oppn parties Muslim Personal Law Should be Codified Without Delay

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Muslim Personal Law Should be Codified Without Delay

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
A majority of Muslim women are against the unilateral, oral triple talaq. A new study that was conducted by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) across 10 states and 4710 respondents, found that 92.1% of the Muslim women questioned favoured a ban on the discriminatory practice.

The beauty of the Muslim divorce practice as mandated by the Holy Quran (Sura Al Baqarah â€" 228,229 & 230, mainly) is that it has a built in waiting period. A man can pronounce the word talaq twice, after which he has to wait for the wife to have three monthly courses before he can pronounce the third talaq. Hence, not only is triple talaq pronounced at one go un-Islamic, it is also a crime against the Holy Quran.

The study also shows that 91.7% of the women also opposed a second marriage for their husbands. In India, there is a lot of misinformation regarding the provision of four or more marriages for Muslim males. The Holy Quran has not given each Muslim male an unhindered right to marry four or more times. What it says is that you can marry more than once but if you are not able to provide for all your wives equally and without discrimination, you must not so marry (Sura 4 {An Nisa}, Ayah 3). Islamcan.com puts it wonderfully when it says that the Quran “permits but does not command” Muslim men to have multiple wives. Even the Supreme Court, in the case Khursheed Ahmad Khan versus State of UP held that a practice cannot acquire religious sanction just because it is permitted and even the practice of having more wives than one can be regulated or prohibited in the interest of public order, morality and health.

The problems arise as Muslim personal law is not codified in India. Many Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Yemen to name just three, have codified Muslim personal law. But any such attempt in India always draws howls of protest. Is it because India is not a Muslim country? Despite having the second largest Muslim population in the world, we have not been able to provide them with a modern, codified version of their law. The All India Muslim Law Board (AIMLB) is a body just in name. Its only job is to keep track of government or judicial pronouncements on anything concerning the Muslims and raise hell if it does not meet its approval.

Most women respondents in the above study favoured an intervention by the government to rectify the situation. Time has now come for the government to take the initiative to codify Muslim personal law. Islamic scholars can be consulted, codified laws of other Muslim countries can be studied and of course the Holy Quran has to be the ultimate reference book. But it has to be done without delay to stop discrimination against women and outlaw practices that have been banned in other Muslim nations.