Muslims to oppose interference in personal laws spiritedly: Dr. Asma Zehra
Bhopal, September 01 (Pervez Bari): “The Muslim community will not lie low but oppose tooth and nail if any interference is made in their personal laws by the government of the day. The men and womenfolk of the community would struggle together, shoulder to shoulder, if need be, spiritedly and peacefully against the forces which are hell bent to unnecessary meddle with the Muslim personal laws. We strongly condemn the moves of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre backed by the RSS for trying to interfere in the Muslim personal laws and their nefarious design to formulate the Uniform Civil Code”.
This was asserted by Dr. Asma Zehra, executive committee member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, (AIMPLB), while addressing media persons here on Wednesday. She was here in the State capital from Hyderabad to address a public meeting of Muslim women on the topic entitled “Tahaffuz-e-Shariat aur Khwateen ki ZimmedariyaN” (Protection of Islamic law and responsibilities of women).
Dr. Asma Zehra said: “India is a Secular Democratic country. Muslims are guaranteed the right to freedom of religion in the Indian Constitution. Different religious groups in our country follow their respective personal laws. Muslim Personal law is based on the Holy Book Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet’s Hadith (sayings). Islamic jurisprudence is a broad and meaningful subject”.
“We the Muslims of this country unitedly oppose any such effort to revoke the Muslim Personal Law which is an integral part of the Constitution. We the 10 crore Muslim Women of India will try to protect the Muslim Personal Law”, she added.
She said the real issues facing the Indian society nowadays are female feticide, female infanticide, dowry harassment, domestic violence and women’s safety and security. However, the irony is that these vital issues are overlooked and “Talaq” (Divorce) is debated. Forty per cent of wives in India are facing domestic violence by husband and in-laws, she added.
Dr. Zehra expressed her anguish over the much hype being created in the media and the society over the issue of triple “Talaq” in Islam. Through this it is being portrayed that on the issue of divorce Islam is anti-woman gender biased and against fundamental rights of women. On the contrary the reality is that in Islam women are given equal rights in every of walk of life, she emphasized. Recently the issue of right of divorce in Muslim Personal Law is debated and discussed in media by people who have scant knowledge of the subject. Instead of being realistic and sincerely concerned about the Muslim women’s issues, the focus is to degrade one particular community and attack their personal laws, she lamented.
She said that “Talaq” is the most unpleasant act allowed in Islam. Every religion has a code for divorce where men and women are given the right to get separated in case of unsuccessful marriages. Marriages in the Muslim community are 97 per cent successful and Muslim women are safe and comfortable in the Muslim Personal Law. In Islam marriage is a contract, a bond, in which both partners enjoy equal freedom and live in peace and happiness. In case of dispute the doors of divorce are kept open only to make life easy and relieve each partner of torture and suffering.
She said that recent articles giving the reference of Census 2011 in which it is shown that divorcees are higher percentage in Muslim community are old statistical data. Desertion and abandoning is very less in Muslim community and the burden of children’s upkeep is not on the wife. Her Husband (Father of children) is the sole responsible person for children’s upbringing and maintenance. In fact the wife walks out free after divorce. She is free to live her own life according to her will and is legally open to re-marriage, if she desires so. Marriage is a contractual agreement in Islam and not a sacrament (Janam Janam ka Bandhan).
Dr. Zehra pointed out that according to journalist Apoorva Dutt’s report on divorce published in Hindustan times 4th January 2015, the divorce rate is very low in Indian community, 13 cases per 1000 as compared to 500 per 1000 in United States. While India has no official Central or state-wise registry of divorce, family court official says the number of cases has doubled or even tripled in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Lucknow over past five years. So, this is basically an issue of metro cities.
She questioned as to why there is an effort by the media to tarnish and damage the image of the Muslim community. Why the Muslim community has to face the blame of gender bias and gender discrimination. Islam elevated the position of Muslim women and gave her a respectable position in the society. Muslim women are socially more empowered than women of any community because of strong family system, she argued. She appealed the media not to present false figures and numbers and try to be realistic with the issues concerning the Muslim community.
She recalled that Justice T.S. Thakur, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, has rightly said: “Court cannot find a solution to all the ills in the country. We cannot order that all corruption in India be stopped. We cannot order that murders should come to an end. All abductions should come to an end….…”
“Similarly, we cannot expect the Supreme Court to pass a ruling and force a husband to continue his marital relationship with wife in the face of discord between them. Even after the court order if the man pronounces “Talaq” in three sittings, will the divorcee woman get relief under the court of law. All these issues require hard work of social reforms on the ground level by the reformists and social activists”, she opined.
Dr. Zehra lamented that many so-called Muslim women organisations and “Andolans” (campaigns) have erupted recently who lack basic understanding of the Holy Quran and Hadith. They fail to understand that in cases of serious differences between husband and wife, the separation is a safe exit.
Arif Masood of Bhopal, another executive committee member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, was present during the Press conference of Dr. Asma Zehra.
Meanwhile, later in the afternoon addressing a public meeting of Muslim women on the topic entitled “Tahaffuz-e-Shariat aur Khwateen ki ZimmedariyaN” Dr. Asma Zehra exhorted them to follow the teachings of Islam as enshrined in the holy Quran and Hadith in letter and spirit. She appealed them not to get distracted by the false propaganda by the so-called women’s groups and “Andolans”.
She called upon Muslim women to follow the Shariah laws in their day-to-day life and inculcate moral values in their children according to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) so that they are rewarded handsomely by Allah in Akhirat. She cautioned them to be ready for any struggle to desist any interference in matters of “Talaq” and other personal laws if need arose.
The public meeting was presided over by Maulana Peer Saeed Miyan Mujaddidi, Rector, Dar-ul-Uloom, Taj-ul-Masajid, Bhopal. Arif Masood, who is also a Congress party leader, was present at the public meeting, too spoke on the occasion.
Maulana Peer Saeed Miyan Mujaddidi in his presidential address urged Muslim women to avoid going to courts in matters of matrimonial discord or disputes. They should approach first family elders to solve their issues to save their marriage or then go to Qazis to settle their cases, he added. (firstname.lastname@example.org)