Wednesday, April 27, 2016

End Triple Talaq Divorce - By Zeenat Shaukat Ali - The Times of India

My comments on Ms. Zeenat Shaukat Ali's article - End Triple Talaq Divorce published in The Times of India :

Ghulam MuhammedMumbai24 secs ago

Zeenat Shaukat Ali, a supposed Islamic Scholar, is probably committing a great injustice to Islam, by trying to confine the entire body Sharia to Holy Quran. Even in Quran, there are clear instructions for Muslims to follow not just Quran, but the Prophet and those who are in-charge. How can Zeenat then try to prove that since it is not in Quran, Triple Talaaq has no basis in Islam. Misguided progressives are trying to force Government to assume the role of a Theocratic Islamic State which it is not. India is a secular pluralist country, and neither Hindutva nor Islamic zealots nor misguided Progressives who are in fact anti-religious per se, can change its constitution through Supreme Court intervention.

The Times of India, Mumbai (Print Edition)

End Triple Talaq Divorce

Shayara Bano case will be critical for gender justice to Muslim women

Inline image 1

By Zeenat Shaukat Ali

The Supreme Court’s suo motu decision delivered by Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit, to test the legal validity of triple talaq in one sitting in the petition filed by Shayara Bano, has long been overdue. Shayara Bano – a sociology postgraduate and a mother of two – appealed that triple talaq be declared unconstitutional when her husband ended their 15-year-old marriage by sending her a letter with the word talaq written on it thrice.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has declared that the country’s top court has no jurisdiction to undertake the exercise as Muslim Personal Law “is inextricably interwoven with the religion of Islam”, being based on the Quran and not on a law enacted by Parliament. This argument has little logic. It needs to be unequivocally stated that the talaq-i-bidat, admitted by the Muslim Personal Law Board to be “sinful” and an “innovation”, finds no sanction in the Quran.
Neither does the Quran sanction this form of divorce in one sitting nor was it legally held permissible by the Prophet. Such a practice violates the fundamental principles of gender justice, gender equity, good conscience and the dignity of women strongly enunciated in Islam.
The Prophet denounced the pre-Islamic, patriarchal notion of the husband’s absolute right to divorce, stating that divorce was the most reprehensible of all things permitted: “God has not created anything on the face of the earth that he loves more than emancipation; and God has created nothing upon the face of the earth more hateful to him than divorce” (AD 13:3). The Quran illustrates this point by expressing approval when the Prophet recommended that Zayd should not divorce his wife in spite of the fact that there was long standing dissension between husband and wife. “Behold thou should say to one who has received the Grace of God and His favour, retain your wife in wedlock and fear God” (Q 33:37).
The arbitrary, undisputed, absolute power of divorce by the husband with triple talaq in a single sitting was the common customary law practised in pre-Islamic Arabia in the days of jahiliyya or ignorance, where a husband would discard his wife by contemptuously tossing his slipper saying “you are unto me like my slipper”. This is a grave distortion of the law of divorce in Islam and was condemned by the Prophet as the following Tradition demonstrates: “The Messenger of Allah was informed of a man (Rukhana) who divorced his wife three times together, his face became red and he stood up in displeasure and said: ‘Is the Book of Allah being sported with while I am still in your midst?’” (NS 27:6)
This mode of talaq, once pronounced, is considered “bain” or irrevocable where rights of inheritance cease immediately on pronouncement though the death of the husband or wife may occur during the period of iddat or period of waiting. Further, in this form of talaq, if the parties wish to remarry the wife undergoes halala, a humiliating pre-Islamic practice where the wife went through a marriage with another man which is consummated and subsequently dissolved.
As Justice Ameer Ali points out, legitimacy of the triple talaq seems to have crept into Islamic jurisprudence at the instance of the Umayyad monarchs. Inexplicably, although disapproved by the classical jurists, it has been accepted by most Sunni jurists.
Unfortunately the legality of this mode of divorce is upheld in India if the husband were to repudiate his wife during her menstrual flow, if he is in a drunken state, in a fit of temper, in jest, at the slip of a tongue, when the woman is pregnant and other such situations, communicated even by means of a telephone call, an SMS, through Facebook or over Skype.
Needless to say talaq-i-bidat has devastated the lives of many women and children. Deprived of any opportunity for reconciliation, this mode of divorce has been subject to criticism in several Muslim countries.
Modernist interpretation advocated by scholars introduced reform through the juristic means of ijtehad (creative interpretation). Several Muslim countries have brought about reform through codification. Countries like Turkey, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan have either reformed the law completely or brought about legally stringent preventive measures in this area. Tunisia brought about reform by de-recognition of the triple talaq within the circumference and perimeter of Islamic law.
The time has come for major strides to be taken to bring about reform and change in the Muslim Personal Law in India. In order to accomplish this, codification of the Muslim Personal Law is an imperative. The process of codification of Muslim Law must now be seriously undertaken by a group of legal experts, experienced jurists well versed in the Muslim law, legal experts, liberal ulema and scholars in the field. Gender-just laws must be the common denominator. Alongside Muslim women, Muslim men’s organisations must push for change.
If Muslim countries can bring about reform in family laws India must follow suit. In the words of Justice Hidayatullah: “If the lead is coming from Muslim countries, it is hoped that in the course of time the same measures will be applied in India also.”
We await the judgment of the Supreme Court, seeking gender justice.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

Lest we repeat - Editorial - The Indian Express

The Indian Express


Lest we repeat

Don’t lament flawed investigation of 2006 Malegaon bombings. Need to explore ways to

institutionalise police accountability

MalegaonNIA said a group of Hindu radicals had carried out the attacks that killed 37. (Archive Photo)

Lives scarred by years spent in prison for crimes never committed; families destroyed; the republic’s promise of justice frayed — with these consequences of the hideously flawed investigation of the 2006 Malegaon bombings, we have all become familiar. 

It isn’t enough, however, to lament what happened. 

Instead, the Central and state governments need to provide granular answers to the questions that have emerged from Malegaon. Just how was it, for instance, that Maharashtra’s criminal investigators incarcerated innocent men, leaving the perpetrators free to strike again? Why was the evidence not revisited when a separate investigation threw up leads linking the bombing to “Hindu terror”? Who in authority authorised prosecutors to defend their error in the face of this new evidence? These questions go to the heart of the police system, for what happened in Malegaon is true to a disturbing pattern. There is a mass of evidence that suggests the men convicted for the July 2006 attacks on Mumbai’s train system were innocent of the crime. Internal police documents revealed by this newspaper last year showed investigators in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh believed the bombings were carried out by men in their custody, not those convicted. However, prosecutors in Maharashtra have refused to revisit the case. Himayat Baig stands convicted of the 2010 bombing in Pune — though, in 2011, police in Delhi arrested a separate group of men they said had carried out the same crime. That did not, however, lead to a reappraisal of the case.

Though it seems improbable that this pattern could be the outcome of anything other than egregious police misconduct, wilful wrongdoing is impossible to prove without an investigation. That is unlikely to happen, for there is no political will to uncover the truth. Even though these criminal failures of policing took place on the watch of a Congress government, the BJP has proved just as tenacious in defending them as its predecessor. For its part, the Congress is interested only in levelling accusations of communal bias at the handling of investigations by the BJP, not a full and honest accounting for past mistakes. This should not surprise: Ruling parties want loyal police forces, and loyalty comes at a price.

How India ought to proceed is no mystery. For one, cases of wrongful arrest must be mandatorily investigated, responsibility assigned, and institutional rectification initiated — all this, in the full light of day.

In democracies across the world, police autonomy has gone hand in hand with police accountability, enforced by bodies like the UK’s Independent Police Complaints Commission. 

In addition, systems have been put in place to compensate those who suffer miscarriages of justice, without putting them through the harassment of proceedings in a civil court. The price of not doing so will be deepening distrust in the law, and in the criminal justice system — a far more lethal wound to India than that any terrorist could inflict.

Secular politics needs Gandhian courage

Democracy in India, affirmed through elections, is pushing Muslims to the margins.

Inline image 1
Apoorvanand  - The writer teaches Hindi at Delhi University.

Picture of representation purpose.

“Festival rubs off scars,” claimed a newspaper report that was accompanied by a photograph of Muslim men distributing water and sweets to Hindus celebrating Ram Navami. The place was Balu Math in Latehar, Jharkhand. The scars meant the murder of two Muslim men, one of them an adolescent, by members of the local Gau Raksha Samiti.

Rub off your scars and do not complain, Muslims are told after each violent incident against them. Their insistence on talking about their wounds is seen as a sign of their grumbling nature, love of their victimhood, and a proof of their disaffection towards Hindus.

Responding to criticism against his study of the sources of the authoritarian personality in Germans in the post-Hitler years, Theodore Adorno wrote “… in the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, otherwise one might seem to harbour resentment.” Adorno was trying to look for the socio-psychological sources of Nazism. He was accused of inducing guilt in the Germans about what was not a collective crime, but an exceptional event in the history of an otherwise liberal, enlightened culture.

The killing of Akhlaq at Dadri shocked the nation. But attacks on Muslims, in the name of saving cows or on some other pretext, have lost their ability to create a sensation. For every published story of violence against Muslims, there are at least 10 stories untold or unreported. Violence against the community is like domestic or sexual violence in which the women are expected to understand the temperament of their men and adjust accordingly. Grumbling or resisting women deserve further punishment.

Incidents of beating up of Muslims or social boycott of the community in Jharkhand have failed to find space in the media. Diktats are issued not to do business with Muslims. For the past two years, the Muslims of Jharkhand have been enduring this carefully crafted, ruthless and silent isolation.

How are Muslims expected to react? From petitioning the local police and administration to staging dharnas, community leaders use all possible democratic means to voice their concern. The law and order machinery, mostly, sees Muslims with Hindu eyes. The chief minister of Jharkhand feigned surprise when a delegation apprised him of these incidents. “Who is doing all this?” he asked. One of the delegation members replied, “Sir, they are those who think that now it is their raj path.”

Ironically, it has become the responsibility of Muslims to bring back normalcy. They were asked not to harbour animosity against Hindus. Victims were seen vying with each other to please their tormentors.
It is now seen as a normal democratic practice and a part of the freedom of speech to spread venom and hatred against Muslims. This newspaper has warned and pleaded editorially that hate against Muslims should not be made an electoral agenda. It has gone unheeded. The Assam election campaign saw virulent anti-Muslim propaganda. The chief of the ruling party cunningly used a historically absurd example of a 13th century Ahom king driving out a 16th century Mughal badshah and exhorted the electorate to follow his act. His history may be wrong, but it was a deliberate mistake. The message reached the intended constituency. While preparing for elections in Kerala, he openly called for the consolidation of all Hindu forces.

The rise of Dalit and backward politics has not been of much help to Muslims. If we look at their electoral behaviour, they have always chosen parties headed by Hindus. Parties that mobilise maximum number of Hindu votes usually get their support. But these parties, referred to as secular, refrain from being seen with them in the time of distress. We saw it during the Trilokpuri violence. Neither the AAP nor other secular parties could muster courage to be seen on the ground helping Muslims.

We approached a senior Congress leader in Delhi to request political support for the Muslims of Atali. He explained that they could do it only incognito as their primary concern now was to win back Hindus. “You have to understand that Muslims would back us only when they are assured that the majority of Hindus are with us,” he said. Three years ago in Dhule (Maharashtra), six Muslim youth were killed and many houses burnt. The leaders of the ruling parties, the Congress and the NCP, did not visit the bereaved families.
To be seen supporting Muslims can be electorally costly.

Democracy in India, which gets renewed and affirmed through elections, is now pushing Muslims to the margins and making them invisible. They are losing hope in India. This might sound alarmist, but it needs to be said. For the first time in independent India, they feel pushed to the corner and disenfranchised. There have often been reports from poll-bound states about “aggressive” voting by Muslims. It is a last ditch attempt to save whatever is left of the plural democratic space where they once felt secure.

“Do not leave us” is what Gandhi had told the Muslims in 1947. India will be incomplete without you. You would not be vassals of Hindus but their proud equals, Gandhi had assured them. He was punished with death for this audacity. After him, his disciple, Jawaharlal Nehru, bravely honoured the promise. Nehru was not afraid of being derided as half-Muslim, half-Christian. The shadows of Gandhi and Nehru seem to have receded far from Muslims.

The biggest challenge before secular politics today is to bring back the Gandhian courage and declare boldly that it is pro-Muslim. If it is not done urgently, we are in the danger of losing India, or whatever is left of it.
The writer teaches Hindi at Delhi University.