By Vasudha Venugopal
Nov 15, 2016
M J Akbar
Quran sanction triple Talaq? The spirit of the holy Quran is clearly on the
side of gender emancipation…
The 65th Sura of the holy Quran discusses
marriage and divorce. The prophet describes divorce as the thing that is lawful
but disliked by God, one that is legal but the last option, not the first. Even
when the divorce is legalised there are injunctions that one must take time —
give due consideration, have consultations and the time period is set — three
months at least. This business of
dial-a-divorce is against the spirit of Islam itself. According to the spirit
of Quran, if a couple fears separation, you appoint an arbitrator from his
family and from her family in order to save the marriage, and if they
reconcile, Allah will help them get together. There is sustenance for a
divorced wife. If a divorced woman wants to stay in the same home, she is
entitled to (do so) but you cannot force her to stay against her will. That is
the kind of emancipation that the holy Quran allowed at a time when women in
the world had no rights. Gender rights are the beginning of Islam.
Muslims have objected to the BJP talking about triple Talaq, calling it
Whoever brings up the issue, I want to ask
them why it is being confused with politics. The PM didn’t initiate the case in
court. The case reached a certain point in its process when he is the prime
minister. It is a coincidence, but at that moment he has taken a stand on
principle and he has said it is matter of gender rights and why should my
sisters in Islam be denied of basic human rights, which, by the way, are
available to them in other Muslim countries.
Q: More than
three decades on, how do you view the Shah Bano judgement of 1985?
The Shah Bano case was a distortion of
Islamic principles. At all times men are enjoined to treat wives with kindness.
Even when you part with them, part with kindness and you have to ensure their
sustenance. Shah Bano was probably going to get less than Rs 200 (per
month). The strength of Islamic
jurisprudence lies in strong concepts, and one of them is the concept of
‘Ijtihad’. It means evolution, using reason and principle in
jurisprudence. As an example: For many
kinds of theft, the Quranic punishment is cutting off of hands. But in no
Muslim country today is anyone convicted of theft has his hands cut off. Does
that mean all these Muslim countries have abandoned the Quran? No, they have
used Ijtihad in order that if the crime of theft can be prevented or stopped by
other forms of punishment, then you move on.
Q: Did the Rajiv
Gandhi-led Congress government at the time do the right thing by overturning
the court verdict through an Act of Parliament?
Congress might have had its own reasons for
doing what it did then. There could have been public pressure. But that is
water under the bridge.
chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has said that it was you who
persuaded Rajiv Gandhi to override Shah Bano ruling…
The stand that I took then, I didn't do
anything in hiding. I didn't do anything under the shade of private advice that
many have gone on doing, whispering here and there. I was editor at that time.
I was not in government when this was taking place. Therefore, my position was
fully and continuously written in the Telegraph, previously in Sunday and so
on. And eventually, when I contested elections, I fought against Shahabuddin in
Kishanganj. And Shahabuddin was the person who led a campaign against reforms
in the Shah Bano case.
Muslim religious bodies opposing the abolition of triple Talaq justified in
saying that the issue needs more research and consultation?
asking the Qazis opposing triple Talaq to go research the holy Quran. Look for
the future in your holy book. Those Muslim clerics who become obstacles to
women's emancipation are against the spirit of the Quran. How can anyone go by
triple Talaq which is instant, when it is clearly mentioned in the holy book
that one must have consultations?
Sharia (Laws) On Divorce: Triple Divorce, Temporary Marriage, Halala Stand
there is no concept of three divorces in Islam. It is after the second divorce that a man can retain his wife or get separated. The concept Of "Three Divorces" does not exist in the Quran.
The concept of "triple Talaq in one sitting" or "Instant Talaq" is alien to the Quran. The misconception that issuing "so called Three Talaqs in one sitting" will terminate ''nikah''(marriage) and will result in irrevocable talaq is nothing but mockery of the laws. The Holy Quran explicitly lays down principles for talaq and marital discord as follows:
Surah Nisah ....4:35... (...Quote...)
In this ayat of Surah Nisa, Allah clearly asks for arbitration and reconcillation with the help of relatives. Therefore,it is clear that no Talaq can be effective without their interference, whether given once, twice, thrice or a hundred times.
The Surah Talaq Verses 1-12 (...Quote...)
Thus, it is clear from the above surah that the concept of "Three Divorces" does not exist in the Quran. The concept of triple talaq in one go was just an innovation by Caliph Umar and doesn't find any place in the Holy Quran.
The scholars and religious bodies who validate triple talaq in one sitting (without arbitration, reconciliation, and many other conditions as required in the Quran) need to learn that the Laws of Allah are above sayings of any . Even if it served during the reign of a caliph it can not be applicable to for all times to come, as it is only the Quran which is to be followed for all time.