By Dr. M. K. Shervani
Different reactions to the Supreme Court verdict illustrate the proverbial incident when a group of blind persons touched an elephant, and each one of them describing it according to its organ he had caught. Let me also sum up my reactions critically, but quite briefly.
“Talaq, talaq, talaq” be it uttered in anger , joke, intoxication, threat, intimidation or whatsoever circumstances, and marriage becoming irrevocable, with the so-called “Halala” the only option left, is declared as the violation of specific Quranic mandates as also Constitution, and therefore having no legal validity.
It has practical impact only to the extent that it will lose judicial recognition, which even otherwise has already been the opinion of judges for quite a long time. Outside courts, one who considers this practice as integral part of Islam will consult only ‘maulvis’ and follow their opinion / fatwa accordingly, should there be any such eventuality.
Reforms, changes or the process of eliminating evil practices emerge from within a particular society and can never be imposed from above. Total ineffectiveness of Anti-Dowry Law, Child Marriage Restraint Act and many other enactments are the glaring example.
The present form of ‘triple talaq’ is an evil by unanimous opinion of ulema of all sects. The only difference is that some sects, like Shia and Ahle Hadith regard it inconsequential , while others like Hanfis think that once uttered, the marriage becomes irrevocable. Ironically they too call it ‘Talaqe Bidat’ and interpret ‘bidat’ as innovation in ‘DEEN’ (Islamic Faith).
The matter could never come to such a critical pass had All India Muslim Personal Law Board dealt with it sagaciously within this long span from Shah Bano controversy up to now. It is the saddest part of the entire episode that AIMPLB which represents all Muslim sects could never evolve a consensus on this crucial matter, and nor they ever even tried.
Though first time I have seen members of the Board showing very reasoned and balanced reactions. It is still not too late for them to come out of their tight sectarian compartments, and develop some semblance of unanimity on the most crucially contentious issues confronting the community.
[Dr. Mustafa Kamal Shervani is Chairman, All India Muslim Forum, Lucknow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or contacted on his Mobile # +91-9919777909]