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Muslim women group demands ban on 'Triple Talaq in one sitting'
Tuesday October 22, 2013 6:39 PM, Hena Farhat,

Welcoming the recommendation made by Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee in its report, a group of Muslim women activists on Monday said that "Triple Talaq in one sitting" is against the Islamic Shariah law and demanded from the government to bring a legislation to ban this "illegal practice".

"Mehmoodur Rehman Committee asking the government to prohibit arbitrary talaq as widely practiced in India is a welcome sign, and a very positive step in our long fight for making triple talaq banned in India. It means that our concern now has a government stamp", Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said while talking to

Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee was constituted in 2008 to look into the educational, social and economic backwardness of Muslims in Maharashtra. The committee submitted its 312 pages report to the government of Maharashtra on Monday. In its one of the major recommendations the report said, "The arbitrary Talaq should be prohibited and alimony to the divorced women be made compulsory."

Noorjehan Safia Niaz, who has authored five booklets on Muslim Personal law, said, "Taking note of this important recommendations, the govt should ban triple talaq in one sitting and if necessary should bring in legislation to make illegal this un-Islamic practice, which has ruined hundreds of families."

She said that Talaq requires a specific procedure which is clearly described in Quran, but it is rarely followed in India resulting in spoiling of hundreds of families.

"Reconciliation in case of dispute between husband and wife is one of the important features of the procedure before divorce as described by the Islamic Shariah Law. Unfortunately, it is rarely seen in practice", she said.

As co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), Noorjehan Safia Niaz is since 2007 working with other members to draft a comprehensive codified law for Muslim women in India. Besides banning oral divorce and Triple Talaq in one sitting, BMMA is demanding minimum age limit for marriage as 18-21, fixing of the 'mehr' amount equivalent to the annual income of the husband, banning polygamy, rights of divorced women, their maintenance, and safety and consent of children while deciding their custody to either of the parents in case of divorce.

Interestingly, the triple pronouncement of Talaq in one sitting has been banned by law in many nations, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia and Bangladesh. In all such countries arbitration councils and judicial interventions have been introduced to promote reconciliation. However, India, where the Muslim Personal Law is largely based on Hanafi school of thought, still permits it. A reform in Muslim personal law and demands for banning triple talaq in one sitting though are gaining momentum.

"It is astonishing that despite the clarity of the Quran on the issue of divorce, the Muslim patriarchy has stubbornly refused to adopt the Qoranic procedure. Because of this, courts in India are forced to uphold the validity of triple Talaq on the principle of stare decisis, declaring the practice to be "good in law though bad in theology", A. Faizur Rahman, Secretary General of the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Though, has observed in a recently published article.

"But the fact is that the rulings of many a classical commentator of high authority have been the cause of the chasm between the present day "Shariah" and the real Shariah. Unless this gap is bridged, and the Muslim personal law brought in conformity with the Quran and the authentic teachings of the Prophet, Muslim women would continue to suffer", he added.

Similar views were expressed by Member Planning Commission of India Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed. "Talaq is permissible in the Quran only on condition that there is a complete breakdown of marriage. Parting of ways must be graceful, and utmost care is taken to inflict no suffering on the woman. The common practice of impulsively uttering talaq thrice in a go, or writing talaq thrice on a postcard, or hiring a qazi to affix his signature on a scrap of paper, is totally anti-Islamic. No cleric, regardless from which school of Fiqah, can ever condone this form of talaq", she wrote in an article.

"The fact of the matter is that we Muslims selectively practice whatever suits our need. We indulge in triple talaq, in polygamy, in dodging mehr and maintenance. We ascribe our actions to our religious sanctions and continuously harp on our religious code. But we blatantly violate the injunctions of Islam. We pronounce triple talaq without following the commands pertaining to it", she wrote.

On the other hand, Ozma Nahid - a renowned Muslim scholar and member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), though agreed that the misuse of triple Talaq is harming families, rejected the demand of banning triple Talaq in one sitting. At the same time she said Ulema should educate the masses not to pronounce Talaq in this manner.

"The concerns of the actvists are fare. But, how can we demand a ban on something which has its evidence in the ahadiths of the Prophet? Instead of demanding a ban, we should ask Ulema to make such pronouncement as 'impractical" which people should refrain from practicing", she said while talking to

In reply to a question, she said, "We are living in a country where people of different sects are huge in numbers. Everyone of them is firm and strong in their stands. Enforcing anything due to this reason is very difficult", she said.

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