justifiable solution…If common Muslims misuse some aspects of the religion, then it is the responsibility of Muslim ulama to come together and devise a framework that takes care of rampant misuse of some lacunae”. 

While Muslim Ulama in India seem to insist about the validity of triple talaq, there are many Islamic scholars who don’t seem to agree with this notion. Waris Mazhari, the editor of Urdu monthly Tarjuman Darul Uloom, published by Darul Uloom Deoband’s Old Boys Association says triple talaq in one sitting used to be taken as single talaq during the time of the Prophet. 

While talking to this writer he says there is at least one instance when the Prophet didn’t separate husband and wife despite the husband uttering the word talaq three times. Mazhari who teaches Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, a central university in Delhi says there are strong arguments against triple talaq in one sitting. 

A number of Islamic scholars of repute have written in detail about it. Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr better known as Ibn al-Qayyim, a renowned Islamic scholar of thirteenth century says uttering triple talaq in one sitting is bidat (innovation) and bidat should be rejected. 

Ibn Qayyim said it must be rejected as it has no sanction from the Prophet. Mazhari while explaining Ibn Qayyim’s opinion on it, says, “Ibn Qayyim has discussed the issue in thirty pages in his well-received book Zadul Maad. It points towards the fact that Islam doesn’t want to make life tough and thus allows triple talaq to be counted only once so there is some way out for husband and wife. Shariat doesn’t want to destroy the family life by taking such important decisions in such haste”. Former chairman of Minorities Commission and an expert on Muslim law, Tahir Mahmood, has demanded the abolition of triple talaq. 

In a statement a few weeks ago, the former Dean, Faculty of Law, Delhi University said, "The practice of dissolving a marriage by uttering the word talaq thrice, which is rampant in the society in India, is not a part but a caricature of the Quranic law on divorce…According to the verses of the Quran on divorce a man can pronounce talaq only twice, according their juristic interpretation only thrice - on different occasions in his married life. The so-called triple-talaq is an absurdity that militates against the words and spirit of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet”. 

He says if triple talaq is abolished in India, it will not be against the teachings of Quran. "During the last fifty years, the archaic concept of triple talaq has been abolished in country after country in Muslim world. If in the Shayara Bano case under hearing in the Supreme Court the same decision is given by the court, in no sense will it be against the Quran - and will have status of a binding law for the whole country”, he goes on to add.

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