In a bizarre argument to defend the practice of triple talaq in one go, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board — or AIMPLB — said on Friday, “It’s better to divorce a woman than kill her.”
This particular logic authenticates all the arguments used by opponents of Islam that it is a religion
that subjugates women.
The AIMPLB further argued that the Sharia grants the right to divorce to men because they have greater power of decision-making and because they are less emotional. Again, the board’s argument asserts that women are inferior to men and are incapable of making rational decisions.
In fact, the board validates all those Islamophobes who denounce Islam for exploiting and ill-treating women as inferior to men.
The AIMPLB’s arguments have done the biggest disservice to Islam.
The ‘Respected’ Beginnings
The AIMPLB was established in 1973 by highly respected Islamic scholars, including Maulana Ali Mian, Maulana Minnat Ullah Rehmani, Qazi Mujahidul Islam and Maulana Abdul Kareem Parikh. It was not an elected body, but represented most of the schools of thought.
And it was respected because it was led by Maulana Ali Mian, a moderate and highly respected scholar.
Then Came The Limelight
The board came into prominence during the Shah Bano debate in 1985, when it started a mass movement against the Supreme Court judgment. The judgment — the AIMPLB argued — was interfering with the Sharia or personal laws of the Muslims.
Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to the board’s pressure and passed the Muslim Women Protection Act in 1986 to overturn the Supreme Court decision. This emboldened the board, encouraging a lot of politically motivated elements to enter it.
The AIMPLB had promised Rajiv Gandhi that they will soon codify the Sharia laws and give better representation to women in the board.
However, 30 years later, their promises remain unfulfilled.
The Rights And The Wrongs
AIMPLB rightly asserts that the Supreme Court cannot legislate and impose a
Uniform Civil Code on the nation. This can only be done by the Parliament.
However, the fact is triple talaq is not only un-Quranic but rejected
by most of the schools of Islamic Fiqh (or law).
Most Muslim countries do not accept this archaic interpretation of triple talaq. The case of AIMPLB would have been much stronger if they had accepted the fact that triple talaq in one go should not be allowed.
Board Must Stand Up Against Misogynistic Views
The AIMPLB members have made fools of themselves by asserting that it’s better to divorce a woman than to kill her. They have tried to justify one evil by another. It’s an immoral argument, that too coming from a so-called religious body.
If they don’t, Muslim Ulema of repute, Islamic scholars, and intellectuals should come forward and make this board irrelevant.
It’s high time that Muslims Ulema go for necessary reforms,
with courage and foresight, within the framework of the Quran and Hadees, to
strengthen Muslim societies so that they can face attacks on their fundamental beliefs
from within and from outside.
It’s time to face radical extremist organisations that are eating into the vitals of Muslim world like cancer and not waste time on irrelevant and peripheral issues like triple talaq or polygamy.
The threat to Islam from within is much larger than from its opponents and critics.
(The writer is editor, Nai Duniya, an Urdu weekly. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)