The Triple Talaq

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The Triple Talaq

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara


Dr. Syeda Hameed, Feminist and Islamic Scholar on Triple Talaq.

Many Indian Muslim women have had enough. They are now challenging the men in power, Mari Marcel Thekaekara writes.

India is in the middle of a big discussion. Even fundamentalist Hindu groups are saying what they think, when it is mainly a Muslim question. The problem is: fundamentalist Muslim men do not think it is unfair that they can divorce their wives suddenly when they want to.

It’s very complicated. India has many sets of laws. The common civil laws govern the country, but there are also minority laws. This was very modern when these laws were created in the 1950’s – to create a secular country. But it’s difficult.

Minorities – Christians, Muslims, Parsis and others - have their own sets of ‘Personal Laws’ about marriages and property etc. This gives special rights to these groups, but it also creates problems. Many Hindus feel that this is not good for them.

One of the central questions is about ‘Triple Talaq’. This is the right that Muslim men have to divorce their wives by saying ‘Talaq’ – ‘I divorce you’ – three times. Sometimes they do this with little reason. Sometimes they use it as a threat to control their wives. Some men send the ‘Triple Talaq’ via emails, by phone messages, WhatsApp or telephone calls.

In many Islamic countries, this is not legal anymore. But many Indian men say that Indian Muslim women who say this is not fair are ‘un-Islamic and dangerous’.

But many Indian Muslim women have had enough. Several women are now speaking openly about this. They say the triple Talaq is un-Islamic. They are challenging the men in power. Many Muslim women do not want people to think they are helpless victims anymore.

Islamic feminist scholar, Dr. Syeda Hameed was an advisor to the government on India’s Planning Commission. She has taught in a Canadian university and has written books.

Syeda has conducted marriages for young Muslim couples. She is a Muslim woman cleric. She said that there are 84 million Muslim women, and that they do not all agree with Sharia law. She said: ‘Islam gave property rights to women at a time when the custom was to bury the girl child at birth. Making Triple Talaq legal in this religion (which has given real rights to women) is not good for Islam. As a Muslim woman, I reject it.’

Dr. Syeda travelled to 18 Indian states as a member of the National Commission for Women. She produced the report ‘Voice of the Voiceless: Status of Muslim Women in India’. Thousands of Muslim women spoke to her about the problem of the Triple Talaq. They can be suddenly very poor with those three words.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have changed).