Afreen Rehman was divorced by her husband via mail that arrived in a speed post. Her husband used the way of the ‘triple talaq’.
Peeved, the 25-year-old Rehman has moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking an end to the system that many liberal Muslim women say is against women’s rights.
Speaking to the media Afreen, a Jaipur resident, says that she got married in 2014 but three months into the marriage, her in-laws started harassing her for dowry.
“Later, they started beating me up and asked me to leave. I came to my maternal home and now I have received speed post announcing divorce,” she says. She calls the triple talaq system “completely wrong, unfair and unacceptable”.
This is not the first instance of a Muslim woman getting divorced in such a manner. In October 2015, an NRI Muslim man divorced his wife in Kerala via WhatsApp
In February 2016, a senior member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had stated that talaq delivered via WhatsApp, Skype, on phone or any social media platform is valid.
A fatwa by Dar-ul-Uloom in Deoband issued in November 2015 stipulates that even if a wife is unable to hear talaq uttered thrice by a Muslim man on a mobile phone, it still remains valid. Often the reasons for the talaq are bizarre; in April 2016, a man in Assam divorced his wife of 10 years
because she voted for BJP.
Muslim women have, however, raised their voice against this practice. Only men can initiate such talaqs according to Islam and because it is totally biased towards the men.
Muslim women protesting the triple talaq system. pinimg
The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) president Shaista Ambar has been long demanding for abolishing the triple talaq system. Similar has been the fight of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA). A study conducted in mid-2015
had revealed that an overwhelmingly high number of women wanted and end to the talaq system.
In August 2015, a government committee had recommended the banning of oral, unilateral and triple talaq.
Women protesting against the talaq system.
In March 2016, the Supreme Court, acting on a plea of a Muslim woman from Uttarakhand seeking ban on triple talaq, directed the Centre to release that report within six weeks. The court had also ordered for an examination of the law.
The biggest hindrance is, however, from the AIMPLB. Members of the Board have stated that the Supreme Court has no right to interfere in matters concerning the religion.
Kamal Faruqui, a member of AIMPLB, had told the Indian Express
, “This will mean direct interference of the government in religious affairs as Sharia (Islamic law) is based on the Quran and Hadith, and its jurisprudence is strong as far as Islam is concerned. This would be against the Constitutional right to freedom of religion.” Stressing upon the right to freedom of religion, Mohammed Abdul Rahul Qureshi told India TV
in February 2016 that the apex court “is legally not appropriate” to examine Muslim law.
Another hindrance is the total silence of self-proclaimed Liberal and Secular voices.
This includes those in the civil society and the media who take to the streets to oppose anti-women practices in Hinduism such as the right to enter temples. Take the case of BMMA. The story of its fight against this practice was covered by The Guardian
– a British publication – and not by any ‘prominent’ Indian media house.