Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Muslim Women Reject Uniform Civil Code, Call for Reform in Muslim Personal Law,
Ban on Triple Talaq
The 9th Annual Convention of BMMA was held in Delhi on 6th November. 500 Muslim women and men from different states gathered in Delhi for the conference where a report No More Talaq, Talaq, Talaq: Muslim Women Call for a Ban on an UnIslamic Practice was released. This report authored by Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz and Zakia Soman carries case studies of over 117 Muslim women who have been victims of triple talaq. These case studies have been gathered from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil nadu, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka. Some of the women whose stories have featured in the report provided testimonies about their plight.
Prof Tahir Mahmood has written the foreword to this report. Where he says it reads like a horror story and reveals what havoc a gross misuse of the noble Islamic law on divorce as a whole is playing in the society. The conference was told about BMMA’s work in different states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Telangana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar were efforts were put in to build leadership of Muslim women. Several efforts for justice and equality of women in family and in society were under way. Education and awareness of Quranic rights and messages about man and woman being equal was important. This was being provided through regular trainings, booklets, workshops.
Shabbira from Karnataka narrated how she got married to an advocate when she was a final year B.Com student. After just four and a half years of marriage, her husband divorced her unilaterally in her absence. “My husband would beat me after drinking and continuously demand dowry, my life was hell,” she said. Twenty five year old Shaista came from Bhopal to narrate how her husband divorced her unilaterally and refused to give maintenance. He even snatched away her jewellery from her and refused to part with it.
A panel comprising Shamina Shafiq, Badar Sayed and the authors Noorjehan Safia Niaz, Zakia Soman spoke about the need for reform. Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz, Co-Founder of BMMA spoke about how India urgently needs a codified Muslim personal law based on the Quranic principles of justice and equality. Zakia Soman, co-Founder spoke about how Uniform Civil Code is not the answer to Muslim womens’ quest for justice, this can happen only by reform in Muslim personal law where matters such as age of marriage, divorce, polygamy can be regulated. The panel agreed that the patriarchal elements in the community had blocked any reform move for too long and this must change. The Quran gives rights to muslim women during marriage and does not recognise triple talaq. Yet, this evil practice prevails in India. It should be banned like several other muslim countries world over.
The conference passed a resolution calling for a ban on the unIslamic practice of triple talaq. The gathering rejected the idea of Uniform Civil Code and called upon the government to initiate urgent measures towards reforms in Muslim personal law.