UNDOING TRIPLE TALAQ
Islam is one of the most beautiful religion in the world and also a religion the misinterpretation of which has facilitated the birth and growth of the anti-thesis to religion. Ever since the crusades, Islam has been a constant target of the west and the west has left almost no stone unturned in defaming the religion. The crusade is still on but the means of fighting it has changed drastically. The Islamists are fighting it with guns and missiles while the west is using the extremely lethal ‘propaganda’. This time the west seems to be winning and the reward of their victory is not Jerusalem but the oil rich lands of the Middle East.
The introduction above is probably not appropriate and is a misfit for the topic I have today chosen to write upon. However, I chose to write it because I believe it is important for me to make my readers understand that my opposition to Triple Talaq is neither an outcome of the western propaganda nor an opposition to Islam.
Religion in our country or rather in our world is a touchy topic. We are more sensitive towards our religion than towards ourselves. It is a force which has shaped the politics of our country. The issue of Triple Talaq is one such civil issue which due to its association with a religion has been instrumental in bringing the entire government down. Our founding fathers were aware of the power of religion, as they had witnessed the partition, and they therefore decided to let Muslims practice their own personal law while directed the state, under Article 44 of the constitution, to “endeavor to secure for citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”
Triple Talaq is a provision under sharia, Muslim personal law, whereby a married Muslim man can divorce his wife simply by saying the word ‘Talaq’ thrice in front of his wife. The absurdity behind the provision was first brought before the Indian Judiciary in the year in 1978 when Shah Bano, a 62 years old woman, was divorced by her husband. A lot of communal politics followed as the case was decided in favor of Shah Bano in the year 1985 and then reversed by the Indian Parliament under pressure from the Muslim orthodoxy. Shahbano case has ever since been a landmark case and it marks the beginning of the fight of Muslim women against the orthodox Sharia law.
It has been more than 3 decades now and the battle seems incessant. The threats of a national agitation against imposition of a uniform civil code or legislation against Triple Talaq by the Muslim Orthodoxy have managed to prevent any action against the traditional evil. However, with BJP’s victory in the elections to the central government in 2014 and to those of various Indian states, the debate has resurfaced. In fact, In its manifesto to the U.P. state elections, the BJP clearly stated that if voted to power, it shall try and revoke the demonic traditional practice of Triple Talaq.
The All India Muslim Personal law Board, headed by ‘Men’, is clear in its stance and is not ready to let any government intervene in what they believe constitutes the very soul of ‘their’ Islam. What is all the more disturbing is that a majority of the young educated Muslim men are backing the board. The social media is filled with illogical and absurd arguments by these men in favour of Triple Talaq. Some even claim that the problem is not with the law but with men who are misusing it or misusing the liberty it grants and the government has no right to intervene in the Muslim’s laws.
What the advocates of Triple Talaq fail to understand is that the problem is not only in the men but also in the law. It is because the law is faulty that the men have been able to misuse it for their personal benefit. Moreover, they must also understand that it would be much more efficient to change the law than making men understand the morality & rationale behind the law and just way of using it. Also that by not amending the sharia, they are acting neither against the law nor against the men misusing it. These advocates and self-appointed guardians of ‘their’ Islam must also realise that the government has every right to legislate & liberate one half of the second largest community in our country from the bondage of an absolutely absurd and outdated law.
A religion soo beautiful must not be marred by anti-women laws and provisions. I acknowledge the fact that I do not know much about sharia but I would also claim that I know a number of women who have been deserted and left to live a pitiful life simply because their husbands could and also because our country still has no legal provisions to protect these women.
In the 21st century when in almost every corner of the world women are fighting for empowerment, such anti-women laws are unwanted and unappreciated hurdles in their way. Islam is fighting against extensive western propaganda and this war cannot be won by bullets or by holding on to primitive, radical & insensitive laws like the law of Triple Talaq. I call upon all my Muslim brothers to kindly reconsider their stand on the issue and not to look at the issue from the perspective of religion but that of a human being & of a woman because we are humans first & religious beings later. An amendment in the sharia or the adoption of a Uniform Civil code cannot and will not make anyone less Muslim or more Hindu. It will only help us protect the most beautiful and the only productive half of the human race from the ever existing fear of abandonment.