By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: Close on the heels of AIMPLB’s affidavit in Supreme Court about triple talaq, Vadodara-based octogenarian human rights activist Dr. J.S. Bandukwala clearly showed anxiety over this controversy. In a long conversation with this Correspondent he spoke at length citing Holy Quran on this burning, yet controversial, issue.
Dr. Bandukwala told that the AIMPLB affidavit was filed in the Supreme Court by two prominent lawyers, Yusuf Muchala and Mr. Ahmedi. Both are oddly liberal lawyers. Ever since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, there is an increasing demand from Hindutva forces that Uniform Civil Code be implemented without further delay. This has generated a lot of concern among Muslims, who are worried about what shape such a Uniform Civil Code would take.
Simultaneously there is a trend among educated Muslim women to demand that triple talaq be removed. Noorjehan Niazi of Mumbai and Zakia Soman of Ahmedabad are leading this group. They point out the insecurity among Muslim wives, worried about when the husband would utter the dreadful three words in one sitting. The Quran refers to talaq in two Surahs, Baqarah (2) and Talaq (65). Among the conditions laid down by Almighty Allah were:
1) When you put away women for their legal period (mensuration)….keep your duty to Allah. Expel them not from their houses, unless they commit open immorality.
2) When their period is reached take them back in kindness or part with them in kindness.
3) For such of your women who despair of menstruation, the waiting period will be three months, along with those who have it not.
4) Let him who has abundance, spend of that which Allah has given him.
It should be noted that three talaqs cannot be uttered together. The process must be spread to about three months. In that sense the demand of the women rights group is in agreement with the Quranic Ayats. The second and the fourth point should also be taken note of where Allah calls on the husband to be kind while divorcing and to spend from what Allah has given him, for his divorcing wife.
Dr. Bandukwala lamented that sadly our commnuity abandoned the rigid rules given to us by Allah. In His divine wisdom He wanted men to avoid an impulsive use of three talaqs. But by removing the three month gap, we made it possible for men to divorce their wives, on often flimsy grounds. Many sociologists consider this instant triple talaq as the root cause of the backwardness of our women, which in turn affects the entire community.
He emphasized that today many of our women have become doctors, engineers and scientists.They will not accept the manner of talaq, which is in violation of the Quran. Our ulema must take the lead on this very important issue. I would prefer instant talaq be banned by our own ulema, instead of by the Supreme Court. We are proud inheritors of Allah’s decree that came down as the Quran, through our Noble Prophet. But by misusing these clauses for centuries, we have hurt of own women. This in turn has harmed our children greatly. Most important, we have incurred the anger of Allah as can be seen by the tragic conditions of Muslims almost everywhere.
Referring to triple talaq issue, Mufti Rizwan Tarapuri, President of All India Milli Council, Gujarat Chapter confirmed there was no division of opinion amongst Muslim Ulema of all leading sects. He said that triple talaq, although being the worst sin in the eyes of Allah, was a valid talaq and Muslims must practice this with extreme restraint.
“There is a need for the Muslim society to create awareness to avoid pronouncing triple “Talaq” at one stage. It should be noted that this issue is not under the purview of the law of the land but it is a religious matter. All those who have no knowledge about Islamic Sharia should refrain from issuing statements on such a sensitive issue,” added Mufti Tarapuri.
He further said that it is a conspiracy to interfere in the Sharia. He further told that it has been mentioned in the Quran that if a person pronounces “Talaq” three times at one stretch, it is treated as three divorces which is final.
Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Editor of Gujarat Siyasat, a leading Muslim newspaper from Ahmedabad, in an interview with a local TV channel told that issues like Talaq and polygamy had to be understood with sharper objectivity and reason. He emphasized that these issues, if taken up by the people with a prejudiced mind, could not be understood in their true spirit. He warned Muslims not to get carried away by the so-called liberalism and equality while dealing with these issues, rather a higher degree of objectivity and research was essential to understand the relevance of matters like Talaq, Khula, inheritance and polygamy.
Mufti Farid Kaviwala, senior teacher in a Darul Uloom based at Jambusar in Bharuch District argued that the Shariah permits triple talaq in the interest of both the man and woman as a means to keep their dignity and privacy intact. The intention is to save the family from delayed justice in conventional courts and to avoid mud-slinging in public. The Shariah intends triple talaq to help the estranged couple to “move on” with their lives and get over the bitterness and hatred they had felt for each other.
“To presume that each triple talaq is arbitrary and unreasonable is a fallacy of reason…it is a misconception that triple talaq is always a result of haste and is a power which is freely misused by a Muslim male,” Mufti Kaviwala added. In fact, over the years, triple talaq is resorted to only if intervention by families to reconcile the couple has failed and the couple wants “instant dissolution”. There are innumerable instances where a Muslim wife seeks dissolution of marriage and approaches her husband for immediate dissolution by triple talaq.
[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He regularly contributes to India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper “IndianMuslimObserver.com”. He is Publisher and Editor of “Gujarat Siyasat” fortnightly newspaper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell 09228746770]