Muslim women suffer horribly, mostly in silence, by Islam's easy divorce and other anti-women laws, particularly in Islamic countries. Here's a picture of how they suffer in India, and how Indian civil law (kuffar law) is trying to help them, defying Islam's sacred laws of course.
Whenever Muslim Scholars, clerics and apologists discuss Islamic law of oral divorce (i.e. uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice), they, to hide the barbarity of the law and to fool the listeners, say that uttering word “talaq” thrice in a single sitting is not valid in Shariah. They try to convince that the husband should pronounce “talaq” thrice in three months. In other words, if he pronounces “talaq” for the first time in this month, he should say ‘talaq’, for the second time, after a gap of one month and he should say “talaq” for the third time after a gap of another month. But in his “Principles of Mehamedan Law”, Mohammad Hidayatullah, the first Muslim Chief Justice of the India’s Supreme Court, writes: “As soon as the husband pronounces the word “talaq” thrice, the marriage gets dissolved irrespective of time and place, and divorce becomes operative from that very moment” (Tripathy Publishers, 1980, p. 324).
Facts also support the view of Justice Hidayatullah. During Muhammad’s life, it was necessary for the husband to utter the word “talaq” thrice, and Almighty Allah could not foresee that man would discover many other means, so that the husband could communicate his message of “talaq” more comfortably to his wife and even from a faraway place. So, in the present era of technological marvels, high-tech “talaq” have become very popular. Last year, a Malaysian divorced his three wives within 10 minutes by sending SMS to them in a court room.
Perhaps, readers are aware of the nikah between Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik that took place on April 12, 2010 in Hyderabad. Just before the nikah, the Muslim ulama issued a fatwa telling that Shoaib must divorce his existing wife Ayesha before marrying Sania. So, Shoaib had to take help of “high-tech talaq”. He picked up his cell-phone, gave a call to Ayesha and said: “Talaq, talaq, talaq”. There is no doubt that this made Sania very pleased as it cleared way for her wedding to Shoaib. But it might well happen that after a few years or even months, Sania gets a similar call from Shoaib. Incidents of “high-tech talaq” are on the rise all over the Muslim world, and the cases that come to public attention are only the tip of the iceberg. A few of such incidents may be narrated below.
Talaq over Phone
Story of Nazir Jamalooddin and Rhia Moolla
The Telegraph, a Calcutta based English daily, reported on October 31, 2006 that Nazir Jamalooddim, a Muslim of Indian origin, now residing at Durban, South Africa, divorced his wife Rhia Moolla, mother of a 4-year-old son, over telephone. But Rhia Moolla took the matter to court seeking recognition of her marriage according to South African law. She urged the court to acknowledge her nikah to businessman Nazir Jamalooddin, so that she could receive maintenance and custody of her son. Rhia and Nazir got married in 1997. Rhia alleged that Nazir refused to register their marriage under the civil laws of South Africa despite her repeated requests. She also told the court that her husband divorced her by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice over phone.
Story of Razia Bibi and Riyaz
Razia Bibi, a resident of Bakshika-Talab in Lucknow, was married to Riyaz, a resident of Gopalpur village in Barabanki district, UP, in May, 2000. The Asian Age, a Calcutta-based English daily, reported on February 19, 2006 that Riyaz and his family were facing severe financial constraints when the marriage took place. A few months later, Riyaz found a job in Saudi Arabia and left his young wife under the care of his family. He returned to India a year later and stayed for 6 months. During this time, Razia became pregnant.
After Riyaz went back to Saudi Arabia, his family members, particularly his uncle, began beating Razia on slightest pretext. Razia’s father, after hearing his daughter’s plight, wanted to take her back to his house for the delivery of baby. But the in-laws of Razia said that they would let her go only if Razia and her father put their signature on a blank paper. At first, they refused but due to severe torture on Razia, they yielded to their demand, and Razia came to her paternal house.
Later on, Riyaz’s uncle prepared a Talaq-nama (divorce certificate) on the signed papers and informed Razia and her father that Riyaz had divorced his wife by sending a talaq-nama. When Razia telephoned Riyaz to enquire about the matter, he confirmed his decision by uttering “talaq” thrice over phone. “I really do not know what to do with my life”, Razia told reporters. “He even refuses to accept that Asif is his son”, said Razia with tears in her eyes. She informed reporters that her husband was already preparing to marry another woman.
Talaq by Telegram
The Calcutta edition The Times of India, a renowned English daily, reported on May 11, 2007 that a Muslim man, named Mohammad Tazim Khan Lone from Ghaziabad, UP, had divorced his wife Abida Khatun by sending a telegram. In the telegram, the word “talaq” was written thrice. At that time, Abida was staying at her father’s house in Delhi. The telegram also said that Abida could collect alimony amount, dowry items and iddut from Tazim Khan Lone. But Abida refused to accept the divorce and decided to take the case to court.
Talaq by Courier
The Ananda Bazar Patrika, a Calcutta-based Bengali daily, reported on November 19, 2006 that a Muslim, named Yasin, from Punjab was in hurry to marry another women. He took a paper, wrote the word “talaq” thrice on it, and sent that to his wife Zahida Parvin through a courier. On the next day, he married another woman without caring for whether his message of talaq reached his wife. But his wife refused to admit the divorce, and reported the matter to Darul Ulum Deoband. The mufti of the Darul Ulum also refused to admit the divorce, and issued a fatwa declaring the talaq illegal and unlawful. Muslim Personal Law Board also expressed a similar view, and declared the second marriage of Yasin unlawful. Though police did not take any action, Zahida expressed her determination to take the matter to court.
The story of Ishaq and Rabia
The November 23, 2006 edition of The Times of India reported that in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Husband Ishaq divorced his wife Rabia, and a few days later on October 1, 2006, he quietly left home. This forced Rabia and her two children to beg on the street. But thanks to the newly constituted Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Rabia filed a case against her husband and on 22nd November, 2006, the Additional Civil Judge and the Judicial Magistrate Harivallabh Khatri of the Jodhpur court issued an interim order that asked Ishaq to pay maintenance to Rabia, ignoring the protest of Ishaq that paying maintenance was against the Shariah law. The court also asked Ishaq to give money to Rabia for education of their son and daughter.
It should also be noticed here that the said Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 empowers an Indian magistrate to take quick decision and issue interim orders pending final disposal of the case. But Ishaq’s lawyer opposed the claims of Rabia, saying that since she had already been divorced as per Muslim law, and she was not entitled get maintenance from her ex-husband.
The story of Bilkis Begum
A three-day seminar on "Condition of the Muslim Women in West Bengal" was held from 17 to 19 December, 2008 in Kolkata. Many oppressed Muslim women came from various districts to attend the seminar and to tell their stories. In that seminar, they freely exchanged their views and discussed their sufferings. The story of Bilkis Begum was one of them. She came from the district of Murshidabad, a Muslim dominated (70%) district of West Bengal. It should be mentioned here that, though the Sachar Committee Report mentioned the pathetic condition of the divorced and deserted Muslim women, the state governments are keeping a blind eye to this problem according to their policy of Muslim appeasement, and this renders the NGOs working for women’s rights and welfare aggrieved.
The tragedy of Bilkis Begum is that, neither her husband served talaq to her, and nor he admits her in his house. By driving her out of his house, her husband has married another woman. Bilkis is now satying at her paternal house along with her two-and-half-year-old son. Her father and other relatives are pushing her to marry another man, but she is not mentally prepared for it. Her brothers are threatening her to drive her out. In that case, where she would go? As her husband has not divorced her, she is unable to file a case against her husband asking for maintenance. Even if her husband pronounces ‘talaq’, it is uncertain whether her claim for alimony would stand, as Shariah Law has no provision for maintenance for a divorced woman. (Courtesy The Silent Terror by R N Datta)
The Story of Jyotsna Bibi and Nasima Bibi
Jyotsna Bibi is a resident of the village Bharkata in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal. She is also facing a similar problem. Her husband has brought a new wife and driven Jyotsna out of his house without a talaq. She is now living in her father’s house with her two sons, where where she faces ill-treatment as her brothers find her and her sons as an extra burden.
Similar is the case with Nasima Bibi, a resident of the village Dayanagar of the Bhgabangola area in the district of Murshidabad. For the past 9 years, she is living in her father’s house with her 11-year-old daughter. She has filed a case in court against her husband demanding maintenance. Her father and brothers are putting pressure on her to marry again, but she has decided to continue the legal battle and see the outcome of the case first.
While commenting on the above incidents, Khadija Banu, a social activist fighting for women’s rights, says that Bilkis, Jyotsna, Nasima and many other women like them are fighting an uneven battle. Bilkis is thinking of filing a case for alimony, if her husband serves her a divorce. Many other women like Nasima are fighting for maintenance. But it is uncertain how far they will be successful, as Shariah law has no provision for alimony.
“It is nearly impossible to realize maintenance, even if a ceremonial talaq is served”, says Khadija Banu.
“The district of Murshidabad is a Muslim dominated and nearly 70 per cent of its inhabitants are Muslims and there over 300,000 Muslim women in this district alone, who are deserted and riven out by their husbands without a divorce. In addition to that, there are more than 100,000 victims who have received talaq. What will happen to this large number of destitute women?” asks Khadija. (Courtesy The Silent Terror by R N Datta)
“Triple Talaq” not Enough”, says Bombay High Court
According to a report appeared in The Times of India, Calcutta, on January 21, 2007, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court ruled that ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’, these three words were not enough for a Muslim man to divorce his wife. In that crucial judgment, which rekindled the ‘triple talaq’ controversy, Justice B H Mariapalle, while delivering his verdict on a divorce case between Dilshad Begum and her husband Ahmadkhan Hanifkhan Pathan, observed that the talaq between Dilshad Begum and Ahmadkhan Hanifkhan Pathan was not valid as the husband had not gone through the preconditions of arbitration and reconciliation prescribed by the Muslim law. “The reasons for divorce, appointment of arbiters, the arbiters resorting to conciliation proceedings and failure of such proceedings or a situation where it was impossible for the marriage to continue, have not been proved in this case,” said the judge, reiterating the landmark judgment delivered by a full Bench of the Bombay High Court in similar circumstances in 2001.
At that time in 2001, a full Bench had held that “Mere pronouncement of talaq by the husband or merely declaring his intentions or his act of having pronounced the talaq is not sufficient and does not meet the requirement of law.”
On Islamic protocol of divorce, the Koran says:
“Ye may divorce your wives twice; and then either retain them with humanity or dismiss them with kindness ….” (2:229).
“But if the husband divorces her a third time, she shall not be lawful for him, until she marries another husband. But if he also divorces her, it shall be no crime in them if they return to each other again, if they think they can observe the ordinance of Allah” (2:230).
And under the Muslim law, a man can divorce his wife at will by talaq (release from marriage), or ila (taking a vow of abstinence), or zihar (declaring his wife to be his mother). A marriage can also be dissolved by judicial decree under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act.
For Dilshad Begum, it was a 16-year-long legal battle for getting justice. According to her husband Pathan, in 1994, he pronounced ‘talaq’ three times in a mosque and produced two witnesses to testify his case. He added that a talaq-nama along with an advocate’s notice and mehr (money paid by the groom to his wife at the time of marriage) of Rs. 125 and maintenance amount during the iddat (three menstrual cycles from the pronouncement of the talaq) Rs 600 were sent to his wife by money order. But the court, however, ruled that merely conveying his intention to divorce was just a part of the legal requirement, as stated above.
From above discussions, it becomes clear that the Indian judiciary is reluctant to admit the barbaric and inhuman Islamic law of divorce and the Indian judges, within the provisions of civil (kuffar) law, are trying their best to give some relief to divorced and deserted Muslim women. But it should be noted that, in nearly 99% of cases, these destitute and mostly illiterate women are financially incapable to take their cases to civil court, and hence cannot avail the benefit of law.
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