Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muslim men support demand for abolition of triple talaq, nikaah-halala practices

Dear Friends,  
As you are aware, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) ha​s collected 50,000 signatures as part of their campaign demanding an end to triple talaq and nikaah-halala. Rattled by this development, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board have resorted to accusing BMMA of being RSS/VHP agents and worse. 

I believe as progressive Muslim men we owe it to ourselves to stand by BMMA and support their campaign. A proposed statement with an initial list of signatories from Mumbai is pasted at the end of this message and is also attached.

We request you to endorse the statement/contact Muslim men within your circle of family, friends, colleagues and comrades and urge them to endorse the same. What we need is the name of the signatory and his professional background: (Student, teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc ). 
In the press release, the full list of signatories will appear in alphabetical order.

Since we are planning to issue the press statement on Monday afternoon, to speed up the process of getting signatories, we suggest the following options: 

1. Send a message to Javed Anand saying, 'I endorse the campaign for abolition of triple talaq and nikaah-halala practices'.

2. Send a message to Javed Anand saying, 'I have spoken to the following persons who fully endorse the statement'. (Please list the names).    

Thanks, 
Javed Anand
<javedanand@gmail.com>

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Muslim men support demand for abolition of triple talaq and nikaah-halala

We, the undersigned, believe that gender equality and justice are human rights issues which must be as much a matter of concern for men as for women. If anything, it is more so men’s obligation to cry a halt to patriarchy, particularly when it is sought to be perpetuated in the name of God.

We therefore fully support the campaign launched by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) for the abolition, and declaration as illegal, of the current practices of triple talaq (instant divorce) and nikaah-halala in India. We salute BMMA for its initiative in collecting 50,000 signatures from across the country in support of their demand. 

While the triple talaq method of instant divorce is today banned in more than 21 Muslim majority countries, including Pakistan, it continues to be justified by the ulema in India as legally valid, even though theologically repugnant.

We categorically reject the false claim of the ulema that what goes in the name of Muslim Personal Law in India is a “God-given” law. As BMMA has rightly pointed out, there is no mention of the inhuman, unjust and anti-women instant talaq practice in the Quran. In fact, the Quran clearly stipulates an obligatory three-month period during which attempts must be made at reconciliation and mediation before severing of the marital bond.

Equally, triple talaq violates the Constitutional principles of gender parity and non-discrimination. Thus this obnoxious practice is both un-Quranic and un-Constitutional.

The ulema who proudly proclaim that Islam is the first religion to have given rights to women are duty bound to ensure justice to women. We bemoan the fact that instead of doing so they continue to justify the Muslim male’s privilege of unilateral and instant divorce, often on a mere whim or fit of anger.

As for nikaah-halala, it is a shameful practice which is extremely degrading for women. Even if a husband utters the dread words ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ in a fit of anger but regrets the same immediately thereafter, according to the ulema there is only one way for the couple to resume their relationship. Another man must marry the divorced woman, consummate the marriage and then divorce her so that she may remarry her former husband. BMMA has even documented some cases where qazis not only justify and legitimise nikaah-halala, but even offer their own “services” as temporary husbands. What could be more disgraceful than this?

The least we expect from the ulema who have proved themselves unwilling and incapable of ending the shameful, anti-women practices of instant divorce and nikaah-halala is to stop perpetuating patriarchy in the name of religion.

The word ulema is supposed to mean a body of Muslim scholars who are recognized as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology. We demand that the ulema in India to live up to that definition. They must stop making a mockery of their honorific, stop demonising Islam in the process.

Signatories in alphabetical order:
Anjum Rajabali (Screen Writer)
Anwar Hussain: Corporate Executive
Aamir:Communication designer
Feroze Khan: Theatre director
Feroze Mithiborwala: Activist,           
Hasan Kamaal: Senior journalist, poet, lyricist
Irfan Engineer: Activist,         
Javed Anand: Activist, journalist
Javed Siddiqi:Screen/dialogue writer, playwright
Kader Qazi: Creative director
Saeed Mirza: Film-maker
Rahman Abbas: Fiction Writer