A Muslim woman is being forced by the village maulvi and village head to do Nikah Halala in order to ‘remarry’ her husband who had given her triple talaq, Bengali-language daily Anand Bazar Partrika has reported.
Nasima, a resident of Ranjitpur village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, is the mother of two children (boy – 14, girl – 12). Around one year back, her husband Rabiul gave her triple talaq after some dispute. Nasima wasn’t present when he uttered talaq 3 times and she only heard about it from other villagers, yet had to leave for her parent’s place along with her children.
Now the couple has reconciled and wants to get back together. But an arbitration meeting conducted by an Islamic society and the village head has ruled that Nasima has to undergo Nikah Halala, before she can ‘remarry’ her husband. ‘Nikah halala’ is an Islamic practise under which a divorced Muslim woman has to marry again, consummate the marriage and then break it if she wants to go back to her first husband.
Nikah Halala is considered a legitimate practise by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and many Islamic scholars who base it on Quran verses 2:229, 2:230.
Nasima says, “First of all, I did not listen to my husband give me triple talaq. Secondly, the Supreme Court has banned triple talaq. So our divorce is illegal. Why do I now have to remarry another man! The people of the village are teasing my children – ‘will you call us for your mother’s marriage?’ Am i a playing doll? ”
But Akhtar Hossain, chief of the arbitration meeting which ruled that Nasima would have have to undergo Nikah Halala, said, “How can she say this? What if the Supreme Court has banned? As per shariat, Nasima will have to undergo Nikah Halala to become eligibile to remarry Rabiul.” The couple has been threatened to leave the village if they disobey this ruling.
Nasima is fighting an uphill battle as her husband has also caved in to this diktat and is now saying “I agree with whatever is there in Shariat (Islamic law) and what the village head is saying.” She is getting some support from a Muslim women’s organization and a maulvi who says that as the divorce is not legal, so the questions of Nikah Halala does not arise.
In Nasima’s words,” The heads of society are pushing me for rape by misinterpreting Sharia.”
Triple Talaq Saga
Nasima is not the first Muslim woman to be victimised by regressive practises like Triple Talqa and Nikah Halala, and she won’t be the last. Recently, another woman from UP who was given triple talaq by her husband and later reconciled, was shocked when her father-in-law demanded that she do Nikah halala with him before he would allow her to remarry his son.
The practise of Triple Talaq was declared unconstitutional in August last year by 3:2 majority of an SC Constitutional Bench, with the majority judgement ruling that Triple Talaq was not ‘integral to Islam’ and against ‘tenets of Holy Quran’. AIMPLB, which had argued in favor of Triple Talaq, was represented by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal who argued that, “Testing the validity of customs and practices of a community is a slippery slope into which the Supreme Court must not venture.” Sibal also equated the issue of triple talaq with the belief that Bhagwan Rama was born in Ayodhya, arguing that these were matters of faith which cannot be put to test on grounds of constitutional morality. AIMPLB had also argued that if the practice is discontinued, a man could murder or burn his wife alive to get rid of her.
While passing its judgement, the SC asked the government to bring legislation in six months to govern marriage and divorce in the Muslim community.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, which criminalizes the practice of instant triple talaq, was introduced by the NDA Government and the bill was passed in Lok Sabha in Dec 2017. However, it is currently stuck in Rajya Sabha with Congress-led Opposition trying to stall its passage by demanding it be sent to a Select Committee for further ‘fine tuning’.
One of the main demands of Congress and other ‘secular’ parties is that the three-year penal provision be removed as they claim it would ‘destroy Muslim families.’ But they have failed to explain how removing the penal provision, which is similar to the punishment under Dowry Prohibition Act, would create deterrence against Triple Talaq – even after the SC judgement banning the practise, several cases have been reported across the country.
The bottomline is that the bill is still stuck in RS – with the last 14 days of ongoing budget session of Parliament being washed out due to protests by various Opposition parties on issues like banking scam, Cauvery board, special status to Andhra Pradesh and quota hike, leading to daily adjournments.
So while Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi strut around claiming to be liberal champions, the likes of Nasima would we wondering why their party and her state’s own woman CM (Mamata)is holding up the passage of a law which outlaws a blatantly misogynist practise like Triple Talaq, something which even a hardline Islamist countries like Pakistan has abolished.
(h/t to @trunils for sharing this news with us)
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