No doubt safeguarding the Muslim Personal Law from external interference is a duty and while we do it, we must realize that the issue of Triple Talaq is more internal than external and must be addressed and resolved with courage and wisdom.
OMER ASAD BAJABAR | Caravan Daily
TRIPLE TALAQ is the most talked about subject in India today. It has been blown out of proportion and is nothing more than an electoral gimmick. In Islam, marriage is a contract between two parties, namely ‘The Man’ and ‘The Woman’, they are brought into a relationship as ‘Husband’ & ‘Wife’ through the word of GOD and by the process taught by Prophet Muhammad, PBUH. Mehr is a marriage gift from groom to the bride is an essential part of the contract.
‘And give the women (on marriage) their mehr as a (nikah) gift” (Quran 4:4).
The Nikah (marriage) is considered an act of worship and it is both a religious and a social activity. The rights, privileges and duties of both parties are well defined. Justice, Trust and Respect is foundation of this most sacred and most beautiful relationship. The Quranic verses read out in sermon of marriage further clarify and strengthen the foundation of this relationship and remind all to abide by the command of Allah.
The Prophet has said:“The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed.”
The love between the spouses has been referred to as a sign of the Creator: And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. Quran 30:21
Islam stands for Justice and under no circumstances would allow injustice in the society or family. In the context of marriage, Islam commands husband to go a step further and demand of him to practice “Ihsan” (kindness, to go beyond his duty when fulfilling her rights and be ready to forgive and forget if his rights are not fully met).
The Quran addresses men more than women as by design men are the ones who in any society hold the responsibility and power. If he doesn’t fulfill his duties, it is not that easy for wife to extract her rights.
In Islam, a woman has her own permanent individual identity and carry her father’s name same as men. The rights and duties of woman must be understood in right context:
- Men are made Qawwam (caretakers) because they spend (all the financial responsibility of a family is on men).
- All expenses related to marriage is Man’s (groom not the father of bride though he too is a man) responsibility.
- The responsibility to buy and arrange the house hold stuff too is husband’s responsibility.
- Husband must pay Mehr which is decided by the girl’s family (not the other way). If he fails, he hasn’t fulfilled one important condition of the marriage contract.
- Men are responsible to take care of the family (all those who are under his responsibility.
- What women earns is her!
- Men can’t give Zakat to his wife as he is duty bound to take care of her.
- Women can pay Zakat to her husband from her estate as a favor.
- What women gets as Mehr or gifts are her and she has full disposition over it.
- Women is not duty bound to serve her in laws and her duty is towards her husband only (if she does it on her own she will earn great reward for it), as noble character of a believer she is highly recommended to be courteous, respectful towards her father in-law& mother in-law and the same is expected from the husband for his father and mother in-laws.
- As duty, she is responsible to look after her own parents as much as she could.
The marriage contract can be terminated by either party. The termination if initiated by husband is called “TALAQ” and if wife seeks it, is called “KHULA”. However, it is not an impulsive decision but rather a very serious one which should never be taken in haste or anger. And it is the last resort after exhausting all options of arbitration and reconciliation. Of all the permissible actions, Talaq is the most disliked by God.
Once the society accept the proper Islamic family financial system, a girl will never be left on the mercy of anyone, her rights as daughter, sister, wife and mother are protected.
Marriage in Indian Context: Due to the influence of local customs, bride’s family usually end up paying the marriage day expenses along with the Jahez and costly gifts for the groom. Be it coercion or social pressure, none likes to go bankrupt with pleasure. In such situation groom, has violated the contract condition and failed in its first duty and committed injustice. In such cases,wife may seek legal intervention, as there is no justification to let the one who violated the basics of the contract to have the sole privilege over its dissolution. Allowing one party to wrong the other party is no noble act as it promulgate injustice in the society.
Allowing the right of divorce to men has more aspects and reasons than just the financial spending aspect; it has psychological, emotional, religious aspects too. Husband may exercise this God given right provided they act as MEN in all aspect not just ‘Anatomical aspect’ and fulfill their rights and obligations and follow the due process as laid down strictly in Quran and Sunnah.
Triple Talaq: Triple Talaq is a misnomer. As per the correct Islamic process husband can pronounce divorce only ONCE during her clean period (between two menstrual cycles) and is counted as ONE. If he doesn’t take her back during the waiting period, they are divorced. And if husband takes her back, she is divorced once.
Islamic law of Talaq can be interpreted in such a way that only One divorce is effective in one clean period between two menstrual cycles and that ruling is equally well supported by Quran and Sunna. We have clear evidence from Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, that whenever he was offered two valid options he chose the one which is less difficult. Then, why to insist on ‘Triple Talaq’ when pronounced in one sitting be counted as THREE and not ONE. Counting it as THREE defeats the complete logic on which the contract of marriage is built in Islam and puts one party at a great disadvantage.
The discussion on Triple Talaq is usually taken-up by Muslim community in the backdrop of external threat or interference in Muslim Personal Law, with this premise the follow-up actions are bound to be defensive in nature and it doesn’t leave any space for true introspection and correction. No doubt safeguarding the Muslim Personal Law from external interference is a duty and while we do it, we must realize that the issue of Triple Talaq is more internal than external and must be addressed and resolved with courage and wisdom.
And please remember that the practice of HALALA (marrying the divorced wife to another person with the intention that he will divorce her to make her lawful to her first husband) is atrocious, repulsive and forbidden in Islam. This is being practiced as a solution to a wrong interpretation of Triple Talaq.
Once we bring back the responsibility to the roles as specified in Islam, girl will no longer be a burden to the society and her rights will be protected.
Islam gave women right to inherit from her parents, husband, son and brother. No one, not even her parents can deny her right, why don’t we talk about it? This is her right and she has total and unequivocal control over her estate. Her husband can’t spend a penny of it without her consent.
Once the society accept the proper Islamic family financial system, a girl will never be left on the mercy of anyone, her rights as daughter, sister, wife and mother are protected. In case of divorce, she doesn’t have to depend upon the help from her former husband, the very person who has terminated the contract of marriage.
The children are the responsibility of father to an extent that after divorce, she can demand compensation from the child’s father to breast feed the child. The society unjustly expect that the mother would take care of her children and the father is left scot-free. Let him have the burden of taking care of children after divorce, it automatically will reduce the divorce rate.
Women too must play a positive and constructive role as mother and sister of groom, they must never forget that they too have daughters and sisters at home to be married.
As Muslims, let us chalk our destiny and rise above the acute angle of a FIQH (jurisprudence) of any particular school of thought and strive to find solutions to our current problems in the light of Quran and Sunna. Unless we gather on the common platform of Quran and Sunnah, we will continue to be a target of external interventions and will spent all energies just to keep our head out of water.
Islam is not weak and doesn’t require our patronage for its survival but rather we will remain weak and exposed till we implement Islam in our lives and we will be strengthened as much we are successful in implementing the Islamic faith in our lives!
Let us practice the noble way of Islam in our homes and give women their due rights and respect and let the world be the witness to this beautiful, peaceful & respectful & JUST way of life i.e. ISLAM!
Please remember the final words of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, was about the protection of women and weaker section of society. Are we fulfilling his command in spirit and letter? Please remember ALLAH is the Creator of not only MEN but WOMEN too and HE is JUST and very Severe in Chastisement!
“And our duty is only to proclaim the clear Message.” – Quran (36:17).