The controversial concept of 'Triple Talaq' dealing with the marital issues within the Muslim community has been supported by All India Muslim Personal Law Board once again. Not only that, the minority body has also appealed to BJP-led central government to not "interfere" in Shariat laws through courts.
The blatant use of the discriminatory concept has been renewed after the board last week decided to contest the case against a Muslim divorcee Shayara Bano's petition seeking the apex court to term the the 'Triple Talaq' unconstitutional.
Hailing from Uttarakhand, Shayara was divorced by her abusive husband through a letter with "talaq, talaq, talaq" written on it after she had knocked at the doors of Supreme Court to be with her children.
In her petition, Shayara has sought "declaration of Talaq-E-Bidat (Triple Talaq), Nikah-Halala ( if a woman wants to remarry her husband after divorce, she has to first consummate her marriage with another man) and polygamy under Muslim personal laws as illegal, unconstitutional for being violative of Articles 14,15, 21 and 25 of the constitution."
What does Islam say about 'Triple Talaq'?
Quran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, which serve as a bedrock for any issue related to Muslims, outrightly call 'triple talaq' a crime.
The 'Triple Talaq' also violates the Islamic divorce procedure by not following the mandatory steps of arbitration attempts and waiting period of three-months to allow reconciliation between the two partners.
In simple words, giving divorce in Islam is not a simple process rather it involves attempts from the families and relatives of the two sides to make efforts to ensure that the couple does not separate. The concept of iddah which means a 90-day period of waiting to introspect about the decision of final divorce is also not followed in the case of 'Triple Talaq.'
More importantly, the divorce has to take place in presence of two witnesses and both the partners.
Only after all these measures are exercised, then only can a couple separate. This process has to be repeated twice and only at the third time the marriage is dissolved. Pertinent to mention, all these steps have to be taken at three different sittings after the completion of waiting periods.
Where from does the concept of 'Triple Talaq' come?
The practice of uttering 'talaq, talaq and talaq' to divorce a partner has its roots under the reign of second Islamic Caliph Umar in 7th century. One of the closest companions of Prophet, Caliph Umar had made the practice legal as a measure of reprieve for woman to back out from the abusive marriages.
In other words, Caliph Umar's sanction of Talaq-ul-Bidat was to allow woman freedom from the violence at the hands of their husbands, who were using the Islam's detailed mechanism of divorce to stall the separation.
In current scenario, the same sanction is twisted to discriminate against woman by certain groups of patriarchal religious clergy.
Why is All India Muslim Personal Law Board opposing the scrapping of 'Triple Talaq'?
The opposition is both political and religious.
While the practice of 'Triple Talaq' has been already scrapped in almost every Muslim majority country, the practice has a large number of followers in India which fall under the domain of AIMPLB. This has a lot to do with the interpretation of the religious text by different groups of the Muslims in the world.
Looking it as an thrust of a particular interpretation on it, the AIMPLB's obstinacy around the concept of 'Triple Talaq' is hard to dislodge. This is why the Muslim board has many times clearly stated they do not ascribe to the interpretation regarding the practice in various other Muslim countries.
At another level, the board also views the attempts of secular Indian judiciary to intervene in the matters of Muslim Personal Laws as a threat to religious identity of the Muslims. It was due to this pressure on Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government that had led him to go against the directions of Supreme Court - which had termed the practice unconstitutional - in the famous Shah Bano case in 1984.
What is the scenario in Muslim majority countries?
Nearly 22 Muslim majority countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey have made the practice null and void.
In various countries, the governments have brought the jurisdiction of divorce under the constitutional framework of the country which has been formulated on the basis of Islamic principles and guidelines.
Since the matter of 'Triple Talaq' is related to the interpretation of religious text, there's also a Shia-Sunni dimension to the problem. While Shias around the world have made the practice illegal and unacceptable, the majority of 'Triple Talaq' cases are witnessed among Sunni Muslims.
Countries like Turkey have opted for modern secular laws while dealing with the cases of divorce.